Monday, August 23, 2010

Poonam C. Tandon's Experience

My Background:

I am an Indian girl made in America. Born in Queens, NY and raised in Los Angeles, CA, I would say that my life was filled with abundance growing up. I've had a good life- incredibly loving and supportive parents, sisters who took care of me as if I was their own child, relatives and cousins who were an extension of my nuclear family and deep friendships. At university, though I had a mind for science, as well as a deep interest in learning languages, I chose to pursue my artistic side with a degree in Sculpture. I later worked as Art Director and Project Manager in the world of digital media for some years. Currently I devote my full-time to service, teaching courses on meditation and empowerment and traveling around the country advocating for human values with Art of Living. My parents, three sisters & their husbands and my lovely niece & nephews live in Los Angeles. I live in New York City with Manish, my husband & life partner.

My Art of Living Experience:

Though my life has been seemingly picture perfect, as an adolescent and young adult, I found it to be painful. I didn't understand the purpose of it all and I wanted very deeply to know what I was here to do. I wasn't satisfied with the status quo and felt that there was more to life than eating, sleeping and working. I felt as though something deep inside was missing and I didn't even know what it was that was missing. This burning in me led me to seek high and low for answers and for meaning.

During my college years, I travelled, stopped going to school, restarted going to school, changed universities and most of all, I read and read countless books on life and spirituality. This process provided me doses of comfort for a short while, but when I was 24, my desperation to know life's purpose intensified even more, as the written word was no longer able to satisfy my thirst; I still felt that gnawing emptiness of something missing. I needed something real, a first-hand experience. I was looking for direction.

It was at that point that I literally stumbled upon Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Art of Living, almost like an answer to a prayer. I took my first Art of Living Course in Lake Tahoe, California during the summer of 1997 at a one-week retreat with Sri Sri.

I was amongst 700-800 other people participating in the programs and was in a state of intrigue and gratitude the whole week. I had been meditating since the age of 9 but the experience I had in Sudarshan Kriya (the flagship technique taught on the Art of Living Course) was like nothing I had ever experienced. I broke through my extreme shyness for the very first time during a special process on the course, which was liberating for me. Each process on the program was masterfully crafted. I remember thinking how artfully the wisdom from the ancient Vedas was woven into a teaching style that was so completely accessible, modern and relevant to here and now. I was also moved when I noticed that I wasn't the only one having such profound experiences, but that my 800 fellow participants were going through similar life-changing experiences at the same time. Since then, in the past thirteen years I have seen countless lives transformed at so many levels, including my very own.

To say that Art of Living has touched my life is an understatement. And at the heart of Art of Living is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Sri Sri is part and parcel to Art of Living and I must say, he is a true inspiration.

In watching Sri Sri in action over the years, a deep faith in the goodness of humanity and in the power of love has been kindled in me. I have observed that there is a person on this planet who sincerely cares for each and every person that he encounters regardless of where they came from or what they do; a person who takes full personal responsibility to aid the welfare of people from any and all nations; and a person who genuinely accepts people as they are and shines light on their potential rather than their flaws.

Though he travels from anywhere around 150 to 180 cities year after year and meets up to hundreds of thousands of people daily, I am fascinated by the fact that he continues to remember the people that he meets. He actually feels that the world is his family and that everyone is part of him so much that even in hustle and bustle of his daily schedule, the simple act of greeting an individual in a crowd will warrant his full undivided attention.

To know someone who is selfless and filled with wisdom and at the same time playful like a child and down-to-earth serves as a daily reminder to me that life's highest ideals of love, compassion, kindness and caring for others is actually possible right here in the flesh. I am inspired by Sri Sri to live those ideals myself and to believe in my own unlimited potential. I now know through my own experience that I am part of something far greater than myself and that I am not alone.


  1. Hi Poonam

    You were not given chance to respond to my previous comment as it has been removed by administrator of this blog. So I will give another chance to you NOW.

    If you are living at Bangalore Ashram there are two possibilities of meeting your living, boarding and lodging expenses.

    1. You (including your family and friends) are meeting all the expenses or
    2. Ashram is meeting all your expenses.

    What is your situation?

    P.S. What is the harm in answering this question that blog administrator has removed the previous comment. THINK.

  2. @Sir - Poonam lives and teach in NYC in the US.

    There are over five hundred residents in the Bangalore ashram working in different departments.

    Please contact our Ashram Office below for details:
    Ashram Administration Office

    You are welcome to visit the ashram anytime.

    Best regards


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