Have you seen Jonathan Spollen? Missing in Rishikesh since February 3rd, 2012

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#1066 Apr 7th, 2012, 00:41
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#1067 Apr 7th, 2012, 01:06
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What caught my attention when I was googleing for what the web had to say on Jonathan, was this statement

Quote:
Ms Spollen said that friends who had seen Jonathan shortly before he went missing had commented on the fact that he had lost weight.
http://theradicalhumanist.com/index....=513&Itemid=54


I know it is also stated that he had a stomach-bug which might partly explain a certain weight-loss.

But there is also this context with his meeting this fasting person in Gujarat, whom he visited twice, which points to a strong importance of this person in Jonathan's life. As a journalist I am sure he did some investigations and possibly own experiments with fasting, even if just to find out what it feels like and if it was really possible to live without eating or drinking. If he did a google search he would have come quite soon to the practice that this Australian lady Jashmuheen teaches/taught, how to live on prana alone. (aka Breatharianism)

http://www.jasmuheen.com/living-on-light/

I know people who experimented with this and followed the protocol of her "21 days living on light initiation process" (as she called it) into living from nothing but thin air aka prana.

Quote:
The 21 Day Process, where for the first seven days nothing is consumed, except air, the next seven days some water and diluted juice, and the last seven days diluted juice and water.
http://www.moinhos-velhos.com/21day-process.htm
I am not proposing to say that Jonathan necessarily did this practice (even though it would fit into his prediction, that his "kind of spiritual journey" would take him 2-3 weeks). I am just saying that if he investigated the possibility to live on light alone that this Gujarati person claimed, he must have seen what this Australian prana-nourishment program contained.

Since he lost a lot of weight, to the extent that it was visible to his friends in Rishikesh (who were they?), this would suggest that Jonathan might have been fasting.

Now, those of you who have ever fasted for a number of days would understand quite well what I am talking about here, when I relate my own experiences with fasting. I have done so in different ways, like just abstaining from solid food for a number of days, like a ten-day-water fast, once a 21-day-vegetable-juice fast, and in my time as a Hindu spiritualist twice a month on the eleventh day of the moon a Nirjala fast (no food and no water for 36 hours).

To take nothing at all is actually the profoundest experience of all kinds o fasting, because if you then break the fast with drinking some water (which I always did after 36 hours), you experience the water you drink like some kind of dense, heavy food, which alters your perception of water totally and irreversibly. Once you had this experience, it can become quite easy to conceive of a fast that allows only the intake of water, because water is then seen as some kind of food. Do you get what I mean?

Now, if you fast only on water for a number of days or weeks, at some point the idea of eating becomes a source of aversion. A sort of aloofness from the world sets in, a feeling of independence from the necessities of and ties to the world. It's an illusory kind of sense of freedom that one feels, and an intensifying disinterest in things of the world.

Another thing happens with prolonged fasting: There is an experience of power, and an unusual steady and clear mind, compared to which a mind with food-intake appears as clouded, full of doubts, and quite shaky comparatively.

You get what I am hinting at? This scenario could explain how an otherwise sane and practical professional person starts to relate differently and how his perception of his duties can change fundamentally.

There is an additional factor in Jonathan's activities that would favor such a development, namely the fact that he distanced himself from the normal way of life by sleeping next to a water-fall. This nature-experience alone has also an alienating side, in that the feeling of independence from society and worldly demands is strengthened. Actually also the opposite can be true to some extent, that one notices how much one needs human contact or certain facilities like good mountain gear and stuff.

In this line of thought (and of course it is just a speculation that I am presenting here, but one with its own inherent stringency and a certain probability of factors that might have influenced Jonathan), it becomes quite plausible that at a certain point of his evolution he decided to relinquish also his last ties to the world, his backpack with passport and money and all, with his late finding the ticket, in a shirt pocket perhaps, and balling that up and throwing it away, while already on the path to meet someone or to go to another place.

As far as the place is concerned to where he would have gone, it would necessarily also need to be near a source of water. A question that pops up for me here is whether he had a water-purification device with him, which I suppose trekkers would have.

The decision to leave his belongings and to go to another place might be in the context that he knew someone whom he decided to go and meet. My thinking in this regard goes again back to his meeting this Gujarati fasting person twice. I don't know if that person speaks any English, whether Jonathan could communicate with him directly. If so he would quite likely have talked with him on some related practices. You know how Indians always brag about the power of yogis, the knowledge of the Vedas and all, and what is possible in the Himalayas and stuff like that. He might have told him there are people near Rishikesh who live without food, or things like that.

One way to go about it is to go and talk with this Gujarati person, and ask him if he remembers what Jonathan and him talked about, and whether it was he who mentioned something about Rishikesh and possibly people there who could help in this or that way.

The Australian Prana-living-teacher Jashmuheen has also ties to India (in case Jonathan read some of her stuff), also glorifying the Upanishads and the mystics of India. Here is a
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ol4jDu8goo
a report of her visit to Haridwar Kumbh Mela 2010
and her over-praising the accomplishments of India's sadhus and what they stand for according to her ideas.

So it is quite likely that she was in Rishikesh too.

Personally, I do not think Jonathan could have gone far in one day if he was really fasting, as the subjective experience of power and strength is absolutely there, but more something of the mind, while physically one's strength is more likely diminished. The result of this is that one tends to over-estimate what one really can do physically.

As far as Jonathan's health-issues are concerned, I mentioned already the question whether he had a water purifying system or not, or whether he would have relinquished that too at his decisive step. I have no idea how a kidney stone behaves when one fasts. There is a remote possibility of a sudden release of a kidney stone, which, when it happens to come out in small stonelets, could be a kind of revelatory experience, an experience of healing by nature's force.

Now this is a lot of speculation, and I hope it is not just a vain source for optimism, but also a train of thought which might explain some known facts which otherwise remain unexplained.

Ahh, a last idea that I want to put in words, although maybe not as acceptable to the more skeptical minds here. Jonathan is 28 and so he is approaching his Saturn return. The Saturn return in a person's life often indicates a caesura, a turning-point, if one's life so far did not correspond to the inner needs of the person. Siddhatta Gautama, the later Buddha, for instance was 29 when he left for the forests, and one often sees in people's biographies that around that age radical changes can occur. This is just a general kind of idea which could be seen as a background, if such a process of disillusionment has indeed taken place with Jonathan.
#1068 Apr 7th, 2012, 04:16
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What happens to Love in all of this Atala? Does it sort of dissolve away like a kidney stone might. I mean J. obviously has people who love him and he knew it, and i presume he also loved in return; he might have had a relationship go belly up, but others are their as permanent lovers in his life... would he consciously wish others whom he loved - to suffer! Can one become callous to such love overnight. It's the thing that is craved, clung to, nurtured, isn't it? in all but the fiercest and strongest of loners/renunciates. Of course if it's a temporary experiment then all may be well.
#1069 Apr 7th, 2012, 07:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeakXV View Post Okay two things that I've noticed from his Kashmir articles that I don't believe had been mentioned previously. It sounds like he is at least a moderate smoker & has a good appetite for meat & fish. They could be important clues/traits - especially in a vegetarian town such as Rishikesh.
If you mean could that lead one into trouble in a holy vegetarian town, no, while I don't know Rishikesh, I don't think so, and it hasn't been my experience. You can pretty much do as you please, except meat and alcohol wil just not commonly be on offer. One shouldn't go sitting on the ghats or so with one's shoes on and smoking and without asking, but that's about it. Even here, people can be remarkably lax about it, and tell you no problem.

It had been mentioned here before how there's a place inbetween Rishikesh and Haridwar where people commonly go for their meat and booze. That wouldn't be far btw, I think it's a half hour's ride or so between the two towns. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.) Also, I imagine in Rishikesh people will be well-used to Westerners with their uncouth ways. It really shouldn't be an issue, and you won't get lynched over it or so. In many such towns, beers & booze will be illicitly available, and drinking in your room or discreetly in some of those places will be OK. Smoking cigarettes, the worst that could happen to you is you could get (pretty steeply) fined by a cop when doing so on the streets in some places, I again don't know how it is in Rishikesh. In the region of Kumaon, so just to the east of it and in the same state, and two years ago, I don't recall it was any problem.

Quote:
http://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/...-hearths#page2

Could he have gone back to Naranag? Any Kashmiri members/guides who might check this out?
Yes, when you first brought it up (and it is a good observation), I'd already said it would seem like an angle to pursue. How it sits with the known timeline I'm not sure, but it could obviously have pulled him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vee21 View Post I come here every day with hope in my heart, and although I can't be there on the ground, I can add my support in my own way..by reading the posts.
I look at this Himachal web newspaper site each day.

http://hillpost.in/

Maybe worth looking at online news sites for extra publicity?
Indeed; a link I gave before would be http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/india.htm, I'm repeating it here just in case. That is massive to dig through and esp. to the lay onlooker, but maybe an Indian member would want to do so and tell us which are the relevant ones.
Last edited by machadinha; Apr 7th, 2012 at 07:49.. Reason: edited
#1070 Apr 7th, 2012, 08:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by machadinha View Post If you mean could that lead one into trouble in a holy vegetarian town, no, while I don't know Rishikesh, I don't think so, and it hasn't been my experience.
Well there's trouble & then there is trouble, isn't there?

If an omnivore suddenly goes vegetarian - then health issues/weakness may occur quite quickly. Anemia & mental confusion are not uncommon. Kidney stones also being a risk when eating too many courses per week of certain leafy green vegetables. I, for one, would not be well for long (let alone nutritionally prepared for lengthy treks) - if I did/could not sustain myself with a proper diet of meat, fish & eggs.

Quote:
Smoking cigarettes, the worst that could happen to you is you could get (pretty steeply) fined by a cop when doing so on the streets in some places, I again don't know how it is in Rishikesh.
I believe David had mentioned that he used no 'herbal substances' ... so somehow I was under the impression that he was not a smoker at all. These diets/habit things may seem like small potatoes .... but you never know what might tweak somebody's memory banks & as a result produce a crucial lead.

So to David/Lynda & to clarify:
Was he a known vegetarian &/or smoker? Any other distinguishable habits that you can share & that may help searchers in remembering/identifying him better?
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

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#1071 Apr 7th, 2012, 11:00
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Originally Posted by Paleface View Post What happens to Love in all of this Atala? Does it sort of dissolve away like a kidney stone might. ... Can one become callous to such love overnight. It's the thing that is craved, clung to, nurtured, isn't it? in all but the fiercest and strongest of loners/renunciates. Of course if it's a temporary experiment then all may be well.
Of course, I agree with that.

Yet, i know we don't want to speculate on psychological conflict possibilities, or come to any judgements about the private life of Jonathan. But since this much was also published in the papers, I think it is worth pointing it out here, with all due respect to the feelings of his mother and father reading here also:

It does seem Jonathan was/is in some personal crisis, or at least at some juncture in his life, where he did not know what to do next. It says in this newspaper article:

Quote:
"Jonathan hadn't been home since April last and so the idea was to head home and be here in Ireland for a while and then see what he would do next," she added.
http://theradicalhumanist.com/index....=513&Itemid=54

It is obviously a valid approach not to give up hope, before any definite proof to the contrary, and all I am saying is that I do see a possible logic in most of what is known as of now.

For me it is quite clear that he has to be in the vicinity of Rishikesh, even though not capable to send any message to his loved ones. Would he have gone to Goa or other places, he could have technical means to send a message or to call, while in some remote place this is not possible, except telling someone else to go and do that.
#1072 Apr 7th, 2012, 11:10
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Originally Posted by machadinha View Post Smoking cigarettes, the worst that could happen to you is you could get (pretty steeply) fined by a cop when doing so on the streets in some places, I again don't know how it is in Rishikesh.
In Rishikesh many of the sadhus are seen smoking (perhaps also pot, I don't know). There is no problem with that at all. It is a very lax kind of place.

And actually "no shoes on ghats", that I have never heard or seen. Even at Haridwar, which is the holier place of the two, it is not a problem.
#1073 Apr 7th, 2012, 11:44
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The discussion is being so skewed towards he is so likely to have taken some spiritual journey, could have started extreme fasting, could have wanted to start a new life..... forget to call his loved ones? I wonder....

David/Lynda, In no way do I doubt the intentions of any IMer, I know each one is trying to help in his own way, trying to analyze in his own way. But the discussion is too skewed and I fear the search is being directed only in one way.


About his weight loss - was he fasting? was he not? was it a stomach-bug?

Who are these friends who said he had lost substantial weight? What is substantial? A 70 kg man being 60kg or a 70 kg man being 55. This can be all relative.

My thoughts - Person A saw him after weeks of initial meet and realizes he has lost weight, looks tired, speaks about being ill. ahhh yes he has lost substantially. The way he was dressed before and after can also play a role on making the weight loss appear substantial.

Also Backpackers , trekkers would definitely lose some weight on a trip. Reason- Burning too many calories, irregular meals, meals not same as at home. They have been away from their regular lifestyle for over months.
To add to this the stomach bug.
To add the kidney stone and the nausea.

It might not be a guru or a spiritual aspect only.

Whats my point? I just hope David and Lynda look at the other side of possibilities and not just get skewed in their thoughts and searches.

Edit -
Just had a word with a coffee shop owner in Dehradoon. He wasn't aware of this incident until I appraised him on the news. Could be his ignorance.
Bike rides - Kashmir to Leh and Sikkim, Jungle safaris - Corbett,Chikhaldara, Kanha and Gorumara. Traveled through MP, Himachal, J&K, Maharashtra, W.Bengal, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Goa, Karnataka, AP . . . Yet feel so New to traveling in India.
Last edited by new_traveller; Apr 7th, 2012 at 13:49..
#1074 Apr 7th, 2012, 16:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeakXV View Post Well there's trouble & then there is trouble, isn't there?

If an omnivore suddenly goes vegetarian - then health issues/weakness may occur quite quickly. Anemia & mental confusion are not uncommon. Kidney stones also being a risk when eating too many courses per week of certain leafy green vegetables. I, for one, would not be well for long (let alone nutritionally prepared for lengthy treks) - if I did/could not sustain myself with a proper diet of meat, fish & eggs.



I believe David had mentioned that he used no 'herbal substances' ... so somehow I was under the impression that he was not a smoker at all. These diets/habit things may seem like small potatoes .... but you never know what might tweak somebody's memory banks & as a result produce a crucial lead.

So to David/Lynda & to clarify:
Was he a known vegetarian &/or smoker? Any other distinguishable habits that you can share & that may help searchers in remembering/identifying him better?
He was vegetarian from age 12 till about age 23 then he re-introduced meat but is always happy to eat vegetarian. As for smoking he was a social smoker i.e. it isn't a big thing with him and he has given it up. The physical descriptions I have been given of him have varied little and are very worrying - whatever the cause of his weight loss he needs help. We do know that those who urged him to eat had no problem persuading him to do so once they pointed out that he didn't look well.
#1075 Apr 7th, 2012, 17:53
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#1075
I, like so many others have been following this thread every day hoping and praying that Jonathan is found safe and well.
Up until now I have not posted as I felt that I had nothing positive to contribute.
This afternoon I am heading off for the airport loaded with posters of Jonathan to take with me.
I will be flying into Chennai and spending 5 weeks touring the South and then a month in the North, I promise that everywhere I go I will hand out posters and make a point of speaking to other travelers and make them aware of Jonathan's situation.
David and Lynda, you are constantly in my thoughts, stay strong.
#1076 Apr 7th, 2012, 17:59
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Well done, more of this kind of practical help is needed if any other members can do likewise???? I've said before it's unlikely J is in deep south,but there could be other travellers down there who were in R'kesh at the same time as J & maybe even spoke with him.
Have a great trip.KK
SOS: Missing Person...

Please look at this thread: http://www.indiamike.com/india/uttar...012-a-t159252/

He could be anywhere now: You might have met him, be able to help, or give information.
#1077 Apr 7th, 2012, 18:29
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#1077
sometimes a three month visa just doesn't feel long enough. especially if illness feels like it is slowing you down. if Johnathan went from Varanasi to Rishikesh then i think checking out the Ganga pilgrimage routes is a wise idea. Ganga is very powerful and i think Atala is correct about the stage Jonathan is at. so maybe by following the Ganga to her source he hopes to find something like peace. concepts of time and emotional perspectives can change. sometimes journeys have to be made especially if it feels like its all in the timing. knowing youve broken your visa means you know you wont get another chance.
i dont know if its very cold up in the mountains now but i read he is well travelled and learned and from what people say here , resoundingly resiliant. im sure the last thing he would want is everybody fussing over his absense so think positive people for he will surely be found safe and smiling soon.

also has anybody checked out the banyan tree in arambol?
#1078 Apr 7th, 2012, 20:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuttuwalla View Post sometimes a three month visa just doesn't feel long enough. especially if illness feels like it is slowing you down. if Johnathan went from Varanasi to Rishikesh then i think checking out the Ganga pilgrimage routes is a wise idea. Ganga is very powerful and i think Atala is correct about the stage Jonathan is at. so maybe by following the Ganga to her source he hopes to find something like peace. concepts of time and emotional perspectives can change. sometimes journeys have to be made especially if it feels like its all in the timing. knowing youve broken your visa means you know you wont get another chance.
i dont know if its very cold up in the mountains now but i read he is well travelled and learned and from what people say here , resoundingly resiliant. im sure the last thing he would want is everybody fussing over his absense so think positive people for he will surely be found safe and smiling soon.

also has anybody checked out the banyan tree in arambol?
Contradicting thoughts all together, and sorry chuttuwaala this is not a pick at you but the very thought that has been running in this thread since long.

Most of us expecting him to be singing bhajans and fasting in a cave or in an ashram while
we are ignoring the fact he might be lying in a jungle track ill and in pain, not to forget the possibility of wild animals around. We are forgetting he could be in a villagers house waiting to get medical treatment as he fails to communicate with the locals about his ailment. We are forgetting he might have had a fall and fractured his limb...... I don't want to sound the bad guy who is seeding in scary ideas to his loved ones.
#1079 Apr 7th, 2012, 21:13
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i think nobody who is out on the ground searching for him is ignoring any of those possibilities. i dont think they need to be expressed in this thread anymore do you?
#1080 Apr 7th, 2012, 21:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuttuwalla View Post i think nobody who is out on the ground searching for him is ignoring any of those possibilities. i dont think they need to be expressed in this thread anymore do you?
I think there was a need to put things other than the spiritual aspect. This might not have the most likes, but the intention is not getting likes. Its focusing on what needs to be done to search for him.

Anyway Do not take it as an offense in any manner as quoting you was not picking at you in any way.

I see this is your 2nd post. Welcome to IM ! I do not want to take the discussion off topic.
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