Jigish Barot – Building Rural India

Multi-talented, very creative, happy and glowing with pride, this vibrant, super-humorous Art of Living teacher from rural India, Jigish Barot is a name that lights up the face of every Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP) graduate. His outstanding contribution to rural India is a true inspiration.

What was life like before the Art of Living?

“I was happy-go-lucky, everything was great except that I was very short tempered and was scared of it, as I used to become violent in anger. When angry I would lose all self-control. We were a group of 10 likeminded friends who took pride in getting angry. Fights and tiffs were a way of life during college days.”

What influenced him to get into The Art of Living?

“Guruji asked me only one question, ‘When will you be happy?’ That one question stuck in my mind and haunted me all the time. I always kept postponing joy; it was Sri Sri’s question that got me into The Art of Living.” 

 
 

Drastic change after the course: felt deep relaxation
and a sense of calmness within. The anger had now transformed
into witty humor. The sense of belongingness inculcated in his
first Advanced course became his inspiration for Seva

 
 

“My experience of the first Sudarshan Kriya was amazing. I wondered how my mind could be this calm and peaceful. I also felt very happy and wanted to share it with everyone. That very moment I felt like an ‘instant volunteer’. I had a big friend circle so I gathered everybody and arranged for courses.”

 

The kind of transformation he has seen happening due to Art of Living courses

 
 

“The main seva that Art of Living does is to
uplift people and make them realize who they really are,
what their true potential is.Other service projects are by
the way.. that is why it is called ‘Vyakti Vikas Kendra’
(center for developing individuals).”

 
 

“Before our courses, almost every villager was addicted to one or the other form of alcohol, drugs or smoking. It was a very common thing in villages then. Today a new enthusiasm is being seen in these villagers after having done our courses. Many people are now completely free from addictions and have started taking interest in seva (service) projects. It is a huge transformation in the villagers.” 

 

An Art of Living project that he feels particularly fulfilled by

“Transforming naxalites in Bastar, 300 miles south from Chhattisgarh. I’ve worked in Bastar when there were no teachers in there. We now have 30+ teachers there. Lots of naxalites died, and their orphaned children had no direction in life. So a free school was started for these orphans by our YLTP team.” Read more.

 
 

“I feel so fortunate that Guruji has always chosen me,
when it comes to doing Seva projects and courses in the remotest,
secluded locations of India.”

 
 

“Bamni is a village in Bastar, where we constructed a meditation hall that Guruji visited. A devotee also donated a huge patch of land in a forest around the village where we now have our Ashram, constructed by our YLTP volunteers from Bastar.”

 

And his goals in life?

 
 

“When a person’s inner consciousness
is blossomed, that is the most
beautiful Seva.”

 
 

“Teaching YLTP Phase I and YLTP Phase II and working with rural youth to make them self-sufficient, plan for their future and uplift rural India.”

 

Why is he so passionate about rural youth?

“Rural youth have low self-esteem, lack of proper direction and unutilized energy. There is so much energy and no direction which leads youth into violence, naxalism, terrorism etc. When they do YLTP courses, youth experience inner peace and outer dynamism. The same energy is now used in various seva projects. It is so beautiful to witness and also be a part of this transformation.”
Jigish leaves us with a brilliant tip on initiating and maintaining service projects: “I strongly feel as a seva warrior, I’ve learnt to create a good team. It is the need of the hour to create a team wherever I go. Whenever I leave a place, I ensure that the team keeps working. The show must go on….”
Jigish continues to inspire and transform people’s lives. To contribute and change the face of rural India, write to yltp@artofliving.org.