Even for the next several days, the Ashram was full of people. Many of them stayed to have some private time with me, to talk to me one on one or in a smaller group. There were old friends with whom I reconnected but many more people, disciples and acquaintances, too. I recognized most of them but some of them, whom I had not known well, I had just deleted from my memory.
These first days after leaving the cave were not really easy and there were many things I needed to adjust to. In the cave it had been dark, so whenever I went out, sunlight was blinding me so that I started wearing sunglasses. For more than three years I had not worn any clothes and I did not like the feeling of something covering my body anymore. I enjoyed little breaks of darkness and nakedness in my cave, whenever I needed it.
I also changed my diet. For 12 years before the retreat in the cave, I had only been eating vegetables and fruit, no grains at all. This is a traditional Indian diet and everybody who eats like this is called ‘Falahari’. In the time of the cave I continued this diet but then even stopped eating fruit and vegetables. For the last year, I only drank milk, buttermilk and water. Now however I started eating full meals again.
Many people wanted to talk but because of the habit of being alone, I sometimes forgot to talk and just did not answer. These all were my changes on the outside. Inside, too, a lot of changes had happened and I needed time to discover exactly how to deal with them.
For everybody around, I was still their guru. More than that, after this retreat I was another step higher than before, an icon, like a God. In me however, a process had taken place that had led me away from this path. I felt all those expectations and seriously started thinking about my role. I wondered whether I would be able to fulfill their expectations. Did I want to fulfill them at all? Would I get back to the same thing that I was doing before? Had nothing changed, except that I would do it now in a bigger level, with a few thousand people more?
I knew somewhere inside that this was not anymore what I wanted. It was not yet fully clear to me what exactly kept me from going on the way I had lived before. So I listened to people, talked and answered and in a way wondered what I should do. I received a lot of invitations to go and preach in different parts of the country but had no wish to go anywhere. I had nothing else to do either. Being a guru was also my profession and I had not learned anything else. I realized already that this was now far from my idea of how I want to live but I had no alternative yet.
I may have started walking away from the idea that I was a guru, I was however still a very religious person. I did daily fire ceremonies in the morning, before touching any water or food. I strictly lived according to the rules of Hinduism and did all rituals, prayers and worship. This is who I was but additionally I was a guru. And this role did not really seem to fit anymore now.