Many people came to the ceremonies in the house of my hosts and after meeting me there, several of them had the wish to do some rituals in their homes as well. In this way I visited several different houses in London in 2001 and in connection with one of these visits, an incident happened that made me aware of it that also in the west there are charlatans and magicians like the ones I had heard about and seen in India.
Since my visit to Thailand I used my email-address to stay in touch with my family and had also given it to the organizers in London. It was also printed on the visiting card that we had made in that time, in autumn 2001. This is how I regularly checked my emails, too, and one day found the email of a woman in my inbox who knew me from my lectures and ceremonies in London but who did not want to reveal her identity. She only mentioned that she was a married Indian woman with child. She had recently fallen in love with another man but was not entirely happy with any of the two men in her life. In short her email read something like this:
“Swami Ji, please save my life. I believe you are the only one who can. Something terribly wrong is happening to me. I know I did wrong myself. I was afraid the man I fell in love with could go to another woman. When I saw an advertisement for love spells in a newspaper, I phoned the number and had a meeting with the man who offered the spells. We made a contract and I paid him the first installment for a love spell.”
These were his instructions for this spell to work: Take a cloth, soaked with blood of your own menstruation, and burn it to ashes. Take herbs with special powers, which she was to get from him, and mix them into the ashes. Mix the ashes into the food of the man you want to have under your spell and let him eat it. Repeat this seven times.
Each time that she would go to pick up the herbs, she would have to pay one installment. Four times she had already done this, three times more were supposed to be done. After two times however she didn’t feel good about it anymore. Her health deteriorated, she got some financial problem and the relation with both, her husband and also with her boyfriend got worse. She felt guilty but at the same time afraid that if she stopped, something bad could happen to her, the man could curse her or the spell, incomplete as it was, could in some way have a negative effect on her.
My English was, as you know, not really very good in that time, so I had to get the help of an English person to tell me the exact meaning of her words in Hindi. When I understood her story, I was shocked that this was something that could happen in London, too. I knew that such charlatans travel through small villages in India, where people believe in superstition and can easily be lured into such scams. I was new in the western world and had not imagined that there could be such cheaters there, too, and of course also people who believed in it. My friend, who helped me by translating this email, told me that this actually happened a lot in London as well.
As I told you already, I was happy to see that Indians in London had kept their traditions and religious rituals even in the foreign country. Now however I saw that they had also carried along the superstitious belief of tribal times.
I quickly wrote her a short reply, telling her that I would love to help her and that she could come to meet and talk. She replied in another email that she felt that much guilty and ashamed, she could not come and meet me and show openly who she was. I told her in written that in that case I had no idea how to help her. I would like to but it was not possible by email, as I even needed help to read and write. In the last mail she answered that she hoped she would have the courage to come to me but felt too weak at the moment.
We did not write further emails but I had this woman’s story on my mind the next days and knew that she was somewhere around me. One day I was sitting in a car, on the way home from the house where I had given a lecture and done a ceremony. In the back, two women were seated and one of them asked me on the way, whether I would not like to come to her home, too, to bless the house and the family.
I turned around to look at her and said ‘Until now you were only writing emails and had not invited me.’ I could see that she was surprised and a bit shocked. There were other people in the car, so we did not talk further but she was obviously amazed that I had found out that she was the woman who had been writing to me. Maybe she thought that I had some power to recognize her or read her mind. This is how she wanted to see me. It didn’t come to her mind that I might have guessed it right from her behavior and a certain feeling when listening to her talk and seeing her interest.
When she found a few private minutes later, she said “Now you know who was writing to you. I had no other way. Please come to my home.” And I agreed.
I went to visit her on a Saturday. She told me some more details, for example that she had tried to get advice by a hotline of psychics. These hotlines are expensive to call per minute and they thus let you talk as much as you wish but never provide you with any solution for your problem. She had wasted a lot of money in this way, talking to them several times for more than 20 minutes.
I did not believe in superstition but I was a religious person. I told her that she had a husband and a child, a family to be with and take care of. She should not do this ritual anymore and don’t go to that man anymore. Everything would be fine. I told her to do a ritual: each Saturday, starting from that day, she should recite the Hanuman Chalisa 108 times. That is a common prayer which every Hindu child in India knows by heart. Saturday is called the day of Hanuman, so I suggested her to recite it on that day, once a week, to get peace in her heart.
The next day she told me she had done it and felt very good. In my next visit to London, some months later, she told me that she was very happy and satisfied. I got to know that she had left her boyfriend and was happy with her husband and children, in a good situation.
She really believed that all bad which happened to her was going on because of this spell. On one hand she wanted to control the boyfriend but on the other hand she felt guilty about doing this ritual and feeding him those ashes. She knew that this was not good and believed that she was punished for her actions. When she started reciting the prayer, Hanuman helped her to get rid of this. She believed in this.
I was a preacher and guru, a religious person and so she believed I knew what to do. I did not believe in magic spells but I believed in the Hanuman Chalisa and its power, thinking if any problem is there, it would go away. I had always recited the Hanuman Chalisa myself, too, my whole life long and thought that it had helped me a lot, too.