For the Dutch followers; yes it’s raining too in Limburg! Thank you so much for all the encouraging messages, they really keep me going! Yesterday I walked with Mathilde, an old friend of mine from primary school. Her stories, laughs and songs helped me through the day. Even though everything was wet, I enjoyed walking. Today I’m alone and have decided not to walk too far. I guess two days of non-stop rain is God’s way of telling me I should have a rest.

Monday I was welcomed by Charles and Elsa on MERU. It’s the international headquarters of the TM organization founded by Maharishi. They showed me around the compound and told me a lot about the history of the place and organization. It’s build around an old monastery which they want to demolish since its not in line with the Sthapata Veda. Some rare species of bats prevent the government from giving them permission. The whole compound is therefore a funny mix of tents, containers, wooden buildings, white buildings, the monastery (half demolished) and a lot of huge white, stone elephants.

After the tour, Charles and Elsa took me to their home and TM centre to tell me a bit more about the actual meditation technique for which the organization is famous. With Maharishi being very interested in physics, the whole concept is very scientifically set up. I am shown lots of research results of research done into TM. “It can be done by all. It’s no religion, just a technique anyone can learn”, says Charles. “The roots are in the Vedas, but those are not to be seen as Hindu scriptures, there just laws of nature first heard in India but universally applicable, as is physics.”

Charles himself is very learned and knows a staggering lot about the background theories of the organization. Even for a graduate in religious studies it’s sometimes hard to keep up with all the Sanskrit words and attached theories. After his crash course he drives me to his son David and wife Tegan. Both brought up in the TM community, they prove to be good conversing partners during the lovely dinner and rest of the evening.

David served Maharishi closely and tells me very recognizable stories of what it is like to live with a guru. They all do play with their disciples in order to facilitate their growth, or just push their buttons. After the passing away of Maharishi, the organization has to be led in another way. That created some stress, but ended in a very a structured international business-like organization which is still going strong after all these years without the physical presence of its founder.

At the moment I’m having my second hot chocolate brought (in high summer!) as rain is still pouring down hard. I’m mentally preparing for the last 6 km of today towards a hot shower in Bingelrade, where I will be welcomed by the parents of another old friend of mine. Knowing that, I am the happiest man alive.

All the best,

T.