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" Friendship is a sheltering tree "

Coleridge

Swami Vishnudevananda and the Cheese Sandwich

September 12th, 2010

From the Sivananda Yoga website

Free as a bird

For Swami Vishnudevananda there were no barriers, neither internal nor external. He believed that barriers were only mental constructs that had to be overcome. That’s why he began symbolic flights across national borders in trouble spots around the world.

In 1971, he flew with actor Peter Sellers in a two-engine Piper Apache ‘Peace Plane’ to Belfast in Northern Ireland, the first in a series of peace flights over the world’s trouble spots, throwing flowers and peace flyers. A month later he flew to the Middle East. On a peace flight over the Suez Canal during the Sinai War, Israeli military jets tried to force Swami Vishnudevananda to land, but he continued his mission unwaveringly. His message: “Man is free as a bird, overcome borders with flowers and love, not with guns and bombs.”

Accordingly, he glided over the Berlin Wall from West to East in 1983 in an ultralight aircraft, “armed” with two bouquets of marigolds. He landed on a farm in Weissensee in East Berlin. After being interrogated by East German authorities for four hours, he was put on the metro with a cheese sandwich and sent back to West Berlin.

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