The power of the rain

4 Jul 2011

It was billed as the biggest yoga camp ever. The place: Berlin, Germany, in the majestic Olympic stadium that can sit 70.000 people. The occasion: the 3O years celebrations of the Art of Living Foundation, led by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, one of India's 5 most influential people, according to Forbes.

For months volunteers of the Art of Living Foundation worked hard to produce a flawless show, involving hundreds of performers.

On D Day, everything was ready. But that was not counting the vagaries of the weather: that morning, it started to rain, hard and steady. 40.000 disciples of the Art of Living prayed silently to their Master so that the rain stopped before the performance. But another miracle happened.

First 50 Indian singers smiled though the rain while reciting ancient Sanskrit slokas. Then 500 Polish dancers hopped, skipped and bowed in the mud and puddles. The ancient science of yoga came indeed alive with hundreds of adepts going though asanas. The Art of Living performers seemed to transcend the rain: standing for a long time in flimsy clothing, in 13° centigrade, under sheets of rains, while waiting for their turn, they exploded in joy, grace, rhythm and sometimes power.

The sheer joy, energy, enthusiasm of not only the performers, but also of the nearly 40.000 spectators who had braved the rain, was something to watch. Nobody, even amongst the ministers, presidents and MP's who sat with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the dais, was indifferent.

And finally, that was what the miracle was about: not some cheap stunt of the rain stopping, by some power, or just a freak chance, which would have had many in religious ecstasy. But thousands of performers transcending adversity — which that day took the shape of unexpected cold and rain — through their devotion and love of their Master, and in the process, attaining heights of performance, which they might not have achieved in perfect conditions.

And in this union of their minds and bodies, not only were they forgetful of the rain, but different people from different countries, religions, cultures, some of them even hostile to each other, blended, naturally. And the message, which this gathering was to give, went through effortlessly: that the whole world can come together, while celebrating harmony in diversity. This is the miracle of love, this is the miracle of the rain. And even the sceptics rose as one man as the laser show and thousands of cheering spectators closed the first day of the Art of Living celebrations.