This was my first trip to Tallinn, Europe’s newest capitals. The capital city of Estonia has some striking structures based on decades of Soviet influence.
I had taken a tram as the first choice for transportation from the airport to the city centre. My hotel was booked three kilometres from the city in the historical old town.
I was looking for directions to the old town when a taxi pulled up beside me.
The driver asked me to get in his car. He seemed eager.
I didn’t mind a taxi for a short hop. I got in and sat down comfortably.
The driver invited me warmly and said “This is my temple. Welcome to the temple”.
The car interior looked neat and decorated with various tribal artefacts. This included small drums, a mini version of a fire altar, bird feather, a robe that resembled an animal and colourful clothing spread over. The driver himself was colourfully dressed and wearing a fur cap.
I was surprised to see ‘AUM’ symbol on the steering wheel. The steering wheel itself was wrapped in a multi coloured cloth resembling rainbow colours.
The driver said “This wheel resembles the sun. It keeps me close to the cosmos”. He continued “Did you know that I connected with you through telepathy. The spirits asked me to connect with you”.
I was suspicious. He should be a con man taking me for a ride.
“Tell me, how much will it cost to this hotel”.
“Depends on the meter. Not more than fifteen euros”
Fifteen euros was reasonable for a three kilometres ride. I agreed and asked him to start the journey.
The driver was eager to converse. “I belong to a Siberian tribe in Russia. I don’t speak English that well. Hope you can understand me”.
I understood his communication reasonably well.
“I am a mystic and practice Shamanism. We worship nature. I communicate with spirits. I heal people”
I had some understanding of Shamanism.
Their rituals have resemblance to our Vedic rituals. This involves healing, purifying, seeking knowledge of the future and sacrifices to five elements like our “Pancha Bhootas”, communicating with spirits and personified fire worship. They dress in specific costumes during the worship.
Usage of natural intoxicating and hallucinogenic brew is common as a means of hastening the attainment of ecstasy in Shamanism. Consumption of soma drink by ordinary humans is also attested during our Vedic age. The Rig Veda says, “We drank soma, we became immortal, we came to the light, we found gods.”
“I drive this taxi only for sustenance. My goal is to explore my true being.
Humans seem to be exploring “who am I” either consciously or unconsciously.
“Are you from Varanasi”?
I said I am not.
The driver continued. “I stayed in Varanasi for three months and it was great experience”
“You should be a Hindu. The spirits told me that you worship the sun”.
The spirits seem to know something about me. I would like to meet them one day.
I said, “Tell me about the spirts”.
“The universe is divided into upper world, earth and the underworld. The three worlds are connected by an axis called the golden pillar. The gods live in the upper world, the humans in the earth and demons in the underworld. There are spirits living in all the three worlds. I can interact and communicate with them”.
This resembles mount Meru in our Puranas. Mount Meru is not visible to the normal eye. Mount Meru is said to be the centre of the universe described in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist cosmology. Our universe is described to contain physical, metaphysical and spiritual realms with Mount Meru at its centre.
“Ancestors worship is another element of Shamanism. Our ancestors live in the upper world and we can connect with them to receive advice”.
Ancestor worship was prevalent during Vedic times and continues to this day.
The driver showed me a set of photographs that I found interesting.
“I have spent lot of time with the native Indians in America. Their idea is based on the universe and all objects within have souls and spirits. They worship nature. Their Shaman acts as a medium between the visible world and the spirit world. This is like ours”.
Our Vedic gods too are tied to nature and order of the universe.
The hymns in our Rig Veda are dedicated to specific deities. Indra is the most popular and praised god in the Vedas. Indra’s Kingdom is situated near Mount Meru and loves Soma. Varuna is described as the lord of oceans, water and aquatic animals. Agni is the master of sacrifices and wealth. Rudra is the god of storm and lightning. Mitra is also the guardian of the world along with Varuna. Surya is the lord of light and power.
There seems to be a common thread connecting humans from the past.
My taxi pulled up to the hotel as it was a short drive.
The driver smilingly accepted my fifteen euros and said “I am pleased to meet you. If I don’t meet you again, perhaps we meet in the next birth”.
I said “I am never born and never died. What is the next birth you are talking about?”.
I did not wait for the answer. He drove away.