The Master protects us every moment !
As you know, November has been a rather sad and difficult month for Europe. 1st the Paris terror attacks and then the virtual shutdown of Brussels - the capital of Europe, for almost 5 days, suspecting an attack. I was in Europe during this period and the mood was really grim. There was sadness, anger, fear and also paranoi in some quarters.
Our annual conference of The World Forum for Ethics in Business was scheduled for the 20th of Nov in the European Parliament. That week was a roller coaster of experiences for us..
First, utter disbelief when we came to know that our conference may be totally cancelled, because the Parliament was cancelling all large gathering events due to security concerns.
Then, some hope, as we got a message from the Parliament that our event will be allowed but despair then, as they would allow only 100 participants ( we had close to 400 senior corporate leaders registered) !
Resolve dominated when we made a representation to the office of the President of European Parliament requesting for more people to be allowed.
Pride swelled up as we got a special permission for our event with the maximum limit of people permissible because of number of reasons perceived by us - Stature of Gurudev H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the international leadership community, mission of our organisation and sincerity of our purpose.
The conference itself was stellar, the speakers very inspiring and the delegates came feeling helpless/despondent/fearful and left hopeful/optimistic/ empowered. Gurudev's speech was profound, comforting and encouraging.
When we were in the second morning plenary panel of the conference at about 10.30 am, we got a news that the Rennaisance Hotel where we were all staying ( including Gurudev) & which was a 3 minute walk from the Parliament, was evacuated under the suspicion of possible car with explosives in the garage of the hotel !
All the team members who could not join us and were in the hotel, were moved to the Radisson Hotel 2 buildings away. In a few minutes after that we got the terrible news that the Radisson Hotel in Mali was attacked by terrorists.
All this was happening real time as were in the thick of our conference. Imagine the fear & turmoil that it can cause ! It was almost, like are you safe anywhere at all ?!
As soon as I got the news of the evacuation of our hotel, I wrote this on a peice of paper and passed it to Gurudev. He read the message and raised his palm in a comforting gesture as if to say - dont worry, we are all safe.
Eventually, everyone in our hotel was reinstated after couple of hours, our conference continued in the Parliament. Despite the volatile environment, we were in a positive, calm mood. Gurudev left that afternoon to return to India.
He called us many times in that day to check on our whereabouts, where all members of the team were, did everyone return back to the hotel, how the guests were doing etc.It was almost like he was tracking every move of ours.
What we did not know was this !!!
There was a young pundit from Bangalore who was traveling with Gurudev on this trip. Since so many guests could not be accomodated in the conference, we had thought that the pundit could stay back in the hotel. On the morning of the conference, Gurudev advised that he should also participate in the conference. We did not have a security entry pass for him and it was virtually impossible to get one for him at this last stage few minutes before the event. Miraculously, we did get the entry pass for him.
All through the morning, I noticed that this pundit was seated at the back of the hall alone seeming to be meditating and chanting. At that time in all the flurry of activity and conference busyness, I did not give this much attention.
This pundit was supposed to travel back with Gurudev to India on that friday, but could not because he did not have a visa for the transit country. Gurudev asked him to stay back in Belgium to do yagnas and homas for life and health.
This pundit stayed back and performed special yagnas for wellbeing, good health and long life in different cities in Belgium & Holland - these were on the exact same days that Brussels was shut down.
The day the pundit left (26/11) after completing the yagnas, the lockdown on Brussels was lifted! You can decide whether to connect these two events or not !
Over that weekend the pundit told me that on the day of the conference, Gurudev had advised him to sit in the hall of our conference in the European Parliament and chant a special mantra for protection of life- which he did for close to 3 hours that morning !
Its not then a miracle, that we were all safe, completed our mission and left the city just in time to honour the security guidelines of the Belgium Govt. When we woke up on saturday nov 21st, the city streets were filled with army tanks, police cars and streets which would otherwise be filled with thousands of weekend revelers. Gurudev spoke to us early morning ( he had just landed in Bhopal after 3 connecting flights from Brussels!) and advised us to leave Brussels. Our team and guests left just in time as metro, train, bus stations shut down and the city wore a unusually deserted forlon look. All of us safe and also the city safe.
Again and again and again, we have situations and experiences that show how the Divine cares for us, protects us and carries us through life like a delicate petal on its palms. The Master's infinite love, compassion and grace is our protective shell, securing us even when we cant fully comprehend it or understand it !!For me personally, it was yet another manifestation of how spiritual practices like meditation/ breathing techniques & knowledge has made me strong in body and mind- capable of staying calm and positive amidst the most turbulent times, embracing diversity and respecting humanity. If the world wakes up to this reality, we will be a more peaceful planet.
How grateful can one be !