- Tour Schedule
- Tour Diary
Arrival in ReginaMon, 04/15/2013, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
At the airport, Sri Sri sat, waiting for us all to gather. Then, the food hamper came out with a meal for four. Marcy went to get some bowls and Neelam began organizing all the containers quickly and filling them with a feast of roti, dhal, rice, fruit for 12 of us. As quickly as the food appeared and was shared, the containers were put away and we all focused on getting to the gate and Regina.
On the plane, before landing the captain announced that spring has arrived in Regina and it was -3 degrees (yes, 3 degrees below zero).
All the travellers were met by enthusiastic devotees and we were take to Hotel Saskatchewan.
Spreading the message of non-violence & peaceMon, 04/15/2013, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
The VIP reception was waiting his arrival and he was introduced to the Mayor of Regina, Michael Fougere as well as the Minister of Parks, Culture & Sport, Kevin Doherty. When they apologized for the cold, he said he likes it cold. He graciously invited them to come to India.
Then, he left for the Connexus Arts Centre to a sold out event with 550 people attending his first ever visit to Regina.
People came from all over the province of Saskatchewan as well as others, such as Saskatoon, Yorkton, Moose Jaw, Kindersley, Kamsack, Langenburg, Manitou, Canora, Melville, North Battleford.
As the event began, the Minister and Mayor offered their greetings. They warmly welcomed Sri Sri and during their brief speeches highlighted the importance of Sri Sri's teachings and stress-reduction techniques, particularly in light of the bombings that occurred earlier that day at the Boston Marathon.
Minister Kevin Doherty: "A message of peace, acceptance and understanding is always welcome." He then talked about what has happened in Boston and the context of Sri Sri's visit. "You are a spiritual world traveller with few, if any, equals".
Mayor Michael Fougere added: " A sense of well-being in this turbulent world is very welcome".
After each man spoke, Sri Sri honoured each of them with a beautiful silk shawl, and they both wore the shawl all evening.
Sri Sri spoke about the need to end violence, and the movement he was here to launched NON-VIO. 100 acts of non-violence for every act of violence, and the need for creating a culture of spreading warmth and belongingness:
"This is a place of cool headed and warm hearted people. In small cities there is togetherness. We have to keep this culture of spreading warmth. We have forgotten to connect with ourselves and with everybody else. This is the only thing that makes our life worth living - imagine life without love, compassion, a sense of belongingness. Mankind would go into depression. We need to create a sense of togetherness with everyone". Sri Sri also mentioned the importance of working with the First Nations communities in Saskatchewan and across Canada.
Ending the evening in ReginaMon, 04/15/2013, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
(This post has been prepared by a group of volunteers.)
After the event Sri Sri met with volunteers who had travelled from other cities such as Saskatoon and Yorkton.
When we got back to the hotel, he was in his room and we were told he wanted to meditate.
When he came out he said it had been a good meditation. Many people were sitting in the room outside waiting for him. With time change and all it was late, after 11 pm Montreal time. A quick call confirmed that dinner was on its way. Very soon the beautiful meal prepared for him by Sindu arrived.
Last day at the Center, MontrealSun, 04/14/2013, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
(This post has been lovingly compiled by a group of organizers in Canada. )
Pleasant morning today. The temperature is above 0 degrees. Although there is some snow on the paths, it is safe to walk without slipping.
The pangs of separation can be heard everywhere as participants prepare to leave the ashram for home. But we all know it’s only for a few months because Sri Sri comes back for Guru Purnima in July.
Sri Sri surprised everyone in the morning by coming to the meditation hall to do a wonderful meditation with everyone on the ashram, including the seva team. He didn’t start till everyone was there. It was an amazing meditation. We could barely open our eyes at the end.
The airport shuttles had to leave at noon and everyone was eager to get his Darshan once before leaving. In addition to the shuttle, he managed to squeeze three large group meetings in the hall after the meditation.
People got on stage to see him. "Don't bring me any dresses, sweets, flowers, shawls. I want nothing."
The ashram is rapidly emptying, as everyone has to get back home for work and school tomorrow. We can see tears being shed as devotees pull themselves away from their real home. Those remaining behind are excited at the prospect of some more time with Sri Sri in a small group.
Evening before departure, MontrealSun, 04/14/2013, Canada
In the early evening there were 100 devotees squeezed inside the kutir. He came down wearing a Panama hat. A little boy gave him a heart shaped card.
"You all come here for an evening snack," as he opens boxes of sweets. Someone says, "You are the sweetest."
A devotee offered to help open a box of chocolates. "I am good at opening a box. If you can open the mind you can open anything." (laughter)
He remembers everything. "You asked me in Patiala and Bangalore if you should go to Canada. I said yes I will meet you there too."
"Health conscious people raise your hands. And laddu conscious... (Laughter). These laddus are too big. Two people can have one." He sat patiently breaking each laddu into half pieces. "Snack bar is open".
"We will have satsang early. People are leaving, right? If food is ready we will have satsang at 6:30. Those who got Prasad, keep moving. Open the door."
The bus is leaving for Brampton, Toronto. Every time Sri Sri visits the Montreal ashram, the Brampton satsang group organizes a bus for those who want to come just for the weekend to see him. It's an eight hour ride one way.
There was an electrifying satsang with a small group of 200 people. Most were up dancing.
Later Sri Sri spent time with the team looking after the arrangements for the new meditation hall. They discussed everything – from flooring to the windows to maintenance.
All ashramites will spend two hours everyday in the garden. Each person will have a piece of land that they have to look after. And we will have competition. We have 200 acres. We don't need to buy from outside. We have 100 apple trees. Compost from food. We will make everything self-sufficient, in one year.
We must see that in our brain there is space. The space in our head is so big as the outer space. Meditation is just the first step to clear all the cobwebs: Shakti Kriya and Sudarshan Kriya clear the cobwebs, and bring in the new energy. It's so interesting!
When I go to Mongolia - we are very big there; 60 percent of the country has done Art of Living - they don't ask small questions like relationships etc. They ask where will you be born next lifetime. Everyone talks only of next life not this one. How to determine next life? What to do? All spiritual questions. They are not worried about mundane things. They bring a child for blessings and ask if this child will get enlightened. They think high, and it was all Vedic. They talk about Ganges and ask to bring water from Ganges. But its very cold like Canada. Even colder. Like you go up North.
More spirituality will come (in this year). We should just keep working. Just pull everyone towards meditation. Passion, Dispassion and Compassion. Passion with the breath in. Dispassion with the breath out and Compassion in between! (applause).
So plan everything. In 3 months I will be back!!! I travel so much. I think I should reduce. Halfway around the world…
We should have a room for kids and mothers downstairs. And for all those who want to behave like children (laughter), with a TV. This we can do. I can meet all teachers here on Skype. We should make use of technology. You can enjoy satsang from India.
I will meet ashramites before leaving in the morning.
Q: Rudram tomorrow?
Sri Sri: In your rooms (laughter)
Postcard from Canada,International Art of Living CentreThu, 04/11/2013, Quebec, Canada
(This post has been lovingly compiled by one of the organizers in Canada.)
Montreal ashram woke up to a crisp windy spring morning. The barren trees offered no resistance to the cold wind from the still frozen lake. However, the cold hasn't diminished anyone's smile as we all feel the warmth of Gurudev’s presence in the ashram after 11 long months!
Sri Sri spent the whole day in his kutir (room) working: making phone calls, giving group darshans, and of course, replying to emails. Sri Sri said with a smile, "I am drowning in emails.” Bharti (another organizer) said , "Guruji, you are not drowning, you are surfing." At one point the iPad battery died and Sri Sri got a break from an hours’ long stretch of work.
Sri Sri received a newspaper from the New York organizing team of the Non-Vio event with a large spread about the event.
The Art of Silence course started with over 400 participants from 21 countries. Silence began today. Preparations have been in full swing for the much anticipated Shakti Kriya. The excitement is palpable!
In the evening as the sun started to go down, Sri Sri went for a long walk on the ashram grounds. Since the snow is rapidly melting there is slush everywhere. On the walk, he told everyone, "Write your experiences. It will inspire other people.”
As he neared the beautiful chalet where Fred stays, Mark said, "Guruji, please visit the chalet, you have not been there." Sri Sri immediately turned and walked into the chalet with tens of devotees close on his heels. He made a stop at the Cafe that is selling hot fresh paranthas, samosas and chai. Irresistible in the cold!
Then he walked in to the kitchen and also posed for pictures with the hard-working kitchen seva team. The rest of walk he discussed the proposed landscaping plans for the ashram. He asked to create an open space to do yoga outdoors. He asked to preserve the stream and gardens, and to proceed without cutting any trees, and with minimal cutting and filling of land.
The knowledge in satsang was a crisp Q&A session, loaded with his characteristic wit and humor:
Q: How do I find my calling?
Sri Sri: Don't wait for an imaginary calling. Lets create a wave of happiness. Lets bring joy in people's lives. Pick a project.
Q. What is the vision for this year?
Sri Sri: Think how more and more people can meditate.
Bringing in the new yearWed, 04/10/2013, International Art of Living CentreQuebec, Canada
Sri Sri shared that today, April 10, is the New Year in some parts of India. It's the first time that Sri Sri is away from India on New Year's Day. This year is the Year of Victory, he added.
In the morning, as he stepped out, he was so happy to see the snow. He said, "You saved the snow for me."
He said to some devotees, "Are you ready for the Shakti Kriya? (the new technique which Sri Sri has started teaching since Jan. 2013.) It is amazing."
Sri Sri walked to the new Meditation Hall known as the Center for Peace and Inspiration. Signaling the near-completion of the meditation hall, the shimmering Kalashes (or triangular structures) on the golden colored roof stood testimony of the year-long hard work.
Sri Sri keenly inspected the intricately carved wooden pillars and doors sent from the Bangalore ashram.
Later a large audience meditated with Sri Sri to a rudram meditation which he played from his iPad.
In what was a truly rare departure of the crowds that throng Sri Sri’s side, he was spotted walking by himself on the wooded path, taking pictures of the meditation hall and the lake with his phone.
Later, a lady shared her son’s recovery from wheat allergy away a few months of taking Shakti Drops (an ayurvedic wellness liquid made by The Art of Living).
Encouraging people to take Shakti drops, Sri Sri shared some research findings which said that shakti drops were more effective than chemotherapy.
Offering solace to Argentinians affected by the floodsWed, 04/10/2013, Quebec, Canada
The Argentinian team recorded a message from Sri Sri for the Art of Living Radio jgdradio.com.ar. Today in Argentina, this radio featured an online meditation with 40,000 people as part of an initiative so that people that were flooded in Argentina could find peace.
Reaches Canada,International Art of Living Centre CanadaTue, 04/09/2013, Quebec, Canada
Sri Sri arrived at the International Art of Living Center in Quebec, Canada exactly at 1 am. He walked in beaming and was surprised to see everyone up that late.
He said, he was planning to sneak inside the kutir without anyone noticing! He had said that they would arrive at 1am and that's exactly the time they entered the ashram!
Sri Sri awarded by Morehouse College, Atlanta, USAWed, 04/03/2013, Georgia, United States
The Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel awarded Sri Sri for his humanitarian work and in recognition for being one of the leading voices of peace and non-violence.