Archive for May, 2012

Creativity is part of our true nature and naturally blossoms with meditation and yoga. The Jersey City team is organizing an art exhibition to showcase people’s amazing creativity . It will be on June 2nd at the Art of Living center at 4th floor, 121 Newark Avenue,  Jersey City, New Jersey. Feel free to participate.


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by Vikas Chawla

Check out this article by our senior New Jersey Art of Living teacher, Vikas Chawla in the local New Jersey newspaper, “Home News Tribune”.|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

Below is the article.


Karma simply means “as you sow, so shall you reap.”

Although this definition is a good entry point to comprehend the term, it leaves out many details.

This simplistic understanding makes people think that following the path of virtuous action alone is enough to help them gain enlightenment — the ultimate goal of the practitioners of eastern religions.

Herein lies the misunderstanding.

Righteous actions lead to good health, prosperity and favorable conditions, while unrighteous actions lead to ill health and misery.

However, virtuous actions, while necessary, are not a sufficient condition to attain enlightenment

It is not just the actions that result in karma, but also the cravings and aversions that bind us and propel us to keep repeating the actions.

Addictions are an example of this pattern — even the habit of starting each day with a cup of coffee.

In eastern literature, karma is represented as a wheel.

The wheel symbolizes the cycle of birth, life and death.

When one revolution of the wheel is complete, life begins again with rebirth.

We come back to Earth as beings to get rid of impressions.

Once all the impressions are removed, we attain the state of enlightenment.

If not, the cycle repeats itself.

Enlightenment cannot be achieved only by virtuous actions because no action can be entirely virtuous on its own.

Take, for example, the act of charity.

Charity is a virtuous act, but you have made the recipient become indebted to you.

You can find your way out of this wheel of life by transcending the doership and becoming an observer.

The ancient Vedic text, the Shiva Sutra, exhorts you to “look at all the happiness and miseries in your life as though they are happening outside you.”

According to Vedic philosophy, the most fundamental spiritual principle is the transcendent self.

Although most people identify with their bodies, minds and egos, the real self is unbounded, unmanifest, pure consciousness.

Events in our life only give an illusion of touching us.

When we realize who we are and that we are left untouched by these events, then we can achieve true liberation — nirvana.

The way to get to that centered state is through meditation.

That is why, it is imperative that we learn how to meditate from an experienced teacher, who can guide us and answer our questions.

One method of meditation is through a mantra (ancient sound). “Mananaat trayate iti mantra” — that which saves us from repetitiveness is mantra.

Everything that worries us, make us feverish is nothing but a repetitive thought.

The key to getting to a state of equanimity is by a constant practice of meditation and giving it a priority in our daily life.

This constant practice of meditation helps free us from the bondage of cravings and aversion, and is the ultimate karma buster.


article at “Meditation is the best karma buster”

Vikas Chawla has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science, and works as a vice president at an investment bank. He has served on the U.S. board of the Art of Living Foundation for four years. He is a certified instructor with the Art of Living Foundation, and has been teaching meditation, yoga and breathing techniques for more than 12 years.


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The Know Your Child workshop guides parents on how to bring up happy and healthy children. It promotes the wonderful bond between parent and child. Coming with the deep wisdom of Art of Living programs, it gives parents practical tips on how to communicate better, bring out creativity and improve focus.

Recently, in April, we had a workshop at our center at Metuchen, New Jersey. Mahi, Ramesh and Sunil organized the workshop and Shravan taught it. Guru, a first-time participant of the workshop said, “What I feel is that we are, in general, concerned about our kids but the problem is we don’t know exactly what to do.” A child’s viewpoint is different from an adult’s and the Know Your Child workshop explains the cause of a child’s behavior patterns and how to effectively respond to them.

Ramesh, an organizer and a long-time Art of Living teacher describes the difference the workshop has made in his life: “The first thing I observed is that my son listens to me more. Since he was 2 years old I stopped saying “no, no, no” to many things and I use another way of putting it in a better way. That’s why I feel he listens to me more. Very rarely do I say “no” and I say “no” only when I con’t find another way of saying it. Otherwise I convey what he can do rather than what he shouldn’t  do. Whenever I want to tell him something I also add the reasoning behind it. For example, instead of telling him, “Don’t jump on the sofa. ” I say “If you jump on the sofa then it will be spoiled.”  I show him where it has been spoiled. Then he listens and he tells his friends also not to jump on the sofa. When we add the reasoning behind why we are asking him to do something it really helps.”

Know Your Child Workshop April 2012

“After coming here I learnt that there is a process of correcting a child and that is what is taught.”, says Guru, a parent who took the workshop. He explains what he learnt, “What I experienced with my kid is that when he is not doing something and we want to make him do something and he doesn’t want to do it and he is resisting. In order to make him to do it I take a very hard way of pushing, of shouting etc. When I try another way,  an easier way to do it, for example, by diverting him, he still does what I want him to do. Either by the softer way or harder way he does it. The only thing is that most of the time, we take the harder way rather than the softer way.”

Shravan teaching

One important thing I’ve seen why children don’t listen or are hyperactive or don’t eat well is because they don’t get enough exercise. ” says Shravan, the teacher. He explains, “They need to be physically challenged because they have so much energy. So one thing we have done at home which has really worked is that our house is very kid-friendly. We have very few things in the house. We have sofa and TV but they can run around very easily. Most of the house is there for them to use in terms of running and being active. We also encourage them to go to other’s houses. The kids play together. The effort we have taken to ensure that they get enough physical exercise and activity in the day has an overall impact on everything, every aspect of the child’s life. The appetite improves, they eat good food, they sleep well, they listen to you because they have expended their energy.”

Overall the workshop raises awareness in parents. By understanding the child’s perspective they are able to promote the child’s well-being. It helps parents connect better with their children. Mahi, an organizer and teacher of the program explains, “Every parent should have that connection and understanding with their child before they correct their child. In any relationship, even when I working with the children in the special needs school that I work at, when I say something they don’t always understand. If I am not able to connect with the children and am relating as just an outsider, as a teacher I find I am not able to pass on a message. And the parent-child relationship is the most amazing relationship. The connection between parent and child I feel is very, very crucial.

History of Know Your Child

The Know Your Child workshop came out of the experience of teaching at the Art of Living schools in India. The teachers noticed that the participation of the parents in what was happening in the school was very important because what the children learn in the school should be consistent with what they see at home.

Shravan was involved with Art of Living schools in Bangalore, India from 2003 to 2009.  He says, “We actually purchased a five acre land in Bangalore city and built a school. I was involved actively in that. That was a very good experience because it was a regular mainstream school in Bangalore. We used to conduct this workshop for all the parents as part of admission. Then we would have parent-teacher meetings where we would hear what challenges they’re facing. Swami Suryapada used to conduct the training for the teachers. Muralidhar Koteshwar was one of the trustees of SSRVM and he worked on designing the workshop. I worked closely with him.” Soon the teachers found that the workshop was useful for all parents and started conducting the workshop on a wider scale.

Background and Inspiration for the Organizers

Mahi, Ramesh, Shravan

The organizers talk about their background and what inspires them to organize the workshops. Mahi Gurukula says, ” For three years I worked with toddlers in a day care center and then I really got inspired to teach special needs kids and since four years now I work as a teacher in a special needs school. The children are mentally challenged and physically challenged. Definitely, Know Your Child makes me think differently from the other teachers.”

Shravan Bharathula  has been teaching Know Your Child and other Art of Living courses for many years. He has a background in engineering and finance and works for an investment bank in New York City. When asked what inspires him he says, “My involvement in the workshop was when I got involved in the schools in India. I did my masters here in the US and then I went back to India and taught in a school for a year. I taught in the Rishi Valley school run by the Krishnamurti Foundation. That was a really good experience for me. For one year I spent time with 80 kids in three different classes. I had no operational headaches. I was just teaching and spending time with the kids. That was really enjoyable. I learnt a lot. That is what kindled my interest. There is so much we can do in the field of education, so much, so much difference we can make. That is when I decided that when I get back to Bangalore I will get involved in the Art of Living schools.

I was involved with the Art of Living schools in Bangalore from 2003 to 2009 until I came here to the US. All that experience has been very useful in clearing my thinking on parenting. And I am a parent now for five years. That has helped me apply it practically. When I became a father that’s when I saw that this thing really works. Fortunately, my wife is totally into it. She has done the workshop. She sometimes participates when I am teaching. We discuss about it often at home.

Our kids go to a Montessori school. We see some similarities there. Maria Montessori had done a tremendous amount of thinking and research on how kids learn and how they grow up. For example, the ability to focus that children need to have, the need to learn independently without comparison and the ability to work on a project from beginning to end. All of that requires very active, proactive engagement with them. As a parent if you engage with your child as an individual, it makes a big difference.”

Sunil taking care of the children during the workshop

Sunil Golla, one of the organizers of the course replies when asked what inspires him: “Know Your Child is one of the best programs that Guruji has started. It has got tremendous potential. It is a great way to connect with an integral part of the community, that is, the parents, by helping them and guiding them on how to manage kids.

I learnt so much as a parent. Everything what I learnt I learnt from my daughter. My entire life I thought I learnt something but when my daughter was born and she started living her life I realized that what I learnt was nothing, literally nothing. Or in fact what I learnt was not the right thing. Maybe what I learnt I already forgot because of other things which happened in my life. Every day she is teaching me so many things. I am what I am because of her. Its just been three years and three months but I am a transformed guy just because of my daughter. She has really shown me how to live life to the fullest.”

blogpost on children’s courses in North Brunswick, New Jersey,

blogpost on children’s courses in Metuchen, New Jersey



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