After completing my compulsory army service I resumed my studies of biochemistry at the university of Tübingen. I still believed that science could give me some understanding about the nature of life, so I went into it with enthusiasm. Also I discovered that I was free to join any other interesting courses, and soon I was listening to lectures about oriental sciences, learning some bits of akkadian language which was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. University life was freedom in those years, and I used it widely.
It was still in my first year after returning to university when again something unexpected happened. I was reading some guide book about India, and I came across the picture of a beautiful indian temple. As far as I remember, it was a silver temple of the Jainas. Upon seeing this picture, immediately a great longing arose on the inside – like a wave of energy. I just knew that I needed to go to India, something was calling me. My friends were trying to discourage me, telling me how much time would be lost in my studies – I didnt listen. Within a few weeks I had planned my journey and bought everything I needed for this trip: backpack, sleeping bag, medicals, water filter and so on.
The journey to India was to be overland – in those days flights were quite expensive, plus I didnt have much money. It was 1976, so travelling overland was still possible. I started out from Germany, taking bus and train to reach Turkey first. My 21. birthday I spent in Istanbul. From there the journey continued to Erzurum in the east of Turkey, taking a mini-bus to the iranian border. I crossed the iranian border walking, but without any difficulties. In Iran I travelled further to Tabriz, Teheran, then onwards to cross into Afghanistan. Afghanistan in those days was quite wild, but not yet in the hands of religious fanatics. The worst that happened there was a good dose of diarrhea that slowed me down a bit. I spent some time there, going to Herat, Kabul, the lake of Band-I-Amir, then onwards through the Khyber Pass to Peshawar in Pakistan.
Pakistan left a strange impression in me. In a way I could feel the indian influence and culture, but the overall atmosphere felt quite rough and tense. The people I came into contact with – Rikshaw drivers or other westerners, were trying to sell me drugs, and most of the westerners I met were heavy users. Now that was not my cup of tea, and so I didn´t spend much time there but travelled onwards.
Crossing the border from Lahore to Amritsar by foot – there was no traffic going through – the energy changed completely. India felt like home, in all the chaos there was a subtle vibration, like an uplifting and vitalizing energy. Much later I was reading in one of OSHO´s books that India retained the subtle energies of thousands of awakened ones. The west has known nothing like this. For the next 3 months I was then exploring this vastness of India – taking buses or trains, sometimes – in the south of India – even walking. The journey would take me from Amritsar down to Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Bombay. From there further to Goa and Cochin, then to Madras, then up north again to Cashmere and Ladakh, which had just been opened to foreigners. In the end came Nepal – mystical too and also filled with vibrations of beauty and wonder.
The whole time in India passed by rather quickly, leaving me filled up with a new, vibrating energy, a sense of wonder and inner fulfilment. India was so completely different from the west, it felt like a continent of its own, like a different planet. However, my focus was still directed towards the outside, towards outer adventure. Thats how I missed OSHO in 1976.
As I was riding a train from Bombay to Goa, I remember someone telling me about a Guru now residing in Poona. I listened to him, but even though the train was passing by Pune I didnt leave the train. There was not enough awareness inside me to understand what a Guru really was or why I should need one. Also I was not clear enough to recognize what I was looking for. I simply was not ready to meet OSHO. Just a few years later however I was to find myself in exactly that place: OSHO´s ashram in Pune. But that was to come later.
As I returned home after 6 months, many things had changed. On the inside I was filled with a new vibration, feeling alive and fulfilled. On the outside, meeting people back in Germany I perceived them as being more cold, less alive. Also my girlfriend was gone, leaving me in some gap. I had received a letter from her in southern India, telling me that she had found somebody else to be with. So it took me a while to continue my studies, and I was really behind now, less certain than before what I wanted to achieve.