Wolfgang and Gayatri Mantra
"I have seen that through The Essence CD, many people in the West have been touched by the Gayatri Mantra. I find it amazing that so many have been inspired to memorize the words and make it part of their lives.
"At the root of that CD is my father Wolfgang. Without him I wouldn't have such a deep and life long connection to the Gayatri Mantra as I have."
Wolfgang was a unique human being. He was born in 1921. He was always unconventional. He started his inner search back in the 50’s.
The fact that he was an artist - painting, pottery, furniture – probably had something to do with his openness to spirituality. He was very disciplined by nature; he relished any kind of intense Yogic practice and cleansing rituals and I don’t mean shoulder stands!
Just to give you an idea of what he was like: for ten years he would wake up every morning at 2 am. and walk for four hours around the city walls of Nürnberg chanting his mantra (he wouldn’t tell me which one.)
He did this because he had heard that only after three hours of chanting does the effect really set in, so the first three hours were just a kind of foreplay for the final hour! The only reason he stopped doing it was because he was attacked by a drunkard one night, and he took that as a sign to move on to other forms of experimentation.
One famous story in our family is of a pilgrimage he made in 1963 to visit his Guru who happened to be in Hamburg, taking with him my older brother Niko. This may sound quite reasonable, until you realize that they walked all the way from Nürnberg, and that Niko was only six years old at the time (he had a little scooter)! They slept in barns and camped out at night, with hardly any money. Quite an adventure for a six year old boy. Wolfgang apparently decided to take the conventional route back to Nürnberg, by train, which in those days was a nine hour trip. Again, quite reasonable, until I tell you that he spent the whole journey in the lotus position, changing position just once!
Another thing that was quite extra-ordinary about him was that he always referred to himself in the third person “Er ist der Wolfgang...der da ist hungrig...” He also never used ‘if’’ sentences and didn’t like to talk about future plans. For example when he was in hospital once, he wouldn’t ask when he would be able to go home again...he’d just remain there until they told him, “Today you can go.” He would never say “Sie” to anyone nor like to be addressed in that way.
He was open to all the different paths…Zen, Yoga, Christianity (he learned the Gospel of Thomas by heart), Buddhism, Gurdjieff (he was probably one of the very few people who read Beelzebub’s Erzählungen from beginning to the end), Osho, Sufism...which I saw later, was also Osho’s gift – to speak on so many different masters.
In 1970 he discovered his love for Persian drumming which would become his passion until the end of his life. He made most of his own drums, and they became another example of his incredible creativity.
It was through him that I was introduced to Osho. He took me to the Purvodaya Center near Munich where I did my first Dynamic meditation. I was 10 years old at the time.
Of all the gifts he gave me, I think the greatest was welcoming me and my sister into this world by chanting the Gayatri Mantra during my mother, Viten’s pregnancy. He also chanted it during the birth and he and Viten would sing it with us every night at bedtime.
Later when I rediscovered the mantra in my mid twenties I had the pleasure of introducing him to the melody Miten and I sang, and he memorized it, which gave me a great deal of satisfaction, to say the least.
I loved the way he welcomed whatever Miten and I brought to him ... it was my joy to find books he would love (not always easy because he didn’t speak English), for instance, Segal’s Collision With The Infinite, Irina Tweedie’s books on her life with her Sufi master, Robert Monroe’s books on astral travel – all were appreciated.
Wolfgang left his body in July 2005. Fortunately, Miten and I were in Germany at the time, and had only to cancel one event in Köln when my sister told us that he was about to leave his body. Although he was 83, his death came quite fast and a little unexpected and we had an overnight drive to arrive in Nürnberg in time to say goodbye.
We were there with him for the last few hours of his life although he was no more conscious. When I first came to the hospital it seemed like he would leave his body any moment, so I gave him my deepest gratitude for all he had given me, and we sang the Gayatri Mantra and other mantras for him.
Hour after hour passed and the urgency of the situation lessened….in the afternoon my cousin suggested that we sing the Gayatri Mantra again (by that time I thought he might make it through another night.) This time we kept singing for what must have been over half an hour, when suddenly the monitor showed that he was about to leave. I continued to sing and the last sound he heard as he passed on was his beloved Gayatri Mantra.
Finally we ended with the mantra Om and the circle was complete.
He had welcomed me onto this planet with the Gayatri and I accompanied him out of this physical existence with it. What a blessing this was for me!
It was the first time that I was present at a death, and to be at my father’s is a memory I will cherish all my life.
The music you hear on my CDs is a direct result of the love and guidance my father showed to me.
Thank you, Wolfgang.
Rest in peace.
ps: A year before Wolfgang’s passing, I mentioned to Miten that I would like to give a concert in his honour in Nürnberg when he finally leaves his body. As existence would have it, our next concert after the Koln event, was – Nürnberg! Our annual concert had been scheduled for July 15. The funeral for Wolfgang was on July 14…..
Om bhur bhuvaha svaha
tat savitur varenyam
bhargo devasya dhimahi
dhiyo yonah prachodayat
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