I remember that I celebrated my birthday in that year, the 14th October 2001, in London with that family who was expecting offspring soon. I was anyway there to give program and several people had gathered as usual to my lectures and rituals. They surprised me with the very first birthday cake of my life. In India we don’t have this tradition of eating birthday cakes, but I knew from television or stories that I had heard, that this tradition exists in western culture. So in London my birthday was celebrated in this way for the very first time. I think I remember that they had even written ‘Swami Ji’ on top of it. I enjoyed that celebration very much.
It was all in all a really nice time in London. I had several programs in different homes and houses in London, always with religious and spiritual Indian families. I liked being with them especially because it was different from what I knew from India but still familiar enough.
I was actually trying to be as much time as possible out of India as it had become too intense for me there. As I mentioned, after the cave I did not feel comfortable in my guru role anymore. In India, whenever someone came to meet me and I was sitting on a sofa or a chair, my visitors would sit on the floor in front of me. They would sit at my feet, looking up at me, wishing and believing that some wisdom, energy and strength would flow from me to them. This had started making me feel really uncomfortable after my time in the cave and it was this feeling which had made me leave India like this in the first place.
This was different in London. They were all religious Indian people but they were nevertheless a little bit western, too. They had respect and gave me love as a holy person but while I was sitting on the sofa alone in India, they were sitting next to me in London. They did not sit lower and in front of me but sat next to me, on the same level. There were still many traditional rituals and behavior but there seemed to be much less drama than in the scene in India. I felt more comfortable and felt as though I had made friends, rather than disciples.
In that time I had the feeling that it is really much better for me to do program in Europe, in the UK and in other places than in India, although the groups were much smaller.
While I was in Great Britain I also spoke to my Indian friend in Germany on phone again. He told me that I was welcome in Itzehoe, where he lived, and that I should come by and stay some days with him again. I decided to do this and this is how I found myself again in a plane to Germany, when all my program in London was over.