Sri Sri Ravishankar arrives to a festival

via www.newindpress.com published on November 27, 2006

T’PURAM: As dusk settled over the rain-drenched ashram, the crowd had thickened. Devotional music blared from the loudspeakers as police scrambled to keep people at bay. By 7.30 pm the anticipated moment had come. Ushered by pilot cars, the off-white Mercedes Benz bearing the Art of Living guru floated in at the entrance.

As the long-haired, seemingly-frail man alighted, the crowd converged on him with garlands and smiles. Cameramen jostled to get a good angle. People — old and young — flanked the red carpet, which ribboned from the gate to the ashram building.

Sri Sri Ravishankar, the man synonymous with Art of Living, was scheduled to arrive at 3 pm but technical hitches caused an unexpected delay. On his arrival in the city, his first programme, as per schedule, was an interaction with the NCC cadets.

For the devotees who waited at the Maruthankuzhi ashram, delays barely mattered as they led him to the first floor where the formal reception was organised with chants of ‘Jaya, Jaya Gopala Hare…’

The audience consisted the elite of the city, including Uthradam Tirunal Marthanda Varma, the head of the Travancore royal family.

‘‘Entha, ellavarkkum sukham thanneyalle? Ivide Aake Orulsavam.’’ The opening words of Sri Sri Ravishankar in Malayalam — that came as a surprise to many — were received with loud cheers by his disciples.

Many, to their disappointment, were stranded on the ground floor. Many had brought flowers to shower on the guruji. ‘‘Why did you bring flowers? You are flowers yourselves. There is a flower in your very smiles,’’ he said.

Then he wanted to know how long people had been waiting for him. Pat came the reply from the children in the audience: ‘‘Since 12 noon.’’ The reply seemed to surprise him. ‘‘Since 12 noon? Waiting, in fact, is a form of ‘tapasya,’’ he told the audience. He also asked the ashram officials to ensure that everyone had a chance to meet him.

Ravishankar will leave for Kollam on Monday where he will inaugurate a ‘Gnanakshethra’ at Thoppilkadavu at 12 noon. He will also address a spiritual meet at Asramam maidan at 5 pm.

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