A Bravura called Bawa

“Many people think that they know everything. I knew that I know everything! That was my attitude before The Art of Living course. But once I did the Sudarshan Kriya, once I explored the alternative states of consciousness, I realized that it’s very far from the truth that I know everything. In fact, I realized that I hardly know anything and then, humility and gratitude came”

With a post-graduate in Mathematics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Khurshed Batliwala, or "Bawa" as he is fondly called, says that he decided to teach meditation over mathematics. "It was better to teach people meditation and make them happy rather teach mathematics and make them miserable,” he quips.One of the designers of the youth workshop, YES!+ (Youth Empowerment and Skills), he inspires young people the world over, empowering them to lead the lives they want to lead rather than getting stuck with the lives they have to lead!

Bawa plays multiple roles and as you move from sentence to sentence you will sail through them. You will come across beautiful stories that reflect him as a pianist, a great cook, a mathematician, a meditator, a teacher and a devotee.


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To Begin With, The Sudarshan Kriya!

Bawa says that like many, for him the kriya transformed his life.In his strong opinion, this technique is unique that awakens you. “When you do the kriya, you experience a state of consciousness, a kind of reality which is simply not available. It is not even perceivable through any other way, this understanding itself was the eye opener and when you undergo the course, you realize it easily,” he shares.

A Chef With A Master-Chef!

Khurshed Batliwala conducts interesting workshops such as the Mathemagic, the financial literacy workshop, an introductory workshop on western classical music appreciation. He has recently even put together a workshop to teach people how to cook and enjoy the experience!

So here comes a beautiful food story!

 “During the beginning days of the Ashram, when we came to do the Advance Courses, one meal Gurudev would cook for us with not many people around. At that time, only 100 people would be there, never more than that, so Gurudev would personally come and serve also. I remember, one day I was taking things from the kitchen to the dining hall for serving and Gurudev was cooking. Unlike now, people would give him his space and he could very easily walk in the Ashram without people falling all over him. Gurudev had made poha (a snack made of flattened rice), so he called me to taste it,” he recollects.

Gurudev: “How was it?”

Bawa: “Nice…”

(Bawa says that a poha tastes like poha, so he said it is just nice!)

Gurudev: “Oh! Wait!”

(He took a glass of water, did some chanting on it and poured it into the poha.)

Gurudev: “Now taste it.”

Bawa says that its taste completely changed. It tasted like nothing he ever had!

Bawa: “Guruji this is cheating..!”

At this, Gurudev just smiled at him. Bawa shared this precious moment with the same joy that would have been then!

A Grand Piano, Pianist, and the Master

The first time Bawa was traveling abroad with Gurudev in Switzerland and there was this beautiful grand piano outside the meditation hall. Bawa was tempted to play his favorite instrument. “Satsang was on in the halland at that time we didn’t have a piano in the Ashram. I really liked playing so I remember sitting at the piano and playing it softly. One very strict German teacher came and said don’t you have any sensitivity and you call yourself a teacher? He gave me a big lecture and I was feeling quite bad.

I was still sitting at the piano with this guy shouting at me and suddenly Gurudev came and said,“Oh! Bawa, you are sitting here, come on play something.” I played for almost twenty minutes as Gurudev just stood there and listened to me," he smiles! Ask Bawa what happened to the teacher? In his unique style with a chuckle he says, “The German guy? He just vanished!”

A Meditating Mathematician!

Bawa says that mathematics needs logic but once you are in to the Master’s level of Maths, there are certain problems especially in subjects like number theory, graph theory where you require tremendous amount of intuition to arrive at a particular conclusion.

The course had helped him shine better in the subject. “Logic can take you to a place where normal people can get but to get to the higher level of mathematics you really require solid combination of logic and intuition, which is rare. That is why you don’t find too many brilliant mathematicians. Mathematics requires tremendous intuition along with logic and that comes through meditation. Yes, logic comes through studying Mathematics,” he smiles.

Finally, Gurudev!

Most of us have some special experiences during the course. But Bawa’s is little different and unique. “None of those special effects happened with me. I just felt that Gurudev is a cool guy and seems to be really nice. Of course there is a lot of wisdom in Gurudev. I liked knowing him. All the special effects happened much later,” he states.

In the beginning of this inner journey, Bawa used to find it little difficult to say ‘Jai Gurudev!’, as for the outer world, he hailed from a fairly orthodox Parsi family. To this he says that Gurudev accommodated him as he was! “He accepted me as I am. So I would greet Him saying Good Morning, Afternoon, Good Evening and Gurudev would respond back saying the same thing!”

“Gurudev never imposed any dogma or anything on me other than Sudarshan Kriya. Even today, he gives everybody their space. He totally accepts people as they are and gives them that time to grow. Today, I am definitely not what I was twenty years ago, when I had just come to Gurudev! I don’t even remember now how I was,” he shares.

“He waited patiently until we had blossomed in to our full potential. Its one thing to take a rose and force its petals open, but it’s another thing to wait for it to blossom by itself. Gurudev does that,” his words striking a chord within.

My Vision..? Masters Vision!

Getting the Sudarshan Kriya tape was the ultimate achievement and there was nothing more Bawa wanted, “Anyway everything else used to just come! I was just very happy being a teacher and I did not want anything!” he slides to the last set of conversation.

His vision is same as Gurudev’s vision, be happy and make other’s happy!

A blend of intellect and innocence, mind-blowing wit yet unconditional warmth, Bawa continues to be a favorite among youth, the world over! You search for Khurshed Batliwala on the web and there will be no other! You look for a similar life journey and there will be no other!

If you like the story, please write to us at webteam.india@artofliving.org or just drop in your comments below!

Writer: Monica Patel, Graphics: Niladri Dutta