When I was searching for a room via Airbnb, I read several comments from different travellers who stayed at Viktoria’s place; yes, it is a vegan house, no meat eating is welcomed in her place – which doesn’t disturb me at all, as I am not a big meat eater myself. Some people have given very positive feedback about her, saying that she is open, spiritual, straightforward and has a great laugh… Some guy said that overall it was a good experience, even though that he didn’t agree with her life philosophy. I was half-way interested in meeting her – because I was traveling on my own in a new city, it might be fun to meet a “spiritual person”.
When I arrived at her place and walked around the area, I realised that I really landed in the most beautiful area of Buda! I was 2 minutes’ walking distance to the Mathias church!
Viktoria welcomed me with a warm hug and a big smile, and showed me the room where I would stay for the next five days. A very calming bedroom, with several Indian paintings of the god Krishna and his wife hanging on the wall, a big cloth of elephant design above the bed – all these oriental decorations gave me a soothing feeling.
I don’t know how our conversation started to go deep into her life story, maybe because we talked about meditation? Or maybe we talked about “minds”: she mentions that she doesn’t have a mind, so she doesn’t criticise anyone and her guests. If someone doesn’t suit her flat, she would just return the money and ask him/she to leave.
What’s funny is that she is the first person on earth, who has ever said to me “I am enlightened”!
All right, I know, you can choose to believe it or not, you may think that she is crazy. If I was still in my early twenties, I would probably think that she is just too much of a hippy; a person who is retired and does nothing, who meditates all day long. But during my stay in Budapest, I saw that whether I believe she is enlightened or not, she does live peacefully and happily. She lives on 150 euros a month and her rent is about 170, she doesn’t even know how she manages it – but she laughs about it with humour.
Here is a simple version of her story, in search for happiness:
When I was eight years old and all alone, I found my father dead with a knife stabbed into his heart, his body covered with blood in bed. This image of his suicide has stayed in my mind ever since. It was like a programme: during my later years, whenever I was under stress, whenever I encountered problems I couldn’t resolve, I had attempted suicide. In total eight times.
The very last time I damaged my body badly, I overdosed with sleeping pills, and the next day I found myself lying in the hospital, my legs were paralyzed. I lay in bed for almost a year, and later on I learned to walk with sticks.
I had lived in different places, I was a jazz singer in Italy, had worked in different clubs. For my spiritual path I had dedicated myself to Hare Krishna; I was in that organisation for 25 years, I was a Hare Krishna nun for 5 years, and lived in different cities in India, but all that time I wasn’t enlightened.
When I had learned to walk with sticks, I traveled to Mexico. Just by chance I watched a video clip of Mooji (who later has become my spiritual teacher), after five minutes I couldn’t stop myself crying, I thought – I have to meet this guy! In that particular moment, I had such a strong will, I suddenly felt this divine energy coming from the crown of my head through my spine, I could walk again, without help!
“Do you believe in miracles?”, she asked.
Can she be lying? Am I too trusting of someone’s story? Let me tell you my observations: Viktoria does walk a bit differently, the way she moves I would describe that she may have had accidents before, and there were a pair of walking sticks in her bedroom.
She also told me, that she had published her life experiences – all stories were written in a witty, humorous way. Sometimes she re-reads what she wrote and even bursts into laughter! I said that it’s a pity that I don’t understand Hungarian, because already from what she told me, I find her life very interesting.
She had lived to an extreme. Years ago she drank constantly, worked late nights, a bad marriage and several breakups with the same husband… All that, plus she had lived in different countries and traveled, attempted suicide eight times, got involved in a religious organization and was a nun for five years?
Yes, I did see a few piles of her books in the bedroom too.
There is no point in recording all our conversations in this article. If you’re not interested in Vedanta, Buddhist or Hinduist philosophies, if you’ve not had the chance to experience these teachings, all these “mind, no mind” “thoughts”, “emptiness”, subjects would just bore you or make you feel like you were walking in the clouds.
But I would like to share my last conversation with Viktoria on a less than 10 minutes bus ride, which struck me to my core:
I had to ask her about her suicide story again, because when I was about 14 or 15, committing suicide did cross my mind for a few times. Back then we lived on the 17th floor in Taipei, there were some intensive weeks when I stayed up late in the night, looked down from the window, while my family were asleep, and all was quiet. I didn’t like the world, the reality I was living in, I felt this loneliness, and I had somewhat helpless, hopeless feelings that I can’t live this life happily.
I think one of the reasons that I didn’t jump out of the window was that I was afraid of pain. If I didn’t succeed I would suffer in pain! I wasn’t too sure about the idea, so I told myself several times – just wait ‘til tomorrow night – maybe you’ll feel more like doing it then!
So on our way to the train station, I told her my “unenacted wish” from when I was a teenager.
V: “But something stopped you; it’s good that a part of you knew that this would be wrong, so you didn’t do it!
“All we want to do is to kill the roles we’re playing: a mother, a certain profession, a child of someone, someone who does something… What we do is what we do, not what we are, not our essence.
“We’ve had this thought because we really see that life is pure suffering, everybody is just surviving!”
(I was asking in my mind, really? Everyone is only just surviving? Yes, maybe. We do certain things in a search for fun, happiness, love, enjoyment and fulfillment, because we are not them! Some people survive better, tell themselves that they live a good life, and for others, they merely survive).
V: “But you can only kill your physical body, you still don’t kill you! To be truly happy you have to be enlightened: you have to die inside first!”
Me: How do I die inside?
V: “By surrendering to god, surrendering your ego!”
To be honest, at that moment, I didn’t know if we refer to ‘God’ as the same God, but I did have an urge to cry.
Me: “Can I kill myself inside, do you think?”
V: “It’s easier under a master’s protection, you might do it on your own, but there are really very few people, maybe one out of a hundred, who is able to achieve it without a master. Because a true master would raise your energy to a higher level.
“Well, actually, you are a really cute girl, you seem very calm!”
Me: Yes I “seem” very tranquil, I “seem” calm! Some people have said that when I play on stage, I don’t seem nervous at all, but they don’t know that the first few minutes when I have just started performing, my heartbeat is so loud and fast, and that inside I’m full of all kinds of emotions!
It didn’t take Viktoria more than 1 second to react to this:
V: “Next time try not to identify yourself! They are your feelings but they are not you, see yourself from the outside, from above, and maybe the result will be better!”
Very soon after we had to say goodbye to each other, but the last few things Viktoria said, resonated in my heart. In fact, during that short drive, I felt a strange buzzing sensation on the top of my head. Someone had to have lived life so thoroughly in order to be able to come out with things like that in an instant!
The unique people you’ve met, make a new place truly special.
Some people show up in a really short chapter in your life, you may not see them again, but what their stories have taught you, or how your communication with them happened, could be something so valuable that you can’t ever describe it.
More and more I start to see why life has giving me this chance to be on my own without a partner, to feel, to explore, to experience with others, to be inspired, then also to learn to detach from all that.