January 24, 2014

Our driver again

Believe or not, when we left for the airport at 1.00 AM, we were presented by the same driver who drove us from Amritapuri. Friendly and relaxed, he seemed to feel happy to see us again. We were quite surprised, because I had requested another driver for this trip. But OK. We will give him a second chance and will not interfere with our destiny. Karma in India always comes quicker to you than in Europe. So you never know really what life has up for you. Before reaching the airport, one has to cross a bridge and there is a checkpoint where drivers have to pay a small tax. And what happened here? The driver turned back and asked me: "Can you give me 10 roopies for the tax, Sir?" With a special accent on Sir. I said:"What?" And he repeated his demand. " How is that?" I said. "We have never paid this tax, that is the drivers job." "If you don't want, I can pay it," he said. I felt strange again with this guy. Until now we had never had such a request by any driver since at least 10 years that we crossed this checkpoint. Drivers always paid this tax without even mention it. That was included in the price for the whole ride. I gave him the 10 roopies and he paid the tax. But at the same time he lost his tip for the second time. And that would have been 10 time more. Because that was the tip I wanted to give him at the end of our journey.    

End of "Vamos a la playa"

We spend our last 3 days in Varkala in our room or just around the hotel and the restaurant. No way to go anymore to the beach, getting down these heavy steps, partially broken or unexisting. Vandana's knee didn't make it anymore. She had suddenly stopped with an painful cry and couldn't walk anymore. Parts of her meniscus were floating in her knee since some time, and now starting blocking the bending of the knee.
Some years back I had the same experience and I know how painful this can be. And there is only one solution to this: operation. Again an operation. They use some kind of vacuum cleaner to get the pieces out of the knee. It is not the heaviest of OP's, but still it means a new anesthesia and some weeks of rest.
A major problem could also be the flight back. Depending on the gate you have to reach in Abu Dhabi, you might have to run for 1 or 2 km. mainly if your flight is late.
But we made it all! Although the flight was 1 hour late from Thiruvananthapuram, we made it in time and Vandana was very brave. Pain was there but she could walk slowly and get through.
We had also a small session with the guys from theAswani, who gave us some special oil to use and so helped us to get over it decently. Thanks to all. 

January 13, 2014

Russian invasion in Varkala

If you think I'm exaggerating you are wrong! After serious consideration of the moslem population of Kerala (almost half) I made the experience of the Russian invasion here on the cliffs. In the windows of every shop along the path you will find small notes and stickers in Russian language. This indicates how serious the people here consider these new clients. And in the evening in the "Little Tibet" restaurant we had a large table of Russian guests next to us. They are not drinking water as the Indians here and the yogis or most tourists. No they drink their favorite stuff, i.e. vodka. And every 10 minutes or so they all got up with their glass filled again and shouted some russian mantras before emptying it again. I was somehow happy that they didn't start throwing cups and dishes in the air like the Greeks do. I felt strange, I must admit. Things are changing in old India. And I would say, not for the best. Very often also Russian people are very tall and big and have a corresponding voice. Many "sh" and "schtr" and such sounds make this language not softer. One bottle of vodka followed the other, also beer and whiskey made the tables look like a messed-up bar. Is it possible that the Russians invented the "coma"-drinking of our youth? Could well be. Anyway we had all interest in leaving soon.
But if you think all Russians are like that, you are wrong again. Near our bungalow is a Russian couple and they are Hare Krishna followers. So when we meet them, the man says with a deep voice:"Hare Krishna" and Vandana answers always: "OM Namah Shivaya". This is the other side of India.

January 10, 2014

On the way to Varkala

Today on our trip to Varkala, where we want to spend the rest of our stay in India, we had a strange surprise. Halfway our driver stopped in a little town and asked if he could go to the Mosque nearby for 5-10 minutes. It happened to be a special Friday and he wanted to do some prayer. We agreed not knowing what was ahead. He had parked the car on the side road where a lot of rickshaws were stationed. He left and we were sitting in this car, windows wide open and waited. People passing by looked often in the car with an astounded face. Someone asked us if we had problems. I had to say that, no, only our driver left for the Mosque and didn't come back yet. Then came a guy with a bicycle with onions and garlic and green fruits and parked just behind our car. Sometime later a big truck came and parked in front of us. In the midth of all this traffic and surrounded by cars and rickshaws we started feeling strange and uneasy. Suddenly my mind brought up a lot of terrorist stories from the last years, like the guy would go to the Mosque and get a bomb there and would come back and blow us all in the air. 2 non-believers less! That was all freaky and I got my 1000 names booklet out and started doing the recitation. Vandana thought we should phone to the hotel and tell them that we were stuck here like that. Finally, after 40 minutes, the driver came back. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, he said, but the prayer went longer then expected. I didn't know what to say and showed him to go ahead.
Before arriving at Varkala he started again with excuses. And told him not to worry, also that I respect his religion and all that is fine, but in business this is simply impossible. I was hesitating in giving him a tip for being such a believer and religious guy, but finally didn't give him none. It had taking us 3 hours from Amritapuri to Varkala! And we were sweating hot and tired by the trip.
What a pleasure when a guy from the hotel was waiting for us to take our luggage and show us our bungalow. After a nice shower and a cup of chai we were alive again.
So watch out for moslem drivers here in Kerala. And there are many. Maybe you don't allow them to go praying while you're waiting in the taxi!
Om namah shivaya

January 9, 2014

Kathakali in Vaikom

We had a great Tuesday in Vaikom, south from Cochin. It took us 2 and 1/2 hour taxi drive to get there from Amritapuri. Our friends Sunil & Laxmi had invited us to an evening representation of Kathakali at the Valanjamballam temple in Vaikom.
We had the great experience to follow the artists during their preparations, which means normally 2 hours of face-painting and dressing in these enormous costumes of the traditional dance.
The story was of the Mahabharata when the Pandavas and the Kauravas were playing dice and the Pandavas lost everything even their wife Draupadi which was the mistreated by the brother of Duryodhana, the king of the Kauravas. Krishna was the ambassador of the Pandava-brothers and helped Draupadi, when Dushasana, the king's brother tried to undress her and could not take away the shawl, which Krishna had lengthened unlimited. So finally Draupadi wanted this bad guy dead and wash her hair with his blood to overcome this insult. The job had to be done by Bhima, the great fighter, who finally killed Dushada and cleaned Draupadi's hair with his blood. But then Krishna had to calm down Bhisma, who had become like a wild animal by his deadly fight.
It happened that our friend Sunil was playing the role of Bhima and we could him watch painting his face and dressing, which was really impressive. See the pictures for self-explanatory commentary.
We were enchanted by the performance also by the singers and the great drummers involved in the play. Thanks a lot for the invitation. I forgot. Our friend Peter was also there. He had come 2 days before to see Sunil and Laxmi, who's performance he had admired on Xmas eve in Amritapuri.

Last but not least we went in the morning to the well known Mahadeva Temple in Vaikom. This Shiva temple is a very old and a very large one. In the main shrine rests a Shiva Linga said to come down from the Treta Yuga and is one of the 3 main places for Shiva devotees around that area.
You cannot see a lot of it, because it is almost in the dark with some candles around and some priests making all the time puja and offerings to it while a group of drummers mare playing in the venue. You have only some minutes to stay there and then people change again. Some women sobbing and praying loud OM Namah Shivaya or people stay there with folded hands and in silent meditation. I'm thinking of the living Shiva-Shakti in Amritapuri and realize that maybe a whole different area has begun without us knowing it.

Playing with the dices...

            Bhima in full posture    


The admirers ….

During Painting ….

The fascinated crowd…

January 5, 2014

The 3 cowboys (gopalas) from Amritapuri

3 old guys meeting here and exchanging stories, talking about astrology and adventures, about destinies, children, love and loved-ones. We have had really some great moments together. Scorpio, cancer and capricorn (ascendents), what a mix!

January 4, 2014


Thinking about our last darshan thursday evening around 6:45 PM.
My view of Amma, so close, so intimate. And the sudden realization that we start getting a whole new different view of Her by watching for long hours these huge flat screens.
The real face, who is so fragile, so delicate, so "tiny" and "small" compared to the TV screens. Her face is also much darker as on these screens. It touched my heart by the sweetness of its expressions and the softness and its gentleness. If pure love has a face, it has to be this one.

… I posted some time ago on YouTube a musical poem about Amma.
Here is the link:
Rose Petals

Here in the ashram we are at the moment at 50-60 dB loudness all the time, starting in the morning at 6:30 and finishing at 8:00 PM. In the hall you arrive easily at 90 dB and more.
So I believe it is the loudest ashram in India, and when you have survived here, you can go anywhere!
Try it. Kali will take care.

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014


Will it be happy? Or just ordinary? Or maybe worse? Who knows?
At least we have started it. 
With a lot of deep thoughts and reflections from Amma in Her New Year speech.
And finally with an unbelievable rocky hall full of people almost lifting up with that energy and power of these crazy bhajans.
And to conclude with a big fight for a cup of payasam.
Although signs are on decay, we hope to make the best of this year. And to realize some of our deep aspirations and expectations.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu 
May all beings in all the worlds be happy!