The World Culture Festival

By Neelam Dowlani

WCF-01The World Culture Festival is expected to have a presence of over 3.5 million people, to gather from across the world at New Delhi, from 11-13 March 2016. A majestic stage of 7 acres will be set, which is 304,920 square feet for those of you who are trying so hard to visualise the vastness. The colourful diverse stage will assemble an array of politicians, dignitaries, spiritual leaders, musicians, artists and other important contributors of the world.

Now the question that arises; how is this possible?  It is only possible when a renowned spiritual leader such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar decides to host such an event.  As he did in 2008 to celebrate Art of Living‘s 25th Anniversary, hosting a crowd of 2.5 million people at Bangalore, in Jakkur airfield.

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A peaceful gathering of over 3.5 million people; the voice of peace to speak loud and clear.  We no longer can be the lukewarm peaceful citizens of the world. We now need to be passionate, loud and clear about the necessity for peace.

If it’s not for us, then it’s for our children. Do we want our children to live in fear of terror? Or do we want our children to have a future of security, trust, friendship, belongingness.  The World Culture Festival represents the future we want.  If such a grand gathering for peace can take place on this scale then we are making ourselves heard.  Our children have not just hope but a reality in front of them of the future that we dream of as a possibility in front of them.

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There is such a great joy in being a part of a celebration that is so magnificent, and larger than life. It is a dream that has turned into a reality.

Travelling the world, experiencing different cultures expands the mind.  So is eating different foods, flavours, learning others ways that vary so vastly. The World Culture will be a display of this diversity. The festival will show that it is not tolerance but acceptance with joy of all religions, cultures and traditions and their unconditional embrace that brings in infinite harmony and peace in this world.

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This event will undermine the voice of terror and bring enormous strength to the powerful voice of peace.   It is not that the world is full of bad people, in fact quite the contrary. It is the good people who don’t get together to make their voice heard. This voice of peace will reach people not just visually, but will also create a wave of harmony which would reach the remote corners of the world. These waves of peace are required in trying times like now where wars are being fought like games and games like war.

Today the Internet, social media and globalisation have made the world smaller than ever. We now know real time what is happening across the world.  Where there is suffering and loss of lives in the world. Do we not feel their pain or experience sadness over the happenings?  We are all connected through human values, regardless of colour, creed and religion. We need to make it loud clear that the world is one world family connected through the human essence.  We are connected by breath and breath is universal.

And breath is the essence of Yoga.  Let us all come together for this breath taking event  in the land where Yoga began.

For information of those who tuned in late:

The World Culture Festival 2016 is a celebration of The Art of Living’s 35 years of service to humanity. The festival will bring together people from different cultures, nations and faiths as a one world family in a resounding message of peace.

Get more details here

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It doesn’t take much – To M.A.D

For the last two weeks, the road in which we live is in an unspeakable state…see picture.

Indian middle class is used to road digging, BBMP, BSNL, BWSSB, BESCOM…one or the other is usually digging the roads, what’s extraordinary here is the car parked in front of the JCB…again see picture

Blocked! You can go to hell
I am the Government! You can go to hell Attitude

The tipping point for the residents came when the Cauvery water line was broken in the process and the water tankers refused to supply water in our lane as actually the road was not commutable.

No Water? Drink Coke - Antoneitte Style
Drink Coke if you don’t have water – Marie Antoinette

All our requests fell on deaf ears, shouting residents got back to children, school & office, that’s when with an extraordinary courage, Hema parked her car right in front of the working JCB and challenged them “let me see how you will move another inch”

The Brave One - Who made a difference
The Brave One – Who made a difference

And, actually that’s all it took, for them to respond, in less than 3 hrs, arrangements for water and 4 wheel passage was made for our commute.

Volunteer for A better India (VBI) , it doesn’t take much, … to Make.A.Difference

(Hema is a Senior Faculty of The Art of Living and an ardent disciple of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji)

Story Credits : Madhubala who share this inspirational story on Facebook originally.

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Crutches for Lame Ducks

Dedicated to friends, Blinded by their “Sense of Service”

There is this popular story of a Sadhu who with a disciple on one of their trips in Himalayas, get stuck in a snowstorm. During a period when it lulls, the Sadhu looks down from the edge of slope and finds a body lying there, apparently with some signs of life. His disciple’s exhortation to save themselves before the storm resumes first fell on deaf ear of this Sadhu. He climbed down towards the victim while the disciple walked away towards safety. 

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This Sadhu reaches the man who had a broken leg and was totally movement impaired. Sadhu wraps him up with a blanket, carries him and treks up the slippery path with this load. After trekking for hours with incessant snowfall with this heavy load, and perspiring profusely, he finally reaches a village and stumbles upon a body on the ice covered road and to his despair finds that it was this disciple, who he realized froze to a horrible death unable to withstand the cold. The Sadhu was saved due to this exertion of carrying heavy load, sweating and the body heat of the victim.

When you serve or perform, remember you are doing none any favor – you are doing a favor to yourself. It is no service if you seek rewards for it. Divine keeps providing you so many opportunities in order to enrich you with experience or save you from disaster.

“I would not have you declare yourself to the world until you have proved your worthiness. Do not yourself proclaim your name, but wait until the world proclaims it.”  

So said Queen Guinevere to Lancelot, considered the bravest amongst the Knight in the story of King Arthur. So relevant! It is for the world to judge you seva, not for us to wear up our sleeve and flaunt it 🙂

Lancelot

And there are some who seek a Quid Pro Quo relationship with a Guru. For the opportunity they get to serve, they seek an anointment into some Symbol of Power!   That for me is what a “Coolie” does – Expecting a payback for the services rendered. No way it is Seva!!! And such people in moments of conflict (our small mind) with a Guru, go “Far” from Guru where a true disciple goes “For” Guru. Creating a portal here, volunteering at one’s convenience there doesn’t make anyone a Disciple of a Master. Just Remember! No outsourcing of Devotion or Commitment! Guru’s Grace is not for sale 🙂

It is also relevant to remember Crutch is required only for Lame (applied to both Physical or Intellectually lame). S You resort to usage of crutches when your argument becomes lame. When you lose out on argument, you bring in God, Guru, Gyan…  blah blah just to obfuscate. Debate ends there, because winner or loser gets decided by spectators at that moment 🙂 In their eagerness to prove right they grab the wrong Crutch.

xx_funny_lame_duck_cartoon_postcard-r68d536ccb4a74488b28d2e77e62e6580_vgbaq_8byvr_512As His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of The Art of Living says, Seva for Seva’s sake. Real seva is when you feel you haven’t done enough.

PS: Nothing official about this post 😉

(My next blog is also on the same topic, Nothing Official About it)