This is the story of Ekananga and her reason for being here in India.
I never wanted to go to India, I was always scared of India. I always said that I will never go there, that I want to go to America. When I was a teenager in the seventies, India was very fashionable for the Hippies. I was dreaming to be a part of the Hippies, but I thought: “When I will go to India, I am going to die there.” Actually, nobody was asking me, to go there.
I’m from Germany. As a child I was very unhappy, living in an unhappy family. My family comes from Czechoslovakia. They were expelled from their country because of the war and later they fled from East Germany to West Germany. They were traumatized and I grew up in an atmosphere of permanent despair, sadness, and frustration. My family was not able to integrate with the western society and so, even I born in West Germany grew up like a foreigner, not even able to understand the common dialect there. I grew up as a refuge child, although I was born there.
When I was two, I developed a serious illness called leukemia and I spend a lot of time in a hospital or at home in bed. I was very skinny, very weak, and full of pain. Miraculously, I overcame the disease at the age of four and a half and I could go to school at the age of five.
I guess, all this heavy suffering and loneliness in early childhood gave me the knowledge and the right questions, that there must be true happiness in life, but where and how to find it? It is not here, where I am, but where? As a Child I was looking in other people’s gardens, or, when I saw beautiful windows, I thought: “It looks so beautiful, there must be happiness inside.” or “this family is so nice, there must be happiness.”
As a teenager, already in that time influenced by movies, I was convinced that I will find happiness and „true life“, in all the illustrious places, I knew from TV, like Nice, Cannes, New York, London, etc. At the same time, I saw myself as a cowboy, riding in the Wild West. So, over the years I visited all the famous places. But where was the happiness, when I was in front of the famous Casino in Monte Carlo or Empire State Building, or in Hollywood, or in the Island of the South seas, staring at the so-called “beaches of Dreams”. Each time being in one of these well-known places I expected that it will be exceptional. Life continued like this and I still felt empty, sad, and lonely. I sat on many very beautiful and famous beaches. I saw whales and dolphins. I traveled through Australia and around it. I remember these huge, wonderful cliffs at the seaside on the South coast… So I had many experiences of this kind.
It dawned on me gradually, that there is a serious mistake in my perception of reality. “My life will change when I change the country and place.” It does not work like that. My mind, my way of thinking, my fears, my memories, my loneliness are always with me! And if I do not change my view, my perception, and knowledge about the world, I will still create the same suffering, because karma is our mind. I will always choose the same friends and do the same stupidity because I am still the same person. Wherever I am, I always create the same environment, because my mind is the source of Unhappiness, nothing else.
But how can I change my mind and how can I find the remedy for my sadness in life?
Looking for happiness
So, after a failed trial of a relationship with a man (of course, it was another attempt of gaining happiness and sense in life) in Germany, again I wanted to find out about the truth. I went to Australia again, I was 40 years old. I left my friends and I abandoned everything. I went to Sidney, bought a camping car, and drove off for 6 months with this vow, not to make any connections to people and not to talk to anyone. I truly wanted to find out about myself, without getting influenced by anybody. Once in the morning, when I was very miserable, I realized, that there is nobody to blame for it. There was obviously no reason outside for my mood, there was only my own distracted mind. But after many times of realization, what’s the cause of suffering, where is the remedy, how can I change it? I still didn’t know.
Finally I found in Queensland, Australia a Buddhist Center, and for the first time, I heard about the nature of the human mind, about the illusion regarding the world and ourselves. Anyway, I started to practice Meditation, I felt deeply happy, there was a place, made for me… I thought.
I tried to keep this knowledge and the practice, but in the end, I could not find a satisfactory solution, a true goal in Buddhism at all, and finally, I gave in. I gave in and stopped my search for anything beyond my material life, of working and superficial relationships. “Maybe there is not more to life than this.”
But again I was so angry that I had to give up all my hopes. I remember that the next day, a few months after I arrived in Berlin, I was sitting in my new apartment and I asking, deep down to myself – Tell me the true meaning of my life, tell me! – And I had a vision. I saw a white house somewhere in India – between north and south. But I said to myself – “This is not the answer for me, because I do not understand it. You are not taking me seriously.” I didn’t know, who I was talking to. A few years later I received the same answer for my question.
And one day, eight years later, I had a very hard day at work (as a nurse in a hospice). I was so tired, it was so hard for me … And I was sitting resting on my sofa, I opened a city-program-journal that I usually read. I browsed the ads I have not read yet … And I found the following advertisement: “An Indian mystic gives consultations and counseling”. Ok, I called him right away and he said – “Well, you can come.”
Gurudeva and future visions
I went to the Mystic. He is an Indian and today my Gurudeva. I told him, that I can see things happen to people in the future and I don’t know what to do with my life.
Sometimes I didn’t realize, that this was the future I saw. It was so clear to me, but not for other people of course. Sometimes I tried to prevent something or tell someone to take care and so on. And because of this, I came into emotional trouble and felt responsible and guilty, because I couldn’t interfere. Later I learned from Mystic, that, even, if someone can see the future, it is not possible to interfere, because nobody believes it or doesn’t want to know it. That is like a law of nature, the destiny has to be fulfilled. With knowledge, the knowledge of the Vedic scriptures (holy scriptures, 5000 years old) I learned, that the law of karma is so strong, nobody can interfere, unless you have the right wisdom (karma is the law of action and reaction).
So, my Gurudeva, my teacher, was teaching me, the meaning of spiritual life, how to lead it, and also to understand how to deal and live in peace with this ability to foresee things. It is very important to understand, that this ability to see the future is highly overrated and only a little insignificant side-effect in spiritual life.
Going to India
Shortly after I met Mystic, my Gurudev, I went with him and a group of people for the first time to India. In that time I considered myself still being a Buddhist, someone who has no belief in God, who has no belief in a higher authority. But that changed with that first trip to India. In that time we visited Ekacakra, a holy place in West Bengal and I had my first-time experience in a holy temple.
Back in Berlin, I was working for Mystic, which means organizing his lectures and counselings, more and more I got involved in the Vedic knowledge, the Vedic knowledge about god. He initiated me, which means I am his disciple, he gave me a mantra and sent me finally to India. He said, there is nothing for me in the western world. At that time I was 54 years old and he told me to stop working and go. So I did, now I receive a little pension because of my damaged health I got from the work as a nurse and I can live from that very simple in India.
These are the three places of pilgrimage I am staying. There is Jagannath in Puri in Orissa, the Residence of Jagannath, the Lord of the Universe, and an Incarnation of Lord Krishna. There is Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, the Birthplace of Lord Krishna, many devotees are there, and Mayapur, the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Incarnation of Lord Krishna, 500 years ago. So finally, my focus in life was shifted from the outer circumstances (Aahh – Empire State Building, aah – Buckingham Palace) to the inner relationships I can have with the holy places and the holy people there. To connect with a holy place is like to connect to the true nature we have in ourselves.
4 ashramas (stages) of human life
Today, I consider myself to be a sannyasi, even as a woman. A sannyasi is someone, who is in the order of renunciation. He has no home, no family life, and no material interests, but he follows a guru-parampara: one guru is teaching the disciple, the disciple will become a guru and teaches on, since forgotten times. The knowledge will be delivered like this out from ancient times until today.
It is very rare that someone is right from the beginning of life a sannyasi. Normally it starts to be a Brahmacari (a student) after he will be a ghrasta (a married householder) and in the end, when he fulfilled his duty, normally at the age around fifty, he will take vanaprastha. That means he will separate from family and all material chains and become sannyasa to prepare for death, in the last years, he has to live.
I am now sixty years old. My journey comes almost to an end. To end suffering is also to accept the suffering, to accept the past and your own mistakes and failures as a part of the lifelong learning process, and to keep going. The world is a place of suffering, that is a matter of fact. It is a waste of time to try to avoid it. We cannot. But we can transform the suffering and see the chance within, to find the truth and we must understand that suffering is not external, it is internal, it is our distracted mind. Nothing else. The world is actually neutral, but we are creating a battlefield. Our mind creates a battlefield.
The big question is now: Did I find happiness and the truth? Could I change my mind?
The answer is: I am still in progress, but now I found the direction. Sometimes I go backward in old bad habits, sometimes I can go a little forward. Well, I guess there are around 20 years to go for me, we will see, how far I will come.
It is also very important to stop blaming everyone, for your own misery. There is nobody to blame at. But without asking for help it is also impossible to change.
I hope I could make myself clear, please send questions anytime. If you like it, you can write on the website, if people have questions about this, maybe you can refer them to me and I will try to answer everything, I know. This subject of spiritual life is very big and it is impossible to explain everything in a small story.
The feature photo (up the page) of this story is the oil painting of Ekananga entitled “Die Raise” which means “The Travel”. The photo depicts the author in the moment of her initiation.
Feel free to comment on the story online or post any questions. The Author is happy to interact and answer the questions.