Khurshed Batliwala and Dinesh Ghodke

It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don’t say it

– Sam Levenson

Bawa

Early Years

I grew up in a typical parsi family. You mean you grew up in Paris and that’s a typo. No. I meant Parsi. Parsi? I hear you ask. What’s that? Well… we parsis are an endangered species. There are more tigers than parsis on the planet now.

Parsis follow the Zoroastrian faith and base their life on three golden principles – Good Thoughts, good words and good deeds. They are generally warm, funny people. Easy to get along with. They work hard, play even harder and mostly have a chilled out relaxed attitude towards life. They enjoy the good life – music, theatre, good food and great company. They are sticklers for tradition – Their idea of success is – Study, get a job, get married, have kids, have grandkids, pass on peacefully.

I grew up imbibing all this, in the middle of the biggest parsi population on Earth – yet somehow feeling disconnected. Like I was born for something quite different from the glorious middle-class dream that I was being trained to look forward to. I wanted to make a real difference. To change the world.

I just somehow knew something big was just around the corner.

I always knew I was going to be part of something wonderful… I guess everyone has that dream as a kid. I got lucky enough to live it.

It didn’t start off too well though.

The Fire Temple, Parsi Colony, Dadar

Main Building, IIT Bombay

IIT Bombay and Beyond

After a fairly humdrum existence, at the age of around 22, I got into a Master’s program at the prestigious IIT Bombay. I found the pressure of studying at IIT extreme. I took to boozing, bunking classes and becoming a sort of a rebel. Of course, I thought I was being cool. Actually, I was being stupid. My grades had plummeted. My health had gone for a toss. My social life was a mess.

It was then, when I felt life couldn’t become any worse that I chanced upon an Art of Living course. What I learned there blew my mind. In just a few days, everything I had secretly believed in became a reality. There were transcendental states of consciousness. Being in that altered state of mind was magical. Anyone could do it through the profound and powerful Sudarshan Kriya breathing technique. It was deeply relaxing and pleasurable. My stress melted away.

Overnight, I gave up on boozing, moved away from the toxic people I called my “friends”, and got into the business of changing the world. Starting with me. I saw that I could easily handle challenges. My health improved. My grades were better. I excelled at music and dramatics. I became really popular. I had changed my reality!

 I completed my degree from IITB, and while all my batch mates and friends got a job or got into an MBA or went abroad for further studies, I chose to become a full-time teacher with the Art of Living Foundation.

Everyone called me crazy. I had an M.Sc in Maths from IITB and was choosing to live out of a suitcase and teach people how to breathe?

Madness!

For me, it felt like happiness.

I was teaching people meditation. They were having amazing experiences. They felt better than they ever remembered. All this was happening through me.

Meeting Gurudev

I had the great good fortune of being with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in those formative years. Travelling with Him. Learning directly from Him. Witnessing the astounding transformation in people as they spent just a few minutes with Him. Seeing Him weave miracles in their lives.

Until I was 22, our family went on vacations to Matheran, Murud Jhanjeera, Navsari, Udwada, Khandala and Lonavala. All were not more than 4 hours by a train away from Bombay. We had just one fantastic holiday to Kodaikanal – my first plane ride.

After I became a teacher for the Art of Living, in one year I travelled more than I had for 22 years. I enjoyed going to new places, meeting interesting people, having all sorts of exotic food and seeing all the sights there were to see.

I was part of many of the initiatives for the Art of Living. I co-created the YES!+ course with Dinesh. A program to bring the Art of Living brand of Spirituality to young people. The program was a runaway success – a global sensation. With Dinesh, I must have personally taught hundreds of thousands of young people to “live the life they wanted to live, rather than the life they had to”. We trained hundreds of teachers and courses are being taught in 150+ countries over the world.

Dinesh had come to learn meditation and yoga at one of my courses. Most students leave once the course ends. I am blessed that he didn’t. We became a team and started teaching together. As we matured in the organisation, we handled many roles and responsibilities together.

We organised mega events for Gurudev, tree plantation drives and environment clean-up initiatives. We taught meditation in prisons, did a huge protest march against corruption and terrorism, and took up women empowerment initiatives.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

I have been invited to various TEDx forums and have delivered more than 10 TEDx talks all over India, on topics like handling stress, leadership, environment, ancient India and learning.

 I address private gatherings of industrialists, promotors, Chairmen and CEOs in Mumbai and Delhi, on a regular basis – on a variety of topics such as mind, meditation, sleep, healing, happiness, leadership and others.

 Inspired by Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji and drawing on my own knowledge and experience, my talks and workshops are a smooth blend of science, technology and ancient Indian wisdom.

Enter Gowri, Abhi and Mayur

Gowrishankar, Abhiram and Mayur walked into my life and introduced me to the world of creating videos. Our YouTube channel bndtv has hundreds of videos we created together. In 2019, our channel crossed 100,000 subscribers and we were awarded the sliver plaque from YouTube.

As our videos gained popularity, I started getting invitations to speak at various national and international forums. I have spoken at Maersk, Hinduja Group, Barclays, American Express, Citibank, Hewlett Packard, Godrej, Tata, Bosch, ICICI Bank, Times of India, Bombay Stock Exchange, Toyota, TVS, HCL, all the IIMs and IITs, XLRI – Jamshedpur, BITS Pilani in Goa and Hyderabad, AIIMS Delhi and Rishikesh among many others.

Alternative Healing 

For 3 years, I served as Dean of Student Affairs at Art of Living’s then fledgling Sri Sri University. Other than teaching, our team did almost everything else – admissions, student welfare, placements – you name it, we did it.

More than 15 years ago, a bad back injury had made me almost immobile and in terrible pain. Though surgery and complete bed rest for a few months had been recommended, I chose to go the alternative healing way. Dr. Kapil Mathur, an outstanding osteopath and a dear friend from London, worked on me and got me on my feet within a week. This started my foray into alternative healing modalities.

I extensively studied Craniosacral Therapy, Varmalogy, Meru Chikitsa, Meridians and the Bach Flower Remedies. I head the Sri Sri Centre of Healing Arts and have co-created India’s first Craniosacral Therapy Practitioner Training Program. I am a qualified Bach Flower Therapist and a certified Level 1 teacher for the Bach Centre UK.

 

Alternative Healing

For 3 years, I served as Dean of Student Affairs at Art of Living’s then fledgling Sri Sri University. Other than teaching, our team did almost everything else – admissions, student welfare, placements – you name it, we did it.

More than 15 years ago, a bad back injury had made me almost immobile and in terrible pain. Though surgery and complete bed rest for a few months had been recommended, I chose to go the alternative healing way. Dr. Kapil Mathur, an outstanding osteopath and a dear friend from London, worked on me and got me on my feet within a week. This started my foray into alternative healing modalities.

I extensively studied Craniosacral Therapy, Varmalogy, Meru Chikitsa, Meridians and the Bach Flower Remedies. I head the Sri Sri Centre of Healing Arts and have co-created India’s first Craniosacral Therapy Practitioner Training Program. I am a qualified Bach Flower Therapist and a certified Level 1 teacher for the Bach Centre UK.

 

Changing the World

I co-authored two books – Ready Study Go! – Smart ways to Learn published by HarperCollins and Happiness Express – A Journey to Everyday Well-being published by Amazon Westland. Both books were well received and have sold more than 100,000 copies.

My third book Sleep your way to Success is slated to be released sometime in 2021. I hope to write many more books…

Over the years, I have been a mentor and coach to hundreds of people. I choose a select few people to coach each year. People who want clarity in their life vision, a strategy of how to achieve it, and an optimised lifestyle find it in my coaching program.

I am 51 years old as I write this. I am living that dream that I had of changing the world. Just that I am not doing it all by myself.

I am doing it by helping someone like you who wants to change your world too.

Love from our Students

I have known Bawa & Dinesh for over two decades and they never cease to amaze me with their creativity and innovation.

Courses with them are a treat. Their books are brilliant. Spending time with them is sheer pleasure. 

V S S Mani

Founder, Just Dial

Bawa & Dinesh are like good chocolate. Firm and sweet. They are practical and real, at the same time sensitive and mystical. 

Thier flavour is utterly unique and I have to say that I enjoy courses with them more than any other teacher I know.

Shivani Dureja

Senior Finance Manager, Cadbury

I was lucky enough to spend some time with Bawa & Dinesh while I was in India. 

I love how Bawa & Dinesh create the space of love, acceptance and learning. Every day with them you love it more than yesterday. But not as much as tomorrow.

Anya Shiryaeva

Fitness Champion & Translator

Dinesh

Milk

I was born at my mom’s home in a small village near Solapur, India.

As a child, my brother, sister and me would play in the fields, travel by bullock cart, eat the fruits off the trees, jump into wells, play with the cows, bulls, goats, chickens, dogs and cats – it was a quiet idyllic world. I remember drinking a lot of milk.

My dad was in the army and fought for our country in two wars before moving on to a government job.

My mother taught me how to study, my father taught me how to play. My dad’s transferable job in the milk sector made our family move all over Maharashtra every 3 to 4 years. This meant I had a new set of friends and new things to get used to every few years, training me to be adaptable. The constant was of course milk.

Though by nature I was a shy and reserved person, I instinctively knew how to be friends with everyone. People felt at ease in my company. I enjoyed caring for and helping everyone.

Summer vacations would see all of us back in our little villages, living that beautiful country life. Waking up at the crack of dawn, whiling time away a la Malgudi days and sleeping deeply and soundly each night. And of course, we drank milk.

The relaxing summers taught me to respect nature. A deep sense of gratitude for Mother Earth blossomed within me.

VIllage Life

Gateway of India, Mumbai

Bombay and Beyond

Bombay

Before my father retired, his job took him to Mumbai city. I loved the city too. Its hustle and bustle and the magnificence of its architecture. Even some of the more squalid parts seemed nice because of the people. Mumbaikars are such warm, generous folks.

We stayed in Vikhroli and I went to school there. I set my eyes on getting admission to the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and study engineering there. My brother was already a student at IITB. 

The IIT JEE (Joint Entrance Exam) is perhaps the country’s toughest exam to clear. A few thousand from hundreds of thousands succeed. The first time around I failed. I took a drop for a year and worked hard and managed to gain entry to IITB.

 During that year, I had enough me-time to reconnect with my childhood dream to serve the people of my country and the world. The direction and inspiration for this eventually came in the form of the Art of Living program I did while I was at IITB. I was blown away by the wisdom that my teacher Bawa presented, and the breathing and meditation practice of the Sudarshan Kriya.

Art of Living taught me that Spirituality can be fun. And Practical.

It opened up a new secret world inside of me. It helped ease the extreme academic stress of IITB. It dramatically enhanced my strength and stamina – you should have watched me play football. My intrinsic shyness got blown away and I could express myself better than I ever had before.

 I was a teacher of the Art of Living before I had even graduated from IITB.

5 Continents

After graduation, I worked with Infosys as a software engineer for a couple of years. I taught Art of Living programs every other week.

The job, however, bored me. I knew I was supposed to be much more than a cog in the wheel of some corporate giant. I quit my job and joined Art of Living full-time. I could now move towards my childhood dream of making the world a better and happier place.

For 25 years I had not traveled out of Maharashtra, but in 5 years, I travelled across 5 continents.

I had many memorable assignments – the first was Kenya. I had programs in the United Nations HQ in Nairobi, and soon with the poorest of the poor in a remote village called Kissi. They lived in abject poverty. I lived with them and taught them to meditate. They were warm people, wanting to share from what little they had. A few kids were born during my time there – they were all named “Denish”. From there, I went to the Kangemi slums and worked with the rowdies there. Soon, destructive anti-social tendencies transformed towards making constructive communities.

In Australia, New Zealand and Fiji I taught many courses of the Art of Living and organized some big events for Gurudev. I taught Yoga and meditation to the native Maori and Aboriginal communities as well.

Art of Living stands for rejoicing in our similarities and celebrating our differences. Of broadening our vision and deepening our roots.

This philosophy, along with the robust techniques to deal with the mind ensured that I was welcomed all over the world.

YES!+ in Mumbai

Super Power

Along with Bawa, our team of teachers and volunteers grew as we conducted Art of Living programs in colleges, villages, corporates, government offices and prisons.

Bawa and I accompanied Gurudev for the millennium peace summit in New York and post the Virginia Tech shootings, Gurudev had sent me to many US universities across various states to tackle the growing aggression, depression, loneliness and stress that had invaded academic institutions globally.

Bawa and I created The YES!+ workshop to effectively tackle most youth related issues using the methodology of Indian Spirituality. It caught on rapidly, and with a dedicated, driven team, we were able to take YES!+ to college campuses in 100+ countries. 

I was the youngest Art of Living teacher, yet I had the conviction that I had a super power. The power to help people be free of stress. When stress evaporates, one can take better decisions and automatically engage in ethical actions. This change happens organically. The flower takes its own time to bloom. But bloom it eventually does.

Transfomation

My village background had instilled into me a strong faith in alternative healing modalities. Our ashram in Bangalore sees thousands of visitors every year and some of them are accomplished alternative healers. I took treatments from them and learned from them. I formally learned Craniosacral Therapy (CST) and am a certified CST practitioner.

I studied Marma, Meru Chikitsa and many deep body work techniques.

Bawa and I wrote two books with a third on the way in 2021. Like Bawa, I have been a mentor and coach to many people over the years. My coaching program is all about creating a lasting change in people’s lives to get them to the goals they always wanted to achieve.

I like writing poetry, love working out, exercising and going for long walks in nature.

I am interested in what India as a civilisation has to offer to the rest of the world in terms of yoga, meditation, spiritual wisdom and peace.

The world is full of people. And all world issues are people issues. People issues happen when they are stressed, frustrated, tired and angry. They cannot think straight and end up taking bad decisions that eventually affect all of us.

I know that changing the world happens by transforming the individual. Starting with you and me. Join me!

 While not living out of a suitcase, Bawa and I are lucky to stay at the Art of Living Ashram in Bangalore, a green haven with sparkling energy and vibrant beauty.

Oh, and I still drink milk!

 

Bawa and Dinesh in Spain

Our Values

Z

Keep it Simple

Things can get super complicated. We like to simplify, so our students and clients just “get it” – Get it?!

Z

Have Authenticity

For us, authenticity and integrity are important. If we don’t know, we say we don’t know. If we cannot help, we say so, and point you in the best direction we would know

Z

Make it Real

No unnecessary philosophy. We ensure that all we say or do has practical, real world application

Z

Learn & Evolve

We keep learning and so should you. We are continuously improving everything about ourselves. We aim to move from one level of perfection to the next

Z

Keep it Simple

Things can get super complicated. We like to simplify, so our students and clients just “get it” – Get it?!

Z

Have Authenticity

For us, authenticity and integrity are important. If we don’t know, we say we don’t know. If we cannot help, we say so, and point you in the best direction we would know

Z

Make it Real

No unnecessary philosophy. We ensure that all we say or do has practical and real world application

Z

Learn & Evolve

We keep learning and so should you. We are continuously improving everything about ourselves. We aim to move from one level of perfection to the next

News & Events

Our latest thoughts for an even better You

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The Art of Living International Ashram, 21st km., Kanakapura Road, Bangalore, India

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