Monday, July 24, 2006

The angel in white.

A few years back, Isha Yoga Foundation conducted Sahaja Sthiti Yoga classes at our college. Finding that we would be taught breathing exercises, and being aware of the benefits of Pranayama, I enrolled for the course. It went on for two weeks, and I quite enjoyed it, especially the 15-minute Shoonya meditation, which I find very effective.

[For a time, I did the entire exercise cycle regularly, and was surprised by people asking me why I was glowing with health. But in spite of knowing that it is good for me, I don't do the exercises, nor the meditation, and I have no excuses for that.]

Anyway, back to the course. On the last day, it was arranged that we would visit the Isha Yoga Foundation at Coimbatore. I was persuaded to go with the promise that it is in a very picturesque setting. So off we went, in a bus from college.

Arriving early in the cold winter morning, I found that the place indeed is beautiful. It is in a kind of valley, with low, green hills all around. It has pristine green lawns and beautiful trees, and pretty buildings - in all, a very peaceful environment.

After a painful, but refreshing bath with freezing water, and a sumptuous breakfast, we were taken around the grounds by a couple of volunteers. It was cloudy, and there was a slight drizzle. Beautiful weather for a beautiful place.

As we roamed around, it started raining. We ran, enmasse, across the green lawns, towards the main building, for shelter. As I reached the building, I kind of lost my bearings, and wondered aloud, "This way or that?" A soft voice behind me said, "To your left". I turned to thank the source of the voice. And the picture I saw took my breath away.

In the background, emerald green hills, grey clouds, green lawns, with the rain coming down. And framed in this setting, stood a vision, swathed in spotless white. The pure white in stark contrast to the bright green lawns, freshly washed with rain.

She was pleasantly plump. Her round face was crowned with short black curly hair. She was smiling very sweetly. Her expression was one of serenity and joy all at once.

She must have thought I did not hear her, coz she repeated, "To your left", and she pointed with one finger. And she smiled again. "Thank you!" I said, and ran in to get shelter from the rain. I caught up with a friend R, who saw that I was looking bewildered, and raised her eyebrows questioningly. "I just saw an angel", I said, at the risk of sounding corny, but I meant it. R looked at me funnily, and we went in.

The angel also came in, and walked over to our group. She introduced herself as Tina, and said that she was our guide for the day. Another pleasant lady, Angela, joined her. They were resident volunteers at the foundation.

They took us around, and patiently answered all our questions. The day was good. We ate, played games, did the breathing exercises, meditated, went around the place, and relaxed.

I saw with amusement that I was not the only one upon whom Tina had had that extraordinary effect. R agreed with me about her being like an angel. As for the guys, they were following her around like puppies. ;)

When we got some time to sit down, we chatted with Tina. She was funny, friendly, enthusiastic, but more than anything, she seemed at ease with herself and the world. Always smiling that tranquil smile.

She said she was from Lebanon, and was staying at the Foundation for a while. We did not press for more information, nor did she say anything else.

After a round of photographs, we said goodbye and left. In retrospect, it might be that I followed the exercise regimen so strictly in the hope that I would also turn out as happy, calm and graceful as Tina. ;)

Tina, I have no idea where you are now, but I hope you are safe.


Maverick said...

I tried meditation too, but i end up either getting distracted with my frendz who constantly pull my legs or i sleep.however i might reconsider joining meditation classes if i get someone like tina ;-) middle east chicks r HOT !!!

Shruthi said...

Maverick: Tina wasn't a chick, nor was she hot. [She might have been, in a different setting] but here that sounds very disrespectful to her!

Sachin said...

Shruthi, I agree with your comment.

Btw, we had some sessions on transcendental (did I spell that correctly) meditation when we were at MBA school too. Was a great experience especially in that stressful competitive environment. During one of the sessions, I remember an incident in which one of my close friends actually dozed off while meditating with eyes closed. He became the laughing stock of the class.. :)

Also, I've always wondered, what profession are you in? You keep saying "pretend to work" in your posts and I can't fathom what your work might be!

And yes, thanks for the comments on my blog.

Shruthi said...

Sachin: Yeah I have heard a lot about transcendental meditation - but haven't had a chance to learn it.
Doesn't "pretend to work" say it all? :D I am a software engineer :(

travel plaza said...

Aah.. isn't that what we all strive for, that eternal peace and happiness. Tina sounds wonderful. With so much unrest in the world, we need more Tinas around us. I have been into yoga for sometime now, but have not tried any meditation technics. Maybe should give it a try. Am not a software engineer, but in my proffession, I need all the help I can get...what do I do you say?...I'm a mom:))
BTW, Shruti, Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind words:)Hope you'll visit again.

Hiren said...

I also do yoga regularly. Yoga also means dexterity in action and how you conduct yourself throughout the day is as important as hatha yoga exercies that one does in the morning.

Maverick said...

oo sorry :-(, i dont mean to offend or disrespect her.i was talking abt mid east chicks in general.

Shruthi said...

Travel Plaza: Ha ha :) Yeah a mom needs a lot of help indeed :)
Yeah we do need more people like that around us... people who can transfer their tranquility to us harried folks! :)
I do visit your blog often, its only that I don't find too much time to comment regularly :)

Hiren: Yeah... the benefits of yoga is there for all to see - but surprisingly few practice it! (me included) :(

Maverick: Oh yeah I am sure you did not mean any disrespect. :) It sounded that way, though ;) Anyway such misinterpretations do happen in the written medium... we have to be doubly careful, and watch what we write! :)

Inder said...

i practiced yoga long ago. those were the days when i was a bit flexible. i found yoga too time consuming. so i moved to tennis, cricket, jogging and gym. though i manage to stay healthy, i have lost flexibility :( anyway, i don't mind it too much.

i think happy people have this glow in their face, even if they don't practice yoga.

rk said...

When I read this bit, "A soft voice behind me said, "To your left". I turned to thank the source of the voice. And the picture I saw took my breath away."... I thought this is a ghost story!
Later I felt bad that it wasn't one. :(

Shruthi, just a request. can you please change the URL to my name in your blogroll into this:

thanks in advance

Shruthi said...

Inder: Yeah that's right - and you know - breathing exercises or Pranayama does that to you - puts a glow on your face!

RK: I have a ghost story hidden away somewhere - will put it up some time ;)
Ah I intend to change the link - but not able to get around to it - will do it asap.

PRIDERA said...

I do hope all these events across the globe to disturb world peace stop .... its mostly affecting the innocent common man.

anumita said...

Catching up after some time. Really enjoying your posts. All so well written.

Shruthi said...

Pridera: Yeah, that's true... and that's very sad, too :(

Anumita: Hey, thank you so much! :)

anandanubhava said...

There are too many forms of meditation...vipassana (breath), pranayama, 3rd eye, chanting, visualization (used by monks), kriya (ravishankar, paramhamsa yogananda), nada-anusandana (on sound), kundalini (chakra system), raja-yoga, meditation on the formless, the ones u mention & many more!
One goal, so many routes.. most ppl just end up experimenting for a while & drop off without realizing why they did it.. other than of course, feeling happy/ blissful/ healthy! Now a days its more towards achieving material success using meditation..nothin wrong in it, but that's not the be-all end-all :-)

A.J.Anto said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Shruthi ....
Tina jabr is in Delhi ... Read your words .. more accurately -thoughts.. will let her know.:-). You can write to in case you want to...

God speed and may abundance be yours,
An Ishaite

no1lives4ever said...

Though, I am late in responding because I am reading this late, I would like to say Mr. Maverick, please be aware of what you write.

isha tina said...

Dear Shruthi,

and all her friends here. someone sent me the link to this page and it took me a while to realize you are talking about me! but thanks. i feel humbled.

im now travelling between singapore, malaysia, lebanon, and africa, and australia and europe sometimes, teaching Inner Engineering programs.

still a full time volunteer, and the joy u saw at that time has grown 100 fold. i can barely contain it!

im writing this so that u all know that this is so close and so possible for each one of you...just needs some attention....the one taught in the Inner Engineering program is different and shorter! you could try it...

with love,

Naren said...

I just completed the Inner Engineering program and things have changed from then on. I just want to explore even more, gonna attend the Shoonya meditations next month and am very glad to see lots of positive views on that. thanks for a good blog too :)


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