I remember during the last days of my tenure as Secretary for the Austin Steering Committee, we all were furiously working on a proposal to bring Sri Sri to town. At that time when we thought we almost had him coming, it got cancelled and then it changed again. In short it was very chaotic at the micro level but with all these chaos came the much needed visit of Sri Sri to Austin (almost a decade later).
Yes he did make it to Austin this time, he addressed a gathering ~1000 people; with his usual innocence and charm he won over many more hearts than we ever imagined. There was chaos at the registration desk, there were concerns of “we need to usher in 1000 people in 25 minutes and make them comfortable”, there weren’t enough water mugs for the guests and all such small things. But there was one faith in me that kept saying, “this event is for Sri Sri, an enlightened soul, people will come, they will have a good time and this event will be long remembered” and I can have my registration lead to vouch for it, everything from the registration and ushering went as smoothly as it possibly can. All were seated, comfortable and ready to listen. The live music by Austin’s own Vishaal Sapuram was divine and while the MC’s were doing their best to keep the people entertained and engaged, the sun shone through when Sri Sri walked on to the stage.
The meditation, the talk and the Q and A was addressed to an audience of close to ~1000 people yet the message felt as personal as though I am having an 1-on-1 conversation with him. He truly has the skill to bring spirituality down to a common man and make us feel we all are one with the bigger self. The lightening moment for me was when he said “make me a promise to look at everything from a bigger picture view”, at that moment I dropped all the complaints I had about the chaos, confusion, need-to-know information sharing and all negativity in general. It didn’t matter at all, it was all good and always good. The other best one was answer to an audience question “what is the sign of maturity to you?”, he said when all questions disappear that is sign of maturity.
The best part for us was when his flight developed mechanical issues and he had to stay an extra night in Austin. I did get to witness him in a very personal setting and in an even more personal space when I was awarded the opportunity to drive with him to his hotel room. Since I am in the mood, one major take away from the intimate car ride were his words “you can’t put your hand in the fire and expect it not to burn you for you are a good person”, I will leave it to your interpretation.