An old soul in India

A 14-year-old Sacramento girl walks across a stage, in front of 18,000 white-clad Indian worshipers, to meet ‘god’

“So if you believe everything the BKs say, I am: an old soul, a pure soul, a soul that will accomplish more than my father,” said Natasha vonKaenel, pictured in front of the Taj Mahal with her father, Jeff.

“So if you believe everything the BKs say, I am: an old soul, a pure soul, a soul that will accomplish more than my father,” said Natasha vonKaenel, pictured in front of the Taj Mahal with her father, Jeff.

Courtesy Of Natasha vonKaenel

Natasha, a student at West Campus High School, is the daughter of SN&R CEO and president Jeff vonKaenel

India is one of those places I never expected to visit. If I was going to go anywhere, I would go to London or Paris. Never did I expect a trip to the oldest country on Earth. My father and I were invited to India by the Brahma Kumaris, a religious organization that practices open-eyed meditation and follows the teachings of their leader, Brahma Baba. They wear all white because, in India, wearing all white is a sign that you are untouchable. I was assigned by my geography teacher to write a journal every day while I was in India, and if it wasn’t for this assignment I probably wouldn’t have written much at all. So I thank Ms. Warner. Here are a few excerpts.


Dear Ms. Warner,

I have only been in India for a short while but I must say it is different from what I expected. I have no idea what I expected, but India is different. As soon as we stepped out of the airport we were greeted by beggars. I have been to Mexico and have been exposed to poverty. But in India it is not the same. These beggars were women with babies in their arms. They come up to you and tug at your sleeve. They touch you, stare at you and ask for a small token. They would probably take anything.


I think that American culture would be a lot different if when people were walking down the street heading to work they passed a cow slowly chugging down the road. When we were driving up to Mount Abu, we saw some monkeys (at least 12 or so) and I got out and took some pictures. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw a monkey in the tree behind the wall begin to move. In a flash, he had crossed the street and jumped on the top of the car. The monkey was about a foot away from me now and it was just chilling on top of the car. I was afraid to open the door in case the monkey jumped into the car. But my dad, in the car, kept on telling me, “Get in! Get in!” He was afraid this monkey would attack me. (It turns out this was a very friendly species of monkey. If it had been a red faced monkey, I would have been in danger.) So, I quickly opened the door and hopped into the car. The monkey remained on top of the car. Calmly, the driver told Brother Vinod to pass him up some fruit. Brother Vinod gave him an apple and the driver opened the door and handed the monkey the apple. He honked his horn and the monkey jumped off the car and began eating his apple on the side of the road.

“It turns out this was a very friendly species of monkey.”

Courtesy Of Natasha vonKaenel


Baba’s program. I will never ever forget that night. It was just so creepy. Baba is god to the BKs. So last night, to them, god just came down to Earth and spoke to them. So when I say Baba, just know that Baba is Dadi G in a trance with Baba’s soul in her body. According to the BKs. So when Baba first spoke, I was scared. Petrified. Seriously. Baba’s voice was not Dadi G’s voice. It was a quiet raspy whisper that reminded me tremendously of when Harry Potter talks in ‘Parseltongue’ in Harry Potter two (the movie). That was the way Baba sounded, but amplified throughout the entire room. Every time Baba would speak I felt shivers. I did not want to meet Baba. But I knew that we were getting drishti (drishti is when you make eye contact with the person [usually of power] and they transfer some of their strength and power into you) when we walked across the stage in front of more than 18,000 people, so I became anxious. … In front of this soul, I wanted to remain out of his sight, have nothing to do with him. Of course, this is the exact opposite of what actually occurred. … We got to meet Baba. Just me and my dad face-to-face. I know I should be ecstatic. I got to meet god. I know I am sounding like the biggest spoiled brat in the universe. I am complaining about meeting god. But god is frightening. The second I kneeled in front of him and he started speaking Hindi, it was as if I had never heard it before. Baba didn’t say anything to me, just to my dad. He said something like, “Your pen holds honesty and truth.” Whatever. I was too freaked out to remember. This person in front of me was powerful. Really powerful. But was this god? I have no idea. When Baba turned to me, he reached out his hand and held my hand. The BKs freaked out about this. This had never happened before. Or if it did, not in their memory. One of the BK brothers was talking about it to my dad. His voice got high and he was like, “Baba actually reached out and took her hand! He actually reached out! Very lucky soul. Baba sees great things in her future.” So if you believe everything the BKs say, I am: an old soul, a pure soul, a soul that will accomplish more than my father, an old Indian soul, a lucky soul, a good soul. So, yay, I guess. I shall accomplish great things. But this sort of sets the standards high. What if I end up as a bum crazed out on pot and alcohol? What will the BKs say then? Huh? Probably that I didn’t follow the path that god had in store for me, so I failed. … I think I am still in denial. I mean, it seems like in all the stories, the person meets god and changes their entire life. But I guess those would be the only stories told. Who would tell the stories of people that ignored god? Those just are not inspiring at all.


I have been to India, I have met god, I have seen unimaginable things. But I find myself asking, now what? Now that these things have happened, what do I do? When I returned to America, I jumped back into the ways of before, but India is still at the back of my mind. Before I do things, I find myself thinking of what the BKs would say. India soaked into me. I am still comprehending everything that happened.