Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The Way of Grace
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A small group of us were staying at a Buddhist monastery in Tokyo, an oasis of peace in a desert of concrete. The immaculate grounds had lovely gardens that songbirds inhabited. Our rooms were separated by thin paper walls and we slept Japanese style on floor mats. It was like a dream to be here with the Master in this lovely old monastery.
Soon a group came together who wanted to meet Punditji. I picked them up at the train station. As we walked through the tiny overcrowded streets I was bragging to them about Punditji, and how his talks would knock their socks off.
We brought them upstairs to meet Punditji, but he just sat very silently. I introduced everyone, trying to get the conversation rolling. Punditji just sat, smiling blissfully. I started sweating. Here I had brought these new people to hear a brilliant lecture and he didn’t say a word! Finally one person, then another, started crying. No one spoke. The room filled with intense grace. After awhile Punditji politely dismissed everyone for the evening.
On the way back to the train station I started to apologize, but they all said, “No, we’ve never experienced anything like that in our lives! Can we come back again tomorrow?” I was relieved that they had appreciated the silence and the grace surrounding Punditji. The next evening they returned — with friends — and this time Punditji gave a talk!
Our first trip to Japan seemed like a bright start for the Art of Living. On the morning we were to leave, Punditji as usual arose early to sit with the monks for their morning chanting. At the conclusion, the monks would customarily bow before a statue of Buddha. Yet on this particular morning they all turned to Punditji. The head monk said, “We bow to the Divine, and this morning we see the Divine Presence not only in the statue, but living before us in you.”
Silently they joined their palms and bowed in respect to Punditji.
— Scott Hague
After giving a beautiful talk on Buddha at a Kyoto temple, the Master leaned over into a prayerful repose. The peace and silence of the Buddha pervaded the atmosphere.
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