Local shamans, thirty-second generation astrologers, blessings from deceased Tibetan rinpoches are all part of the daily world here in Nepal. My dear friend Yogatara, who Leon and I met in Varkala almost ten years ago (!) and I spent hours over coffee and toast swapping mystical stories about our parallel lives on the Asian subcontinent. She, like me, has made many fascinating contacts, visited shamans and gurus of all shades and flavors, and also found herself completely devoted to one teacher in particular. Funnily, her path started out more Buddhist and ended up with Yoga, thus the name, while mine began with Yoga and ended up among the Tibetan Buddhists…
With Yogatara’s connections and the fact that she speaks Nepali fluently now, I was able to meet and connect with two fascinating Nepali people. On the back of Yogatara’s motorbike, we spent a day zipping around Kathmandu, visiting the famous Mohan Rai, Nepali shaman, as well as a Vedic astrologer, Yogatara’s good friend, taking a break to buy potent products from the local puja shop.
The first stop, Mohan Rai, was up a long, dusty road where we got stuck behind a foul diesel belching truck. I wrapped my scarf three times around my head, but to no avail, as once we arrived at the shaman’s I felt I might pass out, my lungs heaving from the slight altitude up from the valley and hideous fumes…I must say the pollution is intense in this town! We parked the motorbike, and wandered through a lovely garden into Mohan Rai’s sit-out area, where he sat, chatting with a Portuguese student.
We sat with Mohan and took tea and, as Hawaiians say, we ‘talked-story’ for hours…it was amazing! Turns out Mohan Rain is well-known among shamanic circles and knows many of the people I have been researching, reading and studying with including Michael Harner and his students. He was included in a the book Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas and a review issue of that book in a copy of Shaman’s Drum. He also founded and now teaches students from all over the world at his Shamanic Center in Kathmandu. You can check out his work at: http://www.himalayanshamans.com/index1.php?lang=en
I felt fortunate to sit with Mohan and hear his stories about encounters with snakes as a child, the practice of working with spirits, miraculous healings that he has performed over the years and the deep, ancient honoring of Mother Earth that is the crucial core of all shamanic practices. He has trained several Nepalis to follow in his footsteps, including his son, and are the ones who usually do the readings and the puja. By happenstance, none of them but Mohan were at his house the day we visited and we were fortunate to not only sit and talk with him for some time, but to also receive a reading and a blessing. I felt awed to not only realize what an amazing person, healer and practitioner he his, but also to receive his blessing.
He took us into his puja room, an entire bedroom sized room that is entirely devoted to his spiritual work. Inside was the largest, most wondrous, wild, intense altar I have ever seen…it takes up an entire wall of this room and is literally dripping with deities, dragons, devas and darkness…I love it! I’ve included a few pictures which speak louder than words. He also has a thangka (Tibetan style painting) of Vajrayogini, who is becoming my theme on this trip. (More about her in my Vajrayogini post). Inside the puja room Mohan felt my pulse on both wrists for a few minutes, then told me certain things with a warm and positive reassurance along with a blessing from him and the spirits. I will revisit him again for a follow up puja to be performed by one of his women shamans, a puja to give offerings to certain spirits for my benefit.
Afterwards, we spent another hour, over more Nepali milk tea, discussing shamanism, writing, magic, Nepal and teaching..it was quite a morning! Even though Yogatara and I were exhausted (partly from the pollution, I imagine), we still spent the afternoon traipsing to the puja shop where I got my fill of sandalwood, red tikka powder, myrrh and a yak’s tail (use of the tail will be revealed, my fellow magic makers in Hawaii
Finally, we spent a part of the afternoon visiting the Vedic astrologer…for those of you who know my views on astrology, I am sure you are surprised! This astrologer is a thirty-second generation chart reader (along with being a computer scientist) and a valued friend of both Yogatara and Dr. Sarita (his office is under her clinic in Patan, Kathmandu actually). I almost had a reading with him seven years ago, and decided to go through with it this time. So, I went with an open mind and I wasn’t disappointed. I do feel that he read my chart kind of how a doctor might read my cell structure, with a science mind. Unlike the shaman, who was feeling my pulse and encouraging my being, it seemed that the astrologer was looking at a star print and giving me data.
The astrologer did mention that I am very strong in the writing department and would have much success. He looked completely unsurprised when we showed him my published Reiki book He also said I have a malific node (I love that word…) thus a streak of wrathfulness.. no… not me …he mentioned the need to purify, practice my spiritual work and wear a diamond. I took all of it into consideration and although some certainly resonated with me, some of it was completely off, such as not trusting my mother’s relatives. Interestingly, I am a Leo sun and a Libra moon in Vedic, (Virgo sun and Scorpio moon in Western). Yogatara and the astrologer explained that Vedic takes into account that the universe is expanding…it is also based on a science that has produced Ayurveda, Yoga, Tantra and other vast wisdom so perhaps there is something to this…better go out and get a diamond!!
He also threw Yoko’s chart, which was even more fascinating. No details to reveal (that is up to her), but I will say…I always felt she was a special child…but then, don’t all parents ?
Overall, it was an incredible day and I just fell even more in love with Nepal. Spending time with Yogatara and glimpsing her world of shamans, astrologers, fluent Nepali, puja shops and family was a potent way to connect wore deeply with this fascinating culture.
This entry was posted on Friday, July 9th, 2010 at 11:25 am
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