From a graduate school in the US to the cities of Bulgaria; Konstantin Dragov’s story reminds us of the potential we have to create change and then, run with it.
Stumbled upon The Art of Living by accident, Konstantin Dragov did his first Art of Living Course 12 years ago. And ever since, “My life really took off,” shares Konstantin, the president of The Art of Living in Bulgaria. “I did my first course when I was a freshman in the US. And I became a teacher in 2003 when I was in my masters (Construction and Project Management from UC Berkley, California).”
For Konstantin, his work is his hobby – meeting and inspiring people
Soon, he was accepted for a Ph.D in the US, but he chose to go back to Bulgaria, says Konstantin. “In Bulgaria, I started my own engineering design company and even built one apartment building. But I stopped doing this work two years ago after I became a full-time (Art of Living) teacher.”
“My time is like free time now.
I am doing exactly what I want to do.”
Over 7,000 people have completed
his courses, including professionals,
government employees, students and
prison inmates. “We have lots of
centers for children with disabilities,
children without parents, social
centers where we have Breath-Water-Sound
Workshops. And these courses happen very
often – every week in different
parts of the country.”
And he’s never regretted that decision even for a moment, explains Konstantin, “Today, people ask me about what I do in my free time and I say, ‘Oh, my time is like free time now’. I am doing exactly what I want to do. I’m traveling a lot to different cities, even different countries in Europe and spreading Guruji’s (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) knowledge (message of peace and belongingness), meeting people… inspiring people. In Bulgaria, we travel to all the cities, do satsangs, meditations and educate new people about our courses. Apart from this, we plant a lot of trees in Bulgaria on the land given to us by the government. And of course, the Non-Aggression Program. We have lots of centers for children with disabilities, children without parents, social centers where we have Breath-Water-Sound Workshops. And these courses happen very often – every week in different parts of the country."
In fact, over 7,000 people have completed his courses, including professionals, government employees, students and prison inmates.
Experience of the first Prison SMART program
The year (2004) he went back to Bulgaria, Konstantin became the first Art of Living teacher. Today, there are 30 teachers in Bulgaria. “We are in 32 cities. And we’ve done 60 Prison Courses so far and more than 1,000 inmates and prison staff have done the course. I was there on the first course. And it was an amazing experience for me, though in the beginning, it was a little intimidating to go inside (the prison). The smell was very bad and I was thinking, who are these people? But when we entered and saw the crowd, they were normal people – very joyful and innocent. And it was very rewarding for us to hear what the inmates had to say after the course – ‘We sleep much better now’, ‘There was a lot of anger and negative emotions, but now I feel pure like a child’,” smiles Konstantin, who was 27 years old at that time.
“It was a very enriching experience for me, especially when we had the program with those who were serving the life sentence. They were very grateful to us. And they went very deep into practice (meditation). And the prison staff said that they saw a big transformation in these prisoners because before this, they were not alive; they were living, but just dead people. After the program, they started to show emotions and signs of life.”
‘Sudarshan Kriya opened my mind to new ideas’
He was not at all into
“Spirituality and service work
earlier. I was actually against
these things but when I did the
Sudarshan Kriya, it made a lot
of sense to me. It made a
change in me physically. And
because I was a scientist, I saw
a change in my body and saw it
working out and was practical.
So, I continued.”
For him, his journey has been gradual because he was not at all into, “Spirituality and service work earlier. I was actually against these things but when I did the Sudarshan Kriya, it made a lot of sense to me. It made a change in me physically. And because I was a scientist, I saw a change in my body and saw it working out and was practical. So, I continued. Slowly, slowly, I did the Advance Course and with each Advance Course and satsang, my mind started to open up to new ideas. And it became more refined. Earlier, I was only interested in math, physics, career, party and alcohol. But slowly, I started having more interest in service and doing things for other people. And I started having more interest in religion, spirituality, art, history and even literature. So, it took me some time but I always felt that I’m going forward.”
For the last eight years, his biggest priority has been The Art of Living. “All the other things – my studies and work were part-time. And all these thoughts about money and career are not my priority any more,” smiles Konstantin, a nature-lover, who is hopeful about bringing a greater change in his country and the world through yoga and meditation.