Panic doesn’t help us fight Corona!

We are here, in the middle of Germany. Watching the news, we can see how nearly every thirty minutes decisions are being taken to close schools, cinemas and theatres. Our phone has not been quiet for a while with family members, friends and parents of our daughter’s classmates sending news and notes about their emotions. Obviously, some of the messages are worried – others have a tone that is close to panic.

That’s how we decided to add a few lines to our blog about this special situation.

That is exactly what it is: special. The whole world is in a state that none of us has seen yet. There have been threats like war and terrorism. Most of the times, we could sit back and say: ‘that is far away from us.’ Tragic, horrible, but in countries far away. Other times, it would hit closer to home but then again, those were single incidents and we could somehow distance ourselves from them. This time, it is different. Not one of us has seen this kind of situation before. Now, we all are in this together, on the complete planet. We do not have the chance to make ourselves believe that it has nothing to do with us. We are definitely affected.

At the same time, let’s take a look at the facts and the reason why we have this issue. The corona virus is in fact quite close to the influenza – similarly infectious and even similarly dangerous. The reason why we have this big problem all over is simply that it is completely new. That we do not have any antibodies yet to fight it. Due to this, it is just very easy to contract the virus and then pass it on! This has, indeed, happened before: the Spanish flu in 1918 was a completely new virus, nobody was immune and thus it claimed many lives.

In most cases, healthy persons who get infected only even have light symptoms and their bodies are able to fight the virus. The problem is however that those whose immune system is anyway down or not as fit anymore develop more severe problems. Usually, influenza also causes such issues and for the same risk group, hospitals have to fight for lives every year. However, with such high numbers being affected, health systems are simply overburdened and health professions of course at high risk as well! This is the situation we are trying to avoid here in Germany at the moment: the government tries to slow the progress of the virus and appeals to everyone’s own social responsibility. Stay home as much as you can and avoid crowds.

It is a wonderful possibility to practice acceptance. Accept that the situation is the way it is. Accept that we can only take certain precautions and not more than that. We can practice calming down. That is what I would like to ask you to do. Do not panic and do not create panic in others.

My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a dear one or is worried about someone they love. Let’s help them by being calm. And maybe you can find a way to help those in your surrounding who are at risk – a neighbour whom you can bring along food when you go shopping for example. Let’s be positive about this and stay calm!

Tolerance for Faith vs. Responsibility to save Children from Superstition – 9 Oct 13

I yesterday told you that I received quite some feedback when I told how our employees left their job because they had chicken pox. While I yesterday told how some superstitious people asked why we had sent them to the doctor, there were others who concentrated on another question: when they asked whether they could come back after getting cured from chicken pox without any medicine, we refused. Why?

I was, in connection with this decision, blamed that I took someone’s job because they didn’t believe what I believe in. First of all, I want to reply to this accusation. I really and honestly normally don’t care what my employees believe in. If they are Hindu, Christian, Muslim or atheists – it is absolutely their own matter and neither do I ask them about it nor do I interfere. Their way of seeing the world has nothing to do with the quality of their work. I keep a professional attitude about this and also expect the same from them.

Most, if not all, of our employees have a pretty clear idea of the fact that we are not religious people at all. They know that the only person in this family who keeps an altar and actually uses it for worship is my grandmother. They know that even on big religious festivals, we don’t perform any ceremonies, on fasting days we eat as usual and you won’t find any signs of a religion or caste on us. We don’t stop them from doing their own worship though.

It works well in our daily situations and there has never been such a problem but now we took this decision for one reason: while our employees’ faith is nothing that we want to take any influence on or judge about, we have several young boys at the Ashram for whom we do carry a certain responsibility. These children were given into our care not only so that we provide them with clothes, food and whatever else they need but also to teach them – in school and at home. Morals and ethics is something that a child learns in the culture of their home and these boys’ home is the Ashram.

We are open to the world and tolerant – these children will get to know about Hindu faith by the culture spread in their surrounding. When this religion turns into dangerous superstition however, there is a limit. That is the point where we have to show them by our words and actions that they should see things scientifically, that an illness gets cured because of medicine and the natural strength of your body – and never by a ceremony.

We are of the opinion that it would give a wrong impression to these children if our two employees leave because they don’t want to take their medicine and then come back. A medicine that these children had to take themselves. The employees would come back and teach their superstition, trying to prove the children wrong when these argue that they had medicine for the same problem. Those people who have seen the effect of medicine and nevertheless don’t want to take it but rather lose their job would be stubborn enough to actively talk against said medicine, influence the kids not to want to go to the doctor and plant all kinds of nonsense in their heads.

If superstition comes from ignorance, it is one thing but if it comes from a senseless stubbornness or blind faith, it is wrong. And we take our responsibility for our children serious – that’s how we want to keep them away from the influence of blind, superstitious faith!

Is Superstition the only Cure for Chicken Pox? – 8 Oct 13

I yesterday told you how we lost two of our employees to the chicken pox. No, they didn’t die but left because they didn’t want to take their medicine – and we didn’t want to endanger anybody else. And yes, we told them that they would not get their jobs back if they came here a month later fully cured.

When I shared this story on social media, I had a whole lot of responses, most of which were expected, some of which were based on ignorance or were downright insulting and some others which were supportive of our action.

There were two questions mainly raised or two points where people didn’t agree with us and our actions. The first one was the action of taking the children as well as our staff to the doctor. It is normal – religious and superstitious people in India believe that chicken pox is the anger of the goddess showing and that you have to endure it as a punishment, performing ceremonies and poojas. People tried to educate me that this was a disease that heals without any doctor and that there is no medicine for it. They said our doctor was actually the superstitious person who believed in a medicine that didn’t work or that he was actually cheating us.

People who replied in this way practically think that my family and I and along with us all those people in the west who go to the doctors for it are just stupid. That’s it – we are being cheated by doctors in whom we naively believe that they could help us. They even said there was no existing medicine against it! My reply: do your research!

Of course, the body needs to build its antibodies against the varicella-zoster virus, commonly called chicken pox, itself. I know that there is not something like a pill that will cure this disease in three days and you will be fine! You can however support your immune system in its fight and you can do a lot to relieve the symptoms! There is antiviral medication for adults and there are ointments and powder containing zinc. You can take something against the fever and you can wash yourself to prevent spreading! There is a whole lot you can do – and that’s how our kids were all fine again after about a week while without treatment, it can take several weeks for patients to get fine again. Additionally there can be many complications that affect eyes and brain – not something you would like to risk, would you?

Oh, but yes, people do! As you can see in the example of our former employees, they just don’t believe in medicine but prefer believing in their superstition, even when the positive result of the medicine is in front of them. If they get better, it was the grace of the goddess – not their immune system being strong enough to fight the intruder in their system! They will pray, make offerings and suffer for weeks but they won’t change their minds. I hope that someday people will – or maybe the next generation.

The second point where people raised questions was the fact that we told them not to come back once they were cured. I want to write about the questions and also the answers to this aspect of this whole story tomorrow.

Superstitious People rather give up their Job than their Superstition – 7 Oct 13

Last week I told you that Apra had got chicken pox – by now, she is nearly back to normal, just a few of the red spots are still itching and most of them are nearly healed already. Amazing what a child's immune system can do! I wanted to tell you about the other people at the Ashram who had chicken pox, too, and the interesting problem that we had due to this disease.

It is quite normal for a family with a small child to have chicken pox at home once in their life. It is probably nearly unavoidable for children who go to kindergarten or school to contract this disease at some point. Schools are like breeding points where the virus enjoys the close contact to so many people. It jumps from one to the other before you even know it. This is how, once Pranshu was done with his treatment, Pawan and Jay Singh were lying in bed with fever and chicken pox all over the body. In that time, we did our greatest efforts to keep Apra away and even isolated them as far as possible so that nobody else of the large Ashram family would get infected.

We were not successful however, as you already know, and I think this virus is quite sneaky, too, as it only ever showed itself on the next person when the previous one already seemed to be healed. However it did it, I don’t know but it also infected not only our baby girl but also two of our employees, 25 and 35 years old.

We did what most people in the west would see as the logical consequence for seeing someone with red itching blisters all over his body and a fever that makes him shiver from top to toe: we sent them to see a doctor. We paid their doctor’s fees and their medicines – after all we wanted them to get fine again and the rest of their co-workers to stay healthy.

They were living at our Ashram, like a big part of our staff, and they had phoned and told their family about their illness. The next day, members of their families showed up at the Ashram, requesting to speak with us. We were told that these two men should not take their medicine but that ceremonies had to be performed instead. It was, in their opinion, the anger of the goddess that showed itself in these blisters. Only devotion and offerings would fix that.

It is a normal, crazy superstition here in India that there is no cure to chicken pox. I wrote about this before, in 2010, and there is unfortunately still no change to be seen. People think there is no cure, it will vanish by itself and nothing should be done. On the contrary – if you take medicine or put ointment on the chicken pox, you can further anger the goddess because you refuse to take her punishment!

We showed our staff members the children who had recovered within a week with the help of the doctor – but they did not accept any such argument. The expensive medicine was thrown away and they left the Ashram with their families. When leaving the gate, they asked whether they could come back after getting cured but we denied. They were ready to give up their job but not to eat medicine.

Having shared this story online on social networks while it was happening, I received a lot of different, interesting and also disturbing feedback which I want to share with you tomorrow.

Apra has Chicken Pox – but is still happily laughing – 3 Oct 13

Today I would like to tell you about things that have been going on at the Ashram lately. We have been having quite an interesting time for the past weeks – ever since that evening when Pranshu, the youngest of the boys who live with us, came to us to show us a few strange spots which looked like pimples on his chest. We went to the doctor with him the next morning and our suspicion was confirmed: he had chicken pox!

We did every effort to save Apra from getting infected, too, but when we saw two small blisters on her hand three days back, we knew that she, too, would need to take a trip to the doctor. He confirmed that she had chicken pox as well.

When Pranshu was recovering, we were happy that Apra seemingly had not got the disease. When it was finally confirmed however, we were hoping that she would not get it very badly. Now, on the fourth day, we are happy that even though she has those itching blisters all over her body, she did not get any fever and is laughing, playing and happy as always!

It is amazing when we see her, half of her face covered with red spots, but laughing and telling her stories as if nothing had happened. The only time she cries is when she had to take her medicine – something that she detests. Not because of the smell or taste of the medicine – it has a child-friendly orange flavor – but for the fact that she has to drink it. We have tried every way to persuade our daughter or trick her into drinking it in the place of juice but she is now too clever to get fooled. That is a matter of one minute though and once the medicine is down, she smiles again and tells us that you have to take medicine when you are ill – and asserting us that she won’t cry next time. Actually, she even tries to convince us that she did not even protest this time!

We are doing regular sessions of applying the ointment and our new favourite game is to play doctor and examine all her toy animals with a stethoscope just as the doctor had done with her. Now we are also very happy that all of us already had this once-in-a-lifetime disease before, so that Apra can practically go on playing with all of us because nobody will get infected anymore.

The one thing we are again and again amazed about is that having a small illness like a cold gives us adults, grown men and women, the feeling as though we are about to die. We sit around and suffer and complain. And then there is this small little lady in whose body there is a fight going on of virus against antibodies, her immune system against this intruder – and she feeds us imaginary dishes out of her hands, dances around the room when her music is on, urges us to go out to see the cows and gives us a yoga presentation of her own. Below you can see a video in which she tells about the visit at the doctor, counts a bit, tells a story and sings the national anthem.

It is nature, it is the immune system of a child, so much stronger than ours and it is also the character of this jolly little girl whom I am proud to call my daughter. We hope and believe that today is the peak point of itchiness and that from tomorrow on, the healing will begin and she won’t have to even scratch anymore.

Overweight Children and Teenagers – Hunger in Thoughts and Eyes – 11 Jul 11

I recently read one of those studies about overweight children that appear from time to time and warn people that the population of many western countries is getting more and more obese – starting with the youngest. While the study revealed no dramatic new information about this problem, it made me think again how much we got used to such news, articles and studies. When parents however get used to it and don’t see it as a real issue but as the normal state of things, we really have a problem.

We need to take responsibility. Children and also teenagers have not developed fully and whatever they learn, they learn from their surroundings. We show them everything and as parents, we need to give them a discipline, also when it comes to the questions what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. We give them guidelines in many areas of life and we should also do this when it comes to their eating habits.

Eating habits is an interesting combination of words anyway. Often eating just becomes a habit. When children are very young, you need to feed them more often, that is true and of course you cannot cut back on that. They need to develop and grow and they should not be hungry. At some point however, this eating becomes a kind of entertainment. They start eating, not when they are hungry but when they are bored. To pass time and to entertain themselves they look for something to put into their mouths. And this is how it becomes a habit to eat a little bit here and a little bit there throughout the day.

Another problem is that children have hunger in their thoughts and eyes. They think of something to eat, get appetite and believe they are hungry. They see something to eat and they immediately think that they have to eat this right here and now. Their hunger is not in their stomach but in their eyes. If adults do the same, you would call it childish but still many people do exactly this. If you only ate when you were hungry, you would never have a problem with obesity. Adults and also children get hungry naturally. Don’t eat and don’t let them eat for their entertainment, from boredom or from hunger in their thoughts and eyes.

Teach your children to feel their hunger and make a discipline of when it is food time and when it is not. Of course, you are a mother or father, you want your child to be happy and you want to fulfill their wishes. If they only wish to eat, you may feel that it makes them happy, so why not allow it. Remain strict and keep the discipline. They are children and don’t see the long-term consequences in the way that you do! If you are concerned about their weight, they might be a little bit, too, but you know what can happen through this and they don’t. They may have heard of heart disease and diabetes but they have not enough experience to grasp what this means.

You have the control of how often they eat until a certain degree. Of course, in their teenage you won’t be able anymore to make sure they don’t eat in between meals. You can keep up some rules for meals together, though, and make sure they eat properly then. And from the very beginning teach them how important it is to take care of their body. They have to learn themselves to take care of when they eat and also what.

If you start teaching them in their childhood how a healthy and balanced nutrition looks like, how much is good to eat in one day and what you should eat, chances are they don’t need to face problems of overweight. The childhood is an important time and you lay the foundation for your child’s future.

Human Cruelty of Breeding Dogs and Pets with painful Diseases for their Ego – 4 Jul 11

Last week I have written a lot about pets and animals, how I think you should keep them and how they should not be kept. I also expressed my opinion about the general idea of having pets and said that you should not keep a pet only for your entertainment if this in any way limits the freedom of the animal or is not good for it. Humans have kept pets for their own benefit without looking much at what is good for the animal. The ego of wanting to show off with your pet has led to breeding animals in a certain way for certain characteristics.

This is one of the best examples of how human has deliberately destroyed the lives of many animals and has made them live in pain. People thought that a dog of a certain breed for example is only beautiful if he has all characteristics of that breed. In order to achieve this appearance, dog breeders have made many experiments and sold the best examples for much money. For them it is greed, for those who buy the dogs it is ego but for the dog it often means a life full of pain.

Dog breeders did not care much about whether the dogs that they put together may have been related by blood, as long as that blood was clearly and provably of one certain race or breed. In this way, by inbreeding, they created the problem: two recessive genes carrying disorders came together. This would hardly ever have been a problem if the dogs had mated out in nature with dogs of another race or family. But within their family they are all carrying those defected genes and inbreeding makes the risk of this gene turning up much higher.

That is how so many purebred dogs today have serious diseases. Breeders tried to make bulldogs and other breed look flat-faced and thus these breeds have big trouble breathing with their set-back noses. Additionally bulldogs have such big heads but narrow hips that they cannot give birth naturally. Their puppies have to be born by Caesarean section, there is no other way!

Pugs are supposed to be beautiful if they have very large, round eyes. They have bred them as much that most pugs nowadays have eyes that protrude so far that their eyelids can hardly cover them to clean them. Many of them suffer from chronic conjunctivitis which frequently leads to blindness.

German Shepherd Dogs, Labradors and other large dog breeds but also some smaller breeds often have a common problem which also started by inbreeding: hip dysplasia. In this disease the thigh bone does not properly fit into the hip and thus the dog wears off the joint when he is walking which causes pain and in the end normally cripples the dog. He cannot walk properly anymore, has arthritis, tries to balance the weakness of his hip in other ways and just leads a miserable life which often ends with being euthanized by its owners who were previously proud to have a purebred dog.

Large dogs in general, bred to be even bigger and heavier, have problems cooling down their bodies while small dogs cannot get enough heat to stay warm. Big dogs have problems with their knee joints and often have tumors in the legs, simply because of their heavy weight!

You could go on and on about immune system diseases, skin problems, blood disorders, joint problems, crippling, paralysis, impairments of sight and hearing, heart disease and cancer in all those pedigree pets. It is not only dogs, also cats, horses and other animals suffer from these problems.

The worst thing is: people still don’t care! They go to shows and competitions where the beauty of their animals is rated by exactly those attributes that make them sick! The sicker they are, the higher their value! Humans deliberately create these animals and make them ill. Isn’t human the most cruel creature on this world?

Attachment to Diseases – Emotional Surgery needed to heal – 23 Jun 11

One can notice often that people who suffer from a disease for a longer time have a negative attitude towards their own health situation. Have you ever met a person who didn’t seem to have the wish to get healthy? They are negative about their healing process, say that it will never happen and that they will have to live with their problem.

I have met many people in this situation and always have the feeling, that they started to love their disease. When there is an illness, cancer for example, which remains in the body for a long time, people unconsciously establish a relationship with it. It is after all a part of their body. This relationship makes them feel that they don’t want to be without it – even if they don’t know it consciously or say it.

They don’t actually think it is good that they are ill. They know that their disease is bad for them and that they would live a better life without it. They don’t like this illness but they nevertheless don’t want to leave it.

In this case people have become attached to their problem. It has become an important part of their lives. They don’t like their disease but they like thinking about it and somehow enjoy feeling bad about it. If they really got rid of this disease, what should they think about? They get afraid of this life after their disease.

In many cases people even feel subconsciously special about their disease. After all, this is something that not everybody has and it always is a topic that ensures you the attention of others. People who need attention and who have low self-esteem can act like this. It is their way of getting attention without showing anything off.

These all are feelings that are not very open, that they could be aware of but would normally not pronounce to anybody. Everybody would declare them as crazy, wouldn’t they?

The problem is that getting rid of your disease emotionally is also a kind of surgery. When the doctors decide to cut the affected tissue out of your body, you also need to cut out your disease emotionally. You need strong willpower to do this surgery and to make this decision. Your wounds will take some time to heal completely but they will. Don’t be afraid but let go. Once you have done this surgery, you will notice that life is lighter and easier.

Bribed or paid Followers – Fake Followers supporting Fake Gurus – 7 Jun 11

Bribed and Paid Followers

Today I want to present you a type of follower who has absolutely nothing to do with the guru’s philosophy, teaching or behavior. These followers don’t mind if their guru is dishonest and not doing what he himself preaches. They don’t care whether their guru has one woman, several of them or none at all. It doesn’t even matter to them whether there are many other followers or not. Why? Because being a follower is nothing else than a job for them. They get paid.

I have seen this with many bigger and smaller gurus, from India, Asia, Europe, Australia and America. It is a modern way of marketing their lectures and services. They invest some money and pay a group of people to come to their program. These followers are usually poor people or people with only little income. They are approached by middlemen and asked whether they would like to earn some extra money. They get instructions on how to behave and then receive some money for this job.

They come to the program that hundreds or more people take part in. They sit in different places among the general audience. When the guru starts his program and asks whether there are any people who have been there before, who have met him and had treatment with him, they raise their hand, get up and tell what they have been told: “I had cancer and Guru ji healed me only with his hands.” Or “My business was about to be bankrupt but with Guru ji’s blessing, I now earn a fortune.” They tell of miracles performed and blessings received by the guru.

What the rest of the audience doesn’t know is that they are doing this for money. It is a sleazy kind of advertisement which makes people believe this guru actually helped those fake followers. Most of them have never even seen him before.

Some gurus even have paid followers on whom they perform on-stage healings. I have seen paid – and completely healthy – followers get up from wheelchairs and throw away their crutches after the guru had called them to the stage and ‘healed’ them. Again, the audience doesn’t know that these people were walking normally the day before and will walk normally the day after. They will just be some Dollars richer than before.

If some of you now doubt that this is true and think I only suspect that those people are bribed, let me tell you something else. I have lived the life of a guru and I have seen how many people get famous in that world. I was even approached myself by groups of people who do such services. They wanted to offer their work to me. It was a group of women and they had been to some religious programs nearby. They had heard of me and came to ask whether I needed them in my program. The women would start dancing as if in ecstasy when I start chanting mantras. They would shake their whole body, feeling the energy of the room. They would start crying at emotional points of my lecture and, if I wanted, could also give a testimonial of my work. They were experience-holders, having done this job for several other gurus before.

I refused the offer. I never liked this dishonest approach to make people believe in you. I strongly believed in myself and with this self-confidence and honesty I did not need bribed and fake followers.

Bribed and paid followers are not real followers. They go to gurus if they get money for it and they also go to attend political speeches if they get money for it. Many politicians bribe the public to attend their program so that it looks full on pictures and videos. It only takes 20 Rupees or a bit more per person. These are all fake followers, helping fake gurus to grow.

Sex Education for Girls saves them from STDs, Abortions and Death – 11 Apr 11

Last week I wrote about the benefits of sex education for boys. For girls, sex education has even greater benefits which are in my opinion so important that even old-fashioned societies should no longer ignore them. Women are taught to feel ashamed about their sexual organs and everything related to them. Contraception, conceiving, giving birth and everything around those topics, including their own health, is nothing one should be talking of. If this attitude could change, if these women could all regularly go to gynecologists and have check-ups done, how many cases of cervical cancer could be prevented? How many other diseases could be diagnosed, treated and healed? Ultimately, how many lives could be saved?

I don’t want this point to be underestimated. Young people these days also have sex, often before their marriage but without any kind of sexual education and of course hidden from their parents and surrounding. What do you think they do when they discover they have any kind of sexually transmitted disease, probably received because they were not taught properly about the use of contraceptives and protective measurements? They have nowhere to turn!

In the same way, what do girls do, when they discover an unwanted pregnancy? In their despair they go to some chemist, in a town where nobody knows them and ask for abortion pills or some kind of medication so that they can get rid of the life growing in them. I have seen advertisement in newspapers for ‘Mensurole’, a pill that will ‘start your interrupted menstruation’. They will not say clear that it will intervene in the development of the fetus, because that would be illegal, but that is what it means. You don’t need any prescription, just take it, on your own risk. Other young women, especially when the pregnancy is already further advanced, go to ‘doctors’, charlatans with no license and have an abortion made there, often with the most primitive instruments, in unhygienic situations and far away from their family so that nobody may know what they are doing. It is risky and many have died in an attempt to save their honour or that of their family.

If they had been educated, they may not have faced this kind of situation. In the west, too, all these situations have been there, people have seen and heard of those stories but through sex education and a more open relation to one’s sexuality, those cases are now rare. People learned and they taught their children. There it is unimaginable that you get pills for abortion through a newspaper advertisement and without a doctor’s prescription.

You can save your children from guilt, shame, disease and abortions if you have a more modern, open view on sexuality and sex education. Your daughter will know her body, feel good about it and will know how to take care of it. This much for today. Tomorrow I will write more about the moral aspects, also in countries like India.