Keynote message from Padma Vibhushan Karan Singh, MP
The key concept of the Vedanta is that there is an all pervasive divine consciousness, Brahman, which pervades the entire cosmos. It pervades all that has been, that is and that will be forever. TheUpanishads have beautiful definitions of the Brahman, although it is essentially beyond verbalization. The second concept is that all human beings encapsulate a spark of the divine that we call the
Atman, regardless of race, religion, sex, nationality or any other classification. And the third is the philosophy and methodology of joining the Atman and the Brahman, known as Yoga in its broadest sense. While there are hundreds of yogic practices, they fall broadly into four categories – Jnana Yoga, the way of Wisdom; Bhakti Yoga, the way of Devotion; Karma Yoga, the way of Dedicated Action; and Raj Yoga, the way of Psycho-spiritual practices.It is in this background that the presence of a teacher or guru assumes great significance. The guru is defined as one who removes the darkness and shows the path to the disciple, although the actualinner work has to be done by the disciple himself or herself. India has a rich heritage of gurus going right back to the great Upanishads, which are the high watermark not only of Hindu but of a world philosophy. In recent times, towering figures like Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramana Maharishi and Sri Aurobindo made a profound impact upon millions of people and continue to shine like beacon lights amidst the surrounding darkness.One of the most influential and respected gurus today is SriSri Ravi Shankar. Through his Art of Living Movement and his extensive writings, he has spread the message of yoga not only around India but in distant lands across the legendary seven seas. Constantly on the move himself, he has opened centers of the Art of Living on five continents and continues to be a source of inspiration and devotion for his followers.One of these is Kanchana Krishnan Ayyar, who in her book ‘The Present – a gift from the Divine’ has narrated in detail her interaction with her guru. In the process, she has thrown light on a
number of practical issues relating to happiness, positive and negative consciousness, as well as the yoga itself. I am sure this book will be of interest and value not only to devotees of SriSri Ravi Shankar but also to all those around the world who are sincerely involved in the spiritual quest.
J. Allan Danelek,
Author of “The Mystery of Reincarnation.”
As someone who has spent the last fifteen years on something of a voyage of spiritual discovery, I am always on the lookout for insights and perspectives that help me better define my own spiritual path. As such, when I was approached by Kanchana about giving my opinion of her latest book, The Present: A Gift from the Divine, I was hopeful I’d find another kindred spirit to share my journey with. Not surprisingly, I was not disappointed.
Kanchana is one of those rare writers who manages to write from the heart using a straight-on approach uncommon in books of this nature. Her life experiences and willingness to talk to literally hundreds of people and hear their often painful and always informative personal stories attests to her dedication to furthering the cause of spiritual enlightenment and global awakening so vital to people today and for the world of tomorrow. While little in her writings are necessarily ground breaking, her perspectives are told in a way that manages to be both enlightening and entertaining, and should serve those seeking their own path to spiritual enlightenment well. What I found especially appealing about The Present: A Gift from the Divine: she is obviously a woman who heralds from an eastern background, yet possesses a keen awareness and innate understanding of how the western mind works. This allows her to bring eastern concepts to those who didn’t have the opportunity to grow up steeped in those traditions, further bridging the ever shrinking gap between east and west. While many of her ideas have been explored in the writings of Eckhart Tolle, Neale Donald Walsch and Wayne Dyer-among others-her unique voice infuses those ideas with a new vibrancy that many who are looking for a way to make sense of their life and its many challenges will appreciate. All-in-all, I found The Present: A Gift from the Divine, to be an important book that fits well on any bookshelf dedicated to spiritual growth, and a work I am only too happy to endorse.
Best of luck to you, Kanchana, and may the present moment be your gift from the Divine.
Peer reviews for The Present: A gift from the Divine
Kanchana Ayyar, author of When the Lotus Blooms, a superb multi-layer novel about India, has taken time out from her fiction to write a spiritual biography of her Guru, Ravi Shankar. Sri Sri, as she affectionately calls him, teaches an ancient spiritual practice called Sudarshan Kriya. Ms. Ayyar has organized the book around her master’s teachings plus interviews with over 100 devotees like herself. At the core of Ms. Ayyar’s book dwells her sweetly sincere love for her teacher, which raises it from a mere biography to an act of simple yet supreme devotion: “Deep within me,” she says, “I accepted him as my guru.”
James Fairchild, Ph.D.
This book will be a link to connect for people looking for evidence of divinity.
The Present: A gift from the Divine is a triumph of devotion and dedication. Stories in this book have come from all around the world and will serve as an inspiration for generations of seekers yet to come.
I can envision someone reading this decades after it’s published, wondering how all the incidents are possible. What can I say? You had to be there. This one brief moment in this eternity of time, when someone extraordinary comes along and turns so many lives upside down.
My regards to Kanchanaji – It’s been a long journey for her, and I know for sure this book deserves a place in any sincere seeker’s bookshelf.
Marketing Manager, Sumeru Nigeria
How does one practice being in the ‘present moment’? Kanchana Krishnan reflects on the experiences of seekers and teachers on the of the Art of Living spirituality path. This book shares personal experiences from ordinary people and how the path of spirituality has enriched their lives and those around them. Kanchanaji has beautifully shown how individuals from different cultures, background and religious traditions can be united through spirituality without conflict. She has peppered throughout the book personal spiritual insights from ordinary individuals that are relevant equally to both a novice and an experienced seeker. And that is what this whole book is about, lessons and experiences that are accessible and practical to the ordinary individual seeking spiritual knowledge.
Faculty Art of Living Hong Kong
I have read the contents of book written by Ms. Kanchana Krishnan. I complement her for encasing Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s wisdom and knowledge in such a simple manner. She has interviewed lots of people and by narrating the experiences of many people around the world, she has touched the core of human existence i.e. self. Once you start reading, you just get hooked and want to know how this pure, profound and deep knowledge has touched lives of millions of people around the world. Kanchana has put her heart and soul in providing us this wonderful piece of love in a small, sweetened and flavored capsule which is so easy to ingest and leaves us totally mesmerized. I wish that more and more people take the opportunity to read and assimilate Guruji’s knowledge as shared by our dear Kanchana ji. Jai Guru Dev.
Dr. Alka Ahuja
Professor (Pharmaceutics) Oman Medical College
The few excerpts that I have read thus far make me want to read the rest. Wish you the very best in this exploration of the “idea of a Master” in our lives who acts as confidante, guide and a source of unconditional love, enthusiasm and wisdom. May the progress on the path continue.
Kanchana’s devotion to bring her story to everyone has been a journey in the making! I am grateful to have witnessed the birth and growth of her dedication to reach out and touch the lives of many!
Certified Leather Technician Plantation, FL