This is the Real Secret Tantra

After teasing us with the mention of sex, the Swami moves on to tell us about the higher levels of Tantra known to grammarians, philosophers and other intellectuals. Few know these things, even in India. This is the real secret Tantra. What is it?

We don’t know but it is connected to a tradition of Shiva worship in Kashmir. They ‘attune’ to ‘this force that goes from material to spiritual’. It is the ‘top form’ of tantric yoga. Yes, but what is it? What does it do?

Ah ha. It works on the crown chakra.

‘It is strictly spiritual and it is very spiritual’. What’s the difference? It is a purely tantric path. Which means it is ‘not a path for a hermit’. ‘A spirituality with fun’. This means you can have nice clothes and drive a car. Wearing clothes and driving doesn’t stop it being spiritual. Huh.

And what that’s? It is philosophical and intellectual.

Stop the mind from thinking ‘crap’ and ‘keep it busy with high spiritual things.’ I’m guessing that this is not clothes and cars.

Here is something. Kashmiri Shaivism is monistic. ‘If you one step higher above the two you have the one.’ This might sound like a revelation but commentators on the Vedanta, and especially the Advaita Vedanta of Shankar mined this philosophical vein in the 8th Century.

This is not hidden knowledge that the Kashmiris have been harnessing. It is Hinduism 101 spoken in a 101 type of way. And why does this man have such a flabby tubby? All that yoga should surely have tightened him up. He does look comfortable pontificating on his throne in a tent. And why does he check the time? Has he got a limited slot?

And here comes the revelation: ‘You are God’.

Any hippy in the 60s could have told you that. The thing is it means virtually nothing because without the notion of separateness the concept of god has no value for people. The Buddhists say all is nothing. It is the same as saying all is god.

The video when I watched it had 69 likes and 7 thumbs down.

The 69 seems appropriate because Tantra espouses the same morality as Nietzsche, namely beyond good or evil. One sect of Sadhus live naked, covered in human ash in cemeteries. Some also drink and sleep with women. They are processing karma to speed up enlightenment. The goal is wisdom and morality comes second to this pursuit. The body rather than being shunned can be used as a vehicle to spiritual progress.

It is this line of thinking that ends up with a student being convinced that the highly realized can indulge in sexual activities. And hence Sexy Sadie. Let’s have this video as well.

This is Swami Vivekananda Saraswati, the founder of Agama Yoga. They have a branch, possibly headquarters in Sri Thanu (which might mean Lord Shiva). Agama does yoga but also teaches Kashmiri Shaivism.

As a postscript – monism and going beyond the dualism of morality might also be a good reason to go to the Full Moon Party and behaving thoroughly badly and indulgently.

Currently you can do yoga in Haad Rin, but the real heavy stuff is all over on the west coast.

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If I Like Haad Rin Would I like Pattaya?

Travel in Thailand is fairly straight forward. You can book in advance, often online or through a travel agent, or you can often turn up at a bus station or train station and get a ticket for same day travel. There are lots of private companies providing an extensive travel network joining up all the major tourist destinations in Thailand. Thus you could well plan a tour of Thailand that included both Pattaya and Haad Rin. But would you want to?

On the surface, the answer seems to be ‘no’ since the two tourist destinations are very different. Pattaya is a big city. It has 3 main beaches stretching around its headland. On an average day the sands are 3 deep in deck chairs and sun loungers. The city has big shopping areas, 5 star hotels, boutique stores and an infamous red-light district called Walking Street.

pattaya

The type of tourist to visit Pattaya falls into 2 categories – those who go to Pattaya for the whores and those who don’t. Even the shy Chinese tour groups (in the latter camp) visit Walking Street to take in the prurient atmosphere and take photos.

Those who visit Haad Rin are primarily drawn by the party scene, in particular the Full Moon Party. It is the biggest outdoor beach party in Thailand and probably the world. The party takes over Haad Rin Sunrise Beach (Haad Rin Nok) as well the town. It is a messy, booze and drug fuelled carnival that goes on for nearly 48 hours (if you include the after parties). While some people come for the music and the DJs, most attend the party because it is a bucket list item; it is a right-of-passage for backpackers in South East Asia. If you tell your mates at home that you went to Koh Phangan they will expect you to have been to the Full Moon Party.

haad-rin-party

Whereas, your mates will be more circumspect about asking if you had a blowie or a short stay in Pattaya (especially if you are a woman).

While budget travellers are drawn to Koh Phangan’s cheap wooden bungalows and laissez faire island attitude, they are less visible in Pattaya. You see lots of Russians and Europeans spending plenty of money on food and drink as well as female entertainment. Hence you will see big brand hotel chains in Pattaya. In contrast the only chain in Haad Rin is Best Western.

If you like experiencing different things on holiday and like encountering different types of holiday-makers then you may well get quite a kick out of going to Haad Rin for a party and to Pattaya for sun, sand and optional extras. You might argue that Haad Rin and Pattaya both cater for hedonists but perhaps hedonists chasing different pleasures in different ways.

Making Friends in Haad Rin

haad-rin-beach

If you are travelling solo to a place like Haad Rin, you might find that you have a yearning to make friends to get the most out of your time on the party beach. Lots of people like travelling alone. They are sociable when the occasion calls, but they are also happy with their own company. I have lots of respect for such self-contained people, but it strikes me that Haad Rin is the last place you would want to be alone.

This is because Haad Rin is the most sociable beach on Koh Phangan. You are expected to mingle and meet. People go in big groups to the Full Moon Party, and much of the run up to the big event is designed to not only make money for the local businesses but also to break the ice for those travelling alone.

There is also a practical reason for taking a friend or friends to the Full Moon Party. And that is safety. You are much less likely to get in to serious trouble if you are in a group. If you pass out there will be a friend to look after you; to prevent your pockets being picked. If you go to the toilet you can have a friend to watch your drink so that it isn’t stolen or spiked. A friend by your side gives you confidence, it allows you to enjoy the party more as well as stay safe. Moreover, you will need someone to have a laugh with.

How to make a friend in Haad Rin? Here are a few tips:

  1. Stay at a hostel. Most of the hostels are very sociable places. Many have pre-party bashes where you get the chance to chat with people. Also staying in the dorms gives you plenty of opportunity to get talking to people
  2. Go on a boat tour. There are several companies doing boat tours. They pick you up at your resort in the morning (not too early); take you around the island, usually stopping at Than Sadet (to see the waterfall), Thong Nai Pan and Koh Ma (to go snorkelling). These tours are often quite jolly with people drinking and relaxing. It is a perfect chance to get chatting to someone. Recommended is Snoop Dogg Tour partly because I love the name.
  3. Enter a competition. There is a football and volleyball competition prior to the Full Moon Party. It doesn’t cost much to enter. If you sign up alone they will match you with others to make a team. There is nothing like sport for bringing people together. To find out more contact Heinz – heinzkauien@hotmail.com. Competitions are held on the beach in front of Tommy Resort.
  4. A gentler option is a cooking class. Several restaurants have cooking classes that last a few hours. You learn the secrets of Thai cooking and get the chance to break the ice by talking about food.
  5. In the run up to the big party there are plenty of people out drinking. Why not offer to buy someone a drink. Or get on the pool table at the Outback Bar.

I hope that helps. You will have more fun in company in Haad Rin. You will also be safer.

Forgetting

forgetting1

I found a blog called massivelysilly.wordpress.com. It wasn’t that massively silly really. The entries for Thailand and Koh Phangan actually detailed the writer’s journey quite well. It included prices, names of resorts, times of tours etc. and could help people looking to find out more about travelling in Thailand before they get to the Land of Smiles.

What did make me laugh were the posts written around the Full Moon Party time. Without realising, I suspect, the author has hit on a bit of a theme, and that is forgetting. If you don’t remember something important there are going to be consequences. Here is a brief list of the instances of forgetting found at https://massivelysilly.wordpress.com/tag/haad-rin/

  1. A humorous tale about a chap who seduced a lass and persuaded her to do the deed in a fisherman’s boat. He nips off quickly to the 7-11 for a condom and of course when he gets back to the beach he can’t remember which boat the girl is waiting for him in. In the end he gives up and goes back to his room.
  2. The writer and travel companion get so drunk in a bar that they are literally legless. They had forgotten that they still had to walk home.
  3. The intrepid duo meets 2 French men on a tour to Talu Island (near Phuket). They meet the same two men on their way to Koh Phangan. They meet the two French chaps the morning after the party. The two are wandering around aimlessly as they have forgotten where their bungalow is.
  4. The writer is catching a taxi to Thongsala 2 days after the FMP. They meet a group of lads who have done the pre-party, the FMP and the after party. One member of the group has seemingly forgotten how to do his normal UK accent.

Forgetting is funny, especially a few days after the event. However, at the time forgetting where you put your stuff or your flip flops or your passport can be distressing. Forgetting who you are is called amnesia and is certainly distressing. If possible try to remind yourself about stuff you shouldn’t forget. It might help.

Graham Gold

graham gold

Graham Gold is a long running DJ in Koh Phangan. He currently has a residency at Tommy Resort and leads their FMP show. He also pops up virtually everywhere when there is a party on. You cannot stay in Haad Rin for any length of time without hearing his music or seeing his bald-headed mug on a promo poster.

While Graham Gold might have become a Koh Phangan cliché , he is in fact a bit of a legend. For a start he has his own Wikipedia page. Born in 1954, he started DJing when he was 15 doing a mobile disco. This was the start of quite a career. In 1975 he opened his first nightclub. In 1990 he played on the opening show of Kiss Radio. When Danny Rampling and Judge Jules went over to BBC Radio Gold started his Friday Night Show. These Kiss shows were considered revolutionary at the time, and made Gold’s name. The Kiss shows finished in 1990.

Next Gold fronted Peach nightclub in Camden Palace Theatre and started getting wider recognition. He was 8 times listed in DJ magazine as in the top 100 DJs in the world. He has also sold 700,000 records.

When the Peach gig came to an end Gold continued to play at festivals, do voice over work, and various TV work. Eventually he took a boat to Koh Phangan and never left.

It makes for a good story. You can see Graham Gold doing interviews about the Full Moon Party. He seems like a likeable chap and despite his age very much at home with the young ones.

Here is one of his sets from Tommy Resort. It’s house with a lot of electro farty bass noises; it’s high energy and well mixed. You can’t fault it really. Sorry about the jumble of code on the page. WordPress obviously stops iframes, Java etc. to encourage people to give them money.

https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?embed_type=widget_standard&embed_uuid=a32715d1-994e-424f-b8dc-e4db5f437f4d&feed=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mixcloud.com%2FGrahamGold%2Fgraham-gold-live-at-tommy-resort-haadrin-for-aprils-full-moon-party%2F&hide_cover=1&hide_tracklist=1&mini=1&replace=0

Graham Gold Live at Tommy Resort, Haadrin for April’s Full Moon Party by Grahamgold on Mixcloud

You have to guess that Gold has taken a massive pay cut settling on Koh Phangan. I don’t suppose Tommy Resort is adding to his pension pot. The medical facilities in Koh Samui are outrageously expensive. Let’s hope that he has squirreled plenty away from his various successes prior to catching that boat to KP. Hats off to Graham.