Vibrant, ambitious, class topper - Kamlesh Barwal, born in an affluent business family was also a mischievous girl. “My friends and I were so intolerably naughty that we would be given our class attendance so long as we stayed out of the professor’s way.” Her ambition was to make it big in the world of business had her pursue Management Studies (MBA).
Destiny however had other plans! A serious ailment and medical treatment robbed her of enthusiasm for life. The dreams and aspirations now all seemed far away.
“Way back in 1998, my neurosurgeon, Dr. Rupak told my mother about this breathing technique called Sudarshan Kriya. Though he had himself not experienced it, he had read about it in many newspapers and magazines and was convinced that it would bring back the smile on my face.”
Her mother lost no time. “As it was important to get me out of my shell she found out about the Art of Living course in the town, which was fortunately happening in just a few days. It was only the 3rd or 4th one happening in my hometown, Shimla and the teachers were to come from Bangalore.” Soon enough, she found herself on the course along with most of her friends and cousins, all pushed by her mother.
With the Art of Living course life was no longer the same. “Having shuttled between the ICU and home for months, the experience had a healing effect on me almost immediately.”
“The Sudarshan kriya was magical. I felt so much at home, alive and happy again. All that my teacher spoke on the course seemed tailor made for me. I was responsible for my own joy and sorrow. Opposite values are complimentary; we may win; we may lose, things may not go our way yet the secret was to move on.”
Full of hope and enthusiasm, Kamlesh knew she had to start afresh. A new life, new horizons, new aspirations and a new set of family and friends awaited her.
Today Kamlesh Barwal is a widely traveled senior faculty with Art of Living. Over the past eleven years with the Art of Living Foundation, Kamlesh has taught extensively in India, Kazakhstan, the Middle East, China and Russia. Apart from teaching a wide range of programs such as Youth Empowerment Seminars (YES), YES+, Sahaj Samadhi Meditation, she specializes in training teachers in the Art of Living Yoga.
“New places, varying climates, strange surroundings or unfavorable situations, nothing deters me anymore. I can simply smile away all opposing forces.”
“After the Part One course I felt very empowered and for the first time in 12 months, I was off medicines and on a regular practice of Sudarshan Kriya. My doctor stared in disbelief at the MRI done a few months later and took the next Art of Living course with his wife. It’s been more than 12 years now, that I haven’t taken any medicine,” says Kamlesh smilingly, as she further expresses her gratitude to her doctor who gifted her a life with this incredible knowledge.
“I met some of the most beautiful people on the course and the divine compassionate smile of my teacher was therapeutic”. Sadhana, Seva, Satsang and Smile – that was once a mere practice for a healthy mind and body soon formed the essence of Kamlesh’s life.
The Part One course, she says has been instrumental in altering many a life-stream. The courses that she taught in some engineering colleges often had students come up and share their pains of exam pressure and ragging. From brinks of despair and suicide into the threshold of a joyful life, transformations along the way have been many, says Kamlesh.
I also had the opportunity to teach a course to my school principal. At the end of the course she came up to me and said, “You have made me more proud than any other student has,” reminiscences Kamlesh nostalgically.
Personally too, ever since I have done the Part One course I have followed a strict discipline to strengthen my body and enthuse my mind. I have transformed the very way I function. As a committed yoga practitioner, I have been able to maintain a certain body weight; I feel younger and am much more connected to myself now.
Her vision today, she says, is her Guru’s vision. “I want to spend the rest of my life making others happy and impart good physical and mental health to all.” She lives and breathes this vision every moment as she teaches the Art of Living courses and trains yoga practitioners to live life to the fullest.
Quoting Audrey Hepburn, “Happy women are the prettiest women,” she adds, “Spirituality is natural to women as we have an inborn desire and ability to appreciate the highest and the most beautiful. Spirituality helps woman to tap her inner power to strengthen, heal, and transform lives around her. Women are the centre of any change process, it is a woman who can bring about a positive change, a ‘heartful’ change in society. ”
She is closely associated with ‘Gift a Smile’, a project that focuses on the care and education of the girl child. “This program is operational in more than 117 schools in India. Children below poverty line are provided access to the basic needs of food, clothing and education. They are encouraged to not only dream but also live their dreams.”
To Kamlesh, the transition from a soft pampered girl ensconced in luxuries into a beacon of knowledge and source of strength to hundreds, is the Grace of her Master. “I am HIS living miracle” she says.
After becoming an Art of Living teacher, Guruji told me to start traveling in the rural interiors of Himachal Pradesh. He could feel the hidden fear and hesitation I had at that time. Then one day, He sat me down, looked at me and said, “From now on where ever you go on this earth, you will find a home better than yours and a family more loving than yours. That is my promise. You just focus on bringing good to others and you shall be completely taken care of. Just go out there and know so many people are waiting for you”.
In all her years as a traveling teacher she has met thousands of people from diverse cultures, lives, traditions and values with each adding to her extended family. “My Guru has kept his word and ensured that all doors remained open for me wherever I’ve been.”