Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Tribute to Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar


B.K.S. Iyengar a renowned yogacharya needs no introduction to the yoga world. Born on December 14, 1918 in a remote village of Bellur took his name and fame  to the entire world. All his life he strive hard to take yoga to every individual across the world. Last year on 20th of August 2014, he left his mortal body leaving his students and followers in a grief.

I first met Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar on Guru Poornima day 4 years ago in Pune. Commemorating Guru Poornima 2015 on 31st July and his first anniversary on 20th of August 2015, I am presenting a collection of photos as a tribute to our beloved Guruji Sri. B.K.S. Iyengar.

I love to capture the action found in the nature as it is so realistic and dynamic. It doesn’t pose for the camera to capture as humans do. But I found Guruji an exception in this case.  I always enjoyed taking his snaps and filming him every time I get the opportunity. It is a sheer joy and delight to capture him in the lens. I think who ever has got the opportunity to do so would agree with me. Guruji has a sense of innocence, freshness, wildness, the energy and vibrancy that we often find in nature and animals. I found him as dynamic as birds and animals. As the birds fly or animals disappear in a whisper of a second, Guruji changes his expressions in a flash.

I first got an opportunity to take snaps of Guruji during 2011 Guruj Poornima day. But I was not happy with photos that turned out to be. I soon realized it is very difficult to capture Guruji with ordinary lenses. I later found some good lenses and got the opportunity to capture him again. I am sharing some of them here. I hope you like them.

I am posting below some of the pictures of Guruji that I shot during his 94th and 95th birthday celebrations held at Bellur and Pune respectively. These images are also special because they are his last memories for most of us.

Guruji was participating in a bathing ritual during 94th birthday celebrations at his birth place of Bellur in 2013. It was a great challenge to capture them because as you know Guruji is so vibrant that he changes so many expressions in no time. If you blink then you miss some action. You got to be on your toes sharp and alert to capture his wonderful expressions. Secondly, he was surrounded by his family members, villagers and his students and followers all over the world. I had to stand on a plastic chair to capture them through the gaps in between people standing around him. Somehow, I managed to catch hold of these snaps. Look at the emotions Guruji has expressed in a very short span of time; may be 2 minutes or less. Mind you I am putting you the best snaps here.

Guruji is silently waiting for the proceedings to begin.
 The expression changed in the very next click of the camera.
Look at him now he is looking so cool and relaxed waiting for someone.
He is looking at me now. Lol! I think he sighted the man he was waiting for.
Finally arrived the moment I was waiting for. I love his smile and laughter. By the way, who doesn't love it? He has such an innocent laughter of baby child.
The bathing ceremony has begun and Guruji is finally seen chilled.
This is my personal favorite moment and this picture is close to my heart. I really adore the peace I see in his face.

Unto now I only knew Guruji as yogacharya. In Bellur I got the opportunity to watch another facet of his life as a loving father, grand father, uncle etc to his family, relatives; a guardian and care taker to the local villagers sharing all his love and blessings.

Guruji was greeted and garlanded by his daughter and son-in-law.
Guruji blessing his Son-in-law Dr. Raghu, daughter Savita and grand daughter Abhijata.
Guruji blessing one of his relatives with a broad smile and arms reaching out to him.
The person might have said something and Guruji busted in laughter. Happy moments with Prashant ji on his side.
Guruji keenly observing the proceedings of the fire rituals done by the priests.
 
Chanting the mantras along with the priests.
Too long and tiresome rituals for the man of his age.
The rituals are at the end, Guruji and his family got up to take the arti.
 
Guruji discussing something with his family members before he leaves back home.

Some of these pictures are taken at the renovated Ramalaya temple at Bellur village. These are some of my favorite pictures of Guruji. The atmosphere and presence of Guruji really looks divine in these pictures.

  
These are my last pictures of Guruji. They were shot during his 94th birthday celebrations held in Pune. Thousands of Iyengar yogis across the World have gathered to wish Guruji. 

Guruji welcomed on stage and honored with shawl..
Guruji keenly listening to the anchor on stage.
Guruji's baby like smile always remain in our hearts.
Who will forget his grand laughter?
Guruji acknowledging the reverence of his students gathered out there to wish him.
Revering back to them with humble Namaskar.
Showing his happiness for the overwhelming response from the students gathered out there.
Quietly observing the proceedings on stage.
     
Guruji sharing his words of knowledge. This happened to be his last public speech. 
Initially I thought of posting selected 5 or 10 photos out of few hundreds and believe me it was a really difficult task for me to pick up the best. The presence of Guruji makes even a bad photo by a photographer look good.