If we do a quick review of the past two decades, some of the dominant changes in our country are the huge increase of Engineering colleges, tremendous job opportunities by IT companies and other corporate firms. The best part is the healthy career growth of women is remarkable.
When a person steps out of the company with an offer letter, they are welcomed at the gate by agents from many corporate banks with offers on Personal Loan, Car Loan, Home Loan, and Credit Cards.
The middle-class people’s interest to improve their lifestyle is well utilized. Lack of financial knowledge by our people trapped them into heavy financial commitments. Borrowing money to spend lavish life is no more shame. Loans and EMIs became part of our life.
The EMIs slowly burdened as life made changes with marriage and kids. Also, the increased workload demanding long work hours and working on odd hours pressurized people. Lay-offs are common. We always lived with job insecurity.
Along with this, they struggle to place their children in top schools. The main criteria to select the school is the word ”international” in the school name and the school management should harass the parents with a lot of rules and demand heavy fees. Any school with these criteria is celebrated and considered the best school in the city. Many take tremendous pressure to prove their high life standards
These changes introduced a new disease called stress in our society and it has become a common word in every family. The stress created multiple business opportunities. Yoga and meditation centers increased all over the country. A lot of spiritual gurus with their wonderful marketing team attracted people. The huge demand poisoned the gurus from ethical meditational practice and converted them into efficient entrepreneurs.
The commercial meditation centers lost their purity as meditation is sold as a commodity along with their groceries, personal hygiene, and cosmetics etc. The centers providing free meditation also run international schools. Masters are glorified as God and their pictures replaced the religious God or Goddess in their home. The donation collection process is so disgusting at some centers, especially in foreign countries. Some are even connected with criminal activities and always suspicious.
In such environment, my search to attain inner peace was not successful with the knowledge gained through Free Webinars, traditional meditation center and the links on the first page of Google and YouTube
There is a saying: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
At last, the right time came.
I received confirmation for the 10 Days Vipassana Meditation course . The instructions were clear and impressive.
We are supposed to deposit mobiles, other electronic gadgets, reading/writing material, musical instruments, personal food items, tobacco, scented toiletries or perfumes, religious or spiritual objects, jewellery, or other unnecessary valuables with management during the course.
We need to abide by the Code of discipline during the course. All who attend a Vipassana course must conscientiously undertake the following five precepts for the duration of the course:
- to abstain from killing any being;
- to abstain from stealing;
- to abstain from all sexual misconduct;
- to abstain from telling lies;
- to abstain from all intoxicants.
It’s not allowed to wear shorts, sleeveless tops, and transparent, tight, or revealing clothes and 3/4th pants during the course. Ladies need to carry a dupatta or cotton stole.
Noble Silence to be observed for nine days. Noble Silence means silence of body, speech, and mind. We should not communicate with a fellow student, whether by gestures, sign language, written notes, etc.,
The Course Fees, Food, and Accommodation for the students for 10 days are at free of cost.
Ten days stay with no mobile access…It was difficult for my parents to accept even after multiple positive feedbacks.
We have seen a lot of unpleasant news about other commercial ashrams. It’s obvious for any parent to worry.
But it’s safe for women.
The day arrived. I reached the center in Alur village, Bangalore on Feb 3rd.
I submitted my mobile and other valuables to the safety locker. The room was clean, comfortable. The atmosphere was pleasant and silent. People were kind and spoke in a soft voice. We had a brief meeting with our Assistant teacher Ms. Arpana Madhav. It’s a blessing in my life to meet her. She was so kind and calm.
It was like Gurukul, followed in the olden days, where the students need to stay along with their teacher to learn.
Vipassana meditation is a technique invented in India by Siddhartha Gautama (well known as Gautama Buddha) about 2,500 years ago. S.N. Goenka, who was of Indian heritage born in Burma re-introduced this ancient meditation technique to the land of its origin and spread it throughout the world. But there is not even a single photo of Buddha or Goenkaji anywhere in the centre. After searching with a huge lens, found Goenkanji’s name on the noticeboard with no titles. He is always referred to as Principal teacher (Guruji). There is no glorification of a master.
The day started at 4.00 am and everyone gathered at the Dhamma hall (Meditation hall) sharply at 4.30 am. The course was led by Guruji’s voice instructions. It was difficult initially to sit continuously on the floor with legs folded. I loved the silence and sensed positive vibration everywhere. The schedule is well planned. Around 10.5 hours per day is planned for meditation. The instructions, the time allocated for meditation, and the support by assistant teachers helped to understand the technique correctly. I got a lot of opportunities to correct all my mistakes. I am grateful to Arpana mam for patiently answering all my queries. The breaks also helped to relax and continue meditation.
On the first day, at 7.00 pm, I saw Guruji on video discourse. It was recorded in 1991. I was impressed by his simple look. There is no special getup . No long hair or beard or special costume.He always represented himself as a Vipassana teacher. Vipassana is not bonded with any religion and it is universal. He is universal with no bond on religion, caste, or race. His love and compassion for all human beings are astonishing.
Few words about Vipassana from the book “The Discourse Summaries “, condensed by William Hart
In a Vipassana course, you will learn how to free the mind of the tensions and prejudices that disturb the flow of daily life. By doing so, one begins to discover how to live each moment peacefully, productively, and happily. At the same time, one starts progressing towards the highest goal to which mankind can aspire purity of mind, freedom from all suffering, full of entitlement. None of this can be attained just by thinking about it or wishing for it. For this reason, in a course, the emphasis is on actual practice
Vipassana meditation course shares the technique in its purified form with no commercial elements. The complete focus of the course is on meditation. On the tenth day, the donation counters were open. Though all the expenses are financed solely by voluntary donation , there was no force or any discussion or speech related to the donation.
People lack clarity on meditation. It’s assumed that it’s only for people following Hinduism or it’s believed for people with mental stress or physical ailments.Meditation is applicable for any human being as it deals with mind and body. But why would anyone want to meditate?
- With Vipassana we learn how to go inside our hearts and minds for real, to find out who we are and build on that truth.
- We learn how to step back from the world of stimulation outside to ground ourselves, to pull ourselves together — physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and re-connect ourselves with nature.
- We learn that peace is inside us and how to find it.
- We meditate to strengthen the mind. An athelete spends hours each day keeping the body fit. The exercises we practice in Vipassana make for a thorough mental work-out
- We heighten our powers of concentration
- We discover fresh resources of energy
- We become more available to other people and useful to society
- We learn a practical way of overcoming the storms and stress in our daily lives
- We stop creating pain for ourselves and off-loading our distress onto others.
- We learn how to develop and share selfless love and compassion
- We learn how to detoxify the mind ,becoming more positive ,less reactive,more understanding, less judgemental ,more giving and less self-centred
- We start to take control , to enrich our lives immeasurably , to change ourselves for the better
It’s too early for me to discuss the benefits I achieved but I am confident that I learned the technique correctly. My mind is calm. My craving and aversion has decreased. I am determined to follow this technique and achieve peace and liberation
May all beings be happy, be peaceful, be liberated
Official website of Dhamma
“The Discourse Summaries “, condensed by William Hart
Realising Change — Vipassana meditation in action by Vipassana Research institute
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