by Navjot Randhawa
Tashi Jong is a sacred village about 7 kms from The Mirage, Andretta. One can reach there in a taxi in about 20 minutes. The taxi costs about 300 rupees. The famous monastery Khampaghar nourishes the atmosphere of the village which sees many Dharma practitioners flock to this little village all year round. It is the main seat of Khamtrul Rinpoche, one of the most important spiritual masters of our times.
A day trip to Tashi Jong is good for a yoga retreatant at The Mirage because it is filled with energy of a very special group of Yoga practitioners. They are called Tokdens. They are supposed to have reached high levels of realisation because of years of disciplined practice. If one goes to them with an open mind and heart, one is sure to feel their "power". I had such an experience last summer with one of the Tokdens. I had heard they can fly. I did not see any one flying but I felt "blessed", truly touched by the Yogi's presence. And after coming out of his room, I felt like I could fly !
Jogi (not the caste) is just another familiar word for a Yogi. But in my title, I used the word Jogis and not Yogis for the Tokdens I was going to talk about for the following reason. I first heard this word used in a folk song. It was referring to someone who was seeking the highest union. And that after all is the goal of Yoga which literally means "Union". And that is what this blessed feeling was all about. I felt I was with someone whose elements were in total unity and who had the knowledge to guide one to achieve that unity. In his presence (photo below), I felt one with everything and every one around me.
For some reason I could not stop thinking of Jung's philosophy of Alchemy while I was there. For example, even when you are choosing a yoga retreat...how do you finally make your decision? I mean of course you take all the practical things into consideration. But then all retreat spaces have something or the other exciting to offer. How do you really "choose"? Isn't there always that gut feeling or the inner voice that goes "Boom" and then the decision gets made? Isn't there always a bit of alchemy at play, especially when big decisions, like travelling to a foreign land are concerned?
Carl Jung, a Swiss psychoanalyst who died in 1961, says in "Psychology and Alchemy",
"The real mystery does not behave mysteriously or secretively; it speaks a secret language, it adumbrates itself by a variety of images which all indicate its true nature. I am not speaking of a secret personally guarded by someone, with a content known to its possessor, but of a mystery, a matter or circumstance which is "secret", i.e. known only through vague hints but essentially unknown."
I had this feeling again when I stayed at Tashi Jong a few days ago. Of the way we take our decisions being essentially an unexplained phenomenon. I was climbing down the stairs of my guest house when a group of very young people arrived in a taxi. They started walking to the temple as I did. They seemed to be very excited so I decided to enter after some time. I wanted to go in when I could be alone there...But since they were taking quite a bit of time, I just went in. And I found myself in absolute silence. All of them were sitting in a row, hands in prayer. I sat behind them. We sat there together, in silence, for a long time. An answer I had sub-consciously been wanting to appear since a few weeks appeared, right then! And that night at the cafe of the guest house, I watched a cricket match with 2 monks ! I felt so much at home..
We could be listening very sincerely to all our advisors, we could be making our choices according to our patterns or in an effort to rebel against them.
But my understanding is that decisions, especially the ones that have something to do directly with our body and spirit get made in that part of our mind which cannot be explained by logic. And so however much we try to explain through words why we are doing this or need to do that, we fall short of words. That's why perhaps sometimes we just come in the presence of a stranger and feel something we cannot articulate...that's why perhaps sometimes we look at the picture of a space and we feel like it is calling out to us...
So if you are still planning a trip to The Mirage, the decision will of course just make itself but if you are already here looking for miracles/answers, perhaps a trip to Tashi Jong and an attempt to try to seek out the Tokdens is worth it.. Hopefully the mystery will reveal itself..even if only through vague hints !