Thinking back on my time in 2005, I have to say I was still in a big process of change. Of course your whole life is a change but after I had left the cave in December 2000, so much was changing in my life that it was still noticeable years later – and the change would still go on! Away from the life of a guru and with that of course also slowly reflecting on religion and what is behind all that ‘guruism’ that I had left. I very well remember a funny situation with a friend in Germany which on one hand made me laugh but on the other hand made me question the sense of some religious rituals.
I had been making friends all over Germany while I was working there and of course there were a lot of alternative practitioners who had come to my lectures, programs and individual sessions, too, and among them some who became my friends. One of them was a man who expressed a big interest in organizing my program as well. I happily agreed and he thus invited me to come to Heidelberg where a friend of his had a center. While I worked there, we had some talk and I got to know that my new friend was building a new house not far away in a suburb of Heidelberg. The house was about to be finished in a few weeks and he asked me whether I could join their inauguration party and maybe even do a ceremony to bless the house. I agreed – that was nothing new to me and I thought I would happily do this for a friend.
This is how we gathered with several friends at the newly built house once it was ready. It was a nice group of about 30 people, several of whom I knew. We did a traditional way of blessing with Abhishek, which is a ritual in which you wash the statue of god with milk, honey and some other ingredients, asking for blessing. Everybody participated in the ritual and thus became a part of it while I was reciting mantras. In the end of this ritual, everybody normally gets to drink a glass of the milk with the other ingredients. It is tasty and of course it is believed to be blessed. A holy drink that gives you some of God’s energy, strength and good luck.
So when we were done, someone passed the bowl with the milk to my friend and he got up and walked out with it. The whole room was waiting, some of them knowing what would come now, in expectation of this nice drink which was supposed to be filled with positive energy. When my friend came back into the room though, he did not have many glasses full of this holy drink in this hands – no, he was carrying the empty bowl! What had happened and where was the blessed milk?
He had thrown it away! He had just not known what was supposed to be done with it and had poured it down the next best drain! Some people were seriously shocked when he said that – had he thrown away all the holy milk? When I saw his face however I had to laugh – he was obviously feeling guilty about it but he had just not known that it was holy and supposed to be drunk! With several of my friends I can still today laugh about this story – it was just too great how everyone was waiting for the holy drink which he simply poured there where you would pour dirty cleaning water!
I told you however that this sparked another thought: what is the meaning of holiness when the person doesn’t know about it? You do a ritual and you think the result is a holy drink but the next person, who has never done the ritual, thinks it is a mix of funny ingredients, nothing special. Does this ritual really make sense? Is it a blessing for the house even if it is now flowing through the pipes underneath it? Some people would even say it is the opposite – you poured holy milk down the drain, that must be bad for the house!
I actually never believed that a ritual could have a negative effect on you, no matter if you didn’t do it the way ‘it was supposed to be’! So wasn’t it all just a psychological effect?
It was a thought that came up, something the remained inside me. It may not have had an immediate effect on me but was a small piece of the big puzzle of change inside me.