Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Tribute to Guruji B.K.S Iyengar - By Fr. Joe in the "Afternoon" -Mumbai

A tribute to Guruji BKS Iyengar

Wednesday, December 03, 2014
“The teaching of Guruji has helped me to tap the wisdom of the body,” says Padma Shree Fr Joe Pereira, founder of Kripa Rehabilitation Foundation, an NGO working among people afflicted with chemical dependency & HIV Infection. He talks about his most influential teacher and how he helped him bring about a positive change in society
I was introduced to Yoga by a teacher who used to come to give tuition to my youngest sister. I was about 11 years old and he demonstrated ‘mandalasana’ (keeping the head in balance walking round it in a circle. I got it easily and that was my first and last Yoga as a child.)

When I got the Padmashree, among the 68 felicitations I received, one was near that teacher’s home. So I went and touched his feet. He was shocked to see a Catholic Priest touching his feet. I think he put the seed of the love of Yoga in my mind. Later in 1968 at the end of my Clerical Studies in Pune, Guruji came to the Papal Athenaeum to give us a demonstration. It was in the month of January. I finished my licentiate in Divinity and returned to Bombay to commence work as an assistant Parish Priest at Victoria Church, Mahim. At a concert by Yehudi Menuhin, I met Guruji. I asked him if he had classes in Bombay. To which he said that he did and it was in Campion High School, Fort. He was happy that I wanted to join since at Campion he was not very sure of being allowed to continue. One lay brother Br Tort sj was a faithful participant. It was great fun, hearing Br Tort howling in pain as Guruji adjusted him. Guruji welcomed all. The class was a multi-level class, young and old even a few children who today are grand Mothers viz the Motiwalas. Sam and Frenny Motiwala came with their three daughters and we used to go to their place for a high tea with Guruji after the Saturday class.

I distinctly remember my first day in class. Together with me there came in a Naval Officer. Both of us had to do the same protocol. Guruji walked up and asked us to go up on our head, Sirsasana. We did, of course with Guruji’s support. Then he brought us down and continued teaching the class.
Meanwhile left to do nothing the Naval Officer started attempting to go up again. There was a sharp voice from the head of the class. Guruji shouting, “Throw that chap out of the class.” The Naval officer, embarrassed, walked out of the class along with his entourage that was standing at the entrance of the class. Ironically eight years later, the same officer walked in Guruji’s class almost a cripple. He had a major accident as a submarine diver and had multiple injuries in his spine. He regretted walking out of the first class especially seeing me and others who had now gone deep into the practice.

Guruji did not have an Ashram in the way other Gurus have had. His was a teaching institute where we went regularly. He had intensive sessions in the hills of Panchghani and Mahableshwar as also at Matheran. They were very rigorous teachings. When we attended his week end class in Bombay, the pain in the limbs would linger for the rest of the week. After the death of his Wife, Ramamani, his students one of whom was an architect, helped to build the Institute and named it after his wife. Ramamani  Iyengar Memorial Institute of Yoga. Guruji brought a new dimension to Yoga. No religion or chanting what so ever. People of all Faiths participated. His approach was very scientific and has stayed that way. He was the initiator of using props such as chairs, belts, bricks, ropes and a variety of wooden implements to help practitioners stay in postures which would be beneficial for health. He was therefore some times ridiculed as a 'Furniture Yogi'. To me he was like Mother Teresa my one dimension of my spirituality. Like the Yin and Yang, Guruji and Mother were my 'Ida' and 'Pingala' Nadies. Jesus being my 'Sushumna' Nady. The common denominator was compassion. Because just as Mother taught me to reach out to the poorest of the poor, Guruji helped me to reach out to the poorest of the poor in health. Some of these poorest of the poor in health happen to be well-known personalities like Lee Kwa Yew, the Prime Minister Mentor of Singapore and the Cardinals and Archbishops in the Church.

Seeing my love for the marginalised owing to addiction, Guruji helped me in putting together a set of Asanas to help people in recovery from addiction and addiction related ailments such as HIV AIDS. Ours is the only organisation that Guruji permitted his name to be attached by giving us the name, 'Kripa Foundation Iyengar Yoga'. This methodology has now spread in many countries especially in treatment centers for drug and alcohol abuse. As I spent some quiet moments with Guruji’s daughter Gitajee after his cremation, I said to her, “Guruji truly, in the likeness of Jesus laid down his life for us.” Today people ask me where I get the energy to teach Yoga in over 40 countries and never tire of any jet lag or tiredness. The answer is the teaching of Guruji that has helped me to tap the 'Wisdom of the Body' and be filled, in the words of Mother Teresa with the joy of living, loving and serving.

(As told to Monarose Sheila Pereira)


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Says Fr. Joe " Tell the Children of Vasai we Love to see a better tomorrow....and We Are Getting to Zero"

World AIDS Day, observed on 1st December every year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of the disease. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.
World AIDS Day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization(WHO).

To commemorate the day, VRACS ( Vasai region AIDS control Society) a KRIPAIDS initiative,along with Vasai Virar Municipality organised a massive rally along with students of schools and colleges around Vasai. More than 800 students participated in the rally. The students carried banners and shouted slogans, as they all came from their respective schools in procession and gathered at New English High School. A well organised program headed by Dr. Hemant Patil of VVMC and Amit Patel of VRACS.
On the dais were Guest of honors Dr ( Mrs.) Anupama Rane, Mr. Arvind Karkanis, Mr.Mr. Bosco D'Souza, Mr. Santosh Walvikar, Mr. Jagdish Shetty, Mrs. Evette Coutinho, Dr Mali, and representatives of different schools.
The program started with an orientation by Dr Dr Rane on HIV , a brief speech by Mr, Karkanis, Mr. Walvikar and Dr. Patil. Mr. Bosco a representative for Fr. Joe mentioned in his speech, how Fr. Joe who could not be there due to a prior commitment in other World AIDS Day programmes in Mumbai sent his best greetings and love to the children of Vasai , further stating that with there support they could see a better tomorrow and make Getting to Zero a reality.
Three street plays on HIV/AIDS were enacted, after which led by Amit Patel the gathering took an oath  to fight HIV .

The students were all given refreshments with the kind support of VVMC. A gratitude to the staff of Vasai Virar Municipality, Staff of VRACS, Staff of Kripa Vasai and Principals and staff of schools for making the rally a grand success .

Mahindra Jadhav
Collage & Report

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fr. Joe inugurates an awareness programme on addcition in collaboration with Pir Makhdum Sahib Charitable Trust and Mumbai Police in Mahim

Makhdoom Ali Mahimi (1372–1431) was a Muslim Scholar originating from the Konkan in India, widely acknowledged for his scholarly treatises, liberal views and humanist ideals. Mahimi was born into a family of Arab travelers from Iraq who had settled down on the island of Mahim, one of the seven islands that later formed the city of Bombay (now Mumbai).

During the annual ten day Urs festival celebrated on the 13th day of Shawwal as per the Muslim calendar, millions of devotees visit his dargah.
The highlight of this celebration is a procession of around eight thousand people which begins at the Mahim Police Station, believed to be the site of his residence. Two police officers from each of the eighty four city police stations represent the police whose association with the saint dates back to the saint's era. A representative of the Mumbai police who is the first to offer the "chaddar" (shawl) at the tomb on the first day of the festival. Legend has it that it was a police constable who gave water to the dying saint from his cap. Another story points to some miraculous assistance police officers once received from an old man, whom they believed was the saint, in fighting smugglers.

A room adjacent to the office of the senior inspector of police station contains a steel cupboard that houses the saint's preserved belongings such as his chair, a pair of sandals and his hand-written Quran which is considered to be a calligraphic work of art. The room is opened once every year to the public. In 1920 the cupboard was purchased by a senior British police inspector, Raymond Esquire as a tribute to the saint he revered.
It is here that in the Trust members decided that they had to curb the menace of drug addiction especially amongst the youth which was rising at an alarming rate. The Trustees of Pir Makhudun Shahib Charitabkle Trust ( which has an ISO marking) under the dynamic leadership of Mr. Mohammed Sohali Kandwani approached Fr. Joe and Kripa Foundation to seek thier guidance and help. On hearing their request Fr. Joe promptly agreed and the very next day had an inaugural programme which was well attended by a huge gathering. On the dais were members of the Trust, Police and the  Kripa team led by Fr. Joe. In his address to the people Fr. Joe explained the disease aspect and how Kripa with the help of the Trust and Police move at high speed in spreading awareness on addiction with the help of the AA 12 step programme and rehabilitation if the need arises. 
Mr. Salim Shekani thanked Fr. Joe for his prompt help and support in his vote of thanks.

Submitted and Collage

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fr. Joe recites prayers at a Communal Harmony Meet in Mumbai

17th November:
At the inaugural function of the  20th Anniversary of the Mohalla Committee Trust and Mumbai Police, Fr. Joe was invited to pray along with a panel of different Faith leaders in Yari Road Mumbai. The audience of more than 2000 people were amazed as Fr. Joe recited the Gospel, The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and sang the Bhajan of Vinoba Bhave.

 The Chief Guest at the function was the Police Commissioner of Mumbai Mr. Rakesh Maria. This Committee has the proud privilege of having the Mr. Julio Reberio ( Fondly known as the super cop) as its Chairman. It was Mr Reberio who started these peace committee during the riots in Mumbai 20 years ago.. Also Present were Commissioners of the past Mr. R Mendonca and Mr. S. Shahney. along with many distinguished dignitaries and personalities of Mumbai society,

Watch the live streaming of the Prayer by Fr. Joe in Hindi/Marathi.
Click link.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fr. Joe conducts an early morning Kripafoundation Iyengar yoga session with Patients in Vasai

After a hectic day yesterday, although being a Sunday. Fr. Joe spent quality time with his staff and patients of Kripa Vasai and VRACS (Vasai Region AIDS Control Society)- A KRIPAIDS initiative.
       Early this Monday morning, Fr. Joe, although having a whole day line up of various appointments and functions took a morning yoga & meditation session with the community of Kripa Vasai. At the moment the community of Kripa Vasai has a majority of patients in  the age group of 16 to 21 years.( @ present 60 in treatment)..
      The Yoga and meditation session was so enriching, that a youth of 16 years who is just out of detoxification said " That Fr. Joe teaching me yoga made me feel so light and energized, that now I believe that my parents have put me in the right place for treatment."

       Immediately after the session Fr. Joe dashed off to Mumbai to attend the Board of Trustee Meeting of Alcoholic Anonymous, as he is an A Class Trustee ( Non Alcoholic) of AA in India.

Submitted by
Rouginton & Mozen H

Fr. Joe certifies Maithili Koparkar with a Kripafoundation Yoga Meditation Certificate- Canada.

Maithili Koparkar receives a certificate to teach KFYM as an instructor at the hands of Jim P,
Signed  by Fr Joe Pereira Founder Managing Trustee  of kripa Foundation.

Kripa Canada is most pleased to introduce  Maithili Koparkar, Mississauga, Canada,  to teach Kripafoundation Yoga Meditation. Maithili also practices meditation with  a group of Christian Meditators.
This felicitation took place at Kripafoundation Iyengar Yoga Centre, Oakville. Canada.