Hallucinations after taking Drugs are not spiritual Experiences- 27 Apr 14

Last week I told you about the weekend that I spent in the forest with friends, a group of young people. Several of them were musicians and they were generally all interested in spirituality, India and Indian music. And, unfortunately, it seemed as though all of them were also interested in and fascinated by mind expanding drugs. This is what made me think a bit about the connection of what people experience as ‘spirituality’ and drugs.

When I met this group of young men and women for the first time, some of them had come to my meditation. They stayed after the program and we had some talk. It was interesting and it was fun. The next days they came again and we had some music sessions as well. They asked me about my view on many topics and then there was this one question as well: do you smoke? When I replied with no, they carefully specified that they were not only asking about tobacco.

I clearly told them again no, and I would also suggest other people not to.

I know however why they thought I might: I was from India, I had lived the life of a sadhu, I had lived in a cave for three years and I talked about spirituality, meditation and similar topics in my program. I was wearing dreadlocks, just like many sadhus in India do and it is widely known that they smoke and then make their spiritual experiences. But one and the other thing had nothing to do with each other in my view.

Maybe because of respecting me and my opinion or because they were afraid that I would judge them, nobody openly told me that they smoked anything, not even tobacco but on that evening in the forest, I saw that a few of them definitely had taken something that made them more relaxedthan they normally were. A bit more open to say what they think. A bit more ready to laugh and enjoy without involving the mind too much.

Why do I think this is not good? Because I don’t see why you cannot reach this state of mindlessness, of openness and relaxation without smoking drugs!Because I think it is not spiritual experiences if you smoke something stronger which makes you hallucinate.

This group of people thus knew that they had in beginning just assumed that I was someone who I was not. Maybe that was the reason that we did not stay very closely in touch for a long time in spite of having had a very nice weekend together. I think they were looking for something different. For times of being high and then making very spiritual experiences. Something that I didn’t believe in.

Naga Sadhus – Concept of Detachment or showing off Genitals and taking Drugs – 29 Jan 13

When you read anything about the Kumbh Mela, you probably think of the most famous scenes which are usually depicted in news: thousands of naked men running into the Ganges. Most people are aware of the fact that these men are not only naked for the holy bath in the Ganges – this is their regular dress: no clothes at all. They are called the Naga Sadhus and they are interesting enough for me to write a complete article about them and their philosophy.

Naga simply means naked, so they are the naked sadhus. You can say that they are the ultimate form of a detached sadhu. The principle of a Sadhu is quite clear: they practice detachment. They have cut all ties with their family so that they don’t get attached, they are always on the move so that they can remain detached from geographical locations and they don’t have a lot of belongings. They eat what they find or what people give them. They won’t store anything but just eat as much as fits into their hands.

A Naga Sadhu goes one step further and is not even attached to his clothes. In the process of getting more and more detached, this is the logical next step. When you don’t have anything anymore except for the clothes on your body but you want to get detached from everything, your clothes have to come off. If you have clothes, you have to wash them, too. While you are washing them, you need to wear something, so you need at least a second set of clothes. If you have two pairs of pants, you wear one and need to keep the second one in a bag or a piece of cloth. If you have a bag, you need to take care where to put it when you sleep and that you don’t forget it. If someone steals it, you won’t be able to accept it just as a fact – so you see, the attachment has already grown into a problem. The Naga Sadhus decide not to have any of this and remain naked.

Naga Sadhus are supposed to be so deeply in spirituality and love to God that they don’t care how they look like and don’t even care whether it is warm or cold. They don’t even have that much attachment to their body to save it from high or low temperatures.

That is how it is supposed to be and how it maybe was in older times. They had nothing and not even clothes. What you can see today is mostly that they have everything, just no clothes. Many of them have money, gold, jewelry, they are luxury sadhus! The regular, clothed sadhus these days have spent up to three million rupees on building and decorating their temporary tents on the Kumbh Mela! Just in the same way, the Naga Sadhus walk around, naked, but with precious rings on their hands and asking people for money while showing them their genitals. The Naga Sadhus know how to give a pose to the photographers and how to show their naked bodies to young western girls, knowing their pictures will be published in international media. They have drugs and thus don’t feel the cold. How much detachment is that still?

I heard that there are also female Naga Sadhus present at the Kumbh Mela, separate in another tent, closed from the public. If that is true, why don’t they sit in public display like the men do? Isn’t it anyway strange that if a normal person shows his genitals in public, it is offending and indecent behavior but when a religious man does that, it is fine! If you do it, you can get arrested and will most probably have to pay a fine. If they do it, people take pictures of them, the pictures are printed all over the world and everybody is fascinated, not offended.

Isn’t it a strange world?

Sex, Drugs and Amsterdam – 23 Dec 12

While Yashendu was curing his angina in Cologne in 2005, I went on to give further programs and travelled also to Amsterdam. I had been to the Dutch capital in 2004, too, and while I enjoyed my work there, I reached a conclusion after several visits: This is a town where I can stay some days, maybe a week but not much longer – it is just too crazy!

My contact and organizer was a young woman from Edinburgh who lived in Amsterdam. She had not been able to come when I was giving lectures in her hometown and so she had contacted me by email whether I would like to give program in Amsterdam, she would organize it for me. The dates were arranged and I was ready to go!

This town really left a lasting impression on me. I had been ‘warned’ by friends before, some in joke and some more seriously talking about the specialties of Amsterdam. One of them had joked saying it was ‘the most civilized place in the world’. Open as I generally am, I went and had a look myself.

My organizer and her friends showed me around town. At first I thought it was a bit like India – beggars sitting on the roads, having nothing to do, some of them staring into the sky, others talking to themselves, maybe a bit crazy or on drugs. When I had a closer look, I realized that they were the latter – on drugs. They were not begging, they were high or maybe drunk. Just there, sitting on the road. Well, I thought it was strange but I was told that getting high on marijuana was just legal and that even tourists came for that purpose!

My accommodation was in a very interesting part of town, too. We actually did not have to go far from the railway station – the friend of my organizer with whom I was staying had a flat very close to the red-light district. So we walked through this area and my organizer told me about prostitution there and said that it was all legal. I remember her saying ‘You know, they are like you and me!’ and she told me of people who had a very normal job and just did this as a side job to earn some extra money. When we turned the road, there was a house which looked to me like a shop, with a big display window. Displayed were however not garments or furniture – there were half-naked women standing and waiting for customers. Some had a curtain in front of their portion of the window and a red light was on. I was not very new in the west anymore and had heard a lot of stories about Amsterdam but of course I was curious. I think I asked a lot of questions about how it all worked, if people were happy etc.

Apart from that however, Amsterdam seemed like a beautiful city and that mainly because of the water everywhere! There were water channels to go anywhere in town and one day my organizer asked one of her friends, who had a boat, to take us along for a tour of the town. Sitting in the boat, we saw the complete city and I enjoyed that very much. In those moments I could understand the special attraction that Amsterdam has for many people.

It was another impression of Europe and in 2005 I got to share it with Yashendu, who joined me there once he had recovered from his illness. I had already spent years travelling in Europe but for him, freshly coming from India, it was a big cultural shock.

All in all however, as I told you, I decided that this was not a town to spend long periods of time in. It is very strong, very crazy, a lot going on – but it is fine to go there from time to time for a weekend or a week if you want to see something else than you usually do.

Envying the shining Life of Celebrities? – See the Reality behind the Facade! – 14 Mar 12

Lately Ramona and I were talking about some celebrities who died, not only in the last year but in the past years. The most recent one was Whitney Houston. I had heard her name and maybe I had even heard her music before but as I don’t really listen much to western music, I did not know how much famous and successful she really was. When Amy Whinehouse died and Ramona played some of her songs, I had absolutely no idea who she had been, as well as I did not know Heath Ledger or any of his films. I did know about Michael Jackson and his music though and when I heard that he had died, I knew it would be news all around the world. When we talked about these celebrities we could not avoid but notice that they all and so many more late celebrities had some problems with alcohol or drugs.

It may not have been the cause of death for everyone that they were too drunk or that they had too many drugs but it strikes you when you see that so many celebrities died young and what they have in common is their extensive use of alcohol or drugs. Even if you see among celebrities who are still alive and very popular you will find that a big part of them has a history of drug abuse, rehabilitation, alcohol issues and very often even charges filed against them because of alcohol or drugs.

This realization stands in a very big contrast to the usual picture that people have of celebrities. What do we see of them, usually on TV or maybe in a live show? We see a bright and shining face, looking healthy and happy. They smile, they laugh, they look gorgeous. Female bodies are thin, they wear stunning dresses and they amaze their audience with their performance and appearance. Male bodies are muscular and their smile has the power to let women close-by faint. From time to time however you notice that there is a body too thin to be healthy, that there is a bit too much make-up that is covering something up and that a smile looks too forced and not natural anymore. You can glimpse tired eyes, the hint of something that is going on behind this shining façade.

And then there are reports of accidents in which stars were driving drunk. There are stories of celebrities getting into fights, obviously under the influence of drugs. You hear about court verdicts that they have to complete their rehabilitation and from time to time you hear about a case in which one of them died, young, alone, with drugs or alcohol fresh in their blood.

At this point there should be the realization that the life of a star is not as shiny as you imagine. At this stage you should see that your life is not as bad in comparison as you always thought. I hear people complaining that they would like to live like the big stars, that they would like to be famous like them and most of all that they would like to have money like them. What they don’t see however is the life that comes along with all of this. It is a life in public pressure, a life that may be full of parties and things that look ‘fun’ from the outside but which often feel very empty from the inside. Many stars are alone although they are always surrounded by a crowd. They pretend to be living a good life but often the reality is that they are not happy.

So before you compare yourself the next time to one of those celebrities and before you start complaining about your life, think how good you actually have it. You can go wherever you want, you can have friends without thinking they are only your friends because of your fame and you don’t need drugs and alcohol to cope with your life. Be happy, realize that you have a good life and live it!

The Wish of Teenagers of Be Adult – 15 Jan 11

I mentioned yesterday already that teenagers do many things in order to look adult to the people around them. Often these things are all those which their parents don’t approve of. They start smoking, they drink more than is good for them when they are with friends or on parties, girls wear clothes that seem to invite boys and boys make moves towards every girl they think is receptive for their charms. And this all starting at the age of 12.

Why do they do this? Because they want to be adult. Why does it vary from country to country what exactly children do? Because adults behave differently in different countries. In India, many men chew tobacco with betelnut and then spit it out at the side of the street or some corner. So when boys here are 15 or 16 and when they want to look adult, they secretly go and buy one of the small plastic packs in which you get this mixture. Although it does not taste good at all and is harmful for the body, they chew, smile at each other and spit it out again. One more step towards really being adult!

You need to see that there are quite a lot of small things, some more harmful and some less, which children can imitate to feel adult. Whether it is alcohol, nicotine, tobacco or even only coffee, these all are ingredients in the main dish of life that you get to eat when you are adult. They don’t want only the appetizers anymore. And it is understandable why: you teach them all of this. Don’t you say ‘When you are adult, you can do this all, too’ or ‘You will have to wait until you are adult yourself’?

In my opinion we should reduce those things in our lives of which we believe that they are harmful for us. It will reduce your risks with your children. If you don’t smoke, your child has less reason to start smoking. If you don’t eat tobacco, there is a good chance, your children don’t like it either. Because for them, you are the first example of an adult. When your children are small and in the beginning of their teenage time, you should live as you would like them to live. When they will reach an age in which they learn from their surrounding, you already have made such an imprint on them, that they know what to take care of. If they never saw you drunk, they may as well be disgusted by the behavior of a drunken person and not feel like they need to try it, too. If you were drunk two or three times a year however, it is part of adult life for them and they want to do it, too.

At the base of this all there is one point: Your children want to be like you. This is your responsibility, think of that and live your life accordingly.

Breaking Children or Letting them Run Wild – 14 Jan 11

I get a lot of different reactions on my diary entries. That is obvious, as every person is different and thus will have another opinion. Many people appreciated also yesterday’s diary and what I was writing about. They said it was even an understatement to say it is not easy to deal with teenagers, on the contrary it can be really difficult. Another person however said he or she thinks you should not break a child but you cannot let them do whatever they want without any discipline.

I really agree on both of these points, even if the author might be surprised about this. You should never break a young spirit. In older times and in many countries in this world, including India, parents still beat their children and this of course serves one purpose: breaking their will! Domestic violence is unfortunately still very frequent in India.

The opposite effect can be seen in many countries, also like Germany, where I have seen children without any respect, discipline, manners or however you would like to call it. They smoke, drink and take drugs although their parents tell them not to. Sometimes even in front of their noses, just where their parents can clearly see them. They talk to their parents in a language that you cannot imagine, full of insults. This, too, is not the right way.

What we want are strong children with a strong will but with knowledge of what is right or wrong. I have written several times about problems with alcohol, cigarettes and even drugs. I always encourage parents to see why their child is doing this. A 12-year-old boy who smokes feels adult because he has the cigarette in his hand. A 14-year-old girl who gets drunk on a party and wildly kisses several of the boys around, does that because she feels adult through this. Think of your own youth. You may have done something similar, maybe in another way because it was another time, but something to show your parents that you are adult.

You should not let your child run wild without any rules or discipline. No, you need to set rules and teach discipline, already a few years before. But when you are at such a point, you need to look out if, in some way, you can reach the core of this young boy’s or girl’s heart. If he or she can feel comfortable to talk with you and tell you what is going on within them, you have a possibility to reach and softly prevent them to get seriously harmed. To lock them in their room on the weekends so that they cannot go to any party is not the right way. And they would not care too much, they would simply have their own party any day of the week after school. You cannot stop them from getting older and making their own experiences. All you can do is to help them and that is what is your role, once your little child becomes a teenager or young adult.

8 Types of People who are not Welcome at the Ashram – 18 Nov 10

In 1995 we started building this Ashram. For the last ten years we have welcomed people from all over India and the world to stay at the Ashram. The Ashram has changed a lot and with time has become more known, more public and more popular. We always get a lot of enquiries from people who want to come to India for different purposes. With all the sweet and sour experiences that we have made throughout the years, we would like to present a list of people whom we would not like to welcome here.

Please do not come to our Ashram,

– If you want to consume drugs or alcohol during your stay. We do not want to have drugs or alcohol on the Ashram premises and also do not allow drunken persons to enter.

– If you are related to or influenced by any sect and in a mission to spread their beliefs to others. We do not approve of sects and their brain-washing, manipulative activities and would not like any of our friends and other guests at the Ashram to be molested by such efforts.

– If you are looking for a guru or master. This is one thing that you will definitely not find here. We all just want to be friends and meet each other on an equal level. There are no followers and no disciples, no gurus and no masters in this Ashram.

– If you are looking for a center of religious worship. This is an Ashram, not a temple, church or mosque. We do not belong to any religion and do not conduct religious services of any kind.

– If you are looking for cheap accommodation or a place to stay for free because you will be asked to contribute by covering the expenses of your living.

– If you are looking for a hotel and expect the services of a hotel. We are not a hotel but an Ashram. You will live in a family and simply share and live together in love.

– If you don’t have interest in our charity projects, the school children and living in the Ashram but merely want to use the Ashram premises as a place.

– If the intention of your trip to India is spiritual sex tourism.

Of course our list can be updated whenever we make another experience. Tomorrow you will read about people whom we love to welcome at this beautiful place.

Alcohol more Dangerous than Cocaine and other Drugs but still Legal! – 10 Nov 10

I read about a research which compared the dangers of drugs with each other. Scientists examined the effects of various legal and illegal drugs. They counted the damage that is done to the one who uses the drug and they also counted harm that is done to his or her surroundings. The damage to oneself includes diseases that one can get, addiction, loss of concentration, economic loss, social difficulties and more. The damage for others includes their health, financial consequences through the use of the drug and environmental problems that result.

The interesting thing is that the top result, the drug which is the most harmful for any person is a legal drug: alcohol. Alcohol ranked as the number one, heroin and crack cocaine made it to rank two and three. Tobacco was also among the higher numbers, at about the same danger level as cocaine. Drinking alcohol is thus one of the most dangerous things that you can do. There is a reason why the use of alcohol is the third most frequent cause of premature death or disability! You harm your body, you harm your mind, you harm the people around you, you become violent or depressive and you bring yourself and others into danger.

Still, however, alcohol is a legal drug! It is advertised, it is sold openly in many countries, it is allowed even for children in many places of the world and in so many societies it is openly accepted and you are even encouraged to drink! Why is it that governments do not ban these drugs as they did with cocaine, heroin, cannabis and so many other drugs? Do not understand me wrong, I don’t want to legalize marijuana, ecstasy or any other of the illegal drugs! I would like to make alcohol illegal or at least see that governments stop promoting it!

Why is that not happening? You don’t believe that governments have not heard about these studies and researches, right? They know better than most of the population that alcohol and tobacco are drugs that are very harmful but still they don’t ban them or call them illegal. When you cannot think of any logical reason anymore, there is always one more answer: money interests. Governments make so much money through taxes on alcohol and tobacco that they would lose a big source of income if they suddenly banned them or stopped promoting them. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world, otherwise governments would rather save the health of people in their country instead of selling them things that make them sick. But in this world we need to be ourselves responsible about our actions and what we do to our body.

Don’t drink, don’t smoke and don’t use any other drug, you will feel that this is the best for your body, mind and soul!

Details: http://www.impactlab.net/2010/11/01/alcohol-more-dangerous-than-crack-or-heroin-say-drug-experts/

Spiritual Sex Tourism – 12 May 10

Once I was talking with a friend about the image that Westerners have in India. With India still being conservative and traditional in many ways, some people have the idea that sex in the west is something that everybody has with everyone.

Of course we laughed about this idea but then we also thought about where this comes from. It is known that the west is more free about sex but who really brings this idea to India is of course the tourists. My friend called it ‘spiritual sex tourism’. There are many people who come to India and travel there on their own to find their peace of mind, to find guidance in their lives or searching for the meaning of life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately however they combine this search for peace with the search for sexual experiences.

For many this is the perfect place, far away from their usual surroundings, to do something they would never do at home. For some of them this means sleeping with many different people on one journey and for others it even means cheating on their partner. Many include drugs in this experience, too. So do you wonder that the general image of a western tourist is not a very good one?

Everyone knows that people go to Thailand for having cheap sex. We were joking and said that it looks like those with spiritual interests come to India. Because sex is the most spiritual thing! But seriously, think about it: it is really sad that this image is created. And again I want to say that your spiritual acts should not hurt anybody.
 

Kumbh Mela in Vrindavan – 31 Jan 10

At the moment in Vrindavan and in Haridwar the Kumbh Mela is going on. This is the biggest and most crowded spiritual fair on earth. It is a fair which takes place each three years in one of four Indian cities. And when it takes place in Haridwar, they also come here to Vrindavan.

A big crowd of pilgrims always gathers for this occasion and of course a lot of ceremonies and spiritual discourses take place. Many Sadhus join the festivities, too. I have explained the concept of Sadhus already on another day in my diary. The original idea is that they are fully detached from any worldly things be it money, clothes or even relations to others. And they usually live from what people donate to them.

Unfortunately nowadays in this field, too, people are getting lazy and in a way cheat and disrespect this old concept. It is very common on the Kumbh Mela that there are some so-called Sadhus who do future predictions. And not only some vague prediction about the client’s future, no, people come to them to get to know the numbers of the lottery! This lottery is actually even illegal here in India.

I said that people are getting lazy and it is like this: those who predict the lottery numbers get money for it so they don’t need to think anymore about their spiritual practice or the whole concept of being a Sadhu. And those who come to get the numbers want to be rich and that very quickly without making an effort.

Unfortunately this is going on and additionally some people enjoy taking drugs to reach their idea of a spiritual experience. I don’t really have any interest in going to this fair, I am happy to just be here at the Ashram, enjoy the nice weather, doing my work and being with my family.