Francisco Moreno Ocampo, Venezuela
Having the privilege to attend the Navaratri celebrations at the ashram, I realized that it is like the technology for the soul. It is amazing to see the different ceremonies that take place and the particular effects they have on the environment, and on ourselves. I noticed the rain in the area where the celebrations took place, while 10 meters outside this area there was no rain! Some of the deepest experiences I had in my life were during Navaratri at the Bangalore Ashram. I look forward to attend again."
Neela Srinidhi, Japan
I have attended the Navaratri celebrations 4 times so far. Each time it has been an amazing experience and find it difficult to put it in words. I feel one has to JUST BE THERE and go through the 9 blissful days. It is a world of its own. One gets a holistic FOOD for the BODY (Delicious menu every day), FOOD for the MIND (knowledge talks + Mantra Chanting+ Pujas(prayers) ), and FOOD for the SOUL (Meditations + Master). What more can one ask for in this life?
I have also noticed that every time it has been getting better and better in terms of the organized way of handling the huge crowd. It is stunning to see how thousands of people receive food waiting in long lines within 15 minutes. The catering services provided for the international participants are amazing. The entire set up is tidy. The caring that one gets in spite of the masses is simply moving. Every time I have been taking the sankalpa for the Art Of Living Japan, offering prayers, and surrendering to my GURU. I really feel PROUD of my GURU while I watch HIM take the sankalpa for the whole existence and guiding each one … I pray and hope more and more people come and JUST BE THERE….to TASTE THIS DELICIOUS HOLISTIC FOOD.
Luis Bontempo, Portugal
Our dearest Guruji says that expectations reduce Joy. This is my first Navaratri and must say that many people have told me how great it is, and how much I would love it. So, it is hard not to have some kind of expectation in my mind.
I love the Poojas, chanting, and beautiful rituals. Each type of Pooja depending on the deity(s) being invoked can also give many different experiences and sensations.Tthe whole concept took me to experience the living world of Vedic traditions that we find in so many books but not experienced in west as yet.
So, the Navaratri celebrations, I believe, will be a condensed version of all this. For me, it will be a time and space where I go deeper into myself, a time for silence, prayer and connection with the Divinity. We keep on working for many days and years in our life to fulfill our desires that we believe can lead us to a happier and more joyful life. With time I found out that the only source of true and unchangeable happiness is Divine Love that can be found in meditation and contemplation of this whole existence.The changing nature of this world and the desires that got fulfilled give birth to new ones and that cycle is never ending. It is not possible to attain happiness just by fulfilling desires.
Although in my case, meditation is a regular practice, the Navaratri celebrations are meant for seeking more Divine Love. This is the time to offer myself to the Divine, and be in the warmth of His love and caring.
Maksim Danilkov, Lithuinia
How was it attending the Navaratri celebrations for the first time? I felt that this is something very close to me. Not something of a different tradition, not something unusual. Afterwards I felt rejuvenated; whatever was stagnant in my life, started to move on. What is it that makes you come back and attend it again and again? I love those days. Meditations, when you just sit and dissolve. Chanting of ancient mantras and the whole atmosphere of sacredness and celebration.
Sebastiaan van den Roovaart, Holland
Last year I had attended the Navaratri celebrations for the first time at the Art of Living international centre in Bangalore. The proper mood was set by taking part in an invigorating Art of Silence course (Advanced Meditation course), which calmed my mind as well as energized my body. Fascinating ceremonies accompanied by Sanskrit chanting left me feeling ligther and happier each day, during the nine days of Navaratri. After the festival was completed, I felt joyful and full of energy, and ready to jump back into society. This year, I look forward to enjoy the beautiful satsangs held each evening, and to enjoy again the intense and beautiful experience the Navaratri celebrationshave to offer.
Arie Bax, Netherlands
When I planned to come to India in early August this year for five months of seva, it never crossed my mind that the Navarati celebrations are waiting for me. I heard that the Navarati celebrations are beyond my comprehension. Twelve hundred international guests are expected to come and that requires proper preparations on a large scale. It is our job to make them feel utmost comfortable during their stay. Being able to witness such a unique experience is quite an honor.