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«Happiness is when you have no past and no future, but live in the moment»: The Indian in Most India

«Happiness is when you have no past and no future, but live in the moment»: The Indian in Most India

The search for enlightenment led Shashi Kumar through half of India and finally to Thurgau. Here he works as a masseur today.

The leaves of the two linden trees in the Kumars' garden move in the wind. Swings and hammocks are attached to the branches. A couple of cows enjoy the July sun on a large meadow right next to the property. Two children frolic on a trampoline in high spirits. Shashi Kumar is standing next to it.

With his long dark hair, which he has tied in a ponytail, his gray-black beard and the coffee-brown complexion, he gives the Thurgau idyll an exotic touch. Kumar is from India. There he led a modest life.

You can feel this modesty now too. He seems reserved and wonders why he should talk about his life. He is not aware of how special his story sounds to a Swiss.

The brave

Kumar grew up in the village of Tope in the Indian state of Bihar in the northeast of the country. He grew up in a wealthy family. “I lived like a prince,” he says. His wife Silvia Niederberger, who was born in Mostin, puts it into perspective: Life in rural India in the 70s is comparable to ours 200 years ago.

Kumar's family lived in a mud house without electricity. He left home at the age of 14. The reason for this was the encounter with a sadhu. In Hinduism this is a generic term for respected people who have dedicated themselves to the spiritual life. Kumar was impressed by this wise, bearded man with his brightly colored clothes and serious look. He wanted to live like him: without possessions, but with knowledge.

So Shashi Kumar set off into the unknown. It broke his mother's heart to let him go. But she let him go. She was convinced that her son would return safely, because a mother can sense something like that. Kumar went to Rishikesh, a pilgrimage town at the foot of the Himalayas.

There he met his role model, the sadhu, again after a short time. Kumar saw him as his guru, spent a lot of time with him and thereby acquired medical knowledge, as he says. Through him he got to know the art of massage and the hidden powers of the plant world.

The spiritual one

Shashi Kumar gets emotional when he talks about his life. The shyness from the beginning is blown away. After the death of his guru, he was in different places in India and learned from different teachers.

In the eight years before he came to Switzerland, he lived in the city of Bodhgaya, which literally means "place of enlightenment". Many people want to find enlightenment in India. Also Kumar's current wife Silvia Niederberger. She traveled through India in search of truth and inner peace. She met her Shashi in the temple in Bodhgaya.

The only things he had at that time were three white towels with which he dressed and a pillow. "Immaterial things have always been more important to me than material things," he says. During this time he never slept in a closed room, but outside under the Indian starry sky.

Between yoga, mantra, meditation and silence, Shashi Kumar and Silvia Niederberger sought inner peace - they found each other. “I just knew he would be my children's father,” she says. And so, after a few years in India, they moved to Switzerland together to raise their children there.

The family man

Although their children speak little Hindi, Indian traditions are omnipresent in the family life of the Kumars. Almost everything happens without coercion. There is only one thing that is extremely important to Indians when bringing up their children: that they do without cow meat, because the cow is a sacred animal in Hinduism.

Otherwise, the children are allowed to make many decisions themselves, just as he was allowed to do back then. The Indian way of cooking is regularly used. His son Satyam (6) raves about his father's fried rice, while his daughter Luna (3) prefers the less Indian fried egg. In the relationship with his wife Silvia Niederberger, the cultural differences become noticeable from time to time.

“Shashi believes that silence is often the best answer. And he lives by this motto. This sometimes makes it difficult to have a long discussion with him, ”says Silvia Niederberger with a laugh. Kumar doesn't feel 100 percent at home in Switzerland, you can feel that. Although the Swiss are nice to him, most of them seem dissatisfied. Even so, he says that he is happy:

«Happiness is when you have no past and no future, but live in the moment».

The healer

On his spiritual path, Kumar learned many traditional healing methods. One of them is massage. This art is very popular in India. Infants are massaged four to six times a day. This is to make them strong, healthy, and peaceful. In his massage practice in Weinfelden, Shashi Kumar would like to help other people.

Indian massage wakes up the body and relieves pain, he says. In India, Kumar only took money for his services until he could buy his food. From then on he worked for free.

The philosopher

Kumar compares life to a bank account. The balance changes with lifestyle. With good thoughts and deeds you can achieve a plus. This was also one of the reasons why he chose the spiritual path. Shashi Kumar is not afraid of the future.

According to his philosophy, it makes a person unhappy if he thinks about the past or the future too often. He lives in the now. It is clear to him that one day he would like to live in India again. What does he want to do there? Will his family be with him? Where exactly does he want to go? Kumar does not yet know any of this. The Indian in Most India lives in the now.