I was out in Pushkar today. I remember I was here for the first time in 1984, after that in 1988 and the last time in 1993. When I saw Pushkar now I could not believe how much it has changed. I could not imagine that a town could change completely. I have not found anything of what I had seen in Pushkar before.
Actually Pushkar is a famous Hindu pilgrim city because it is the only place with a temple of Brahma, the God of creation. Normally Hindus come here to worship and in former times I never saw foreigners. But today I saw in the streets that nearly all shops which had been selling religious things for Pooja ceremonies were converted into tourist shops selling clothes and souvenirs. The whole market changed.
I was talking with a local person, too and he expressed his extreme disappointment about the change which has happened here in the last 15 years and he said: “Swami ji, this tourist business brought a lot of money and people became rich but we had to pay a big cost because the real culture and spirituality was destroyed. It was nice in that time, our small peaceful village, to which people come with devotion, love and belief. Now you will see tourists trying to find their peace in drugs which they also get cheap here.”
Hearing him and feeling this here I agreed and could feel his disappointment. I also felt that I needed to be careful with local people, too, because they are used to treating everybody in the same way, trying to get more money. Even local priests insist that you pray or make a ceremony with them and their main target is that you pay them a very high prize for it. But however it is, the surrounding landscape is really beautiful and we enjoyed this day, too. Tomorrow we will start our journey back to Vrindavan and tomorrow’s diary will be written from the Ashram again.