Living to Serve!

“When I was in school, the environment in my house was quite spiritual. I used to read books about Swami Vivekananda and was quite fascinated to know about  his relationship with his Guru. I was inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s ideal of being useful to others. His quote, “Only those live who live for others, others are more dead than alive” had a lasting impact on my mind. I decided that my life will be connected to some service activity through some service organization. I also wanted to learn meditation and wanted to experience the presence of an Enlightened Master!”

Rashmin Pulekar is an internationally rated chess player who has traveled all across India and has also captained Mumbai University. He is now a teacher at The Art of Living Organization and is associated with service to society for over 15 years now. He has his set of anecdotes of his journey from serving the society, meeting a Master and living happily ever after!

“My brother Harshal did the course first. When he came home, he told me that there is a Guru, an enlightened master who has devised some kind of a powerful technique. That was the most attractive part for me. Reading many books, I had this fascination for enlightened masters. In 1997, at the age of 18, as a first year B.Com student, I did my Part I Course with Hansa Joshi. I did the course just as a formality, the point was to do some service and figure out who this enlightened master was,” Rashmin says!

First day of the course, when he stepped in the hall, he was convinced that this is it! “I had not come seeking any experience but I was sure that this is what I wanted. When the teacher asked what you expect from this course, I said I know that this course is going to be the turning point of my life! She was surprised to hear this on the first day!! Intuitively, I knew I wanted to do this and since then I have been very active with the Art of Living activities,” he shares!

A Huge Setback and Second Turning Point!

“I would practice my Sudarshan Kriya but my busy travelling schedule for chess tournaments did not allow me to take responsibility for any organising activities. But then whomever I would meet, I would talk about the Art of Living and enroll them,” he says. “This was the time I developed a knack for enrollments which later on translated into giving good introductory talks.

For a year or so life was pretty smooth until my mother was diagnosed with cancer. The following few months were spent mostly in hospitals. I was extremely attached to her and my whole life revolved around her. I just could not imagine life without my mother. But on the morning of 31st of december 1998 when she passed away life came to a standstill. I was inconsolable and slipped into a state of depression. Everything seemed meaningless and the evanescent nature of the world became obvious. I repeated the Part I course again with Hansa Joshi and when I did the Sudarshan Kriya it was the most painful yet the most blissful experience of life. I felt as if all the sorrow had left me and fresh energy had entered my life. I dived deeper into spirtuality and the huge setback of losing my mother had opened a bigger dimension in my life. I started feeling closer to Gurudev,” Rashmin shares.

Rashmin Pulekar Gets Trained to be A Teacher

During his school days, Rashmin would stammer a lot and had a very select group of friends. “Because of my stammering in my early childhood I had grown up into a shy and bit reserved kind of person. I had a lot of stage fear and had an inferiority complex, so I was very content with just volunteering and never had dreamt of becoming a teacher. This state of mind lasted for three to four years till I met Bawa (laughs)!!

“Once, Bawa had sent me to take a session, I went on stage, started speaking and what I experienced was completely different! I was amazed by the energy and the feel of being on the other side of the hall, speaking on a mic and seeing life transform,” he adds!

“Before and after TTC and till date I have learnt so much from Bawa. His vision, spontaniety, pace at which he works and last but not the least delivering with “no exit option”. All this training and inspiration from Bawa helped me to become effective as an organiser and a teacher.”

“Finally on 31st March 2003 I became an Art Excel teacher. Though I was very keen on teaching YES! course, but the moment I started teaching ART Excel course, it was amazing!! Being with so much innocence and so much energy! The kind of lightness and sense of humour that I developed was also majorly because of teaching the Art Excel Course. Being with children, I became more easy-going, natural,” he exclaims with the same innocence! Later on as years passed Rashmin became a Yes!, Yes!+ and a Part I teacher.

International Travel

How did the Norway trips come to his platter?

“In 2008, I was called in Ganga Kutir by Gurudev circa July-August and then he said that ok, you’re going to Norway. I said ok! Norway was a learning experience. It was completely a new place for me. I tell you, right from the food, the culture, working style to the weather everything was different and new to me.

Thanks to my mentors, Bawa and Dinesh Ghodke, I could adapt to the new environment, face the challenges and get the courses organized! In Norway, there were many dead-end situations where I had completely no idea of what to do next! But I had to keep doing something. I realized that when you’re sincere and give your hundred percent then the Guru’s grace intervenes and makes things work ultimately,” Rashmin halts with an innocent ART Excel kid-like smile!

“Now we have a few YES! + Teachers in Norway, people are willing to spread the knowledge and it’s good! For the next three years until 2011, I made four trips to Norway teaching around 25 courses,” he beams.

Gurudev: From Analysing to Executing!

“Gurudev is so simple and so ordinary, yet why are so many people (including myself) going crazy over him? I wanted to desperatley understand this phenomenon called Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar”, exclaims Rashmin!

It was only on the last day of his first Advance Course that his intellect settled once and for all! Rashmin said, “I was seated at the back of the old amphitheatre preocupied with thoughts trying to understand who Gurudev really was. I was very much in love with him, but still I wanted to understand him.

The very next moment Gurudev looked at me. He had a gentle smile on his face and then he looked at everyone and said, “You will never be able to understand me!”

I was completely taken aback! He is reading my mind! 

He, it seems, put a full stop to the over analysing mind. Then he spoke in Hindi, “Mujhe samajhne ki koshish mat karo, mujhe kabhi samajh nahi paoge. Apne aap ko samajh lo, usi waqt mujhe samajh loge!” (Do not try to understand me; you will never be able to understand me. Understand yourself and that moment you will understand me!)

...and He Lives Happily Ever After!

Rashmin continues, “Once I was sitting with Gurudev in his Kutir and I observed that Gurudev was doing his meetings, attending phone-calls and was busy with so many other things! I realized that I was doing nothing except being there like a wall paper, so I thought that doing his work and listening to what he says is more important than just being with Him physically." He adds, "When you align with his vision all your personal problems are taken care off in a way you cant even imagine. 

When I look back and see I feel grateful to whatever I have asked for and haven’t got, you know why? Because I always got something better," he exclaims!

Last year Rashmin became a DSN teacher and is busy spreading Gurudev’s knowledge traveling extensively and teaching courses week after week. “This is exactly how I wanted my Life to be,” he concludes wishing everyone "to BE HAPPY. It’s a blessing as well as an order! Jai Gurudev!"

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Writer: Monica Patel