More than 4,000 Chicagoans came to listen to a yogi from India on June 29 and July 1, who came to inspire them by her teachings on how an individual’s feelings and treatment of others determine their level of happiness.
Sister Shivani, who is on a 20-day tour of North America, dwelt upon how feelings of love and forgiveness are natural to humans, while anger, resentment and revenge are unnatural.
Originally an electrical engineer in Pune, Sister Shivani began studying Raja Yoga meditation with the Brahma Kumaris 20 years ago. Now she is a teacher of Raja Yoga meditation. Through her TV show “Awakening with Brahma Kumaris” that airs in 160 countries across 5 continents and a YouTube channel that has registered 180,000 subscribers and over 34 millions views, Sister Shivani carries on that work.
On July 1, she was presented an award from YouTube for having achieved over 100,000 subscribers, according to an Asian Media USA report.
Her main message has been about the need to understand what really makes a person happy. Two things definitely do not work, she says. One is, absorbing hurtful words or actions from another person, as if one is obliged to accept them. The second is “copying” – giving people back the same energy they give us.
Both of these strategies make people behave as victims, and victims are never happy, Sister Shivani says.
What does make one happy is doing the right thing — treating everyone with love, kindness and respect, and in so doing, receive that good energy first. Sister Shivani encouraged the audience to exercise their power of choice by sending kind thoughts every day to people who have hurt them. Over time, this will increase one’s self esteem and diminish hurt feelings, she says.
The July 1 program opened with a musical invocation of peace and love by Sister Elizabeth Padilla, a singer and Brahma Kumaris teacher from San Francisco. The program was emceed by Eric LeReste, a TV news producer for CBC in Montreal and National Coordinator of Brahma Kumaris for Canada. Consul General of India in Chicago Neeta Bhushan was in attendance as was Swami Shardananda of Chinmaya Mission of Chicago and Shiva Singh Khalsa of Spirit Rising Yoga.
Sister Shivani’s tour of North America includes programs in 11 cities and a culminating celebration was scheduled for July 9, at the Peace Village Learning & Retreat Center in upstate New York.