Spollen, Chambers, and India Syndrome

Reply
#1 Sep 27th, 2012, 01:27
Tattooed Gonzo Gardening Native American Yogini
Join Date:
Mar 2005
Location:
the India inside my heart
Posts:
9,618
  • Sama is offline
#1
Death on the Path to Enlightenment: Inside the Rise of India Syndrome

Read More http://www.details.com/culture-trend...#ixzz27bUD2yKK

big mentions of Indiamike....

"India syndrome may not be an officially recognized disease, but many doctors are convinced it's real. Kalyan Sachdev, the medical director of Privat Hospital in New Delhi, says that his facility admits about a hundred delusional Westerners a year, many of whom had been practicing yoga around the clock . . . His treatment tends to be simple: Send them home as soon as possible. "People come to us with acute psychotic symptoms," he says. "But you put them on the plane and they are completely all right."
My India Photos, 2005-2014
"Not my circus, not my monkeys." (Polish Proverb)
#2 Sep 27th, 2012, 02:42
Join Date:
Sep 2001
Location:
Missing, see bottom of post
Posts:
15,706
  • steven_ber is offline
#2
Thought-provoking read.
.
SOS: Missing Person...

Please look at this thread, even if you are not in India.: Have you seen Jonathan Spollen?

He could be anywhere now: You might have met him, be able to help, or give information.
#3 Sep 27th, 2012, 03:54
Join Date:
Sep 2005
Location:
Abode of Glooscap
Posts:
10,470
  • PeakXV is offline
#3
We might not ever know if Spollen, Chambers et al had an untimely episode of 'India Syndrome' and if that somehow contributed to their vanishing without a trace.

However India, with her hot dehydrating climate & relentless assault on the senses, is more than likely capable of 'triggering' episodes/flashbacks/depression/stress of varying degrees in those who are less than stable or prepared mentally.

How any one traveler might deal with these potential episodes on the fly, away from home, on the road, alone, sleeping in a strange bed, under the influence of alcohol, recreational drugs, rundown with colds, delhi belli etc and/or other adversities - would be very much random, on a case-by-case basis and thus quite hard to pinpoint or predict.

Btw, this rather sensitive topic has been brought up more than once on this website and it rarely gathers enough posts or stream for even a mild discussion/debate. The spiritual (perhaps chillum using) backpacking demographic - those who would might be better positioned to observe and share some firsthand observations/incidents of these syndrome episodes - often conspicuous by their absence.

Perhaps this thread will have better results/participation ......
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
T. S. Eliot

http://www.derekgrantdigital.com
#4 Sep 27th, 2012, 08:23
Join Date:
Sep 2001
Location:
Land that shakes and bakes.
Posts:
12,546
  • edwardseco is offline
#4
Isn't there a similar syndrome in Jerusleam? People start to identify with Jesus over the limit. The authorities give it specialized treatment.
#5 Sep 27th, 2012, 08:26
Join Date:
Sep 2001
Location:
Land that shakes and bakes.
Posts:
12,546
  • edwardseco is offline
#5
I came across 2 incidents of plain flippin out among institute grantees, one teaching and one research grantee. One case involved a family. In both cases the cure (hopefully) was "bagging" them, chucking them out of the country..

Great catch Sama..
Last edited by edwardseco; Sep 27th, 2012 at 10:50..
#6 Sep 27th, 2012, 09:05
Join Date:
Feb 2012
Location:
Seattle, USA
Posts:
137
  • skids ghost is offline
#6
Hey Peak,
I smoked a lot more chillums the first year in India than I did in the second and the second year was farther out than the first. I do know the feeling of how real the far out seems when I'm there and how it dissipates after being home for a spell. But I wouldn't be quite who I am today without it and that's no small thing to be thankful for.

There was one trip over there where I guess I just stopped calling and writing home. A couple months after I got home my mom told me Dad had called the consulate and was told "The Indian mortuary system is very efficient and if your son is any where in it you will be notified promptly" but Dad never said anything about it to me and mom only ever mentioned it the once. I wonder how canned that response is and how often its used. When I read about the missing and those we know didn't return home alive, I realize how easily that could have been me and there's a twinge of guilt about having put my parents through that in retrospect. Yet still after I would go for stretches with out contacting home. When I'm homesick the contact was soothing balm but when I was in the zone so to speak,there was nothing like contact with home to take me out of the moment.
I recall hearing from one old timer I knew who planted the seed of the possibility that one could get it together and go to India if one really wanted to. That some people would freak out and have to be sent home because after a while they realized India was actually alive and that realization was far to overwhelming for them. Any one out there ever hear it put that way?
#7 Sep 27th, 2012, 09:45
Join Date:
Aug 2006
Location:
Homeless
Posts:
14,909
  • nycank is offline
#7
isn't the author of the article also on here in IndiaMike ? Or am I mistaken ?
#8 Sep 27th, 2012, 10:22
Tattooed Gonzo Gardening Native American Yogini
Join Date:
Mar 2005
Location:
the India inside my heart
Posts:
9,618
  • Sama is offline
#8
think he used to be....
#9 Sep 27th, 2012, 12:08
Join Date:
Sep 2012
Location:
Baltimore, MD, USA
Posts:
39
Send a message via Skype™ to Eric Tien
  • Eric Tien is offline
#9

Death on the Path to Enlightenment

http://www.details.com/culture-trend...-enlightenment

As a newcomer to India who fits in the category of one of those "westerners," this makes me a little nervous.

Thoughts?
Life is all about the journey.

I will be traveling all over India from now til about March 2013, join me in my journey and teach me about yourself!

My super original blog:
http://erictien.wordpress.com/
#10 Sep 27th, 2012, 12:10
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
Crete
Posts:
12,954
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#10
The shame of it is that the author did not spell Jonathan's mother's name correctly. I cannot trust any journalist who cannot get such a simple fact straight.
#11 Sep 27th, 2012, 13:07
Join Date:
Aug 2006
Location:
Homeless
Posts:
14,909
  • nycank is offline
#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Tien View Post http://www.details.com/culture-trend...-enlightenment

As a newcomer to India who fits in the category of one of those "westerners," this makes me a little nervous.

Thoughts?
What are you afraid of ? What's gnawing you ?
#12 Sep 27th, 2012, 13:52
Join Date:
Oct 2004
Location:
Chennai, India
Posts:
59,725
  • Nick-H is online now
#12
Featuring the story, outcome unknown, of Jonathan Spollen under the headline Death on the path to enlightenment seems tactless to me. I wonder how much of the article was lifted from the thread here.

The writing seems, to me, like colour-supplement journalism. It seems to say a lot, but says very little; it seems to have depth, but the writer's knowledge may actually be shallow. What is there that might not have come straight out of this, and one or two other, sources?

So it gets a no-star rating from me. On the positive side, it might make some people aware of certain dangers, but those who are prone to those dangers will probably take as much notice as I used to do of pictures of blackened lungs when I was a 20-day-man.

Some proper research and reporting into the various mental states which are suggested to exist would be welcome, but whether it is travel to one of the more extreme cultures in the world, joining up with one the local cults, or turning to chemical aid, prescribed or otherwise, these things happen. It also happens, far more often than most people think, that ordinary, regular, apparently-balanced people simply disappear.
Quote:
The shame of it is that the author did not spell Jonathan's mother's name correctly.
Nobody knows what has become of Jonathan. The shame is that this "journalist" has taken many of the guesses and conjectures and built an article on them as if they were fact.

Big downvote from me!
#13 Sep 27th, 2012, 14:15
Join Date:
Dec 2010
Location:
mumbai
Posts:
825
  • sidch is offline
#13
The article does highlight the problems of modern life, where people need to think of a way to find something "pure"? Label it spirituality...and there isnt too many options that will lead you "there". Usually yoga and meditation in the mountains comes up as the first and most valid resource, especially when it had been made famous by the Beatles and Deepak Chopra's well-being books, as also the publicity campaigns by those setting up their instant yoga shops in the West to make a quick buck.

Fact is, all of us have an idea of what we really want, what we really need is a genuine guru/teacher who will help us attain it. Sadly, thanks to the extreme modern materialism, it is very easy for the burgeoning unemployed to hit upon the idea of feeding off gullible westerners. This being the "spiritual" domain, its also extremely easy to trick anyone with mumbo jumbo, because everything is so grey, so subjective with so many points of view.

for Westerners coming in, all I would say (also @ Eric) - there is nothing wrong with the thought, but do add a dash of practicality all the time. Everyone has a built in instinct (a kind of subconscious "spider sense" also known as survival instinct) that warns us whenever something is amiss. So, anything that you feel odd ... if it strikes you as unusual that a "guru" is asking you to partake in a drink or any substance that you would not expect form an enlightened soul, then you know something is wrong. If a guru starts talking excessively about things that have nothing to do with spiritualism (example - the path to enlightenment is one that I have given great thought to. I wish to share it among everyone in this world to make them all happy. Sadly, the world is materialistic and requires people of philanthropy to help spread the cause of love and happiness." - such rubbish should make warning bells ring in your head... time to make your escape.

To me, the real path to happiness and peace lies in just travelling with no fixed program and volunteering in the daily way of life of people and generally just helping them out. Many a times, what a village elder speaks, with gratitude, would impart more knowledge than a charlatan who professes to be enlightened.

In short, be smart and be ready to recognise bullshit when you see it. A true, enlightened teacher is like true love - you dont get it by looking for it, you get it when you least expect it - sometimes it drops in your lap all of a sudden and you know it...at other times, iit just keeps slowly building up till you finally realise that this person IS the one. Same goes for the path to inner peace... relax enjoy yourself... no need to renounce anything (Gautam Buddha never did... that is why he tells his followers that the true path to peace is by being true to yourself and not harming others... just generally TRULY living your life) Help others, travel around, get good wishes and you will attain inner peace

Of course sitting and meditating in the beautiful Himalayas does have its plus points with the location but would you not rather meditate and relax with a good friend, rather than a bunch of frauds?

My thoughts only btw... apologies for the rambling, if it hurts the feelings of any yoga guru or spiritualist, I do apologise again. fact is, I have found much more peace just making my family happy and helping friends, strangers, donating for orphans and also in general enjoying my spot of travel and drink that I find it impossible to think why I should retire ot get happier!

oh and true love did drop in my lap and she has been instrumental in helping me get my inner peace over a period of time
Some of my ramblings!

http://windowtoindia.wordpress.com/
#14 Sep 27th, 2012, 14:30
Join Date:
Oct 2004
Location:
Chennai, India
Posts:
59,725
  • Nick-H is online now
#14
Quote:
Fact is, all of us have an idea of what we really want, what we really need is a genuine guru/teacher who will help us attain it.
"Some of us..." maybe. Vast numbers of visitors to India have no interest in guru seeking. I've had my fair share of India fantasy over the years, but it never included supposing that there was particular truth to be found here that was not available elsewhere. There's so much more to India than saffron robes.
Quote:
it is very easy for the burgeoning unemployed to hit upon the idea of feeding off gullible westerners.
I don't see what the burgeoning unemployed has to do with this. A one-time bullock-cart or pedal-rickshaw driver is hardly in a position to exploit the fantasies of western tourists.

(Hmmm... there's an opportunity for retraining schemes there!)

Sincere, genuine, or otherwise --- it is career gurus that do the exploiting.

Quote:
Everyone has a built in instinct (a kind of subconscious "spider sense" also known as survival instinct) that warns us whenever something is amiss.
On the contrary, quite the opposite is true. The gut feeling which should tell you that you are about to be a victim of the gem scam or a fake guru is exactly what the good conman knows how to twist around their little finger.
#15 Sep 27th, 2012, 14:40
Join Date:
Dec 2010
Location:
mumbai
Posts:
825
  • sidch is offline
#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post "Some of us..." maybe. Vast numbers of visitors to India have no interest in guru seeking.
True...but those who do not go searching for gurus and instead just take it easy are usually the ones who do better and enjoy the country enough to return.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post
I don't see what the burgeoning unemployed has to do with this. A one-time bullock-cart or pedal-rickshaw driver is hardly in a position to exploit the fantasies of western tourists.
Just for arguments sake, if someone was unemployed and was desperate enough to take a risk at trying unsavoury methods to get hold of some cash, who do you think he would rather try it on? A solo Western traveller who is not sure where he is going or a local who is known in the village? Just theoretical of course not saying its something people do all the time!

if your answer is "the westerner" then I would say, thats what I mean by the burgeoning unemployed, whether they be a cart driver or a butcher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post (Hmmm... there's an opportunity for retraining schemes there!)
Indeed! thats my secret to ensuring I have a cushy life if I am ever unemployed! but remember I said it first...so you best stand in queue!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Sincere, genuine, or otherwise --- it is career gurus that do the exploiting.
I agree to that, yes "career" gurus are the more dangerous, but even they started small Everyone starts from somewhere! Im sure these gurus did not have 1000 disciples to begin with.
Reply


Posting Rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Forum Rules»
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2
© IndiaMike.com 2014
Page Load Success