By Chitra Jha
A pilgrimage to Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar is the ultimate spiritual experience. Chitra Jha undertakes this journey with Guru Mohanji’s entourage, and comes back feeling reconnected with her inherent power
As she related her story, I felt like meeting this guru. When Lavanya talked about the forthcoming trip to Kailash with Mohanji, in July-August, I immediately decided to join them – not as much for Kailash as for Mohanji’s company. Three of my sisters and my younger brother, Akshay, agreed to join me. Suddenly, it was no more Kailash with Mohanji, but Kailash with Mohanji and all my siblings (with the exception of my elder brother).
The crystal mountain
The fact that Kailash means crystal fascinated me. For many years I had been reading about the crystalline grid of Earth being activated, and the human body mutating from a carbon-based structure to a crystalline structure. I would visualise carbon – gradually turning into clear crystal under specific conditions (usually tremendous pressure; something that we go through in our life as well to activate our crystalline layer). In nature it takes billions of years for this process to complete; hence, if Kailash indeed was a crystal mountain, it must have been incredibly ancient. And then the Kailash range – in the Southwestern corner of Tibet – is a part of the Trans-Himalayan range, which is significantly older than the Himalayas. The other fascinating facet of Mount Kailash is its pyramidal structure. While most mountains are natural pyramids, Kailash has four distinctly chiselled sheer faces. If a small clear crystal can raise the vibrations of a person or a home, a pyramid-shaped giant crystal can surely raise the vibrations of an entire region and perhaps more.
Added to that the knowledge that all the crystals of the world – however big or small – continually interact with each other and form an energy grid, made me hold my collection of crystal rocks as if I was holding a part of Kailash.
Interestingly, a Russian study indicates the possibility of Mount Kailash being a man-made (or perhaps alien-made) giant pyramid, the centre of a complex of 100 pyramids that might be the centre of a worldwide system connecting all other mountains in a paranormal phenomenon. No wonder Hindus consider it the spiritual centre of the Universe, while the Buddhists call it the navel or the solar plexus of the world. Its location at the heart of six mountain ranges –symbolising a blooming lotus – adds to its legendary status. People following the pre-Buddhist Bon religion consider it a nine-storied swastika mountain.
At 22,000 ft. Mount Kailash with its distinct shape towers amidst other mountains in its vicinity. There are two lakes at its base. The sacred Lake Mansarovar, the highest freshwater lake in the world, which is shaped round like the Sun, is said to represent the positive energies of the universe. Hindus consider it the epitome of purity with the power to wash off all sins. Rakshas Taal, the devil’s lake, which is shaped like the crescent moon, represents the negative energies of the universe. The area is also the source of four major South Asian rivers, namely Indus, Sutlej, Brahmaputra and Karnali.
Climbing the mighty Mount Kailas is forbidden to all, one can only circumambulate it. The Kailash parikrama is considered a journey that is both inwards and outwards, helping the pilgrims take an honest peek into themselves. The promise of this yatra is that life will never again be the same for you.
The journey begins
Finally, the D-day dawned and we gathered at the Delhi airport in the early hours of July 30. Everyone was in high spirits – ready for the unknown. Since I had seen quite a few pictures of Mohanji and Biba (his Serbian wife), they didn’t feel like strangers. As I keenly observed them, I noticed a loving energy around them; Biba specially seemed highly vivacious in her animated gestures.
The flight to Kathmandu (alt 4,600 ft.) was short; soon we found ourselves checking into the sylvan Soaltee Crown Plaza and tucking into delicious food. There were 86 of us from 12 countries – a rather large group, but connections happened pretty quickly over rounds of meditations, shaktipats, shared rooms, and briefing sessions.
Day two took us to the famous Pashupatinath Temple and Budhanikanta, the sleeping Vishnu temple. Despite the fact that I have been completely immersed in metaphysics for the last two decades, and matters spiritual engage my being 24×7, I am not a religious person. Temples do not hold any attraction for me; nor do I feel any uplifting energy there. So, I simply decided to trail the guru and feel his presence. Visiting the sleeping Vishnu temple, with this connection in my heart, was an amazing experience. I loved the energies there. Even now the bewitchingly enigmatic smile of Vishnu is etched in my heart.
On Day three we drove down about 35 kms east of Kathmandu city for a night halt at Nagarkot, a small hill station (at 7,000 ft.) made famous for its 108 ft. tall Shiva statue. That night it rained heavily, causing a huge landslide into river Sunkoshi that blocked the Araniko highway to Tibet.
On day four it was decided to use helicopters to reach Kodari – the border town (at 8000 ft.). With two helicopters in service that could seat five passengers each, ferrying about 100 people – including the tour operators and the sherpas – along with all the luggage, took close to five hours. By then the Chinese immigration office was closed, so we spent the night at a lovely guesthouse right at the banks of river Sunkoshi – the same river responsible for blocking our path. From therein started my love affair with the water bodies of Nepal-Tibet. As Sunkoshi roared in all its eclectic majesty, our energies were raised to match its energy.
On day five we walked across the Friendship Bridge to reach China. The immigration was a breeze – our Chinese tour guides definitely had a great rapport with the authorities, which saw us pass through about a dozen check posts along the way to Kailash without any hitch.
Doorway to Tibet
Entering Tibet was like entering a dreamland. I fell in love with the myriad streams, rivers and lakes that dotted the route; a welcoming energy made me feel at home instantly – ah, a wonderful homecoming. At that stage I felt certain that my father, my beloved baba Shiva, had sent his assistants to escort me. The ecstasy was so infectious that I couldn’t stop singing throughout the journey – not feeling the altitude effect even one bit.
We reached Nylam, a small town situated at an altitude of approx. 12,700 ft. for a night halt. The hotel in the midst of nowhere had all the modern amenities including Wi-Fi. By now our woollens were already being put to good use and most people had begun to experience the effects of high altitude. I too noticed a mild headache. In fact, all through the trip I took just half a tablet of Diamox (a prescription drug for combatting effects of high altitude), a couple of doses of Arnica, Cocculus and Coca, which was being distributed to the entire group, courtesy a homeopath on board.
Day six took us to Dongba across a mountain pass called Lung La (at about 16,500 ft.). We also crossed Brahmaputra River and felt a close connect with it. Nature was fully ALIVE, as each mountaintop seemed to have a face sculpted on it, facing heavenwards. All through the journey we hardly saw any habitation; there were just vast tracts of land surrounded by hills and dotted with water bodies.
Day seven took us to the door of Heaven – Lake Mansarovar; travelling via Prayang and Mayum La pass (at 17,000 ft.) I, for one, was not too keen to take a dip in the freezing waters of Mansarovar. However, the first sight of the famous South face of Kailash glittering under the Sun, as seen across Mansarovar, lifted my spirits – and a dip in the waters felt just the right thing to do. Encouraged by my younger sister Pratibha, I splashed water all over my head – it was cold but not as cold as I had feared it to be. In fact, the bath energised us thoroughly.
The guestroom near Mansarovar was quite like the one at Dongba, but unlike Dongba there were deep trench toilets that had not been cleaned for years. I didn’t dare enter them; settling for open toilets under the sky. The vast tract of land made it easy to find suitable spots but lack of vegetation or any other cover challenged the modesty. Sibling support was invaluable that day.
On day nine the much awaited parikrama began; we were doing the outer parikrama of about 42 kms (one becomes eligible for the inner parikrama – of about 10 kms – only after doing 12 outer parikramas. Interestingly, the year 2014 is the Chinese year of Horse in which one parikrama is considered equal to 12 parikramas; so that has made us all eligible for an inner parikrama. Though for some reason, the authorities did not allow the inner parikrama this year.)
We drove until Yama Dwar, and were assigned a porter and a pony on payment. My pony-man, who was also doubling as my porter, was a young boy of about 11-12 years; and like any other young child, was more interested in chatting on the phone, which surprisingly received signal all through the parikrama. Half the time he left the pony in my charge, and walked way behind – chatting with friends. I took it as a call for self-reliance and carried on regardless with full faith in the pony and Lord Shiva’s grace.
Six hours and 12 kms later we reached our guesthouse at Diraphuk (alt- 16,000 ft.). On the way we passed the West face of Kailash. In fact, it was fully visible from the window of our room even when we were lying down. This was an amazing opportunity. Our eyes remained glued to it for hours until clouds hid it from our sight.
Day 10 was supposedly the most difficult part of the Yatra. We were to cover 22 kms in about 10 hours, some of it uphill until Dolmala pass at 19,000 ft. and then trekking down to a valley floor and moving. But surprisingly we did not feel any breathlessness or tiredness at such altitude. Even the steep and narrow uphill ride on the pony didn’t leave us with any bruises or aches. Trekking down was great fun as well.
We travelled past the East face of Kailash and the Gauri Kund, along with hundreds of Tibetans of all ages – from infants to really old people. There was a festive mood all along with locals singing aloud or playing songs on their portable devices, and prayer flags fluttering in the wind. For once even the litter couldn’t take my focus away from the gaiety!
We reached Zuthulphuk (at 15,700 ft.) charged with enough energy to explore the tiny hamlet.
Day 11 was the last day of the parikrama. It was an eight km gradually winding trek along a happily gurgling river. By some Divine Grace, each one of us siblings happened to do this trek in solitude; and completely loved it.
The beginning of the end
We gathered together at Chongdo, where our buses met us. It was a small army base – watching Chinese soldiers doing their drills reminded me of our Indian soldiers back home and I realised how alike all armies are … how alike all human beings are… and how alike all of creation is!!! This thought played itself in the background as I watched the yatris reaching the finishing point one by one and hugging each other. There was so much love and bonhomie that it was difficult to imagine that most of us were complete strangers about 10 days ago. Photo sessions sealed those memories forever.
Day 12 saw us driving down to Nyalam (12,700 ft.); the hotel with Wi-Fi, plush clean rooms, hot shower and regular washrooms felt like royal luxury.
Interestingly, I happened to notice huge satellite pictures of Kailash’s Inner Cora, placed predominantly at two places. Wondering how I could have missed them earlier, I observed how the mountain is shaped exactly like a Shivalingam. It seemed like a most unnatural shape for a mountain.
Day 13 was the last day through Tibet. The drive was amazingly beautiful, as for the last time our eyes feasted on the infinite vastness of the Tibetan Plateau. We siblings sang to our heart’s content on the last two days.
After exiting China, we again boarded helicopters which took us to Kathmandu.
Day 14 brought us back to New Delhi. It was also time for hugs and goodbyes. I wondered if I would meet my fellow travellers again but what we shared in those 14 days would always remain precious to me.
The next few days passed in a daze with a question at the back of my mind, ‘Why Kailash?’ Well, frankly I do not yet know that answer. I had gone primarily to connect with a guru, and to my conscious knowledge that connection didn’t happen. However, I am gratefully aware that my siblings and I were indeed ‘chosen’ to be part of a most wonderful ‘awakened’ group.
If there is one emotion that I felt the MOST on this trip (and have been feeling ever since), it is compassion for all, including myself. At the same time, I am also feeling a renewed connection with my inherent power – as though I ‘took back’ my power from someone or something. Just now, while typing this, it occurred to me that I have indeed taken my power back from my ‘search’ for a Guru.
Until this moment I used to think that everyone and everything in my experience is my teacher; suddenly it has become crystal clear that my personal ‘experience’ vis-à-vis everyone and everything is my teacher. I had desired to be in the presence of a REAL guru; and now I know that I am always in my guru’s presence as my ‘experiences’ are my guru.
About the author:
Chitra Jha is a healer, writer and trainer. Her first book, Achieve your highest potential has been published by Penguin India.”
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