Beyond the high passes – Oshofields in the Trans-Himalayas

On the Go

Jayadip writes about his love for the Himalayan regions, which began when he was a teenager. Today, he feels deeply bonded to the region and leads Taiwanese seekers on meditative inner and outer journeys.

Osho started the Neo-sannyas movement in the Himalayas, while conducting a meditation camp in Kulu Manali in September 1970. After the US adventure he had the intention to settle there again, yet for various reasons, it was not to be.

In the beginning of the 70s at age 16, I came in contact with the Himalayas for the first time when watching a low-quality black-and-white documentary about the Guge Kingdom and Mount Kailash (Kang Rinpoche). From then on, I knew that I would have to go to the Himalayas and, fast-forward to now, a large part of my life and travels have been and still are devoted to that wonderful region.

As a 17-year-old, I bought a VW bus to make the trip overland from Germany to Nepal. But my mother arranged a job for me in the movie industry; I was intrigued by the work and stayed in that business for about seven years. And then, of course, Osho and sannyas happened and for many years all trips to India had Pune as the destination.

It was not until Osho came back to India after the World Tour, that I finally made it to the Himalayas in 1986.

Nepal Pokhara Commune
Nepal Pokhara Commune
Osho Manali Camp 1970

My first live impression of those holy mountains was in Pokhara, Nepal, to where I had travelled from Mumbai by Indian rail and buses for several day and night journeys. Finally, I arrived at the Osho commune of Yog Chinmaya during the night. I was given a room and just fell asleep; I was exhausted and it was dark – there was no electricity at the time.

In the morning I went to the outdoor bathroom and when I returned, I was stunned by my first-ever view of the great Himalayan mountains. I was looking at an 8000+m snow wall of the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Manaslu range.

It was a crystal-clear morning and I still have this image imprinted in my mind, etched into my brain. The Himalayas from then onwards never left me.

After Osho left his body I made my living in Pune by being a trekking tour guide in the Himalayas for a large German adventure tours company. 3-4 times a year I moved from Pune up to Nepal, Tibet and the Indian Himalayas. Hence, I earned western money without having to ever go to the west, except for attending a short training for this job.

For several years I had the privilege to visit and see all nooks and corners of Nepal and several other Himalayan regions.

Living in Pune, I was deeply involved with the commune and my inner work. Going to the Himalayas, which basically is the cradle of eastern meditation, I experienced a deep contrast between the life in the commune and the treks I guided with travellers from German-speaking countries. I did my best to add some spiritual context to the itinerary of the predesigned adventure groups, but it never satisfied me, as people did not really come for that and didn’t show much interest.

A longing in me arose, that one day, I wanted to do Himalaya journeys not based on tourism parameters, but on meditation.

After I left Pune for good around 2003, I signed a long-term rental contract for a beautiful house located 15 km from Manali. I lived there for seven years in a semi-retreat, considering myself to be a modern monk. From there I undertook many tours on my Enfield motorbike into the wilderness of the Himalayas. At the time it was really adventurous because the roads were, well, not really roads.

I also journeyed intensely into my inner world, by meditating and often living months on end in aloneness in the solitude of my ‘Cave’, as I lovingly named my house.

The Cave
The Cave

This ‘Cave’ has remained an important part of my life for the last 15 years and I kept it on even though I moved to Taiwan in 2011. My beloved life partner and I spend at least three months there for our yearly meditation retreat.

All that I lived and experienced during those years resulted for me in a deep bonding with the Himalayas.

Finally, during the last four years I made my dream of Inner and Outer Meditation Journeys in the Himalayas a reality. Until now I have made these journeys with Taiwanese meditators. And every year I learn to make them more and more beautiful and for all participants to go deeper and deeper. Deeper into ourselves and deeper into the mountains.

This summer we travelled from Manali over the world’s highest motorable passes to Ladakh and the Tibetan border. This particular journey was about experiencing inner and outer emptiness.

When one leaves the still busy world after crossing the 4000m Rohtang pass behind Manali, the world changes dramatically. Suddenly a region is entered that is cut off from the rest of the world for seven months due to heavy snow on the mountain passes. Everybody could instantly feel this shift in energy. I have done this trip many times, just for the sake of feeling the difference in nature and energy.

Morning before we start
Golden Light
On the way
Emptiness of Lahaul
Jaya under 6000m Range Lahaul
3 monks
Another Pass
Winding roads and rivers

In my journeys, we use the outer nature to trigger and reflect inner essential qualities. We often pause and meditate by opening our senses to the sounds, smells, tastes, views. We allow the senses to be gateways and bridges to our inner world.

I encourage my students to watch, feel, hear, taste outer and inner dimensions as being connected by awareness and love.

Meditating in nature, without having distractions of any kind of modern life, helps people open up more, and then, later, it is possible also to do so in a busy city or in countryside retreats.

During the eighties and nineties, I used to love sitting in the old Buddha Hall in Pune – with the sounds of the crackling bamboos as the guardians and witnesses of our inner work and meditations, with and without Osho’s physical presence.

Meditating in remote and high places of the Himalayas enhances the quality and depth of reaching into deeper and higher dimensions of our selves. The valleys are deeper and the peaks are higher. Like the mountains.

The further north we went and the more mountain ranges we crossed via several 5000+m high passes, the less vegetation was visible. Humans don’t live here. There are just some military bases, acting like guardians, and the occasional passing nomads.

We have our own inner police to stop us from going deeper and it needs courage and effort to pass those inner barriers. But then we reach an increasing depth of silence within ourselves. Places, we hitherto hadn’t yet approached.

It is stunning to see the effect in my fellow travellers and even in myself, even though I have travelled this road many times before. But the more often we go, the more understanding we experience; similar to sitting in Buddha Hall, when Osho was guiding us again and again towards the hara, the meeting place of inner and outer.

Hence this journey has become a highlight and important milestone for the participants. During these two short weeks together, we generally always transform into a close-knit little travelling community.

Here an original feedback from Roshni; being Taiwanese, her English is not perfect:

“Dear Jaya, I am very grateful that you have arranged this journey. In addition to feeling the inner and outer world, this road also feels your love and guidance to all of us. This journey is really beneficial and very happy. Leading us to a deeper and deeper journey inside, through nature, through the encounters with nature and people, to further realize the self, not just to look at the superficial flower, to have more to see and see the life.”

Sunrise over Tibet
Greetings to Tibet
Namaste Tibet
Temple meditation
Temple meditation
Ticksay Monastery
Temple meditation
North end of Pangong Lake
Jaya and Kardang Monk
Feeling ancient tree

After crossing the high passes, we visited several Tibetan monasteries in the Indus Valley around Leh. Again, not as ‘normal’ tourists, but as meditators. I share very little information about factual things. Rather, I let people feel what they sense, when for example sitting in front of a statue or wall painting of a Dakini or a wrathful deity. It is amazing to hear the sharing of people about what they encountered. More often than not, they really meet the quality which a specific painting or sculpture actually represents. They themselves can feel the essence without any guidance or manipulation of explanations. Real no-mind experiences, unpolluted and very personal, at the same time universal.

Osho always insisted for us to have our own individual understanding, without being manipulated by scriptures or teachings. Following his guidance, I also intend my students to be their own masters, their own unique beings.

Our ‘Journey Beyond the High Passes’ culminated at Pangong Tso (‘Soda Lake’, as it is salty) at the altitude of 4350m. This lake marks the political boundary between Ladakh (India) and Tibet.

For many of my students, it was a dream to get a glimpse of Tibet, somehow representing one of the greatest teachings of inner journeys. Unfortunately, this is being suppressed by the Chinese doctrine, which is oblivious of spiritual understanding.

Therefore, Tibet represents nowadays the calamity of most of the modern world, where the material or outer values try to neglect and crush our inner foundations. And yet, the Tibetans have not given up. And so should it be: we also must never give up on the inner journey – no matter how large the obstacles of our personality structure are and how strongly current social values try to belittle our inner work.

After a short 90-minute flight, with stunning views of the fresh snow-covered Himalayas (see my video)*, we enter the chaos of Delhi.

When Osho used to have his guided journey to the hara ended with a loud drum beat – saying “And now come back!” – I was always so annoyed. “Why do you bring us to this beautiful inner place, when you call us back so brutally?” I usually asked within. Only much later could I understand that we have to travel this path again and again, to know how to travel on our own.

*) Readers can watch this video without being logged into Facebook

Jayadip TNPrem Jayadip took sannyas in 1981 in Germany and lived in several European communes, managing sannyas companies, as well as in Rajneeshpuram. In Pune 2, Jayadip designed Osho books and the Osho Times, as well as managing its production. He trained as a group leader and session giver while working in-between as a trekking guide in Himalayan regions. In 1999, he met his Taiwanese beloved in Pune. After a 7-year semi-retreat in the Himalayas they now live in Taiwan offering meditations, workshops, and sessions, and Jayadip also leads ‘Inner and Outer’ meditation journeys through the Himalayas. this-online

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