Our Work with Ayurveda doesn’t include Energy Work – 29 Sep 14

We recently had our Ayurveda Massage Training. It was very successful, the participants learned a lot and we enjoyed passing on the knowledge and most of all experience that we have made with Ayurveda massages and treatments over the course of years. There was however one point with which we did not feel very comfortable: the participants asked about the energetic aspects of such massages.

Ayurveda literally translates to the science of life. What we do in an Ayurveda retreat is to focus on your physical as well as mental issues, trying to soothe them and maybe even heal them. The massages relax the body and you are able to relax the mind with that as well. There are treatments for pain in back, shoulders, knees and other body parts. There are also treatments to relieve stress, depression and insomnia.

We don’t however work with energy.

No, we actually don’t even believe in energy! I know that there have been many people who have connected this science that has a measurable, real effect on the body with ‘energy’, something that is not touchable, measurable or explainable. Something that may as well not exist. I also know that many massage therapists, due to their religious belief, start a massage in a way that seems to me superstitious: they light a candle at a small altar, they touch their hands to the table and their head and make a prayer – for support, healing or whatever. We don’t do any such thing.

Through such actions of religious therapists and probably also lectures by religious Ayurvedic professors, a person not related to Ayurveda can very well get the impression that this all is a part of Ayurveda, that Ayurveda has something to do with energy. It is however, basically, a science with effects that can be proven.

It is you who presses acupressure points, who moves the hands over tensed muscles and who knows the techniques how to move the hand over a hurting joint! Of course you help the other one, of course there is a certain relaxing atmosphere and a sense of inner calmness that helps you do your job well. We think this all is related to you, your inner situation and your work, not anything from the outside. Apart from the psychological effect that it could have, we don’t believe any of those religious or superstitious actions is beneficial to you or the person in front of you.

Obviously, if you expect such a thing to be taught in our training, you will be disappointed. We cannot give you an instruction for a ceremony, ritual or prayer to do before you start a massage or treatment. If you would like to ask God, the universe or anybody else for support and request healing energy for the person lying in front of you, you are free to do that yourself. We won’t be able to teach you such a thing. Simply because we don’t believe in it.

Our participants left the Ashram happy and satisfied with the knowledge and practice they received. They may have missed that point of energy but we could explain them our point of view. What we have learned however is that we may have to make a note on our website, telling clearly that there will be no energy work involved. At all. It will help us getting the right people to our training and help them saving themselves from disappointment.

Bookish Knowledge Creates Confusion – 4 Jun 09

Many people have ego because they read many books and learned many things from these books. But people who have ego of bookish knowledge do not have wisdom. They often think they know so much but it doesn’t benefit them or others if they are inside empty. Bookish knowledge creates more and more confusion.

Often people try to make others smaller by showing off their knowledge from books. They want to feel great and show their ego. And ego creates more and more bondage to material. But that is not really vidya (wisdom). There is another Sutra: ‘Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktye’. This means ‘true knowledge or wisdom is what liberates.’ You have to watch your knowledge and see if it is binding you or liberating you.

We had a nice dinner with some friends and afterwards went to have ice-cream with them. And while eating we thought of the children in India whose food today was sponsored by ‘food for food’.

Knowledge and Wisdom make you Humble – 3 Jun 09

In Sanskrit there is a Sutra which says ‘Vidya dadaati vinayam’. Vidya means knowledge or wisdom, dadaati means giving and vinayam means humbleness. I think it is clear what the Sutra means: True knowledge or wisdom makes a person humble. And actually arrogant people do not really have anything except for ego. People think that ego comes when someone has much knowledge. But the truth is that if someone has real knowledge, he will not be egoistic. This person will be soft and humble.

There is an example with a tree. The tree which is full of fruits and has so much to give to others will bow his branches and leafs towards the ground. Only that tree which has no fruit at all is standing straight. I don’t know how really to translate this best into English, maybe I do not have the right words but the meaning of standing straight is like an arrogant attitude. And that is how I see many people who have nothing which is why they keep ego and become arrogant. Our life should be like that of a tree carrying many fruits. Humble, soft and happy to give to others.

Teachers and Students – Close Connection Required – 8 Oct 08

Today I had a lecture again with the yoga students and I mainly talked about the third chakra but also about their Yoga teacher training, about their wish to be teachers. I am very happy about their decision to accept Yoga in their lives and to give this also to others. They will be teachers so I also talked about my idea of how a teacher should be and what kind of connection teachers and students should have.

You know in older times it was called gurukul here. ‘Guru’ you know, a teacher. ‘Kul’ means family. So gurukul is the guru’s family, it is the place where students and the guru live together. Kings sent their sons to a gurukul at a certain age so that they also learn there. So there the students are learning and living, like in our Ashram and they feel like a family and consider the guru and his wife as their parents. Even the princes are in that time just together with the other students. The teacher sees them as their sons. They feel like the students are their own family. In this way they make the connection.

I told already about how I see the situation of teachers in the western world. There are so many teachers who do not like their job anymore because their students do not respect them. The students think they pay the teacher so he has to be there and teach them. On the other hand there are also teachers who do not teach with love at all. I have a great respect for my teachers. If I met the teacher of my primary school here on the street I could not pass without greeting him. There is so much respect and also thankfulness. The relation between a teacher and his student is a lifelong connection.

We say vidyadan, which means ‘the one who donates knowledge’. It is such a great donation: knowledge. People can give you food or money, but knowledge? Not everybody can give that. That is why the students are thankful. But when there is no feeling, when the connection is only a matter of calculation of money and hours, then what kind of relation is that?

I hope that these Yoga students, who want to become teachers and want to teach this wonderful science of live and spirituality, will make a close connection with their students. A connection of love and respect, as it should be when you are helping someone to integrate Yoga in their lives. In my opinion teachers and students should make a connection like a family. They have to come close together.

People of Vrindavan and their Relation to God – 5 Oct 08

I told the students that they are now on the land of love. They are here and they should enjoy this energy. And I want to say this to every one who comes here. From the outside Vrindavan looks like any other small town but if you ask anyone who lives here, they will tell you how special it is. In the scriptures it is written that even if God was standing just outside Vrindavan, the people of Vrindavan would not go to him. If he liked, he could come.

Many people who are living in Vrindavan decided that they will never go out of Vrindavan. They do not leave Vrindavan, not even for one minute. Some people came for Vrindavan because they want to die on this holy ground and that is why they don’t want to go out. They never know when death will come and they want to be in Vrindavan in that minute.

So many people who live here have a deep love to Krishna but mostly it is not how you would imagine the relation to a god. Here in Vrindavan Krishna is rather seen as a friend, just like your neighbour. He is a boy from our town. He played in these streets. In this way Vrindavan and people’s attitude is so beautiful. And in this town you will hear from morning to evening that people are singing and chanting. All the time you hear mantras and bhajans in the streets because people want to remember Krishna and Radha all the time. Like this they are always with God and always with this energy.

When I told this all to the students I also said that it is so important to feel this love and sensitivity when you are here. The knowledge you can get, even from books. You can collect as much knowledge as you want, there is no limit to that. But getting knowledge and knowing is something different. You can collect knowledge or you can get to know. It is a difference between talking about love and falling in love. There are so many things written down and you can read thousands of books but I would like you to feel it in your heart. I told the students that this is what I want to give them. I can talk for ages about things that they need to learn but I really would love it if they could feel it all, too. And I can see in their energy that they are really enjoying being here in the Ashram and in Vrindavan.

Today two lovers of Vrindavan arrived, who are drawn to the Ashram again and again by the wonderful energy. I am happy to have my friends Thomas and Iris here and I know they will enjoy their time as always.