Berlin, 2. 6. 11. It was to be the biggest yoga camp ever. The place: Berlin, Germany, in the majestic Olympic stadium that can sit 70.000 people and which saw the fabulous Jesse Owens break 4 world records in a few hours, under the furious eyes of Adolf Hitler. The occasion: the 3O years celebrations of the Art of Living Foundation, led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, one of India’s 5 most influential people, according to Forbes magazine.
For months, volunteers of the Art of Living Foundation worked hard day and night, to produce a flawless show, involving hundreds of performers. The weather was perfect, warm and sunny all this while. On D Day, 2d July 2011, everything was ready.
But this was counting without the vagaries of Nature: that morning, the temperature dropped by 15° and it started to rain, hard and steady.
25.000 disciples of the Art of Living prayed silently to their Master so that the rain stopped before the performance. But a totally different miracle happened.
First 50 Indian singers smiled though the rain while reciting ancient Sanskrit Slokas. Then, 500 Polish dancers hopped, skipped and bowed in the water puddles. Next, 2000 Bulgarians had the stadium enthralled with a perfect display of folk dancing, which was like a challenge to the weather, a triumphant cry of joy. Later, the ancient Indian science of yoga came indeed alive with hundreds of adepts going harmoniously through asanas.
Mysteriously, all the Art of Living performers seemed oblivious of the weather: standing for a long time in flimsy clothing, by 13° centigrade, under sheets of rains, while quietly waiting for their turn.
The sheer joy, energy, enthusiasm, of not only the performers, but also of the nearly 40.000 spectators who had braved the rain, was something to behold. Nobody, even amongst the ministers, presidents and MP’s who sat with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the dais, could remain indifferent.
There is a also beauty in the rain: the water spraying-up from the drums under the beating of the sticks; drops of rains, like tears of joys, dripping from the face of ecstatic performers; sheets of water, in the glare of spotlights, descending in a slanted manner on dancers in formations…
There were moments of extreme grace: the tango dancers, who slipped with their high heels on the wet podium and spontaneously hopped on the grass, giving probably one of their most acrobatic and inspired performances; the solo prima donna of the Swan Lake, who pirouetted, jumped, bended and tiptoed, transcending the rain and the cold; the Argentinian singers, who electrified the stadium with their modern rendering of ancient Indian devotional hymns…
And finally, that was what the miracle was about: not a cheap stunt of the rain stopping, by some power, or just a freak chance, which would have had many in religious ecstasy. But thousands of performers transcending adversity -which that day took the shape of unexpected cold and rain – through their devotion, faith and love of their Master, and in the process, attaining heights of perfection, which they might not have achieved in ideal conditions.
And in this union of their minds and bodies, not only were they sublime, but different people from different countries, religions, cultures, some of them even hostile to each other, sang, danced and blended naturally. And the message which this gathering was to give, went through effortlessly: that the whole world can come together, while celebrating harmony in diversity.
This is the miracle of love, this is the miracle of the rain. And even the skeptics rose as one man, as the laser show and tens of thousands of cheering spectators ended the celebrations of the Art of Living Foundation, which for 30 years has been selflessly serving humanity and will do so in the future.