Sunday, November 04, 2012

Art of living rural part 1 at sagauli, Jhansi

Every school summer vacation was rush to a small village (Sagauli) in Jhansi. The love of the people and the hill beckoned. And then college happened, work happened and visits were reduced.

Now Art of living has given me another reason to connect back to Sagauli. As teacher a rural part 1 was scheduled during Navratri of 2012. With support from Mr. Ganga Prasad Shringirishi, who is based out of Gursarai, about 12 km from Sagauli most people of the village were informed about the upcoming event. He also arranged for the tape player for the course.

Ms Kanchan Ahuja ji, based out of Jhansi and a long time teacher with art of living also helped in discussion over the phone for organizing the course.

The general feedback was that this is the busiest time for the farmer and also for the womenfolk as they have to fast and do special pujas during each day of navratri. Still, Mr Ganga ji persisted and said we will have the course.

Nevertheless, we reached the village on 12th  Oct 2012. While talking to people it was not easy to explain what would the course do. Every body was of the impression that its a Yoga class and nothing more. Some had seen Guruji on TV. We set up a meeting near Temple at about 3 to explain to all what we were to do in the part 1 course. The temple only had very aged people and few youngsters. We announced that the course would begin from next day at 6 AM.

Next day morning we reached the village at about 6:10AM and there was no one at temple. Mr Ganga ji said let us sit and wait and we put the carpets in front of temple. Nobody turned up by 6:35AM. I called mother and told them the course is not happening and I would visit her next in Orcha.

Suddenly at 6:45AM people started trickling in. By 7 there were almost 15 men folk and they said you can begin. And I had to.

In the course there was one Mr. Virendra Nayak, who was a teacher in a local school. Post session requested him if we can have Bal Chetna Shibir in his school and he was more than eager to accept us. So we scheduled it for next day at 9 AM.

After the session we met Ms. Chandravali who runs the Anganvaadi in the village. She said it would be tough to gather the ladies as today being parma but she would try her best. We met her a day before and discussed the possibility of a separate women batch. The women batch was scheduled at 11AM.

We reached the venue for the women batch rural part 1 at 11 and there was nobody there till 12:10 PM and then we took the bike and started back to Gursarai. Midway we got a call that womenfolk had gathered at the venue by 12:30PM but we could not turn back and next day the women batch began at 11 AM and everybody was in.

Many people came in and out of the course and Sudarshan kriya was only given to those who had attended both days of long tape session of sudarshan kriya.

Mr Atul Vyas, from gursarai, provided the laptop for the last day of session. Everybody got a glimpse of the master and the work that art of living does.

We could had the last day of the course as the womenfolk were going to be very busy preparing for astmi puja. It was a holiday for school children. So we wrapped up the course on Saturday.

Some facts

  1. Many in village may think that they would get money at end of course. The government has spoiled the mindset of the villager by offering them free money that it is become common language now.
  2. Many in village may think you are there for a recruitment drive.
  3. In a village of 1000 people about 200 drink alcohol,  almost everybody drinks tea ( 1-2 litre a day), half of women and men folk consume tobacco in one form or other.
  4. The youth of the village is disinterested. Special effort needs to made to engage them.
So make it very clear that you are not there to make money nor you are on a recruitment drive. The concept of knowledge which was so engrained in village common sense has dried away.

Some outcomes

  1. Few people stopped tea totally from day 2.
  2. The school children took the last day of the Yoga session including satsang. They learn quick and they learn completely. A little holding hand is required to carry them through.
  3. The womenfolk were very sincere and gave more than 100% to every process of the course. 
  4. The menfolk had the intellect interfering with some of the session.
  5. The men folk have continued to meet in village temple for last few days for group sadhana.
  6. Some of the seva projects taken 
    1. stop drinking alcohol
    2. stop gutka (tobacco)
    3. stop tea
    4. improve belongingness amongst all
Touching moments.
  1. The children would not allow me to leave on the last day, they urged "one more game", "one more story" and I thought of disappearing in one of the extra game that we were playing but the moment I picked my bags everybody left the game and circled me. 
  2. After the conclusion of Bal Chetna Shibir, Kuldeep, a 9 year old, ran and asked "Will Guruji come and help us in any kind of trouble that we have?"
  3. Womenfolk sang and danced on the last day of the course. They just wanted to be in Guru's space for more. 
  4. Everybody was inviting for lunch and breakfast. I had to take turn accepting invitations.

The video snippets are available at

It is possible to bring back the naturalness. Bring Sudarshan Kriya to your village and empower them to get back their natural rhythms.

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