"Imitation is the best form of flattery"

Photographie, Malen mit Licht, Farben, Emotionen, Gefühle, Ausdruck, Mimik & Gestik, Poesie und Prosa - Bilder, Worte, Posen, Tanz, ... besser kann ich es im Moment eben auch noch nicht für mich definieren, "Kunst" eben, im weitesten Sinne des Wortes.

Freitag, 29. November 2013

Trevolta - Crowdfunded Travels

Here comes a new project of crowdfunded "travelling" to get
the funds for realizing ones projects,
which is currently in the Beta-Testing phase
so we both, me and Stephanie
are currently in the queue, waiting to get access to
the platform,
patienly waiting in line.

If interested, you could please use one of the invite links
below to push us forward in the waiting line, at least three
successful invites are neccessary for this.

Anyway, it seems to be a great concept for travelling photogs,
writers and journalists to get funds and report along the way
with their stories, experiences, pictures, thereby interacting
along their travels with the sponsor creatively reacting on
their wishes in a constructive dialogue.

We hope it it will work out for us as well, Kalachakra 2014 is
coming for sure in Ladakh next year, some travelling with no-
mads is planned as well, the char dham yatra to continue with
our long-term sadhu project and well, Thomas can celebrate
10 years of "Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar" in 2014 as well
as hoping to meet some of the buddhist nuns along our ways.

So it would be nice to become part of this new platform, being
either Beta-Testers or check it out later on when it opens up
for everyone..



  Thomas Wilden
Social Media & Photography

Stephanie's invite link

Thomas' invite link

Crowd-funded Travels

Plan an extraordinary trip and get it funded by inspired people, amazed friends and generous sponsors!

"Come, sit down, relax, ... no tension !"

Om Nama Shivaya

Thomas Wilden


Stephanie Meyer

Mittwoch, 20. November 2013

Riverside Rendezvous at Kumbh Mela 2013

Sadhus, Pilgrims and Tourists are meeting Students, Photographers & Filmmakers, Journalists - ... on "Riverside Rendezvous", a Kumbh Mela photographic reportage.

Ten young Italian artists, tell us first, with uniqueness, taste and talent , about
the Kumbh Mela, an event of extraordinary importance:

The gathering of more than 80 million pilgrims from all over the world , on the banks 

of the confluence of three rivers, two of which are real, the Ganges and the Yamuna 
and the third, virtual, mythical and invisible: the river Sarasvati.

The report, which will transform visitors into explorers of spirituality , uses an impor-
tant contribution photo, obtained by selecting thousands of shots, and an exceptional documentary.

Both are a beauty, refinement and creative energy never seen before.
The Italian artists and their academic training in and outside Europe have played a very important role.

Both the photographic exhibition to the movie, that emphasize the unprecedented dialogue between Hindu religious culture and Western culture, the latter attracted in recent years by an increasing number of people fascinated by the deep religiosity Indian and the mildness of the population that is purified in
cathartic waters of the sacred river.

The inauguration (September 18 , INVITATION ONLY ) in addition to the authors that we will talk about their wonderful trip and PopEye association to which they belong, will attend and speak Marco Zolli , a distinguished expert of India, founder of a cultural center in Benares
where he welcomes and teaches Hindi Italian students.
At the end, for the welcome guests there is a special Indo-Bars with authentic Indian de-
licacies. (The date for this event is already in the past, the text remains unchanged as geiven by the text's source.)

The documentary premiered national absolute (with reservations required ) on Septem-
ber 25, in the presence of Mario Zanot (friend of the writer Tiziano Terzani from whom 
he collected the last interview and witness almost certainly inspiring a movie on Master), 
is the direct account of an experience nothing short of exceptional and a unique festival, shared by millions of people , through three different looks and mix of three different parallel stories : 

that of a Western traveller, that of an Italian "Sadhu" and that of an indian pilgrim.


Comunicato Stampa: Dieci giovani artisti italiani, narrano per primi, con unicità, gusto e talento, il Kumbh Mela, un evento di portata straordinaria: il raduno di oltre 80 milioni di pellegrini da tutto il mondo, sulle rive dove confluiscono tre fiumi, due dei quali reali, il Gange e lo Yamuna e il terzo, virtuale, mitico ed invisibile: il fiume Sarasvati.

Il reportage, che trasformerà i visitatori in esploratori della spiritualità, si avvale di un importante contributo fotografico, ottenuto selezionando migliaia di scatti, e di un documentario eccezionale.

Entrambi sono di una bellezza, raffinatezza e slancio creativo mai visti prima d’ora. L’italianità degli artisti e le loro formazioni accademiche europee ed extraeuropee hanno giocato un ruolo decisamente importante.

Sia la mostra fotografica che il filmato, danno rilievo al dialogo inedito tra cultura religiosa induista e cultura occidentale, quest’ultima attratta negli ultimi anni da un sempre più alto numero di persone affascinate dalla profonda religiosità indiana e dalla mitezza della popolazione che si purifica nelle acque catartiche del fiume sacro.

All’inaugurazione (18 settembre, SOLO SU INVITO) oltre agli Autori che ci parleranno del loro meraviglioso viaggio e dell’associazione PopEye alla quale appartengono, sarà presente e interverrà Marco Zolli, illustre esperto dell’India, fondatore di un Centro culturale a Benares dove accoglie e insegna Indi a studenti italiani.

Al termine, per i graditi Ospiti è previsto uno speciale Indo-Aperitivo con autentiche delizie indiane.

Il documentario, proiettato in prima assoluta nazionale (con prenotazione obbligatoria) il 25 settembre, alla presenza di Mario Zanot (amico dello scrittore Tiziano Terzani dal quale ha raccolto l’ultima intervista e testimonianza quasi certamente ispiratrice di un film sul Maestro), è il racconto diretto di un’esperienza a dir poco eccezionale e di una festa unica, condivisa da milioni di persone, attraverso tre diversi sguardi e intreccio di tre diverse storie parallele: quella di un viaggiatore occidentale, quella di un Sadhu italiano e quella di un pellegrino indiano.

Dal 19 Settembre 2013 al 04 Ottobre 2013Milano
Luogo: Museo d'Arte e Scienza
Costo del biglietto: intero € 8, ridotto € 4
Telefono per informazioni: +39 02 72022488
Sito ufficiale: http://museoartescienza.com


PopEye opens Mestre Film Fest

PopEye opens Mestre Film Fest

Riverside Rendezvous official trailer (from PopEye)

A documentary by PopEye about the Purna Kumbh Mela, one of the largest and most important religious festival in the world, as well as the most crowded gathering of
people in the human history.

Between January and March 2013 more than 100 million people reached Allahabad city,
at the confluence of three rivers: Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical invisible Saraswati.

This one-off event is told through 3 different views: that of a Western traveller, that of
a Sadhu and that of an Indian pilgrim.

The straight story of lived experiences offers a reading that goes beyond biases,
enriched with a creative, conceptual and pragmatic surge which applies to the
very nature of the travel.

The documentary - which is currently in post-production - will be released in
September 2013. http://vimeo.com/67633143


PopEye Productions - THE PROJECT KUMBH MELA 2013


PopEye is an interdisciplinary international circuit that connects students and young experts in the fields of Anthropology, Economy and Visual Arts.

The first activity of the PopEye group will lead to a documentary about the Purna Kumbh Mela (litt. “complete” Kumbh Mela), one of the biggest and most important religious festivals all over the world.

According to the Hindu calendar, this pilgrimage leads millions of people to the confluence of three rivers: the Gange, the Yamuna and the mythical and invisible Saraswati. The festival is set every 12 years in four different cities (according to the cosmological influences of planets and constellations).

The most important of those cities is Allahabad, where about 60 to 70 million people gathered in 2001 during the Maha Kumbh Mela (the “big” kumbh Mela), an event that occurs every 12 Purna Kumbh Melas (once in 144 years).

The next Purna Kumbh Mela will be in Allahabad between January, 27th and February, 27th 2013. Allahabad, which counts a million inhabitants, rises on the Gange, in the Uttar Pradesh region, 600 kilometers away from New Delhi. During the festival a very special town, named “heavenly city”, rises near Allahabad.

It is made of a big mass of tents where pilgrims coming from all over the country use to live during this period of time. In Hinu tradition, the pilgrimage is seen as a purification trip, culminating in the ritual bathing in the Ganges river.

This special experience is shared by millions of people and has attracted in the last years a huge number of tourists from western countries, fascinated by Indian tradition and by the peculiarity of the event.

The equip will work in this framework: the fieldwork will be set in Allahabad and in other cities where the religious pilgrimage and the western tourism will be more remarkable. Aim of the research will be the production of a documentary of about 30-50 minutes of duration.

The production and filming will least about 50 days (from January, 15th until early March).

A website will be created starting September 2012. Its task will be to start sharing pieces of news and editorial articles to make known the project.

Moreover, during the fieldwork period the website will help the audience following the Kumbh Mela and the production of the documentary live. Pictures, videos and articles will be added every day to create a complete overview of the happenings.

A very special kind of research group comes out from this poliedric sum of competences, able to operate out of classical schemes. With its activities, the equipe aims to deeply analyze ethnographical events by different views, with a special focus on the multi-
disciplinary aspects of the research.

Popeye - Ethnovisual Association (currently working on projects in Africa & Italy)


PopEye – Ethnovisual Association is an international group which gathers young people involved in anthropology, visual arts, journalism, economics, law and linguistics coming from European and non-European universities.

My personal "Riverside Rendezvous" with Popeye - Ethnovisual Association (Productions)

Meet & Greet my friends:

Anthropologist Marta Mira Talpelli ("The Lady who knows it all")

The almighty witch who is holding my hand, answers all my questions and plans to do her PhD on the Italian Holy Men, the Sadhus of Italian origin.

Besides that we share a common interest into the Aghori Sadhus and their "terri-
fying" tradition of proving Shiva.

Anthropologist & Photographer Giacomo Mario Dei Rossi (The "Mobile" Man)


Italian Sadhu Iswara Giri Naga Baba ("The Hippie")


Sending all love, light, and blessings.

The corresponding text is under construction and will follow after a short delay.

Inconcenience regrettted.

"Come, sit down, relax, ... no tension !"

Om Nama Shivaya

Thomas Wilden


Dienstag, 12. November 2013

"Ram Nam Satya Hai" - "The name of Lord Ram is (only) truth."

"Ram Nam Satya Hai" (The name of Ram is truth) is commonly chanted
while carrying a dead body to the cremation ground in India and Nepal.

This recitation implies that the dead body no longer sustains the truth
(breath) which is Ram Nam.

The dead body devoid of the breath or Ram Nam has no value whatso-

Ram is total truth as earth and universe is. 

Why do people in Hinduism say 'Ram nam satya hai' when carrying 
the deathbed of somebody. What significance does it hold?

Ram Naam Satya Hai literally means [only] truth is name of Lord Ram

Ram here means manifestation of supreme form Brahmatman. Thus a 
dead body devoid of breath and soul have no meaning and no existence. 
Only a live body because of soul (atman) which is connected to supreme 
God (brahmatman) has any existence. Human body is mere vessel for 
Lord's presence.

In short, this chant says that leave everything to God for that's only truth.


Ah, but that is not the whole story. Actually, people would chant:

Ram nam Satya hai
Satya bolo mukti hai

The next line is the matter of import. The first line says that the name of Ram is Satya - where Satya doesn't mean 'truth' per se, it means a whole lot more than just truth - and 

the second line goes on to say that speaking that which is Satya leads to Mukti - again, Mukti here doesn't just mean salvation but more.

So, there you go - the people carrying the dead chant the name of Ram for Mukti of 

the soul from the materialistic considerations of life as they carry the body - which 
is the link of soul to the material world - for cremation.


For most, it could be just remembering God in a time of grief, nothing else. 
A chant ritual.

It could also be random conformity --Second guy doing it because the first one 

is doing it. First one may be doing it because he saw it in a Hindi movie. 

Second guy can't ask questions because understandably such situations are not the 
best place to enquire Why should I do this! It could completely be a chain of random-

When it started though, I think that it probably meant a reminder that death is in-

evitable and the departed would soon merge with God as God is the ultimate truth. 
Follow the truth and you would attain peace.


"Ram Naam" holds the meaning "the name, Rama", which carries devotion 
to Lord Rama (an avatar of Vishnu) in itself.

"Ram Naam Satya Hai" (The name of Rama is the truth) is chanted by the troupe, carrying a dead body to the crematorium. The continuous chattering in a loop implies that the dead body is no longer a truth (has no breath) which is the name RAMA. Anything without the name RAMA has no value, whatsoever.

Another reason is, utterance of Rama, would redeem you from all the bad thoughts flourishing from the interaction with the external world and helps somebody to look 

within into ones own reality. 

The two letters RA and MA in the Hindu manthra Sastra are called the Beeja Aksharas 
which have the power to drive away the ominous and bad thoughts that would pile up 
within us while interacting with this mundane external world. 

Utterance of RA MA will keep one away from such attachment. 

RAMA is the embodiment and personification of Dharma, the righteousness
which is the the ultimate TRUTH or Satya. 

Utterance of 'word' Rama besides driving away the bad tendencies and at the time 
of  death the utterance of Rama will redeem the person on the death bed from his 
erstwhile bad deeds and bad tendencies he reared.

Also, someone came up with the idea that when spoken loudly means Hindus 

are carrying dead body to crematorium, so people understand this and clears
way and other obstacles.

There are so many reasons that have been identified for such a ritual.


It denotes that this life, world ( & the life of that person, or ours) is all 'Maya' (illusion). 

Only true is the name of Ram (which here means God). 
In the Hindu philosophy, soul never dies - it just changes body. 
Only the body dies & with that, these worldly relationships. 

To draw attention of those attending the funeral & by-standers, to pacify & calm down 
the minds of family members & nears/dears, from the shock & accept this eternal truth, this is the utterance.


"its religion"


Why Hindu tells at the time of death"Ram naam satya hai"?

You mean chant instead of tell, right?

Ram Nam means "the name Rama", which can imply either devotion to Rama, the 
avatar of Vishnu, or as a name to the ultimately formless, all-embracing Absolute Brahman. 

Rama's name is often chanted or sung within the many traditions of Hinduism. 

A popular mantra is Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram (often prefixed with "Om"), 
which was popularized in western India by Samarth Ramdas. 

In Mahabharata lord Shiva states that uttering "Rama" three times equals to 
pronouncing thousand other names of God.

The mantra was often used by Mahatma Gandhi.

"Ram Nam Satya Hai" (The name of Ram is truth) is commonly chanted while 
carrying a dead body to the cremation ground in India.

Neem Karoli Baba encouraged the constant repetition of "Ram" in order to become 
closer to God, saying "By taking the name of Ram, everything is accomplished." 

Tyagaraja the great composer of carnatic music regarded music as a way to experience 
the love of God. His songs were on Ram Nam. He attained kapala Moksha on January 6, 1847. 

Brahmasri Paruthiyur Krishna Sastri the great exponent of the Ramayana received a mantrobadesam to say Ram Nam at a very young age and ever since then“ Sarvam Rama Mayam ” - everything was Rama for him and all what he did all his life was Ram Nam Japam. He was a great Pravachan Pandit and attained Kapala Moksha in January 1911.

Swami Ramdas is a well known example of a modern day saint who attained Nirvana through constant repetition of "Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram" and established Anandashram, where this mantra is sung continuously from morning to night.

(Arvind Chauhan - Ram Name satya hai "it means ram ka name lai - kyoki ram saty 
bolte thai")

Thus Name Ram is equivalent to the Omkar naadbrahma. When you recite your soul 
is ready to have mukti. Their is a chance that the Atman of the particular Jeeva which 
has just passed away will get free from the sansaar chakra, if recited by others who 
are performing last rituals. 

Hence this is like a giving best wishes to the atma of the dead person.


As I understand from the scriptures the two powerful manthras that one can recite
without any break are the 'Vishnu Panchakshari' and 'Siva panchakshari'. Krishna is
one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu only, so both are the same.

The two Panchaksharis are:

'Narayanaya' and 'Namassivaya'. 'Ra' in Narayanaya and 'Ma' in Namassivaya have
been isolated coined into one RAMA. This has been derived from the Vishnu and Siva consciousness, both being the same and this also indicates that there is no difference between the the Visnu and Siva chaitanyams (Divine Consciousness).

Uttering RAMA would redeem you from all the bad thoughts flourishing from the inter-
action with the external world and helps somebody to look within into ones own reality.

The two letters RA and MA in the Hindu manthra Sastra are called the Beeja Aksharas
which have the power to drive away the ominous and bad thoughts that would pile up
within us while interacting with this mundane external world.  Interaction will develop attachments like 'I' and 'mine'.

Thus selfishness etc enter into our lives. One becomes possessive. Utterence of RA MA will keep one away from such attachment. RAMA (Sri Rama, the hero of the Great Indian Epic Ramayana) is the embodiment and personification of Dharma, the righteousness which is the the ultimate TRUTH or Satya.

Utterence of 'word' Rama besides driving away the bad tendencies and at the time of death the utterence of Rama will redeem the person on the death bed from his erstwhile bad deeds and bad tendencies he reared. This is the strong belief of Hindus.

The namam of RAMA therefore is the synonym for the ULTIMATE TRUTH OR SATHYA.

My understanding of Bhyagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba


This sentence when spoken loudly means Hindus are carrying dead body to crematorium,
so people understand this and clears way and other obstacles.

Besides at the departing time Hindus recite God's name loudly for probable benefit to departed soul.







Ram Nam

Ram Nam means "the name Rama", which can imply either devotion to Rama, the
avatar of Vishnu, or as a name to the ultimately formless, all-embracing Absolute

Rama's name is often chanted or sung within the many traditions of Hinduism.

A popular mantra is Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram (often prefixed with "Om"),
which was popularized in western India by Samarth Ramdas.

In Mahabharata, Shiva states that uttering "Rama" three times equals to pronouncing thousand other names of God.

The mantra was often used by Mahatma Gandhi.

From a practical point of view, the remembering of RAM NAM is actually reorienting to our true self. It is akin to a proper physical, instinctual, emotional and intellectual (holistic) stance that enables us to live in a way conducive to individual and global blossoming. As per Gita (9th chapter), if we remember God (i.e. true self) by any name, we succeed in individual and universal blossoming.

"Ram Nam Satya Hai" (The name of Ram is truth) is commonly chanted while carrying
a dead body to the cremation ground in India and Nepal. This recitation implies that the dead body no longer sustains the truth (breath) which is Ram Nam.

The dead body devoid of the breath or Ram Nam has no value whatsoever.

Ram is total truth as earth and universe is.

 "Rama Guru" 
"Ram Nam Satya Hai" (The name of Ram is truth)
Rama Guru died this year just five days before Shivaratri due to a heart attack, when he did what he
could best, making some chai.

Since his cremation at Harichandra Ghat, one of his five daughters, who have taken over the chai shop
on the steps of Ganga-ma in Varanasi, puts the first glass of chai every morning into Ganga, "for Papa".

I usually got the second glass every morning. It still leaves me speechless, literally "without words".

He was also my "papa" for the last 16 years, the father of my five sisters and the husband of his be-
loved wife. He lived a calm life being content with himself and the occasional chillum, he left calmly,
after the marriage of his fifth and youngest daughter, his life accomplished, but way to early for me.
"Rama Nama Satya Hai."
The corresponding text is under construction and will follow after a short delay.

Inconcenience regrettted.

"Come, sit down, relax, ... no tension !"

Om Nama Shivaya

Thomas Wilden


Montag, 11. November 2013

League of Bloggers 2013-14 (by Ajay Jain)

This is a grouping of the best bloggers across genres.

Anyone who publishes content on user-generated interactive media. This includes Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo and other simi-
lar platforms.

Membership is open to quality bloggers only. An annual review will decide who is in and who is
not. And a badge will be provided for the year to select members. There is no cap on the num-
ber of members though.

Lots of stuff. Engage with brands and companies collectively. Promote one another. Learn from each other. Have meet-ups. Make a joint pitch to advertisers and sponsors. And have a lot of 
fun together.


If not done so already, fill out the form linked here so we can review your blog:  


Ajay Jain, +91.9910044476, ajay@ajayjain.com

The corresponding text is under construction and will follow after a short delay.

Inconcenience regrettted.

"Come, sit down, relax, ... no tension !"

Om Nama Shivaya

Thomas Wilden


Dear Friends,

we are happy being able to tell you now, that we got invited, applied for membership
and got accepted into Ajay Jain's "League of Bloggers" with our humble little weblog
about the Sadhus and the Kumbh Mela 2013 in Allahabad / India.

"... we are just working on our new blog about the "Babas" (the Sadhus) and the
      Kumbh Mela 2013 of Allahabad/India.

  It's kind of a long-term project, moving along at a snails pace at the moment, because we are
  taking our time considering how to write in the best way for western and Indian readers alike.

 "East meets west along the sadhus way" is our main topic and we hope to  manage the Char Dham
  Yatra next in 2014, meet some sadhus & chelas (westernand local), trying to understand a little 
  about their ways by walking in their footsteps."

That's a big honor for us, but also a heavy burden to work on this difficult topic of renouncing 
and taking the sadhus way in the 21st century.

We will do our best, trying to become your teachers (and chelas) in sharing our experiences, 
our happiness, our questions asked, problems solved and answers found along our path.

Feel free to join into our journey, read, wonder, fear, cry, laugh ... and maybe get inspired 
for a similar project in your life.

Your journey will start with the first step, you just made it by reading this far.

Om Namo Narayain
Stephanie Meyer (Story-Telling & Social-Media)
Thomas Wilden    (Photographie)

Mittwoch, 30. Oktober 2013

"Westerners are constructing their own yoga and tantra"

Rampuri Baba Talks with Ilya Zhuravlev and Tim Rakin


Shri Mahant Baba Rampuri

Ilya: Our last interview was in 2006, so what has been happening in your life
since then? What about your books, your teachings?

Rampuri: During the last few years I have had an exposure to social media, through which I have been able to participate in many conversations on internet, hear a lot of thinking on internet from people who are interested in yoga and Indian tradition. It informed me about which seems to be going on in modern movements of yoga and spirituality not just in the West but also in India now.

Ilya: My next question is about the western yogis. Nowadays many westerners are practicing yoga and even though many of them are interested in Indian tradition, they yet seem to view yoga as a complex of exercises to improve their health. Most of them treat Indian stories as mere fairy tales and think of India as a country of magical stories and fables. Even having accepted the basic principles of dharma, westerners find it difficult to become blind believers like simple Indian people. This question dates back to the times of first westerners coming to India and starting yoga practice, so what is your opinion on that?

Rampuri: The way I see it is whether foreigners see it as fantasy because of disbelief or whether they completely believe it - I think both sides are fantasies. I think there are very few people in the West who are capable of seeing anything in Indian culture. I think that in fact the western knowledge of Indian culture is autobiographical. When western people are describing India they are actually looking in the mirror and describing themselves. This is because of the nature of our cultures, that is the western world represents the rest of the world, it speaks for the rest of the world, it’s the agent of it. The western world doesn’t see that the rest of the world is capable of representing itself, for speaking for itself, so it must be spoken for. So, this is the foundation from which we look at eastern culture, Indian culture, discuss it and get into it. So, from the very beginning we are in trouble.

Now, having started in the beginning, we super impose on our quest many assumptions that we don’t examine very carefully. For example, a very common assumption is that sacred text is one of the main focuses of study of Indian culture mysticism or esotericism. Of course, this is a conclusion, an assumption that we should bring into looking at India. Why? Because how do we study, how do we acquire knowledge in the West? We go to school, and then they send us home at night where we have to read so many books with so many pages and at the end of the week they give you an exam on which you have read the book and if you memorised it well - then you get a good mark on your exam and if you didn’t memorise it well - then you don’t get a good mark. So, from the beginning we make an assumption that the way that one acquires knowledge is by studying, by reading.

Next thing is that we look at major religion, that informs us about religious behavior and activity, which is Christianity, and we notice that in fact on the basis of Christianity the category of religion is defined and that category of religion basically has a sacred text as it centre piece, a sacred text, a deity and a doctrine. So we assume that in looking at another religion, such as the religions of India, that it too must posses a sacred text and that sacred texts must be central to practice of religion or mysticism. We in the New Age bring in an assumption of what is called perennialism, that all mystics are basically having the same experience, that all religions are talking about or having as their goal the same thing. And this is almost entirely unquestionable in the New Age and the yoga movement. And yet, how do we come to that determination?

Probably the first person I know of, that made this point very strongly was Aldous Huxley in 1946 in his book called “Perennialism”. In his book he made an effort of collecting the quotations from texts from all different part of the world, from all different cultures and religions. And he juxtaposed them next to each other and sure enough be reading all those quotations from all different cultures and religions we see that “Oh my God, it looks like they are talking about one and the same thing!”. But what we don’t consider is that he selectively chose passages from all the religious texts and that all those religious texts were translated into English and of course all things look the same.

The problem with perennialism and sort of universialism is that the more you come up with the elements that seem to tie all the religions together, the more dilute that religious experience becomes and in the end by the time when you can tie everything together the end product is unrecognisable by any of the traditions. This is Christian idea as well as political. This is politics that there is one God and that God I have a connection with and if you think you have a separate God you are wrong, because my God is the true God. And this is way oversimplifying of course, but at the end of the day this is basically what is in operation. And with diversity allowing authority to be local instead of universal this does away with that problem and I think a considerable matter of politics. So, we bring many assumptions into looking at Indian culture and the assumptions basically are so numerous and so all encompassing that what is left is nothing, you have no room to move, you are squeezed in to a tight room of your assumptions and there is little left to be explored. This is the what the weakness is.

 A book about reclaiming our Speech: the source of our knowledge, 
power, peace, and prosperity - by Baba Rampuri.

Tim: So, tell me, as a person who knows India from the inside - is there what we, westerners, call magic?

Rampuri: You see, we are running up against the same problem again, which we are going to continue to run up against. And that is that we have a structure with dealing with this material that is different from dealing with this material in a traditional culture. We are referencing science, for example, as the normative paradigm, as the normal situation, and then we see something that is unexplainable by science and we treat it as magic, because it is not science and yet we experience it, so it is magic. But you see, we are framing the question and we are framing the experience in terms of science, we are already making an assumption that science is the normal. Now, if you take, say, yogi in Himalayas, he is not taking science as the normal, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in science, that he doesn’t use science, of course, he uses it, but his normal is the mythological world, his normal is the magic that happens out of guru disciple relationship, the tradition of this relationship. So, when there is something extraordinary happens, the person whose normal is science would call it magic, the yogi might call it revelation. Not magic, but revelation. So, in other words the beholding would be what they call in Hindi or Sanscrit “Darshan” rather than “Magic”. It is the difference of orientation. It is very comfortable for western audience to fictionalise Indian yogis, but where does it get us unless we are selling the film rights, if you know what I mean. It is crucial to identify the assumption, to identify who we are, who is asking the question, even though it may be very difficult to exercise. Because, whoever is framing the question is predetermining the answer.

Ilya: You have once during one of our talks interestingly pointed out the role of Vivekananda in creation of the modern yoga for the West, which in fact was his mission articulated by his guru Ramakrishna. Nowadays, we can see that physical yoga as well as some parts of Hindu tradition becoming more and more popular in the West, often taking different forms depending on the surrounding environment. There is, for instance, such thing as “Californian Hinduism”, for example Bhakti Fest in California, where the stage is built in the middle of the desert and over 2 thousand people come to dance and chant mantras. It rises a question whether it is only a matter of fashion, or these people have some sort of a karmic connection, why do they sing bhajans without even understanding the meaning of lyrics? May be without even realising it, people are drawn to Indian tradition by karmic connections, or it is merely in vogue these days? What is your opinion?

The Matrix of Sacred Speech

We are in a global civilizational crisis, our Speech has been diminished, our languages degrading, & thus, the control of our own lives and thoughts. I am making a call to reclaim our Speech. 
Speech plays the determining role in our consciousness.

Rampuri: Look at the ways that western people practice these things - they are all physical ways, whereas in terms of the mental, or let`s even call it the non-physical, western people have no access to whatsoever. Physical is hatha yoga and anyone can learn physical exercises.

Ilya: But kirtan is not exercises.

Rampuri: Kirtan is singing. Everybody sings, everybody has been either in church or in a rock-n-roll concert, singing in a shower or bath, everybody can sing - you just listen to the tune and find the words. And all this clapping and dancing or whatever people do during bhajans or kirtans, which anybody can do, because there is nothing that has to go on outside of the physical realm. So, any place where you find physical realm sure enough westerners can participate completely, westerners can become very good Indian musicians, Indian dancers, hatha yogis. But when you enter into the non-physical realm, which includes the mental, the spiritual and all these kinds of things, then unless the western person does a very serious deconstruction and identifies all the baggage, all the assumptions, all the mythology that one brings into a quest, it is just impossible, because the conclusions you reach are from looking the mirror and not from engaging the other. It is by projecting the same rather than engaging the other. This is what separates these two realms.

Ilya: So, are you implying that there is no connection whatsoever between the people singing “Om Namah Shivaya” in California and of those in Himalayas?

Rampuri: Well, obviously the syllables are the same, so there are resemblances.

Ilya: So, in your opinion people, following “Californian Hinduism” can`t have real Bhakti or darshan of some deity?

Rampuri: I think they can have darshan of a deity and I think that they can perform Bhakti and they can do all those things, but the way that mysticism is measured in the West today, and this is another assumption that we bring in, is that mysticism is measured by experience and it is experience that describes mysticism. Again, going back to what I`ve said before - experience is constructed and if you construct a world which allows a darshan of Ganesh, then of course you can have darshan of Ganesh. If you construct a world where enlightenment is closing your eyes and seeing neon golden Om, then you basically can have any experience that you construct in yourself. So, it is very curious that different people of different religion have a mystical experience that is consistent with their tradition - Mother Teresa had a vision of Virgin Mary and not of Shiva and Himalayan yogi has a vision of Shiva and not of Christ. So, people can have any experience, but it is not separate from how they construct their way of having experience, the way that they build their cultural artifacts, knowledge artifacts, linguistic artifacts that is all is going to determine their experience in the end.

Ilya: So, no assumptions for westerners - no Shiva, no mantras, no rudraksha beads?

Rampuri: Of what use are the assumptions when there is darshan? You must understand, that what I`m saying is not that you should loose or give up your assumptions, but to question and identify them. Once you have identified your assumptions and framed the question, then what you are examining opens up on its own. Categorising assumptions as something bad because they colour our experience is a feature of a post-enlightment modern world called moralism. Do not give up anything but just be aware that such things exist.

If we are through cultural and linguistic conditioning are determining our experience - if Christian mystic have revelations of Virgin Mary and Hindu mystics have visions of Shiva is there such a thing as pure experience? What is curious is that this I can see as a dividing line between modern western discourse at its higher angles, at its higher reaches and traditional India, because I think that it`s pretty much unanimous in western discourse that it`s not possible to have a pure experience, that pure experience does not exist. But you have to bare in mind, that people who are determining this are members of the academy, they a disciplined people and they have methodologies of their thinking. And in their methodologies of thinking the articulation trust and belief does not exist. So it is not a issue that they have or don’t have a trust, in Indian tradition on the other hand even the constructivists or whom you might identify as such, they allow the possibility of pure experience. So what we do, is we take this idea of pure experience and turn it into an ideology, which is not what is done in Indian tradition, where pure experience is not in terms of ideology.

Ilya: Now, I would like to talk about the contemporary issues of the yoga movement from different perspective. What we see now, is that even many of the Indian yoga teachers start to copy western yoga teachers.

Rampuri: But if you look at the very first Indian yoga teachers they were all very westernised people: they all spoke English, they were all from somewhat urban middle or upper-middle class backgrounds and what they started with was very much western influenced and surprise-surprise western people liked it! It somehow seems familiar, comfortable and right. Isn`t this incredible that something from so far away can seem so right. There is a good reason for that, because it was built on a Western structure to begin with. So, then the western people take it back to the West and now again it`s coming from the western people to the Indian people, because what Indian people can bring to yoga is authority and this is a difficult thing for people in the West to establish themselves. So what happens is that you take a Baba, for example a particular a youngish Baba in his mid-thirties and he gets invited to go overseas. He goes overseas to a European country and everyone wants him to teach them yoga, but not Hinduism. So, over the next couple of years he learns the yoga, the hatha yoga, that people do in the West from a couple of his students and becomes a successful yoga teacher in Europe because he is seen as the authority. And I`ve discussed this issue with the Baba and he replied that these people don’t want to learn Indian tradition they just want to learn hatha yoga and so he teaches them that.

So, what I have obtained from my numerous conversations about the western yoga is that there is a focus on a Krishnamacharya teaching of intensive asana practice, there is a focus on tantra also, but the focus is completely misplaced, because what they are talking about in terms of tantra is as much a construction as the way they are constructing yoga.

Rampuri Baba, born William A. Gans (July 14, 1950), an American expatriate, has lived in India since 1970, when be became a Naga Sadhu (a Hindu monk of Naga tradition). He became the first foreigner initiated into ancient order of Naga Sannyasis. He is the author of the 2010 book Autobiography of a Sadhu: A Journey into Mystic India, (originally published in 2005 as Baba: Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Yogi), which has also been translated into German and Russian.

:: Autobiography of a Sadhu ::

After traveling at age 18 from his native California to India in 1969, Rampuri was 
drawn to the Naga Babas, an ancient and wild order of naked yogis whom he 
calls the "Hell's Angels of Indian Spirituality."

Organized into a sect by Adi Shankara in the 5th century BC, the Naga Babas see 
themselves as the ultimate protectors of the Sanatan Dharma, or what we call 
the Hindu religion.

Rampuri became a disciple of a Naga Baba, a master shaman sadhu,from Rajasthan 
and, as foretold by astrological prophecy, soon found himself the first foreigner to 
become an initiate of the Juna Akhara, the oldest and largest grouping of Naga Babas 
with more than 200,000 sadhu members.

But the spiritual path isn't quite what the young Rampuri expected, as the tantric 
murder of his guru presents a riddle to the young man that he must solve, requiring 
an inner journey of self-discovery, as well as the outer "Journey of the Hero," in order
to know who he really is.

From drinking the "Nectar of Immortality" at the source of the Ganges River to alle-
gations of tantric murder, this autobiography is filled with true accounts of magic, 
miracles, ghosts, and austerities, with lessons on Hindu gods, ayurveda, mantra, 
and Indian culture woven throughout. 

Through his journey of extremes, Rampuri takes us into the mystic heart of India. 

The storytelling in Autobiography of a Sadhu derives from Baba's travels in India, 
making pilgrimages to a "crossing point between worlds", the hidden entrances 
to these other worlds, the meaning of "darshan" the beholding, achieving immortality, 
the transformational mission of the alchemist, being both subject and object of the 
alchemical experiment, expanding one's articulation, Indian scriptures and words: 
their relevance to experience, Indian culture and the oral tradition of naga babas 
the "yogi shamans", the search for new meanings, gurus and their communication 
of self-knowledge, the distortion of Hinduism by India's colonizers, the book of the 
world, the mother goddess and her fruits spread across the world, the uncluttered 
mind of the yogi and his connection with the goddess, and amrita the elixir of im-

Source of Interview & More Information: 
Rampuri Baba's website:  

Autobiography of a Sadhu

Autobiography of a Sadhu: A Journey into Mystic India

Druvinka has made a new painting, The Mother of Speech, which will be the cover of the book.

Druvinka Puri

the determining role speech plays in our consciousness, in our experience of life, and how we know ourselves, I'll get into the Masters of Speech of ancient and medieval India, their lineages, teachings, and practices, how we may employ them in our lives, as well as our current situation of the peak of Mass Media dominating us, and what we can do about it.


Sending all love, light, and blessings,


The corresponding text is under construction and will follow after a short delay.

Inconcenience regrettted.

"Come, sit down, relax, ... no tension !"

Om Nama Shivaya

Thomas Wilden