Expressing Love on Valentines Day does not destroy Indian Culture – 14 Feb 11

I wish everybody a Happy Valentine’s Day! There are however people in India, who would be angry and annoyed if you wished them joy and love on this day. There is a Hindu organization, the Bajrang Dal, which each year opposes any kind of Valentine’s Day celebration.

The Bajrang Dal is the youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, the VHP, and they are also connected with the Shiv Sena, a far-right Hindu political party. All these organizations in some way belong together and have different projects, campaigns and actions for preserving Indian culture and Hindu religion.

Already weeks before the actual Valentine’s Day, the Bajrang Dal started announcing that they would do everything possible to show their protest against this celebration. In their opinion the celebration of this day, which of course comes from western countries, is an offense and a threat on Indian culture. Publicly showing and displaying love, which they call obscenity, is against Hinduism and Indian culture, especially if the couple is not married yet. They believe Indian youths lose all their values and are led on the wrong path by such celebrations. You are not allowed to fall in love before you marry.

In the last days and on today’s newspaper, as well as in the last years, we could read that they act like a kind of moral, religious police. They burn Valentine’s cards and tell the public that they would take stronger action if they saw any kind of immoral meetings of lovers on the 14th February. They have talked to restaurant and hotel owners, persuading them not to let young unmarried couples in. Today, on Valentine’s Day, they walk around in groups to hotels, restaurants, in parks and on beaches on the lookout for such couples who meet there to celebrate their love. They grab them, separate them and bring them home to their parents, telling the boy’s parents they should keep him away from young girls and the girl’s parents to take better care of their daughter.

They are very aggressive which has often led to violence with the couples. This really seems again like Hindu terrorism and their connections to other organizations show that this thought is not far-fetched. They are nationalists, extreme right-wing activists and organizations that simply spread anger and hate. Now the people of the Bajrang Dal are young but when they grow older, they will simply join one of these other organizations, promoting the same ideas, still often with violence.

They shout that they have to protect Indian culture and show everything that is western as something that is evil and which destroys. Funnily enough, all those people whom I see protesting in the pictures of newspapers are wearing western clothes! Pants and shirts, jeans and t-shirts, that all is western clothing! How can you protest against western culture while wearing something that is so obviously un-Indian?

They see only what they want to see. So many western things are going on around them and they accept them in their life without thinking about them but then have a problem with Valentine’s Day. Is spreading violence really Indian culture in the country of Mahatma Gandhi? Many big leaders of these organizations have big fights in their families which to me, too, does seem rather western than Indian. They have fights with their own brothers, fathers and uncles and they separate and live alone rather than in a joint family as it is Indian culture. Indian culture is to live together in love and peace. They fight with and beat their own family members and then want to save Indians from falling in love on Valentine’s Day.

Radha and Krishna were not married either but loving each other. The whole country and every Hindu on the world worship them as a couple. They express their love everywhere, in front of all Gopis and people of the area. This is also Hinduism but the Bajrang Dal creates violence, pretending to be the ones to save Hinduism by keeping people from loving each other before marrying.

The idea that falling in love should spoil Indian culture is ridiculous. Expressing love should not be Indian culture but violence in the name of religion is? Can it destroy the Indian culture if a boy tells a girl he likes her before getting her consent to get married? Let young people celebrate love instead of poisoning the whole country with this separation on the name of religion. You are bringing people apart and making them hate eat other instead of instilling love in them.

I may not be in favour of all commercial advertisement and the concept that this is the day of love in the year but celebrating love on this day is definitely better than creating fear, anger and hate among people. For me, every day in the year is a day of love and you can celebrate being with the ones you love each and every day.


Lack of a Loving Touch Creates Loneliness in the West – 19 Jan 11

When I am travelling in the west and giving healing sessions, many people come to me and tell me about their loneliness. They experience a lack of emotional connections to other humans and they wish for the physical contact that I described in the last days. Just someone to sit next to, maybe a hug sometime or a loving touch.

Often however they also tell me that they have never or very rarely experienced this kind of loving touch. I have heard from many people whose parents and even grandparents never were affectionate with them. Even when they were small, they were never taken in the arm, never cuddled, stroked, kissed and loved in this way. Some say that their parents were loving people and just could not express it. Others don’t think that positively about their parents. Whatever was behind that, for some of them it is difficult to ever have physical contact with another person in a natural way. They just never learned it.

If they are lucky, they realize it and, with the same luck, they find a partner who can show them what it means to be close to each other physically as well as emotionally. They are the ones who fear physical contact the most although they also long for it the most. They need to learn from scratch what is so natural to others which is why many people have made bad experiences while searching for this touch of love.

Many times, when I hear this kind of story, I then hear that they have searched for another kind of love, another physical contact. Instead of the physical contact with humans, they choose to be close with animals. They have pets, a dog, a cat or another animal and love them just like their children. For me this is also obvious: your pet is a being, able to have feelings and to develop an emotional relation as the result of physical closeness. On top of it, it is so much easier to start an emotional relation with an animal than with a human person.

So whether it is in the west or in India and whether it is the connection with humans or animals, everybody needs physical contact and emotional connections. Without these, we are not complete.

Today we celebrated Tanya's 25th birthday and wished her all the best for a long life full of joy!

Perfectionism is not a Perfect Idea – 30 Oct 10

Two days ago I wrote about yoga teachers who want to be perfect in their exercise and their classes. I have felt many times however that perfectionism is a kind of western disease. I mean with this that it is very common in whatever country I have travelled. People live in a lot of pressure believing that they have to be the perfect mother, the perfect daughter, the perfect brother, the perfect grandfather, the perfect partner, the perfect friend, the perfect student and the perfect teacher. The problem is that this gives you a lot of stress, a lot of tension and in the end you suffer from burn-out or depression and you probably don’t do half of the things that you actually want to do simply because you are afraid to fail.

I personally make this experience again and again that you can be much happier if you do not have this kind of hesitation. If you see my English for example: I speak English although I know that there are mistakes in my grammar, pronunciation and even in my vocabulary! It has improved over the years but I have been giving lectures in English eight years ago already! You can imagine what the state of my English was in that time but I talked anyway and I am sure people understood what I wanted to say in that time, too!

What I want to say is, don’t wait with doing anything because you think you are not perfect. A perfectionist will have always hesitation but you can slowly leave this attitude behind if you start daring something! I have met people who said they would start speaking only when they will be perfect in the language. The truth is however, you will never be perfect and never have the power of expression that a native speaker has. So just start!

Perfectionism also creates inferiority complexes! You see anybody who does anything better than you and you feel bad. You want to sing and you know you ‘can sing a little bit’ but there is someone who sings much better, so you are shy! Your feet are twitching to the music but there is this other girl who looks so great in dancing, so how could you start dancing, you would look strange next to her! If you have this definition of perfection, you will never get to do anything! Even if you think you have reached perfection in some area of life, you will be so proud that it will be difficult not to show it off. And while you are just showing off how great you can sing, dance or do anything else like mental arithmetic, there will be someone just close by who suddenly is better than you. Someone who steals your show. How embarrassed will you be?

You see, you can try as much as you want, you will never reach full perfection better than anyone else and you will surely never be perfect in everything. The wish of being perfect is driven by the wish to be a master, an expert. If you can leave this wish and get into your mind that there is always a possibility to do it better, to learn something, you will be much happier. I like to think of myself as a student, not a teacher. Someone who tries everything to see how he can improve. Improvement is always possible but you are fine just as you are!

Does Religion Allow Men to Hit their Wives? – 20 Oct 10

News have reached us which shocked us and made again clear that there are so many places in the world where courageous people are needed to change the minds of many which will in the end hopefully change laws and religions, too.

In the United Arab Emirates the supreme court gave a verdict that a man is not allowed to beat his wife severely so that she gets marks or bruises. Of course this means in the same way that any man is allowed to beat his wife as long as he doesn’t leave any marks or bruises.

In the UAE the Sharia, the Islamic law, is not as strictly enforced as in other countries with a majority of people believing in Islam. In some gulf countries women cannot leave their house without a man. They cannot drive cars or walk on the street without male company. And of course men are allowed to hit their wives. The religious law says that a husband is allowed to beat his wife in order to keep discipline in his home and family. The Supreme Court says it is too much if she gets bruises. But what about daily domestic violence?

It is not allowed for a father to hit his daughter after she has had her first menstruation. Her husband will be the next person who is allowed to beat her if he thinks she needs to be more disciplined.

Does this really feel right to people living in the 21st century? I hardly can believe it. I have not studied religion or Islamic law but I want to ask those who did and those who believe in it, do you really think this is right? What is your definition of discipline? When exactly should you beat your wife? If she forgot to clean your shoes? If she looked at the neighbor and smiled? If she expressed her own opinion which did not quite match yours? Do you really think that these can be excuses for hitting someone? Because with this kind of law men will be allowed to do this! They will be allowed to ‘discipline’ their wives for any of such causes and law will be on their side as long as they don’t bruise!

To me it does not feel humane. It cannot be a healthy marriage and family if any of the family members feels the urge to beat another one. And if this is right by law, it will just start violence at home that can spread everywhere. You cannot stop violence in your country if you permit it in every home.

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Are Expectations allowed in Friendships? – 19 Oct 10

Are friends those people whom you love without expectations?

Of course, friendship means there is no expectation. This is like a golden rule. I have said and written this over and over again myself. However sometimes and with certain experiences I think ‘It is really wrong if you have even only a small expectation from your friend? Are expectations really that bad?’

There is naturally always the fact that expectations can be disappointed, they are a sign of attachment and you should love someone without expectations so that he or she does not feel any pressure from your love. If you do not have any expectation however, what makes a friend different from any other person whom you meet on the street? Don’t you expect from your friends that you can open your heart in front of them? You should even expect a friend to be the one who is there for you when there is nobody else. Otherwise why would you turn to him for support? If your friend cannot have the expectation that you will listen to him when he tells you about his emotions, then how can you call him a friend?

In a close friendship two friends have the sensitivity towards each other that before one of them even has an expectation or can express it, the other one already fulfills it. You have this connection of hearts that you know beforehand what the other one would expect. And you will fulfill it with much joy. Your friend has the question in the mind if he can expect this or not but even before he decides to expect, you give him what he wants. This even saves him of having expectations.

Expectations, if set too high, can always be disappointed. Expectations, if set too high, can create pressure. If you really love a friend however, I think some expectations do not create pressure but more love and closeness. They will not be disappointed as it is just natural for the other one to fulfill them and for you to fulfill his or hers. The expectations become a reason to love the other one even more. That is real friendship, when expectations just turn into love.

Limited Words vs. Endless Love and Emotions – 13 Jul 10

Today we had a beautiful Darshan in the evening. Of course the topic of hiding and expressing was in my mind and I talked again about an open expression of your thoughts and your emotions. You need to be able to express what you feel.

You should express your love, too. Love is nothing to show off but it is still something to show to the one you love. It is not nice to show off love but it is nice if someone shows you his love. Isn’t it beautiful to say or be told ‘I love you’? This is the highest words that we humans have for expressing love but how much is really in these words? That is why I believe that words cannot really express emotions.

Even if you express your emotions, it can sometimes happen that the other one doesn’t understand you. You want to express what you feel in your heart and you put it into words however the other person understands a fully different thing.

I believe words cannot be enough to express your emotions. Words always have a limit, no matter in which language. There are languages with only some words and others with a lot of vocabulary for emotions but they will never be really able to express the full extent of your emotions.

Because words have limits. Love and Emotions are endless. What is in your heart is eternal.

At the end of the Darshan I openly expressed that I am hungry, will have some salad and then want to have some ice-cream. And just very spontaneously nearly everybody stayed, had some fruit, salad or food with us and then we went to have a great ice-cream from this wonderful ice-cream parlour in Bocholt.

Importance of Expressing Yourself – 16 June 10

When I talked with my friend about expression, I also told about two words of Sanskrit or Hindi: ‘vyakt’ means expression and ‘vyakti’ means human. So a human is the one who expresses. It is very normal that you want to express, that you want to share with others what you have inside.

Sometimes it can give you much relief when you can express an emotion. Have you experienced this? You have something on your heart and you tell a friend about it and already while you are talking you feel how your heart gets lighter. Your friend didn’t need to do anything, simply your expression helped you to feel good.

In this example you can see how important it is to express yourself. It doesn’t have to be much, I don’t mean that you have to talk if you don’t have really anything to say. No, I mean that it is good if you learn to express who you are when it is important. Imagine there is an important discussion going on and the person whom you are talking to is talking much and in a direction that you don’t want. He is going to do something that you don’t agree with. If you cannot speak from your heart in that situation, he will not know what you think and probably assume you are of his opinion. The bad thing is that you will be suppressing yourself and your emotions. It might be helpful if you can state your opinion, just express it. And things may turn a very different way.

Expressing without Feeling – 14 June 10

Yesterday I wrote that you can only express a tiny part of what you feel. It is funny, when I said this to my friend he laughed: how many feelings some people must have if you judge from their amount of expressing!

It is true, some people talk and talk and I sometimes get the feeling that these people express much but do not feel anything. They say so many things from so many angles and about so many topics but if you go to the root of what they said, that sentence did not come from the heart. It was just a creation of the moment, something they said to fill the silence with words. There are so often just set phrases which are not felt.

There is a whole lot of set phrases which we use without thinking. ‘Hello – how are you – I am fine, thanks’ and ‘okay, see you next time – thank you for the invitation – have a nice evening – bye!’ are like standard sentences that you can learn by heart and just say whenever you want to welcome someone or tell them goodbye. But where is the feeling?

‘I miss you’ is another one of these words. How often do you use these words without even feeling them? Have you ever felt longing from the heart for a loved one who is not there? Do you really know the meaning of missing? When I hear words like these which feel artificial and unreal, I have to ask why it is like this? Maybe those who say it only learned the word but their heart does not feel it, it doesn’t know it! Their heart never missed anyone, never had the pain of longing for someone. And that is how they can say it without having a meaning.

You can only Express a tiny Part of your Feelings – 13 June 10

I had a talk with a friend about expressing the other day. We feel so much more than we can bring into our thinking. We think only a percentage of what we feel. And only another tiny part of what we think can be expressed. But when we try to express, we often lose the value. I can say ‘love’ but in this four-letter-word, there is not enough feeling! Even in my thinking it is much more than how it sounds when you hear it!

This is how I often feel that I cannot express my feelings. It is not about my knowledge of English language, I often cannot even express what I feel in my own mother tongue, in Hindi! There is a person of whom I know who could express his feelings in a much better way. I loved my grandfather’s poetry already as a child. I have already translated several poems into English but it is very difficult to bring the full value into another language. There is so much feeling in those discourses with his God. I was always amazed about how much of his feelings he can express. And then how much will he be feeling? Imagine, if this expression is just that tiny portion of thinking and of feeling!

I have already written about my idea of having a way of communication without language. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we did not lose the value of feelings in the translation into speech? If there was a way how we can express the whole value of the feeling?

Dealing with Misunderstood Messages as a Guru and after – 12 June 10

When you express something it is usually because you want to give the other person a message. You want to share something or you need information and express your confusion. And if the other person gets your message, he or she will understand what you want to say, give you an answer, hand you over what you needed or just keep in mind the information that you shared.

What if that message doesn’t reach its intended recipient though? What if the one whom you are directing it to, does not understand or understands it fully wrong? This sometimes happens to me, especially when I am talking on phone, so if the person is not in front of me. One reason is of course the language and another reason the culture, because you express things in different ways and can read in between the lines more easily if it is your language and culture. Well, it happens sometimes, often you can set things straight but sometimes it takes a lot of effort and energy.

I was wondering today why this has not happened that much before in my life but increased in the last years. And I believe, I found the answer to this, too. When I lived the life of a guru, I was just not approachable. I gave lectures, healing and counselling to people but I was always a little bit higher seated, somehow in a distance. That came with the profession of being a guru. And even after the cave, when I started travelling, there was still this distance. Nowadays I make it more clear in my talk and in my actions. I am approachable; I let people know that I am a usual, normal human person. And now anybody can misunderstand me, unintentionally or even intentionally and I deal with it personally. Well, I guess that is what comes with this little change. But I am happy about this change, too, because my life is beautiful and I am just very happy.