By Suma Varughese
The South embraced the Life Positive Expo with gusto as it made its first foray in Coimbatore, says Suma Varughese
It is hard to say why exactly it took so long for the Life Positive Expo to reach the South of India. After all, the South is definitely one of the most spiritual regions of India. South Indians are gentle, simple, unostentatious and inward-oriented. And they are great patrons of Life Positive. However, there is, perhaps, a right time for everything, and finally the stars smiled upon our foray into the South. Which is how the Life Positive Expo in Coimbatore happened on September 26th and 27th of this year.
At first sight, Coimbatore may appear to be an unlikely destination. Why not Chennai, Bangalore or Hyderabad instead? Why not beauteous Kerala? As it happens though, Coimbatore was the perfect destination. For one thing it is close not just to Chennai but also to Bangalore, and it is a mere stone’s throw from Kerala. Besides, in the hot and humid South, Coimbatore is a sanctuary of cool, with showers bringing down temperatures and keeping its citizens smiling.
And Coimbatoreans do smile a lot. One of the participants told me that Coimbatoreans are among the most hospitable people in India, and I cannot dispute that. Whether it was our colleagues from World Phone India who worked shoulder to shoulder with the skeletal Life Positive staff to put out a class event, the waiters in some of the restaurants we patronised, the staff at the Hotel Grand Regent where the event was held, or our own participants, everyone smiled and everyone helped.
The two-day event began on the dot of 9.30 am on September 26th. Unfortunately, Aditi Surti was unable to join us as her son had fallen severely ill. However, the redoubtable Ketan Shah, one of the stars of the Life Positive galaxy, more than made up for it, by opening his workshop to all. Such was the number that poured in that half-way through we moved the workshop to a more spacious hall.
Total Wellness through Body, Mind and Emotions by Ketan Shah
Ketan Shah’s workshop was not just a masterful introduction to acupressure, but also offered a wealth of tips on how to stay in optimum health. In this workshop, Dr Shah took the scope of his work deeper by explaining the impact of each organ in the body not just on the body but also on the mind and emotions. For instance, an underactive stomach organ will make it difficult for us to accept change, Spleen helps to control the mind and an underactive spleen will manifest as low self-esteem and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It can also give rise to something called Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder (AAADD).
Dr Shah described acupressure as a technique that releases blocked energy and allows it to pass freely through the meridian, bringing health to all the organs. He also outlined five measures on which health depended. These include oxygen, facilitated by breathing from the diaphragm, drinking adequate water (your daily intake should be 30 ml per kg weight), eating the right foods, adequate sleep and finally, activating the acupressure points.
The rest of the workshop focussed on the last measure. A veritable encyclopaedia of information, he explained the points on the palms or sometimes in the body to press for each organ, while also answering the rapidfire questions levelled at him by the participants. How to heal thumb sucking? (Activate the spleen point) Mouth ulcer? (Activate stomach point). The audience also learnt one of his most popular techniques: How to balance the solar plexus, which governs many things, including digestion. Bring your palms together and make sure that the two heart lines are in a straight line. Check if the little fingers are of equal length. If one is shorter than the other, it means the solar plexus is not balanced. Balance it by fisting the palm belonging to the shorter finger, bending it at the elbow such that the fist touches the shoulder and vigorously throwing open the arm. This has to be done eight times. To everyone’s delight and wonder, the length of the little fingers were equalized in the hands of those that showed an imbalance. Altogether a deeply informative workshop that delighted the participants.
Inaugural address by Sri Atmananda
On the evening of the first day, came the inaugural address by Sri Atmananda, a young spiritual adept from Hyderabad. The event began with Sri Atmananda lighting the lamp along with Life Positive chairman, Aditya Ahluwalia, Life Positive editor-in-chief, Suma Varughese, and V. Venkat, director, Life Positive.
Thereafter, Swamiji launched into his talk. He told the audience that he had made a spot decision to change the topic of his talk to the life positive as a mark of gratitude to the magazine, which has played a significant role in his own seeking. He explained that in July 1997, he had been going through many spiritual experiences that he himself could not understand and that puzzled those around him. Someone introduced him to that month’s Life Positive and it was only after reading it that he realised that what he was going through was normal for a seeker. Reading Life Positive triggered off a series of events including meeting his guru and becoming established on the path, he confided to the audience. He added that his evolution make him realise that life was always positive.
He went on to explain that existence had only two fundamental qualities, which were evolution and pulsation. Anything that exists today may not have had a material manifestation earlier, but has always existed in the suprafine realm. According to Vedanta, whether God existed or not was immaterial because existence self-evidently was. “If I say, Lord Siva does not exist, I must already have a concept of Lord Siva in my head,” he said. Lord Siva meditated for aeons but there was no creation. It was only when Shakti, the primordial identification mechanism was added to Siva that he became creative. Swamiji said, “In being Siva I was not aware of myself, in being the creator, I stopped being Siva.”
Evolution had to be created because there had to be a mechanism whereby existence could become conscious of itself. He described evolution as the capacity to be better than your previous best and explained that all existence was evolving to transform itself. Man was God trapped in time and space. Transcending these would restore us to our divine heritage, he said. He concluded with a wonderful meditation that had people swimming in a sea of bliss.
After a stimulating first day, participants rapidly filled up the classrooms, eager for an equally memorable second day. And they were not disappointed.
Developing mind and healing power by BK Chandrashekhar
BK Chandrashekhar’s humility, understated persona, the authenticity of his insights and his practical demonstration of them combine to make his workshop both profoundly insightful and remarkably entertaining.
He started with his own astounding healing from cancer, hapatitis and liver cirrhosis through a direct vision of God, after which God gave him answers to many questions including understanding the nature of the mind. He was given to understand that while God’s energy is directly transmitted to the soul (its location, according to him, is a few inches above the head), which in turn transmits some of it to the brain and nervous system, most of the energy is taken by the mind for thinking and feeling purposes. He attributes all illnesses and disharmony to this one factor. He said the mind was an information current running through every cell of the body. The Self may give a command but the mind may or may not follow it and the body will do only what the mind tells it to. His understanding of the mind is unique and a little different from how we normally understand it. The mind, he said, is composed of many parts including the subconscious which consists of all the programming of the present life, and the unconscious, which consists of the programming of all past lives. There is also the supraconscious mind consisting of the seven qualities of our true nature such as bliss, peace, love and so on. Unfortunately this nature is inaccessible because of the programming of the other parts of the mind. The intellect is the regulator of the mind. Likening the intellect to Sita, he said Sita needed to be freed from Ravan, the subconscious mind, by Ram, the soul.
He went on to demonstrate how powerfully negative emotions like anger or fear could reduce the energy flow, strength and flexibility and imbalance the chakras. Using a lecher antenna, he checked out two volunteers’ chakras and measured their auras. He then asked them to think of an experience that made them angry. The lecher antenna showed that every chakra had fused. He taught us then how to charge water or food by bringing the mind to a meditative state and visualising the colour orange for water and yellow for food. When the participants drank the charged water, their chakras once more went to normalcy. He also taught the secret of a good memory. Memory, he said, was governed by colour, images, art and music. He gave an outstanding demo of his own prowess by asking the near 50 participants to give the last two digits of their mobile numbers. He then repeated every number in the order it had been given to him and repeated it back to front for good measure. He concluded with a profound meditation that enabled participants to connect to Source energy and bring it into their own bodies.
Body-Mind Programming by Dr KN Krishnaswamy and Raj Kumar Dham
Dr Krishnaswami and RK Dham’s programme on body-mind programming was also an original method created to understand the mind and use its incredible powers to manifest the life we want. The programme began with a small relaxation programme where participants chanted Om five times with eyes closed, before repeating ‘akara’ ‘ukara’ and ‘makara’.
The duo went on to explain Body-Mind Programming or BMP, which they call the capacity to programme the brain, our inner human computer, to achieve self-transformation, through which one can achieve any goal including healing from grave ailments like cancer.
Four progressive techniques for self-transformation were outlined.
Rhythmic balancing through pranayama. When the breath is balanced, the body and mind are also balanced. Pacific harmony which consists of relaxing the mind through affirmations and visualisation in order to gain access to the subconscious mind. Implantation, which is the act of sowing a powerful goal or desire into the deeper reaches of the mind, and finally, synthetic nurturing which refers to the mind’s inability to distinguish between what is real and what is vividly visualised, thus enabling the achievement of a goal through visualising.
The duo stipulated that in order for BMP to be effective one had to cleanse the mind of stressors such as anger, fear, unethical desire or guilt. To do this, they recommended Swasio breathing, getting things out of one’s system by writing them down and burning them, using a grid, self- and other- forgiveness, and pranayama.
Finally, they presented the seven steps for transformation and goal achievement through BMP. It begins with preparation, which includes mental cleansing, identification of a clear and specific goal, a time frame for achieving it, thinking about it, and building up a burning desire to achieve it. Next comes alignment, by focussing on the goal, affirming and visualising it. Third is entry into the deeper levels of the mind through rhythmic balance and pacific harmony. Fourth is programming, where the goal is implanted and synthetically nurtured through affirmation and visualisation. Fifth is surrendering the goal to the higher power, then exiting the programme cycle and finally taking follow-up action.
Homage to Swami Dayananda Saraswati
The culminating event of the two-day Expo was an impromptu homage in memory of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, an eminent son of Coimbatore, and pre-eminent Vedanta teacher who passed on in Rishikesh on September 23rd, three days before the onset of the Expo. On the dais to honour his memory were Life Positive president D R Kaarthikeyan, Life Positive chairman Aditya Ahluwalia, Thavathiru Marudachalla Adigalar, Perur, a leading Tamil scholar and saint, Smt Vanitha Mohan, managing trustee of Siruthuli and executive director of Pricol Limited, and Mr M. Krishnan of the worldfamous Krishna sweets, another distinguished Coimbatorean.
Mr Kaarthikeyan spoke movingly about Swamiji’s great legacy in imparting Vedanta teaching to thousands of people, including of course PM Narendra Modi, who considers him to be his guru, and in building up a corps of teachers. Thavathiru Marudachalla spoke about the efforts Swamiji had taken to unite all spiritual leaders and to further the cause of Indian spirituality. Vanitha Mohan and Mr Krishnan were devoted students of Swamiji, and shared a wealth of moving anecdotes on him. Vanitha Mohan recalls that on an occasion when she had gone to the USA with him, she had washed some of his clothes. Many years later, he recalled that. “To think that he must be meeting thousands of people every month and yet he remembered such a small detail,” she said with wonder.
Mr Krishnan recalled that Swamiji had returned to Rishikesh from the US a few months prior to his death, having made the radical decision to stop dialysis and let nature take its course. Yet, despite his ravaged body, the day he returned, he went as usual to the main hall and began to teach.
Mr Ahluwalia thanked the dignitaries for their sharing while also thanking the sponsors and participants of the Coimbatore Expo. And with that the curtain came down on an exhilarating, and positively charged two days.
We will be back next year, Coimbatore. Can’t wait to see you again!
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