Yuva - India

Wine to Divine – Story of a Spiritual Journey

I was never addicted to any substance or alcohol; I am sharing my experience about alcoholism and how youngsters get attracted to it during their college or professional life and how it gradually takes them to the path of destruction.

Unlike many teenagers who took to smoking and boozing during their school days, I somehow withheld myself and did not give in to the urge, may be strict parenting at home might have played its part, I was an idealist and wanted to try these once I earn. I didn’t have to wait for long as things followed one after another and I landed up a Job after completing my education.

It is usually considered ‘uncool’ among some sections of youngsters in Bengal (where I grew up), if you don’t Indulge in smoking or boozing, most of the teens associate these with machismo & show off, not very different from today’s insta teens. I got a job in Ranchi, Jharkhand and had some roommates who used to booze occasionally, and I tried it for fun. Soon after all barriers were broken, with a good job in hand, disposable income and away from home, coupled with company of friends in a small town, which had limited entertainment & unwinding options, -weekends provided a perfect reason to booze. After drowning a few pegs and all my worries seemed to have vanished, it seemed to be the perfect stress buster!

My experiments continued and I started trying other hard drinks like vodka. There was more ecstasy, the worries just got dissolved in the mug, r

relief from stress, tension, anxiety, boredom, what else can one ask for, the merriment continued as one gets a chance to drink in office parties, celebrations & farewells.

I relocated to Bangalore for better opportunities, which co-incidentally was known as -The pub city as they call it, the cool climate and glitzy pubs provided perfect ambience and south Indians provided perfect company for the same.

Gradually the side effects started showing up -Obesity,anger,frustration,laziness all kept increasing, however I could not attribute these side effects  to boozing ,rather felt that these could be part of work life, as everyone around had similar experiences and many commented that it’s only a start  and there’s lot more to come, I found there was certain pride about stress and there was always so many avenues to overcome them in these metros, there are pubs,bars,movies and malls .I started looking forward to weekends and long hours of lazing around and sleeping the whole day. This in my opinion was a perfect way to spend weekends, I never realised the harm it is causing me mentally and physically, never realising that time bomb was ticking.

One day all of a sudden after a meeting at the office. I fell down with slight pain in the chest, there was darkness and I lost consciousness, I found myself in a hospital after I opened my eyes.

The doctor on seeing me understood the problem and said that it is due to ‘Erratic Lifestyle’ and for the next 30 mins he took mins he gave me an earful, he enquired about my age and said “you shouldn’t be here at this age!!.People have forgotten how to live life, in olden days people used to wake up at Brahma kaal(early morning before sunrise) and perform their chores and they were active whole day and you guys have adopted western lifestyle, next time I don’t want you to be seen in this hospital even though as a doctor it is a financial loss for me

I asked him the solution for me, he suggested doing The Art of Living course, about which I had no idea, nevertheless I decided to take the doctor’s suggestion seriously and started enquiring about the course and found one course near to my house. Our logical brain always plays its part, the media has always demonised such organisations and Hindu spiritual leaders, so I had trust issues initially

As luck would have it, one of my friends who had already done the course also suggested me to go for it, so I signed up and on the given date I landed up at the centre where they made me do yoga, my bones cracked after years of neglect, then came something unique, we were told that we all will be learning the ‘Sudarshan kriya’ and we were told to close our eyes. I could hear a beautiful voice chanting Omit was very soothing and relaxing, we were guided to take breathe in & breathe out as per a rhythm which continued for close to 45 mins and then we were told to lie down, I would never have slept so deeply even in my childhood days, when I opened my eyes I was literally searching for my thoughts, anxiety and worries, my head seems to have been emptied. I thought this is much better than those pegs

The next two days of the class were equally blissful. I wondered that if by doing this process for a day one can get so much relief, why not continue it daily.

This was so wonderful I realised the power of breath and how it can change our life, gradually I started continuing the process regularly, I enrolled for Sri Sri yoga programs, learned to meditate and participated in advance programs like silence retreat, I started to feel the progress with each of the programs and slowly positive things started to happen with me and people around me also started recognising the change, it boosted my confidence.

I had once read about Gurudeva Sri Sri Ravishankar when I was in college, I never knew I am going to have such a strong connection with him.

I visited The Art of Living ashram a couple of times, I started getting answers to all my queries viz why certain things happen to certain people, the hidden potential in each one of us, the purpose of life and deeper meanings behind our rituals, I also learnt about the beauty of Ayurveda, benefits of organic food, importance of cows in our society.

Finally, when I met Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar all my misconception about Gurus vanished- he was simple, accessible to everyone and for the first time somebody asked me “Are you happy”? and I got bowled

It has been 10 years in this path, and it is getting better and better.

Truly changing the way, we breathe can change our life

Jai Gurudev

Visvesvaran

Visveswaran R

Columnist, Goa Chronicle

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