The art of living or leaving?


By: Varun Rattan Singh

Dharamsala (April 13): Last week streets in Dharamsala were plastered with posters promoting a ‘satsang’ by an internationally known personality. The Guruji’s visit to Dharamsala was spread over three days, which culminated with the much-fancied ‘mahasatsang’. Countless policemen and officials put up welcome boards to highlight the event. With all the ‘bandobast’ done by the district administration, the event passed of peacefully as expected.

Companies like Credent Organics and Himachal Organics took this as an opportunity to promote their products; after all they were endorsing the congregation. For sure the Guruji has a huge following and with all the promotion many turned up at the ‘satsang’ to observe the gathering. Well, that was 25th of March and the event was over by evening. On 27th morning this author decided to go for an early morning stroll to the police ground, the venue for the ‘satsang’. To his utter dismay, the ground was littered with garbage, especially plastic and foam. Cricket fever being at its peak, the local kids still found some space to play their game in the litter, but the sight certainly put a question mark over our seriousness to reform ourselves as responsible citizens. We share some photographs of what was left behind after the ‘satsang’ was over.

The question here is who was responsible for this clean up? Why the ground was left littered by the organizers and not the way they had been given? Through we do not mean any disrespect to the revered religious leader, but the organizers and the sponsors of the extravaganza need to be questioned. No doubt, we are yet to perfect the art of living.

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  1. dear sir !
    Just read your article about the art of living satsang. As well written as it was , i could,nt help but notice your ignorance about certain facts that you seem to have gladly overlooked .
    Dear sir , when an event of this massive a scale happens , it requires a certain amount of preparation , time and lots of hardwork and that includes the time required for the cleaning too. I am a resident to palampur and happened to be in dharamsala around that time, i had gone to attend the satsang too and was in fact i was quite charmed by the satsang and decided to the next course.
    Like you sir , i too like to go for walks but d difference is you seem to prefer morning walks and i on the other hand have time for evening walks and i too happen to visit the same venue , same day ie 27th but 27th evening and saw a bunch of very enthusiastic people doing the cleaning up. As i planned on doing a course ,i chatted with a few of them to see if they had any information about the course. I found out they were art of living volunteers who were doing the cleaning.
    Sir , from your article it seems that you have some personal grudge against art of living foundation as u seem to have taken a dig about everything they did starting from posters, banners , satsang everything.
    If it takes days to set up the set and prepare the venue then it sure will take at least one or two days to dismantle and clean it.
    Therefore i request you sir to kindly get your facts right and then write because you saw the litter in the morning and i saw those people clean it in the evening so i dont think art of living anywhere preaches art of leaving 🙂

    • Dear Shivani . 
      This article does not show any grudges any society or people . 
      although they have not forgot to mention the disinterest of participants of art of living  to clean up the environmental waste while the have gone to clean there body and soul which can never be done . 

    • Oh, so you are talking about the patented courses that AOL has to offer. The ones that are so damn complicated that they cannot be taught by anyone but only by the angels at AOL and you are asked to take a vow from SHARING the details with anyone. I believe if AOL is right, my school teachers were very dumb that they encouraged me to share everything and knowledge is multiplied when shared.  

      I wish the old gurus and yogis could patent the Art of Yoga so that some selfish organisation could not use it to earn money.

      Do a normal yoga course instead, you will learn a lot.

      Guru Ji ki Jai. May he live a happy and luxuries life by making a fool of thousands. 

  2. Usually for all our programmes , we clean up the place after the event. If this is true. we respect your opinion and will inform the local aol chapter to look into this. in addition you may also find the local chapter of aol and inform them as well as they might not be aware of your concern. AOl is a decentralised organisation and all programmes are managed by local chapters who give in their time. so sometimes, such things might go unnoticed.
    Thank yoU!

  3. I agree with VRS, same was plight of famous Ridge here which is in fact known for zero tolerance about such littering but i could not present like above picture. Million dollar question is that who stop the organizers to place dustbins before organizing such mega event. Truth is truth and it could not be undermine how mighty we are and which label and tag be bear. The mistake on part of any could not brushed aside on the pretext of organization. we are happen to join such event to clear worldly litter from our mind by drawing our attention inward but how people litter their surrounding after leaving the venue reflect our real culture and seriousness what be preach for other.

  4. After reading your blog, I got in touch with the organisers in dharamshala.

    On the 26th, it took the whole day to bring down the stage and tent and load into trucks to be sent back. On 27th morning, a team of 10 volunteers led by Mr. G. L. Verma (+919418111700) of the Art of Living, Dharamshala Centre and 4 sweepers from MC cleaned the ground up and made it ready to be handed back for some police parade in the evening.
    BUT They forgot to take pictures 🙂
    And I am sure dear sir you forgot to walk in the evening and check on the ground again.

    I took art of living course some years back. I am not a regular. I am neither their volunteer or organiser, but deeply moved by the work this organisation is doing globally.

    I don’t think, this is an organisation that deserve to be pulled into debates like this.

    Please check your facts before writing. They will not leave the venues dirty. I remember some years back on my course, we were all made to clean up the entire venue.. This left a lasting impression as none of the seminars I had attended earlier encouraged participants to clean up their mess.

  5. Sir,
    I read your article and was shocked but not on the littering thing but on what you have written. Art of Living is the only NGO which achieving what it has aimed. Its recent project Meri Dilli meri Yamuna, in which thousands of volunteers cleaned up Yamuna . Guruji himself did the cleaning. I am not saying that these photos that you have put are baseless, but what I mean is it takes time for such a big event to be organized. And, organizing means proper finish up as well. I have few of my volunteers as friends in Dharamshala so I personally know people who had cleaned this mess up after the event. As far as arranging for dustbins is concerned, I am pretty sure that there were many, but what was lacked was the commom sense to use them by our own citizens and still it was the Art of Living volunteers who cleaned this mess up. You seem to be a very responsible citizen of this country and I expect that you would bring to light to your readers this very fact. Otherwise, I would consider your blog like many others as simply a site quoting incidents to increase the number of hits. I totally agree with the first comment, and would surely like to hear the full story, of it. Hoping to see that in the next article. Thank you

  6. Hi.Everone. I thing author has done a good job by bringing this thing to everyone notice. We being earthlings should have a sense of responsibility to keep our surroundings clean and protect our envoirment. In a social gathering also if everyone feels responsible for cleanliness , tries for minimum wastage and disposes the waste properly then few people doing the dirty job to clean the leftovers of thousands would be freed. Everyone being a bit thoughtful about his and others life, freedom and nature would be a good way of living.

  7. sir,
    I jst read ur article about art of living event in Dharmshala.I just want to tell u some facts which u didn’t notice.
    Actually the place was cleaned by the art of living volunteers themselves,though it was after a while . I hope u would have noticed that.I just want to say that we should understand that after such grand events finishing off takes time.Thank you

    • Reetu you say that volunteers themselves cleaned the venue but Kapil says that four sweepers from MC cleaned the ground up and made it ready to be handed back for some police parade in the evening. There appears clear controdiciton is’t it.

      • Dear Ramesh Thakur
        I hope you have the common sense that Art of Living can also delegate work… Don’t go on the literal meaning of the words dude…:)

  8. Mere a change of TItle of this news could have warded of this debate ..Clearly the author just  wanted to catch the eyeballs by creating a so called rhyme in the title “Living – Leaving”

    Although I am not a staunch follower of AOL , but this act of polluting is irrespective of the logic presented that the function was organised by AOL then only this happened.What  I mean to say , even if the dust bins were not there , if people…even a few …were socially responsible this could have been warded off.I guess these things might have happened on previous usage of this Ground for organizing any sort of religious functions  irrespective of the body they belonged to.

    Having said so, an event organiser’s responsibility to clear up things afterwards is of utmost importance and can not be neglected !!

  9. Don’t get angry by seeing the facts behind the mess…Pls notify what you do to others. Don’t just propogate & make this a business where you are petenting meditations, yoga & if given a chance AIR we breathe also.

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