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By Nithin Sridhar

In a time when people across the world are struggling hard to manage work-related stress and balance professional and personal lives, Mirabai Bush has helped thousands to harmonize their lives and optimize their outputs through contemplation and mindfulness practices.

She is the co-founder of The Center for Contemplative Mind and Society and teaches contemplative practices and develops programs that apply contemplative principles to organizational life. She had also helped Google create its ‘Search inside Yourself Program’, and was one among those who introduced Buddhist practices in the West in the 1970’s.

She traces her spiritual practices to her root-teacher, Neem Karoli Baba and other masters in India from whom she learned various Hindu and Buddhist meditation practices. In an exclusive interview with NewsGram she spoke about her life, her work, and her stay in India way back in 1970’s.

Interview with Mirabai Bush- Part 2

Mirabai Bush and the Seva Foundation’s Guatemala Project

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Mirabai Bush was involved with the Seva Foundation’s Guatemala Project for 10 years. When asked to share about the work done in Guatemala, she said that when she and her group were in India, her guru Neem Karoli Baba had sent Larry Brilliant to WHO to work for the eradication of smallpox that eventually became a success. After they returned to the West, when Neem Karoli Baba died, many in her group felt that they should do something to give back to the people of the Indian sub-continent.

The medical people in her group decided to work on treating cataract using non-conventional methods in Nepal and till date, Seva has managed to help more than 3 million people in Nepal, Cambodia, India, etc. Meanwhile, said Bush, in 1980’s there was a terrible violence in Guatemala and some people had come across the border to Mexico as their villages had been burned down.

When they met the widows who had crossed the border into Mexico, they felt that they should do something about it. She said: “When we heard what was happening, we just thought- ‘this is so bad.’ We thought ‘look what we were able to do in India and Nepal, so of course we could do something here as well.’ We then did not know anything about the kind of community development that was required in Guatemala. But, the next year or so, Guatemala had their first democratically elected president and the country became more open….

We went down there into the villages and sat there on the ground listening to people, mostly women as most of their men had been killed. We listened to them and tried to figure out how to help them build their villages. They had no money, no animals, no seeds or tools.

“We wanted to help them by empowering them and not by disempowering them by saying ‘Ok. We have come from the north and will provide you with everything.’ We created amazing partnerships with the villagers there (and helped them to rebuild). One of the villages El Triunfo in which we had worked was also awarded by UN for being a model village. So, we worked there for 10 years until the peace accord was signed and then we turned over the work we did to the Guatemalan agencies.”

Mirabai Bush, her Catholic background and her first visit to India

Neem Karoli Baba. Photo Credit:

Mirabai Bush had visited India for the first time in 1970’s. When asked about her stay in India, Bush said that she had originally thought of staying in India for only two weeks. She had come to India overland through Europe, Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan. She stayed in different places to try and understand how other people were living. She said that at the time, the US was at war with Vietnam, and she was trying to discover a different way of seeing the world.

The very first day after she had reached India, she heard about a meditation course being taught at Bodhgaya by a Burmese meditation teacher. When she went there, she says: “It was very powerful. I had never done anything like that before. It really showed me things that I had never glimpsed before. Then, I stayed there for a couple of months doing meditation. Shortly after that, I met Neem Karoli Baba; that further changed my life and I continued to stay in India for another 2 years.”

Regarding her Catholic background and her first impressions when she had visited India, she said that she was raised up as a Catholic and studied in a catholic school right up to Georgetown graduate school. She continued: “I loved God and used to attend every mass. But, after I divorced my then husband, I was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. So, I was very disappointed. I had not been practicing as a Catholic for some years before I visited India. I was just disenchanted with that.

“I was not looking for another religion, but I was looking for a way to understand the world that made sense to me. Many people in America identify themselves as religious, but it is a very secular society. What I loved about India is that, when I had got to India, I felt like the spirit was everywhere. I found that people were devotional and non-judgmental, and they were very welcoming.

“And then, I met Neem Karoli Baba and he was so amazing. He was of course a Hindu and was devoted to Hanuman. But, most of the time, he seemed to exist in this realm that seemed completely beyond us. He just seemed present for all of us. We would sit for hours and hours with him and it just became a part of who I was. I was always a kind of person who was drawn to service. So, Maharaj-ji’s (Neem Karoli Baba’s) dedication to Hanuman was totally right to me.

“I did not feel like I no longer had this Christian upbringing as it would always be there. Maharaj-ji used to talk a lot about Jesus. He used to say ‘you should meditate like Christ. He lost himself in love.’ Then, we all used to kind of melt. Maharaj-ji was really an embodiment of unconditional love. I was sitting there and I could feel myself changing without a word being exchanged.”

More in the Series:

Mirabai Bush speaks on Mindfulness and its application in Google (Part 1)

Mirabai Bush speaks on Yoga and its uprooting (Part 3)

Mirabai Bush speaks on Right Livelihood & Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (Part 4)

Mirabai Bush speaks about her root-teacher Neem Karoli Baba (Part 5)


Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Char Dham Yatra resumed on Friday with more than 16,000 devotees resuming the pilgrimage from the Rishikesh camp.

As weather cleared up in Uttarakhand, Char Dham Yatra restored on Friday with more than 16,000 devotees resuming the pilgrimage from the Rishikesh camp.

According to sources, road leading to Badrinath has been repaired and helicopter service has also resumed.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited Dungi village and met families of people who were missing after the landslip incident, and consoled them.

Dhami assured them of all possible assistance. Two people from the village are still reported to be missing.

Pilgrims were seen leaving from Rishikesh Char Dham Bus terminal and Haridwar bus station for the pilgrimage since morning.

As per the state government, various departments -- Devasthanam Board, police are assisting the pilgrims.

Police Chowki Yatra Bus Terminal, Rishikesh, was announcing passenger-information via loudspeaker.

Free RT-PCR tests of pilgrims were being conducted at Rishikesh bus terminal.

Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board's media in-charge Dr Harish Gaur said pilgrimage was on in Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, while for Kedarnath, helicopter service was also available.

Though the weather was cold in all dhams, thankfully there was no rain, he added.

Portals of the temple in Badrinath will close on November 20, Gangotri on November 5, while that of Kedarnath and Yamunotri on November 6.

Uttarakhand floods, triggered by a major downpour from October 17 to 19, have claimed 65 lives so far, 3,500 people have been rescued while 16,000 evacuated to safety.

Seventeen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), seven teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), 15 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and 5,000 police personnel have been engaged in rescue and relief operations.

The state has already been provided with Rs 250 crore Disaster Fund which is being used for relief works.

To prevent spread of the diseases, the Central and state governments have decided to send medical teams to the affected areas.

Snapped power lines will be restored at the earliest, the government assured.

The state government said that as soon as alert for heavy rainfall was issued, the Incident Response System was activated at state and district levels, and pilgrims were halted at safer places. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Uttarakhand, India, Char Dham Yatra, PushkarDhami, Rishikesh.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Naga leaders are adamant in their main demands for a separate Constitution and flag.

The Centre has continued the Naga peace talks with the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) leaders, but negotiations face roadblocks as the Naga leaders are adamant in their main demands for a separate Constitution and flag.

The sources aware of these developments said that the Centre was hopeful that a successful solution of the six decades-long peace talks would arrive at a logical conclusion, but in the recent statements, Naga leaders have accused the Centre of offering post-solution options.

Sources quoting the stand of Naga leaders said that NSCN's stand was loud and clear that it would not follow the forbidden route to the Naga solution that was linked to foregoing the Naga national flag and Constitution, which is the face of the Naga political struggle and identity.

The Naga leaders have also said that the Centre has been using divisive policy and flattery in the name of finding the Naga political solution when the matters heated up.

When the Centre resumed the peace process in September this year and sent the former special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) A.K. Mishra as the Ministry of Home Affairs' emissary to the rebel outfit's chief negotiator and general secretary T. Muivah, he assured him (Muivah) that the peace talks would be initiated under the original framework signed in 2015, a source in the Naga rebel group said.

"Here we are talking about the Naga national flag and Yehzabo (Constitution), the two issues that are holding up the Naga solution under the ongoing Indo-Naga political talks in Delhi.

"The chequered history of the Indo-Naga political issue is clear enough before us, with accords and agreements that were never meant to be implemented in letter and spirit", an important office-bearer of the rebel outfit said while criticizing the governments' stand.

Accusing the Centre, he further accused the Centre of persuading the Naga people again to accept whatever is being offered to hurry up the Naga talks.

On the invitation of the Centre, the senior leaders of the NSCN-IM including T. Muivah arrived in the national capital on October 6 this year to hold another round of talks with the Centre.

Both, the Centre and the Naga leaders had indicated their keenness on resolving this long pending issue by the end of this year in an amicable manner.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, who is also chairman of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had been actively involved in the resumption of the peace talks and taking it forward to a logical conclusion.

Soon after the transfer of Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, who was appointed as the Centre's interlocutor for the Naga peace talks on August 29, 2014, to Tamil Nadu, the peace talks resumed on September 20 in Kohima when the Centre representative met the Naga leaders and invited them to visit Delhi for further rounds of peace talks.

The NSCN-IM and the other outfits entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India in 1997 and over 80 rounds of negotiations with the Centre have been held in the past in successive governments. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Nagaland, India, Constitution, Politics, Flag.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

India-England test series will now be played next year from July 1 at Edgbaston Stadium

The series decider for the Test series between England and India will now be played at Edgbaston from July 1 next year, said the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday. India is currently leading the series 2-1 before the fifth Test at Old Trafford was cancelled hours before the start due to concerns over COVID-19 outbreak in the tourists' camp.

"The fifth match of the LV= Insurance Test Series between England Men and India Men has been rescheduled and will now take place in July 2022. The match, which was due to take place last month at Emirates Old Trafford, was called off when India were unable to field a team due to fears of a further increase in the number of Covid-19 cases inside the camp," said an ECB statement.

"With India leading the series 2-1, the concluding fifth match will now take place from July 1, 2022, at Edgbaston, following an agreement between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)," added the statement.

ECB also said that due to the rescheduled Test, the white-ball series between England and India will now start six days later than originally planned. The T20I series will begin on July 7 at Ageas Bowl with Edgbaston and Trent Bridge hosting the second and third matches respectively on July 9 and 10. It will be followed by the ODI series starting on July 12 at The Oval followed by Lord's and Old Trafford hosting the second and third ODI on July 14 and 17 respectively.

"Ticket holders do not have to take any action as all tickets will remain valid for the equivalent rearranged matchday at their host venue. Host venues will communicate the new fixture details to ticket purchasers and the options available to them, including the timeframe for requesting a refund if they are not able to attend the new match day," further said the statement.

"We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement with BCCI to creating a fitting end to what has been a brilliant series so far. I'm very grateful to all the venues involved for the cooperation they've shown in allowing us to reschedule this match. I'd also like to thank Cricket South Africa for their support and understanding to allow these changes to be possible," said Tom Harrison, the CEO of the ECB.

"We would like to apologise again to fans for the disruption and disappointment of September events. We know it was a day that so many had planned long in advance. We recognise that accommodating this extra match means a tighter schedule for the white ball series. We will continue to manage our players' welfare and workloads through next year while we also continue to seek the optimum schedule for fans, players and our partners across the game."

"I am delighted that the England-India Test series will now have its rightful conclusion. The four Test matches were riveting, and we needed a fitting finale. The BCCI recognizes and respects the traditional form of the game and is also mindful of its role and obligations towards fellow Board Members. In the last two months, both BCCI and the ECB have been engaged in discussions and our efforts were aimed at finding a suitable window. I thank the ECB for their understanding and patience in finding an amicable solution," said BCCI Secretary Jay Shah. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, Britain, BCCI, Test Match, Cricket.