All around were vibrant sounds, extravagantly colourful garments, sizzling smells of Indian food, the sparkle of jewelry and pounding through all were the many decibels of ‘Bollywood’ sound tracks. It could have been Mumbai or Dehli. But it wasn’t.
It was Asian Lifestyle Show 2005, and the Grand Hall of Olympia was jumping with a kaleidoscope of sounds and smells and activity bringing together “the ultimate Asian experience”. In one part of the hall, at Stand A55 something very different was going on. Amid all the clatter and chaos there was a small corner of stillness and peace. One or two gentle white-clad individuals – looking for all the world like out-of-place angels stood by the door of the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Room and invited passers-by to step inside for a taste of tranquility. Throughout the show the Brahma Kumaris (BKs) hosted this little haven of peace. Decorated with soft floating silk and taffeta drapes, and bathed in soothing pastel shades of light, the room was transformed into a tranquil oasis. Visitors to the Show were drawn by the soft strains of instrumental music and the inspiring voices of the meditation teachers who gave talks on the value of using Raj Yoga Meditation in Daily Life, on Overcoming Anger, on Putting Powerful and Positive Thoughts in your life, on Letting Go of the Past. Whether it was the practical relevance of the topics, or the haunting music, or the palpable vibrations and serene atmosphere of the room, visitors kept arriving in droves and filling the little Meditation room. (Actually twice the size of the space allocated by the organizers of last year’s show – due to popular demand, and the queue stretching out into the aisle). Just the day before, London had been rocked by the horrific explosions, transport was still in chaos, and yet many visitors found their way to Olympia to celebrate Asian lifestyle in the UK. And Many of those found there way to the peaceful corner of the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Room to sit in peace with their thoughts, learn to explore their inner beauty and virtues, and raise their consciousness to a higher level than the fears and uncertainties of the aftermath. “This is the peace I have been looking for all my life,” said one visitor. “I don’t know how you create such stillness – especially in the middle of this noise,” said another. “I want to learn this meditation thing,” said another. “How can I become as peaceful as you?”
The answer was next door to the Meditation Room. At Stand A47 was a treasure house of riches – the bookshop of the BKs, stacked with brilliant books, tapes CDs posters – all filled with inspiring and uplifting thoughts. On a nearby rack, were a myriad of multi-coloured leaflets giving information of BK centres in Kensington, Clapham, Willesden, Hounslow and Wembley – all over London and all over the UK. Talks, seminars, workshops – all on self development. As visitors drifted from the Meditation Room to browse through the books and leaflets, each was given a “Blessing”, a special inspiring thought take to home and think about.
The visitors looked around for a price list, a collection box. “How much do I pay for the Meditation experience?”, they asked. “It was so beautiful. And this blessing is just what I need to hear. How much?” Nothing at all, came the reply. We just shared with you our knowledge of how to know your true self, how to grow to your highest potential, how to connect with the Divine. That is your birthright. How could we possibly charge you for that! Everything – all the talks, lectures, programmes, courses that the BKs run are entirely FREE of charge. Visitors came perhaps for a moment of quiet from the lively show, perhaps to rest their bodies, perhaps to follow an inquisitive interest in meditation. Each one went away with something more, something special and something priceless. No wonder the Brahma Kumaris keep being asked to the great shows and exhibitions of London and the UK. To bring that quiet presence and quality of serenity…