A triumph of spirit

7 Jul 2011

Deciding to skip a dinner invitation last Saturday night I settled down to watch the 30th year celebrations of the Art of Living that was being telecast live from Berlin.

As the programme began I stared at the TV screen, thinking: Are those water droplets on the camera? "Please God, let it not be rain," I pleaded in prayer. "We have been waiting for this wonderful event for months; how can it rain! "

The evening had begun with a beautiful Sanskrit rendition by Grammy award winner Chandrika Tandon and her team. I watched, spellbound, as they continued to perform smilingly, completely oblivious to the rain that was gaining momentum. And it looked so windy, too. The ensemble included Swiss Alpine horns with 2,000 Bulgarian dancers in flower-petal formation, looking beautiful from an aerial view. An aboriginal dance for mother earth, 2,000 guitarists making music, and 300 pianists under transparent canopies – all seemed to not mind the rain the least.

An international community of hundreds of yogis demonstrated Suryanamaskars and yogasanas to the chant of Sanskrit shlokas. Here I was, on a muggy day in Mumbai, glued to the TV while some 50,000 seekers and masters were enjoying themselves thoroughly despite the cold, wet weather in Berlin that day. "I wish you could take a flight and come here right now," sms-ed my friend Mala who was in the midst of it all. "I have no words to describe what it's like to be here," she added. "Aren't you freezing," I asked. "Who cares," she said, as she waited patiently for peace meditation to commence.

This is a triumph of spirit, a spirit that rain cannot dampen, that the cold cannot freeze – the same spirit that even bad times cannot touch. This is the spirit that rose and soared, revealing itself in its full glory that day. Gurudev (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) said in Berlin: "When we started planning this event, we decided that the theme song would be "rainbow colours" -- and the rains have come! We seem to have invited the rain gods," he said, smiling broadly.