Saturday, January 8, 2011

Girish Swaminath AOL Experience!

Personal: I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. I am currently a freshman at Fordham University in New York City, and am majoring in Biological Sciences, while minoring in Business Administration and Chemistry. I have travelled to about fifteen countries, and love to explore and learn about the different cultures of the world. I constantly strive to take advantage of the numerous opportunities the world has to offer, so that the experiences I gain would help me develop into a well-rounded humanitarian capable of making a significant difference in society. My parents and older brother, Anoop, live in California, while I pursue my pre-medical studies.

AOL Course Experience: I was privileged to be introduced to the Art of Living Foundation at an early age by my brother, Anoop Swaminath, who experienced the blissfulness of the Sudarshan Kriya and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for the very first time in 2003 while taking the APEX course with the World Bank Institute in Washington DC. Anoop enjoyed the course to the extent that he suggested that my parents and I take the course and experience ourselves the positive energy gained by the practice of the Sudarshan Kriya. I was only an eighth-grader at the time, yet was not completely happy that I had to sit for a couple of hours and meditate, considering I was the oldest participant in my ART Excel course. I walked into the course unsure of what to expect, and began to enjoy the course as the days progressed. However, I was too young to understand the benefits and importance of regularly doing my Kriya, until the next summer, when I took the YES! course during Guru Poornima. My instructors were phenomenal; they conveyed each and every knowledge point without losing the essence of the knowledge, while explaining them so that high school students could comprehend and incorporate it for usage throughout our daily lives. Through examples from my instructors' personal lives as well as activities that kept us engaged while allowing us to understand the value of the knowledge offered by the course, I grew to appreciate the depth of the knowledge points that Guruji deemed important for teenagers to know as they develop into adults and future leaders of the world. My understanding of the benefits of the Sudarshan Kriya and the knowledge offered by the courses of the Art of Living Foundation has only grown with my second YES! course during my sophomore year of high school. Only afterwards did I practice the Sudarshan Kriya on a regular basis, thereby gathering more strength and energy to better perform my academic, familial, individual, and social obligations and responsibilities. Ever since I started college at Fordham University, I resolved to do my Kriya almost every single morning, which has helped me remain more calm and focused through long, intensive hours of studying for my tough courses in comparison to my peers. It has also built in me a sense of confidence in meeting new people and speaking and singing in public. My transition from high school to college, from a smaller city to an intimidatingly large metropolis, and from living with family to living independently has been smooth as a result of my almost daily practice of the Sudarshan Kriya.
Experience with Guruji: My first time meeting Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, or Guruji, was a complete blur. My parents told me that we were taking a family trip to Lake Tahoe during the summer. I wondered why we were not going during the winter to try skiing, as did most of my friends. I was eventually told that we were meeting an enlightened man, and still remained confused as to 1) what enlightenment was and 2) why seeing him was worth four-and-a-half hours of driving. When we arrived there, we sat through our first satsang, and had a chance to speak to Guruji. Even after speaking to him, I was simply too young to understand how powerful and noble of a man he really is.
I met Guruji numerous times after, during Guru Purnimas in California and one in Chicago, once at the reflection room of San Francisco International Airport, and a couple of times at the Bangalore Ashram in India. During and after each meeting with him, I felt within me a strong sense of completion and true happiness, which I had rarely felt throughout the course of my life, although I was fortunate enough to grow up in a loving, supportive family who provided me with basic necessities and sometimes luxuries. With each word Guruji uttered out of his mouth, there existed nothing but genuine joy and sincerity. Guruji assured me in his every word and playful action that everything would be alright in my life and my family's.

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