Why do you call your best Wishes a ‘Prayer’ if you don’t believe in God or Religion? – 30 Apr 15

I started the week in my blog by telling you that prayers for the Nepal earthquake victims won’t help. The next day, I showed you a ridiculous comment, saying that also disasters were god’s good work, and my response to it, elaborating further on the karma theory yesterday. Today however, I would like to return to the initial question – the prayer. Why? Because several people told me they were not actually praying to god.

I got this answer a few times and while writing my blog posts, I had in mind already that there are quite a few people who believe in prayers but not in religion. Others don’t even believe in god but pray nevertheless. Again others obviously only use the word to express their feeling of compassion. I really would like to ask you why all these people call it a prayer.

I have myself made this change from a very religious person to an atheist and I understand that if you are on the same way, after years of a praying habit, it is difficult to just stop. And to stop believing in it. After all, the effect of a prayer is actually psychological: you repeat your wish, consciously and sometimes even with loud voice and thus confirm not only what your aim and wish is but also usually bring yourself to worry a bit less. You have the feeling you gave it into the hand of another person who is now responsible. People who don’t believe in religion anymore but still in god will hang on this thought. And those who even don’t believe in god don’t want to lose the benefit of this!

I tell you that you can still do the same – but I believe you shouldn’t call it prayer! This word has its whole history and is associated with religion and god. Why don’t you call it ‘expression of feelings’? Or maybe ‘expression of wishes’? It would be like a part of meditation, a conscious concentration on a certain thought.

All those who just use this word for a situation like the Nepal earthquake, when it is about wishing all the best to someone in a difficult situation, why don’t you just say ‘best wishes’? Express that you are feeling with and for the other one, that you wish him not only all the best but health, recovery, luck or anything that he needs and wants.

Now, for example, the situation in Nepal is still difficult. The Kathmandu airport has problems of space and coordination to get out stranded tourists and at the same time get in the international help. Rains have made support difficult and water is pouring down on people who are now without homes. Food, water and medical supplies are not reaching every needy person and the epicenter has hardly been reached.

These people need help. You can help by donating to a trusted charity organization. If you are able to, you can even volunteer for them to help with your hands. And if you cannot do either or would like to just express your feelings to friends, make it a wish full of love, not a prayer.

‘God is just doing his Work’ – Nepal’s Earthquake explained by religious Believers – 28 Apr 15

Yesterday I got such an interesting feedback on the thoughts which I also expressed in my blog entry that I thought I should share it with you so that you also know what kind of thoughts people can have. And maybe my answer is interesting not only for the person it was written to. No, actually I think everyone else may enjoy the answer more because it was absolutely not what the writer of the comment wanted to read. But see for yourself.

The comment started with something I had already assumed people would tell me: that prayer was useful because we were all connected to each other through a superior energy of which we all were a part. So far so good – I just don’t believe in this connection, so I don’t see prayer as helpful in this sense.

This person continued however in a different direction:

“…GOD is doing HIS work. We get the things according to our Karma, which we forget instead of improving upon it. GOD is beating our heart, pulse, running blood in our veins and most importantly breathing in & out. He has done his work by bestowing power to see, hear, speak, smell & touch etc. Etc. He id omnipresent. […] HE can never do bad for us but only Love us whether u trust him or not. Please do not misguide the fellow beings. “

So god is doing his work? I see, that’s how he killed all those people…

But you are telling me that we should accept whatever happened because it was god who did that. If you feel that it was something bad, it was that person’s karma, which is of course for the betterment of people. So even bad things are good – wasn’t that exactly what I wrote yesterday? That you should believe these lines if you believe in god?

Do that but I can only feel sorry for you if you think in this way! Isn’t it great, god is only doing good deeds! According to this, whenever a child is raped, it is just god’s wish, the result of this little girl’s karma! When children die without food or because they have no access to medical treatment, it is the fruit of their karma and everything just the way how god wishes it to be. Of course also the earthquake in Nepal only happened according to god’s wish! An obvious sign of god’s love – can’t you see that?

I completely believe that it is a waste of time and energy to argue with people who think in this way. You won’t be able to convince them. Sometimes it nearly hurts however that people believe such cruelties could be the wish of a supreme being and even a sign of love.

I got a well-wished warning that I should stop talking like this and take care of my karma. Don’t worry about me though, I actually don’t believe in karma and thus also not that any supreme will punish me for my bold words at a later point. That is your worry, not mine.

Instead of troubling my mind with such thoughts, I will help more children getting food and education, donate towards good causes and write about it so that maybe someone who reads my words gets inspired to get active, too.

In actions, not just in prayers!

Praying for Earthquake Victims in Nepal? To whom? The one who caused it all? – 27 Apr 15

Day before yesterday, the earth shook in Nepal, not at all far from here and thousands died! While we didn’t feel the earthquake in Vrindavan, it did reach all of our surrounding, even cracking walls in houses in Mathura. Obviously, we all are shocked by the extreme loss of lives and the widespread damage. Of course, we all feel with the families of the victims. Today however I would like to write, with all respect to the good wishes that everyone feels and wants to convey, that one thing won’t help the victims at all: praying.

I know exactly what I am writing here and am aware of the fact that many of my readers won’t agree with my words. A lot of people, even if they are not religious, believe in the power of prayers. That’s how they now say they pray for the victims.

I honestly feel it doesn’t make sense. I even would call it foolish. You can do something for these people with your hands and legs, by going there and helping yourself, by collecting helping goods or volunteering your time and skills to a charity organization. You can do something with your mind, offering your thinking powers to charities or thinking of people whom you could approach for help. Or you can help with your pocket, by giving donations to a charity organization yourself. If you can do any of these, do it and it will help. Your prayers won’t.

Why not? Because you are praying to that omnipotent god who caused the earthquake and the following misery in the first place!

Without his wish, not even a leaf on a tree moves. So how can the whole earth shake without him wanting that? Oh yes, it was his wish that made whole houses break down with people inside, his wish that made snow and earth slide down the sides of mountains, burying people and whole villages underneath them and his wish that crashed the bodies of thousands of people underneath ancient buildings that were once called World Heritage Sites. His wish that made so many women widows, men widowers and children orphans.

If this all was his wish, why are you praying to this god, who is worse than a monster, wishing for such cruelty?

If you believe in god and even now pray to him, you should accept what is written about him: he is the doer and whatever he does is good. Accept all the bad he did – there is no sense in praying him to stop or even make amends!

Homesick for the first Time in Germany – 5 Jun 11

So I was on my way to Germany again in November 2001. I had no program there but I decided to go anywhere. I wanted to spend time out of India and did not have many places to go to. I was happy my friend had invited me again and so I went. He picked me up, just like the first time and there I was, back in his flat in Itzehoe.

When I told him about the program that I had done in London, he had the idea for me to have a lecture in Germany, too. He happened to know another Indian person who worked at a Hindu temple in Hamburg. He phoned there, told them that he had a visitor, a Swami from India, staying with him here in Germany. They were happy to invite me there for a lecture. The next weekend, my friend and I took a trip to Hamburg to the Hindu temple.

There is not really much to tell about that lecture there. It was a usual temple, with deities and religious people who have a certain day and time during the week to go to the temple. Instead of their usual priest, it was me holding the lecture on day. For them it may have been a bit different from what they usually heard, because I have always been used to speaking more from my own mind than from another person’s interpretation of religious scriptures. For me it was a normal but nice day, doing what I was used to.

After this time with my friend however, there followed some days which passed in a way that I was absolutely not used to. Diwali time was coming and my friend had told me before already that he would fly back to India for Diwali. I was however invited to stay in his flat on my own, no problem.

I also expected it to be no problem. I did not expect to get homesick but this is what happened: I got homesick for the very first time of my life.

I am a traveller and have always travelled, my whole life long. I have spent many months away from home and I have also spent long durations of time alone, without anybody close to me. I had never felt this longing for home, for those you love and for being together with your family. Maybe it was the fact that I was in a foreign country. Maybe it was because it was Diwali time, the time of celebration and family in India. Or maybe it was that I was really alone in that flat and had nothing to do.

Whatever the reason was, I felt lonely and wanted to be back in Vrindavan, where my parents, brothers and my sister were celebrating Diwali together. There was no way to send emails or to chat because my friend had no computer. So I talked to them on phone for a while and listened how they told me what they were doing.

Apart from that there was really nothing that I could do. I spent my time doing really nothing except for my mantras, my daily ceremony and some prayers. I cooked and ate my food and slept.

One day I picked up the phone and called the number of the German doctor whom I had met on 27th May 2001 on the flight to Mallorca. With my broken English I asked him whether I could come. We agreed that I could come and stay with him for some days.

This is how I got on a train to Hamburg-Altona where he picked me up. In November 2001 I thus came to Lüneburg for the first time.

Personal Experiences make your Belief strong – 15 May 11

I mentioned that I had been doing touch healing already before my time in the cave and that I have got a lot of positive feedback. There was one experience which was very personal and which I would like to tell you about so that you maybe understand a bit better how this way of healing developed.

In one of the years before I went into the cave, maybe 1996 or 1995, my late sister Para discovered that she has a knot in her breast. She went to a doctor to have him examine it and after his examination he said that he could cut it out. That would be a relatively small operation and the best thing to do.

Of course we immediately made an appointment at the hospital in Agra. My sister was supposed to stay overnight, so we had rented a room nearby and had come with all the things necessary for such a stay in hospital.

Before the surgery however, the doctor did another examination and found that it was now not only one knot but several and spread in both breasts. The doctor looked worried and cancelled the operation right away. He said “She is still a young woman, only 18 years old, I cannot cut out that much. If it had been one, I would have removed it but now it spread. We should wait some time and if it doesn’t reduce in size or stop growing, we need to make a biopsy and find out what it really is.”

So we left the hospital, checked out of the hotel again and left Agra to go back to Vrindavan with a feeling of worry and unease. What if that was cancer? Something that could spread further and further through her body?

At home in Vrindavan there was also one of my closest disciples who had come to stay with us for some time. We told her why we had come back so quickly and she asked me why I did healing sessions with so many other people and had helped so many of them, too, but didn’t even try with my own sister. I considered this and in the evening, when my sister looked at me and said that I could try, I did.

When she went to the doctor the next time, some weeks later, he examined her and told her with a bright smile that all knots had vanished. We were all very relieved and happy about it and of course, we thought it was the power of the Mantras, the prayers, and the touch which had healed her of this. She did not have this problem afterwards anymore.

Today I can imagine that it had been some hormonal change that had made the knots disappear or any other process in the body. The prayers and mantras that I spoke may have made her more calm and relaxed and helped her overall well-being. I was however sure that it directly affected her physically, too, and so I continued reciting more and more mantras. I went into the cave, did even more mantra meditation and also used it in the healing sessions that I gave after my time in the cave, for example in London.

Positive Effects of Spiritual Healing – 8 May 11

When I told the woman in London that she should pray the Hanuman Chalisa, I myself deeply believed that this prayer would help her. When she reported back to me, several months later, that it had helped her and that she was now happy in her life without any black magic or love spells, it was not only she who believed that this was the power of the old prayer, I did, too. I was religious and believed that the Hanuman Chalisa had helped her, even though I did not believe that the love spell had had any other effect than a psychological one.

This was how I helped people in that time, already before my time in the cave. Sometimes we did a ceremony or ritual together, speaking many Mantras for health, well-being, good luck, success and prosperity and at other times only I spoke the Mantras while they were sitting there in meditation. And then I also did touch healing, against pain in certain body parts. If someone had back pain, I would touch their back and recite Mantras, if they had knee pain, I would touch their knee. People decided whether they wanted to roll up the trousers, take them off or just keep it on and I put my hand on the trousers.

My goal and aim was clear: I wanted to help people and I believe I did. I got a lot of positive feedback and people actually and in reality got relief from their pain.

In the whole time that I gave spiritual healing sessions, before and after my time in the cave, until today, approximately 85% of all people gave me a positive feedback. The expressions ranged from ‘I feel very relaxed’ to ‘I feel like floating in the air, my aura looks much cleaner and I feel connected to my angels’. Maybe 10% of people said that they did not know yet, that maybe it gave them something and maybe not. They were not sure. And only 5% or even less people said that it did not have any effect on them and that this did not help them at all.

Of course there was also media coverage about what I was doing – many times my hosts would organize TV or newspaper interviews. I remember an Irish journalist who had a little crush on me and wrote a very enthusiastic article about the healing session that she had.

Just as the woman who asked me in London to protect her from her black magic love spell, these people came to me with the expectation that this could be something that would help them and that is how they had all those emotions. Today I may think different about this and realize the work of the mind and the psychological process behind this recovery but in that time it was clear to me that this was the work of God through me and that this is what I was there to do.

And so I did all of this. I gave lectures and did ceremonies and afterwards people approached me and asked me for help. I came to their houses to do ceremonies there for their home and family, I did rituals with them and their children to pray for a good future and I touched them and prayed for them to heal their pain. With every positive feedback I got a confirmation that strengthened my belief further. It worked! I was happy that I could help through this work and I thanked God that I could give people relief, trust and love in this way and with His support.

Prayers for the Survivors of Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan – 14 Mar 11

Of course the news of the earthquake, the following tsunami waves and the two explosions in the nuclear power plant in Japan have also reached us here in Vrindavan. We have been watching pictures and videos from Japan in the last days, wondering how much more suffering will come over the people. The first news was that of the earthquake. Already many people lost all they had. After that the waves and floods of the tsunami started carrying away cars, ships, houses, trains and everything they could find including people. And now thousands of people have been evacuated from the area around Fukushima, the nuclear station, where already two explosions made people fear radiation. Everybody is afraid that there may be another, bigger explosion and the radioactivity would leak.

It is even difficult to see these pictures, they just melt your heart and you can only imagine the situation of the people there who are suffering there. What can we do for them except for praying? We can only wish them the strength to bear it, stuck in the catastrophe, many without belongings, many without water and all in fear.

I have just seen one image, a hundred children standing on a school roof, the school surrounded by the waters of the Tsunami, waiting for someone to rescue them. They are alive but they have nothing to eat, nothing to drink. They are only standing there and waiting. There will be many stories which are much more painful than this and it just makes the heart sink.

We have seen the Tsunami in 2004, too, and many times in history nature has shown how powerful it really is. We claim to be powerful but in reality we are not. How much can change from one night to another!

This morning the whole Ashram family and all school children said a prayer together and in silence thought of all the people in Japan who are suffering, sending them our love, also to those who are providing help and trying their best to rescue others.

Pictures of land before and after the catastrophe

Food Camp in Flood Affected Area – 31 Aug 10

As we had been planning, Purnendu, Yashendu and Ramona went with altogether 20 people and brought big pots, gas for cooking and food to the area where the houses are flooded. We know a man who has an Ashram there and as it has two floors and lies a bit higher, it is one of the few buildings in which the water has not entered yet. This is where the kitchen was set up. They left around two o’clock and came back at six.

When they came back, Ramona told me about the situation there:

“It has become even worse. We had difficulties finding a place to park the car somewhere close to the boat that now takes people to their homes. Where there were cars and rickshaws before, everybody now has to wait until this one boat has unloaded everybody and is empty for them to climb on.

For reaching to our ‘food camp’ we had to walk through knee-high water and people had marked a way with bricks in the water to make it a bit easier to walk. When we reached there, we saw a woman standing in the door and crying. She showed us her house which was standing in the water, big cracks in the walls and already starting to fall apart.

Many people had already gathered in the Ashram with the hope to get food. They had to wait until the vegetables were cooked and the bread was ready but then they all came with pots, plates, bowls, glasses and even plastic bags to fill the food in. We saw that some children came two or three times but who would tell a child of three or four years that it should not ask for more bread? We also know that some people took more so that they can put some food aside for later. They are not sure when they will get the next meal. So we distributed and distributed until the buckets were empty.

On the way back we went by the children’s houses and saw that also there, the situation has become worse. Those rooms which were dry two days ago also have water on the floor now. Sanju, one of the boys, wanted to go home and stay with his mother. But she told him to go back to the Ashram, at this area there are too many mosquitos now and life has become difficult. It was a long day but it is wonderful that we could help!”

We also asked the owner of the Ashram and he agreed on keeping even more families there who need a dry place to sleep.

I want to thank everybody who donated after yesterday’s newsletter and diary! It is only with this help that we could go there today and give these people food! We will publish the donors’ details on a later day, at the moment we are just very busy helping and thinking of ways that we can support those families. And thank you for the mails with best wishes for the children, their families and all people in the area.

I was surprised today that some people who have always been talking about their love to Vrindavan and our school children did not give any sign of compassion. I would have thought to receive a donation from these people first but even if not a donation, then at least a few words telling that they are sending prayers and good wishes. This is a critical time and we would wish to have everybody on our sides with their support, thoughts and blessings.

Anyhow, my thanks again to everybody who already helped and everybody who is going to in the next days!

Pictures of today’s food camp and new pictures of the flood situation in Vrindavan

 

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How to Love a Criminal – 5 May 10

As always when I am here in Luneburg, I am working with my friend Dr. Michael Kosak together for his patients. And there were two people this time who asked me very similar questions. They both worked in a field where they have a lot to do with criminals and crime, with ‘the bad guys’ and those who do not fit into the system. One of them said that he had difficulties protecting himself against the feeling of anger and against this brutality that these criminals have. The other man told me that he had difficulties dealing not with those people who did the crime but with the angry attitude of his colleagues and superiors who did not seem to have any feeling for the situation and how it could be better.

To both I said that it is sometimes easier to love others than to love yourself. But you need love for yourself and then you can pray for others. If you love yourself, you do not need to ask me for any protection against these criminal energies, you will feel how this love is spreading from you. You can wish well for others.

It will be difficult to say that you love the criminal and you do not need to. You do not have to go and hug him, it is not possible. But you can be a well-wisher and you can pray for him that at some point in his life he will see what is right and what is wrong. The love that you have for yourself will spread in this way with your good wishes. It is respect for the person who is there, just because he is a human being, just because he is here on this world exactly as you are. You do not like what he does but for the soul you can say your prayers.
 

Move your Mind not only your Mala – 10 Feb 10

Mala Ferat Jug Bhaya Fira Na Man Ka Fer
Kar Ka Manka Dar De Man Ka Manka Fer

Kabir is saying here:
A lot of time passed turning your mala but your mind did not move,
Put away the beads from the hand and move the beads of your mind.

I love the lines of Kabir as he makes so nicely clear that the act of turning of the mala is not what makes you achieve anything. He says that for years you have been doing this ritual of turning the beads of your mala or rosary but your mind did not reach anywhere else.

I already said that I am not against using a mala. When someone is doing mantra meditation, the mala brings him back if the mind starts travelling. This is what the mala is for. But if it only becomes a tool for counting, then your main focus goes to the counting of how many rounds of your mantra you have done. Was it one, five or ten rounds? This is not important!

Unfortunately we use the mala for showing off how devoted we are and then use the counting for measuring this. Kabir is also saying that this is not the sense, it is not meditation and in this way it doesn’t bring you anywhere. It won’t give you anything else than some more ego for how many prayers you have said. Praying is not about counting. You want to move your mind, don’t lose this aim!