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«Profession: REPORTER» / OCTOBER 2014
Closed Society – by Gudrun Sachse
An esoteric couple? A therapist with Asian roots? Which a psychologist and an interior designer suspect based on the pictures in these rooms.
The psychologist
‍Proper people live here, nothing nervous disturbs the harmonious overall impression. They have set themselves up personally in their abode, they seem settled and rooted. The residents are at home a lot, they like it quiet and contemplative.

But people come and go here too. The culinary order in this household remains a secret - the large table with the beautiful chairs looks more like a meeting room. Is there perhaps a debate here, do reading groups meet, or do spiritual meetings take place?

As a guest bed, the orange mattress would be a little too public in the living room, but it is there invitingly for meditative relaxation. Orange and red tones, the photo of the lotus blossom and also the other pictures with an East Asian touch suggest people here who have something to do with Eastern religion and spirituality or have something in their books.

Books play an important role, some are even stored in elegant cupboards. It's not just after-work reading material that's stored here, the residents also read and do research in it for work. Maybe you are interested in old writings, religions, spiritual-esoteric topics? The study looks like mundane work: laptop, hanging files and fans to keep you from getting tired on hot days. Two office chairs facing each other, with the Macbook in between: Do visitors or customers come here for talks or advice? Do the residents also sell their skills and knowledge commercially?

The two people have probably been a harmonious couple for a long time, if there weren't two work desks with two telephones, a single person could also live here.
The interior designer
The ugly, white woodchip wallpaper that is found in many apartments is missing. Here the colors are more complex and differentiated. In the case of the office, the wall has an almost southern hue.

The apartment, which has been carefully coordinated in terms of materials and colors, radiates something stately. Expensive, heavy and elaborate furniture alternates with a few pieces from the department store. However, the reminiscences distributed in the apartment refer to the Far East.

The office, on the other hand, obeys old western standards and would do well as a backdrop in an American feature film. The chair with the high, wide back seems to belong to the patron of the house. Who is sitting across from him? Or maybe it's more a woman's seat? Men are less likely to have flowers in their workplace. Who operates the small, gray telephone at the next table? Everything indicates that paid work is done in this office. One could easily imagine oneself in the practice of a therapist who has been practicing for a long time. His assistant at his side. But obviously people live, read and make music here.

A couple lives here. The granddaughter, who is visiting the city, sleeps in the living room. There are eight chairs at the table, which is a sign of a lively social exchange. People meet in this apartment. Roaring parties, on the other hand, are hardly celebrated here. It goes back and forth more carefully.

The knowledge that is in the bookshelves probably also determines the guests. Once the curtains have been drawn, it is quite possible that a closed circle will come together here.
Krishna Premarupa das, Temple President of Hare Krishna

‍"I guess my residential karma is pretty good. As a child, I was given the large master bedroom in the block apartment in Volketswil. I also had the largest room in my first flat share. And now I have five windows and look out over Lake Zurich."

The villa was built by the Julius Baer family in 1909. It has 25 rooms on six floors. The Krishna Foundation bought the house in 1980. Before that, it had been empty for several years and was also occupied for a while. We paid 1.2 million. We had saved 200,000 francs, the rest was a loan. There are twelve of us living in the temple, that's what we call our home, we are eight men and four women. In the entrance area is the altar of Krishna.
In the 1980s we were admittedly quite missionary, a sectarian movement some would say, we sang and drummed and gave out our sweet semolina cakes by the lake. Today we are more down to earth. 95 percent of Krishna members have a job and family. Believers, India fans and people from the yoga scene visit our temple.

During the week it is quiet here, on Sundays there is a party. But now I will scoop up the food, which otherwise cools down. Before I moved in 13 years ago I was a chef. But today's meal isn't mine. We cook Ayurvedic and live vegetarian. Of course, vegan would be even better, but Krishna loves dairy products - and actually we only cook for him. Our goal would be to get milk from cows that are not killed. At the moment this is impossible, which is why we only use a small amount of milk from a local organic farmer.

I say one more prayer: maha-prasade govinde, nama-brahmani vaisnave, svalpa-punya-vatam rajan, visvaso naiva jayate . . .

And now for the food: Here we have basmati rice, lentils, banana chutney, flatbread, broccoli, eggplant and cauliflower with peanut sauce, vegetable croquettes with tomato sauce and a coconut candy. Krishna has already eaten. The colorful figures on the altar on the ground floor are dressed in new clothes by monks every day. This lasts two hours and is a form of meditation. Krishna is present on the altar; adorning the altar with flowers and fruits we make him happy. Krishna gets his food on his own silver dishes. The dishes are later returned from Krishna's plate to the large pots, so that each of us gets some of it.

My mother was a single parent. My father died when I was a baby. She taught religion and was a sigrist, I was an altar boy. When I discovered Buddhism for myself, she complained: Why Buddha and not Jesus? Later, when I got closer to Krishna, why Krishna, why not Jesus? I remember well her first visit here in the temple, when I was still a simple monk. For those who do not know and love India, these smells and figures are certainly very foreign. Meanwhile, my mother is proud that I went my spiritual path. The only difficult topic is her desire for grandchildren. But I'm celibate now.

Luckily my brother is still there. I was with him in 1998 on my first and most important pilgrimage to Burma. On the journey I discovered my desire to live in a monastery. I understand if someone doesn't want anything to do with religion because of the world situation. I have always believed in reincarnation and have lived thousands of lives. For me it would be scary if the lights were to be out forever.
Our day in the temple begins at four o'clock. After waking up, I pray, shower and get dressed. Dress choice is easy: I have five identical sets. Singing, meditation and readings follow. Breakfast is at nine o'clock. We nourish our spirit first, then our body. Then everyone has their office; I am in the office, on the altar and also clean the toilets regularly. After lunch I lie down on my left side, which according to Ayurveda promotes digestion. In the afternoon we read the scriptures, meditate, go for walks. After a light meal we go to bed at nine o'clock. I like my room, but I feel at home in India, although my place of residence there is more modest.»
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