A Sadhu says there is Gold – the Indian Government starts digging – 4 Nov 13

I am going to tell you a story now which may be hard to believe. But although it seems incredible, it is something that really happened in India. And yes, maybe India is the only place in the world where it is possible that such an idiocy can happen.

Some weeks ago, a Sadhu called Shoban Sarkar told the people around him that he had dreamed of a treasure. It was a treasure not very far away from where he was, in the Unnao district of our state Uttar Pradesh. The place for the treasure was supposed to be an abandoned fort of the 19th century. He claimed that this was not just a dream, according to him, there were really 1000 tons of gold and silver buried in that fort and if you just dug there, you would find it! But there was a catch: if you didn’t dig properly, all of the gold would turn into mud!

India is a country with a whole lot of believers. Believers are not limited to the general public however, there are also politicians and ministers who believe all kinds of things. Somehow the dream of this Sadhu reached a minister of the central government and with his help the ASI, the Archaeological Survey of India, was convinced that this story might be true. The ASI is a government body that takes care of memorials, the maintenance of historical sites and also the kind of digging that now started in said fort on government order.

The news was all over the media. It was sensational and of course there were also critical voices to be heard. A whole lot of money was going to be spent on a digging only because a so-called seer had a dream of a treasure? There were skeptical people like me who made fun or criticized the government for this decision. Others came out to claim a part of the treasure: the former king’s relatives wanted to have their share if something was found on their forefathers’ land!

TV channels arrived and placed their big vans and equipment next to the fort and did live telecasting from there! The prognosis was that if this treasure was found, India would be leading the world economy, as it was the biggest treasure that was ever found on earth! Suddenly that village was full of life, people had come from everywhere and with that crowd, there had to be more security! There was lots of policemen and security forces at all times. The villagers were not slow in taking their chance to earn something with their sudden popularity. They started selling samosas, chai, pakori and more snacks and food in little stalls and even just at the side of the road.

They were digging and digging for days! When they had not found anything for three or four days, attention slowly started to decrease. The first reporters started to leave and some people returned to their homes. The sadhu kept on encouraging people not to give up though. When after six or seven days they had still not found anything, the involved government officials were obviously getting worried about losing their faces. Searching for something to say, a government officer told that the ASI was not digging because of some man’s dream but because a metal detector had actually indicated that there was something! Another person asserted that even if they did not find any gold, it would be like a treasure for them, if they even found some old statues! Nevertheless, people started getting discouraged after a few days and when they left, the food stands slowly disappeared as well. On the 12th or 13th day of digging, they finally decided to close the project. They did not find the treasure.

Isn’t it incredible? How much money was wasted on this claim of some old man who obviously just wanted to have his fifteen minutes of fame? The Sadhu’s opinion is obvious: you didn’t dig properly. If you just committed to it properly, you would find the treasure for sure! What a country are we living in!?

From Harmless Charlatanry to dangerous Superstition – 2 Jul 13

My friend is not the only one who is stuck in between medicine and superstition. Here in India, there are so many people who know that they have to go and see a doctor when they are ill but they nevertheless would not skip the ceremonies and rituals that their religion and tradition thought to be right. Not only that – they even go to quite obvious charlatans who pretend to cure their diseases in miraculous ways. As I already said, their big problem is that they still don’t only rely on such methods, they need the doctor, too! There are so many examples of this that I thought I give you another one.

When I was a teenage boy, we were living in town. In the area where we lived, there was a man who was popular for being able to cure jaundice. He was not a doctor, not a pharmacist or of any similar profession. He was a Sadhu, a religious man who was believed to have reached such a high level of consciousness that his methods could save a jaundice patient.

When one of our neighbours fell ill with jaundice, I accompanied him to the Sadhu to seek treatment. The procedure was quite simple: The Sadhu gave our neighbor pieces of something that looked like tree bark, told him to sit down and place this bark on his head, slightly bending forward. The Sadhu took a jug in his hand and poured water over the head of our neighbor and of course over the herbs that were lying on top of it. The water in the jug was clear but once it touched the bark, it started flowing further in a deeply yellow colour over our neighbour’s face. The Sadhu immediately explained that this yellow colour was the jaundice leaving the body. Obviously the patient was amazed and hopeful that it would help!

I was already in that time, as a teenager, doubting the magical powers of this Sadhu, wondering what kind of herb or bark that had been – I was sure it was a chemical reaction of that thing and the water which made the water turn yellow. It may seem ridiculous to many readers but people believed this man and he was very popular for his ‘treatment’!

Needless to say however that our neighbor still went to the regular doctor… no trust in his superstition, no trust in the doctor either!

There are so many such people who claim to treat all kinds of diseases with magic-like methods. And there are many others who go to them to get treated on top of the medical treatment they are already receiving. They undergo surgery to have kidney stones, cancer cells and other parts of their body removed but additionally they ask a magician to do some tricks and create the illusion he had cured them.

This is on a relatively harmless level but when you go into the villages, in more rural parts of India, you will find that there is much more superstitious belief which even gets dangerous. People pay exorcists to get out the ghosts and spirits that have befallen loved ones – even if they are just suffering from a normal disease. These methods range from simply strange to cruel and thus highly dangerous for the victim. This is called ‘Tantra’ in India – and it brings you back in medieval times. People even in these times kill women who are accused of witchcraft.

Of course our neighbor or my friend would never believe that someone is a witch and should be killed. They are superstitious but on another level, not as much and still a little bit connected to the modern, progressing world. Nevertheless I believe that by their behavior they contribute to these extreme forms of superstition. They won’t let it die but keep on visiting charlatans, holding superstition alive!

The inner Conflict of a modern superstitious Person – no full Trust in anything – 1 Jul 13

One of my friends told me that he had once been walking in the dark together with two other people. They were walking on a normal Indian road, on the way to a meeting when my friend suddenly felt a sharp pain in his leg and cried out. The others turned around, torches in the hand to check what had happened.

My friend shouted that he had been bitten and seeing that he was grabbing his leg, turned the light of the torches towards his leg and foot. There, next to his left leg, they saw the familiar form of a scorpion and the sharp sting at the end of his small body. My friend had been stung by a scorpion!

The very first thing what he did, although scared about this sting, was to kill that scorpion. Anybody would do that, I think, in order to save another person walking on that way from being stung. The reason my friend had for his action went a bit further. He was convinced that he had to kill the scorpion right away, in this way less poison would spread in his body. Obviously that is superstition as the poison was already in the body and the scorpion away from my friend’s leg but that is even a mild version of superstition.

I realized the real amount of superstition when my friend told me that they straight away went to the next village Sadhu who knew about scorpion bites and spiritually enough elevated that he could remove the poison from the leg by praying.

Yes, they really found a Sadhu who, against a small compensation of course, worked his magic on my friend. He tied a piece of cloth tightly around his thigh, picked up some twigs tied into the shape of a broom and brushed down his leg, murmuring mantras. This drama was supposed to stop the poison from spreading and even remove it from the leg again. And indeed, my friend was convinced that he felt the poison move down in his leg.

Back in the car on the way home however, he faced an inner conflict: he was a studied man and had learned in university, in books and from every knowledgeable man he knew that one has to go and see a doctor after having been stung by a scorpion. He did believe, too, however that this Sadhu had succeeded with his work! Well, what else could he do than going to see the doctor? He went, bought his medicine and I believe even got an injection.

Of course he had no problems following this encounter with the scorpion – in his eyes he was double safe: by religious means and medical science.

I am writing this story just to show once more what superstition can do to an intelligent, studied man! In my eyes he had the feeling that something happened through the treatment of the Sadhu only due to his belief and the psychological effect that this had on him. I believe that the true physical treatment was only done by the medical doctor.

This man is in a very difficult situation because he will always live in the confusion whether he should follow science or superstition. Actually he doesn’t fully believe in any of the both! There is no trust that the Sadhu alone could have saved him and no trust that the doctor alone would have saved him either! He will first go to someone who treats him with divine powers and mantras and afterwards go to the doctor and pay there!

It is a mental problem that will never let this man trust or decide confidently. He will always try to find a middle way by doing both and thus losing more than earning! Someday, I hope, he and everyone else in his situation will see clearly that superstition won’t save anybody.

Religion’s starting Point: Fear – Religion’s Source of Income today: Fear – 28 May 12

Religion has existed for many centuries, no, even thousands of years ago people had religions. Those were religions different from the ones we have today. Think of the Greek Gods or the Roman Gods with their mystic stories, the Native Americans with their spirits and the Aborigines in a completely different part of the world. All these people, whether they lived in tribes or had started something that we call the ‘beginning of civilization’, spoke of Gods, demons, beings and spirits, something that we today call their religion. How come this was happening all over the planet? Because of fear.

Yes, it was fear that made them invent supernatural beings for very natural phenomena. They did not have an explanation for what was happening just naturally. Many of these natural events made them afraid because they killed people or destroyed their property like thunderstorms, floods, earthquakes or also contagious diseases like chicken pox. These and others caused trouble, pain and death and so people were afraid. But there were also natural phenomena like the rising and setting of the sun and the moon or sun and moon eclipses which did not harm them but which made them afraid because they simply did not know anything about them. What if the sun would not rise again the next morning? Or why was it suddenly getting dark in the middle of the day?

This is how the imagination of an unknown power started. There had to be something that controls all these things that nobody could explain. For some of them, it was one God directing everything that happens on the world. For others, it was several Gods, one for the sun, one for the moon and so on. In any way, it was something magical, someone or something that you cannot see, touch or communicate with and so they had to accept the only explanation they could find.

So once this idea was established that there is something or someone supernatural, magical, who actively controls all those catastrophes and nature in general, people thought they had a chance to at least try and communicate. Praying to those Gods started. Rituals were done and offerings were made. Maybe it worked through just a natural cycle or maybe by the strength of their willpower but they could not have known that and thought that their offering had had its effect. This is how rituals were established more and more.

But sometimes it didn’t. There were some people with whom it always seemed to work while others seemed to be never successful. This is how they made some people priests or medicine men, the ones who were in charge of communicating with the Gods or higher beings. They were thought to be special and were highly respected by the people in their surroundings who believed they could keep dangers away from them.

So you see, this all happened ages ago, in a time when people did not know what we know today. Religion was a tool to explain the inexplicable. Today we know that we don’t have to be afraid of thunderstorms and we know how diseases are spread – and how to cure most of them. We know that the sun will rise again tomorrow – because the world will keep on turning, just as it has turned for thousands of years. We know that it is the moon on its natural path crossing in between the earth and the sun that causes a sun eclipse. We know about the strength of willpower and what a human body can do in extreme situations. We know also about the limits of our body and our mind.

So when we know all this, why do we need religion? Why do we turn to priests, gurus or modern masters who are called by others or who call themselves enlightened? Why do we let some people exploit those who are illiterate and don’t know about science, physics and biology? Why do some, who even know about this all, still choose to rather belief a few cheaters, magicians and fraudsters? And why does religion, when we know this all, still cash in on false beliefs, create superstition and like to see people in fear?

You are living in modern times, you can take the advantage of what generations before you have researched, studied and found out. Value and respect their effort by leaving superstition and religion. Accept nature as it is and realize that you are responsible for your life. Take this responsibility and live your life.

Gurus pretend to achieve Siddhis in strange Rituals to attract Followers – 7 Oct 11

Yesterday I told about a case of a man who wanted to sacrifice his children in order to get Siddhis. Siddhis are however not only something which crazy religious fanatics try to achieve. No, many gurus pretend to have Siddhis and like to show them off to their followers who believe them instead of realizing that these are only simple magic tricks.

I have written about Sathya Sai Baba many times and explained how he did cheap magic tricks in order to attract his audience. And they believed that he has the Siddhis to materialize ashes, gold and silver. If he has this power, what else might he be able to do? There are so many people who believed this man to have supernatural powers and this is why they followed him and made him grow richer and richer.

When I was in Germany this year, I talked with a German woman on phone who had been involved with another Swami in South India. She admitted that what Sathya Sai Baba had been doing was only fake and wrong. At the same time however she believed that her former guru had real Siddhis! She told me about it and I have heard stories about him of other people, too. He makes statues bleed only by the power of his mind – or so they say. This woman told he did rituals in which he cuts himself in the flesh and throws pieces of his own meat and his blood into the ceremonial fire. Such rituals are described in the scriptures of some traditions of Tantra and are often done for the Hindu God Shiva and Goddess Kali. Both of these are related with death which you can often see in pictures of them. One of Shiva’s names is Kaleshwar, which means the God of time and death.

When the woman saw that he does such ceremonies, she was convinced that he must have Siddhis. How otherwise could he hurt himself in this way and take this pain? Why would he do this if he didn’t get anything back?

This woman actually was disappointed by her guru. She had been with him for a long time and had a lot of stories proving that he cheated many people, that he is a fraud, that he had promised many women he would marry them, that he sold artificial jewelry for thousands of Euro to his followers which they later found out to be fake. She nevertheless believes that he has Siddhis! When she left his organization, they threatened her and she was afraid but she kept on believing in his special powers.

Such gurus just impress people with their shows and make them believe with simple tricks that they have Siddhis. Only in this way they are able to exploit them properly because the followers fully believe in their supernatural powers and are afraid of what could happen if they said anything against those gurus.

I asked this woman to write her story and expose this fake guru but unfortunately she did not have the courage to come out and say his name in public. I have received an email from another person who also was disappointed by him but did not want to expose him because he himself was looking for Siddhis. I wrote about this man, too. I still have emails in which the guru’s name is clearly written but I decided not to write it until there is a victim who wants to expose him.

I believe in future there will be someone who will be ready to expose him. I know there are many who understood that he is a fraud, if you are one of them, you know it. Please come out, write and tell your story. You are the ones who have experienced it. I know the name but I will only point it out when I hear from someone who wants it to be revealed. There may be many others like you and by writing, you can save them from making the bad experiences that you made. I was waiting for someone to write me his story until now but as there has been nobody, I thought I post this here to encourage you to post your story in a comment or send it by email.

Don’t be afraid, nothing can happen to you, there are no such things as Siddhis! Speak out without fear and don’t let those gurus cheat more people by claiming to have supernatural powers!

Does Yoga Include Ritualized Sex Orgies? – 15 Oct 10

In the last week I have been writing about the opinion of a Christian man, Albert Mohler, who in his blog stated that Christians should not be doing yoga. When I read his blog I found a quotation of another person that Mohler liked that much that he added it in his blog:

“All forms of yoga involve occult assumptions…” and he adds: “While most adherents of yoga avoid the more exotic forms of ritualized sex that are associated with tantric yoga, virtually all forms of yoga involve an emphasis on channeling sexual energy throughout the body as a means of spiritual enlightenment.”

When I read this I had to smile. Even if you look up the word ‘occult’ you find synonyms like ‘secret, mysterious’ and an explanation about magic or supernatural powers. Now, if you have ever visited a yoga class, was it really anything about magic? That sounds as if someone confused Yoga with Satanism… but then you can read the next lines as an explanation: ‘ritualized sex…associated with tantric yoga’. Now we know what it is about: he believes real yoga classes to be like a secret meeting where people practice having sex.

Well, I actually do not wonder too much about this assumption anymore. He talks about ‘tantric yoga’ and the general and usual confusion in the west is that Tantra means sex. Unfortunately he is also not the only one who has this idea about yoga. Somehow when the ideas of yoga and tantra came into the west, many people accepted them openly and then added whatever they thought was missing in their previous belief. It is an idea of the west that yoga has to be associated with sex. I think one reason why some people see sex in yoga is because they were not happy with the restrictions that Christianity puts on their sexuality. It was too narrow for them, too much talk about sin and doing wrong. As not many people knew about the real and original meaning of yoga, it was easy to add or enhance the sexual aspect.

One thing is for sure: yoga accepts the whole human being as he is, including his sexuality, sexual urge and sexual energy. It does not exclude sex or see it as a sin as many Christian priests but also Hindu priests do. On the other hand it also does not especially include sex as anything extraordinarily important. Some people may have exaggerated the role that sex plays in yoga or tantra, but a normal yoga class is usually not an orgy or focusing on sex. Maybe we should invite Mr. Mohler sometime to join one, he might be surprised how simple and normal yoga is. Just a room full of nice and loving people, ready to do something for body, mind and soul.

No Supernatural Powers and not a Member of the Esoteric Scene – 14 Apr 10

It is great to have positive experiences with the new way of healing but I also noticed that there are some people who always used to come to see me for healing when I was here but when they got to know about the change of healing method, they were not interested to come anymore. I knew them personally, too, because of all the years that I have been coming here and this is how I can imagine why some of them don’t want to come anymore: they are deeply in the esoteric scene and actually would like me to believe in the same way in miracles, materialization and similar things.

I was never in that scene which people call esoteric and of course, if someone comes to me, I always try to bring that person more into reality and into the love, to bring him or her down to earth. Until now, I was trying this but I believe that many were thinking I was doing exactly what they expected me to, that I have some kind of supernatural powers. They thought for me in a different way and actually this was one of the reasons for my change. People should not see me in the wrong way and see someone who I am not. I need to make clearer what I believe. Now they have no reason anymore to see me in this light, in the light of a guru and miracle healer, because I openly say that I don’t want that. Maybe they say now that I don’t have any power or energy anymore to give them because I changed.

I welcome this, too, and I knew that it could happen with this change. It is good that people are filtering, that those, who do not fit at all and who can never accept what I am talking about, do not even come to me. When I talked with Sonja about it, we realized that another group of people is needed if those who were there before cannot make this change. I don’t want people to come to me and expect magic, because they will be disappointed. They will either imagine things which are not real or they will hear that I don’t believe in it and leave with a bad feeling or disappointment. It is nothing new, when people come to my lectures they come with a certain expectation and sometimes people also left again because I am just not that. I want to spare them their disappointment; they do not need to come. I want to be here for people who are serious, who want to work with their life and heart and who are ready to change their thinking.
 

Supernatural Healing Powers or just Nature – 22 Feb 10

Yesterday I talked about physical problems, about illnesses with which people went to healers for getting them cured. It is not only diseases but also psychological problems which then sometimes got healed like a miracle. As I said, it was usually not any miracle but just the natural strength of the body but the full credit went to the healer. It is nowadays unfortunately also still like that when people go to ‘modern healers’. And then the healer pretends that it was him who could heal.

I always say that it is dangerous to have this ego and think that you have this supernatural power. People might now say that I have done the same thing, that I was also in the guru business, in a kind of fake world. And I can say yes, I was doing the same thing but I changed.

Everybody has the right and also the task to change, to constantly work on improving himself, to develop the mind further and to get closer to truth. I changed and I do not believe anymore in the way that I did healing sessions and healed people before. Nowadays I have a very different approach, I like to be there for people to talk to, I like to sit in meditation with them or just be in silence. And a person who was in this drama can tell you best about it.

I was in the middle of this religious drama but today I feel that the real healing power is in each of you yourself. The right time, the right company, a loving touch, a hug and sharing words and emotions with the right person can help your healing process, that is true! But after this I would never take the ego of saying ‘I cured this, I did it, I healed.’ We are all a big family and if we are together and help each other, we can overcome a lot of problems, just with love.

Today was our friend Juergen's birthday and he sponsored food for the children and their sisters and brothers.

Sun Eclipse a Sign of Evil Powers – 20 Feb 10

There is no sure proof of when exactly our planet and all other planets came into existence. Scientists are able to calculate and say it approximately but in the end that, too, is like a rough guess which probably comes close to the truth but nobody can say it exactly. Scientists and research may have one thesis, one calculation of how it most probably could have been.

Religion however, which has its role in all parts of life and an own theory of how everything on earth works, of course also has an own interpretation about how and when this earth was created and how and when life started. Different religions will have different calculations and guesses which can vary very much from each other and again very much from what scientists say. And not only for the age of the planets, where scientists can only guess, for many natural phenomena, too, religion had and even today still has another explanation than the one proved by scientists.

In older times, when science was not as far developed as today, whenever our forefathers were not able to understand something, they related it to God, to religion, to a supreme energy, to the devil or to paranormal powers. They turned to religion for an explanation and it was usually provided.

If you see a sun eclipse for example: Hindu belief is that in the time when the sun is darkened, there are evil powers and sun and moon are in trouble. So when even sun and moon are in trouble, evil powers must be all around us and we need to take good care of ourselves. This is how in the time of a sun eclipse pregnant women and children did not leave the house. After the eclipse was over, they washed themselves and cleaned the house from all the rests of evil which might still be there. 

You may have difficulties believing it but people here still do the same thing whenever there is a sun eclipse, even if it is only a penumbral one. It is funny because it is just a normal thing that happens again and again and of course science has sure proof why this happens. This constellation with the moon in between sun and earth happens regularly and is nothing mysterious but this belief still stayed. Even some well educated people stay inside, keep the children inside and are afraid. For no real reason at all. Interesting to see how big an impact old religious explanations can have.

Today our dear friend Su arrived at the Ashram after a long journey and we are very happy to have her here again.

Do Not Cheat Yourself – 30 Jan 09

I like to work. In India many people nowadays become preachers or Swamis in a very fast way. They don’t really want to learn or study anything, they want to make money. This is how they look for a shortcut and they find it by just learning some hours of talk by heart which they have heard on a cassette a dozen of times. When they know this text by heart they just go and give this speech. They get their money although nobody of them can answer any question about what they just said.

Somehow I see this also in the west where people, who want to make a living in a quick and easy way, become healer, psychic and clairvoyant. Everybody has to do something in his life to survive, to earn money and to live, I understand that. I don’t understand however why people cheat themselves.

If all the people who do predictions and say that they have extraordinary powers are that much blessed with these powers, then why can’t they help our society in a more creative way? I could have been really very happy if someone could have predicted what happened in Haiti. Then we could have saved so many people and would have saved so many more from much grief and sadness. No, I don’t think it is possible and unfortunately there are still so many people who are cheating others and also themselves in this way.