The publication of this book was preceded by long years of practical experience. My destiny was formed in such a way, that I have been travelling for a long time, since childhood. A year in Mongolia and China with my parents began a lifetime of travel. As a teenager I traveled almost the entire Soviet Union as a member of the Ukrainian national swim team. During my student years, I also explored numerous mountain regions of the former USSR: Carpathians, Crimea, Caucasus, Altai, Tan-Shan, Phanes, Khibines, Lake Baikal, Caspian, White and Black Seas and Sakhalin. On these journeys I visited datsans in Buryatia and mosques in Samarkand, Bouchara, Pherghana and mountainous Tajikistan.
While training in the Ukrainian national youth swim team I practiced Yoga, since the 8-th form of school, and for the period of fourteen years had mastered almost all of the Asanas in «Light on Yoga» by B.K.S. Iyengar even before my first trip to India. Since 1988 I started to work as a professional instructor of Yoga and as a reward for my active actions in spreading Yoga in Kiev eight years later India’s Ambassador in Ukraine graced me with the opportunity to attend a free course at the Yoga Institute of B. K. S. Iyengar in Puna. So the way to India was opened for me, and later to Nepal and Tibet.
My first long trip in India I traveled the length and breadth of the country and visited nearly every ashram and spiritual place known in CIS literature. During this time I was fortunate to take a course not only with B. K. S. Iyengar, but also with K. Pattabhi Joice, currently the keeper of the Ashtanga-Vinyasa-Yoga tradition in Mysor. I practiced yoga with Yogacharya Rudra at Shivinada’s Ashram in Rishikesh, I delved into many varieties of meditation at Rajneesh’s Ashram in Puna, and felt the spirit of the Shri Arubindo commune in Auroville. I felt sense of love and magic I saw at Satya Sai Baba’s ashram in Bhuttapati, and was the witness of war in Srinagar, Kashmir’s capital. I joined everyday Buddhist prayers and rituals in various Ladakh and Nepalese monasteries. His Holiness the Dalai Lama blessed and granted me the «vinous rope» in his residence of Dharamsala. I was inspired by Hinduism’s tantric traditions in the temples of Khajuraho, Konarak, Bhubaneswar and Puri. I experienced the reality of shocking rituals in Benares, and achieved the deepest peace in the «Cave of Vasistha» in the Himalayas. A succession of religious traditions in the cave temples of Ellora and Ajanta. I realized the sacral sense of the temple dances of Orissa and Tamil Nadu inspired me. I felt the freedom of the deserts and power of forts in Rajastan. I found many friends among spiritual fellows and professional teachers from India, Nepal, Tibet and Western countries and I also visited many other places, never known before in our country, that have saved a valuable spiritual legacy. But only recently, approaching my thirty-third year, have I understood that everything that I had been lucky enough to see in my life, and everything that had been acquired as practical and spiritual experience added up to only one mission. And then I understood why one day I left the bus at a lifeless mountain passage in «the heart of the Himalayas»…* * *
The road from Nepal to Tibet, via the Chinese border, was a tremendous height, reaching from time to time 5 thousand meters over sea-level. Of course, compared to the surrounding peaks at about seven-eight thousand meters each, it was only slightly higher than the «bottom», but, in fact, it was almost at the same level with Elbrus, the highest point in the mountains of Caucasus.
After many hours of climbing along a serpentine mountain road, the bus finally reached the top of the passage. The driver stopped the car near a Tibetan yurt next to a canopy on dirty wooden posts serving as a temporary shelter from snow and rain, the place where travellers, moving between Nepal and Tibet could take a meal.
Surrounded by slushy, melting snow and cold damp fog, we were inside a frigid cloud lying on the mountain. Invisible mountain peaks towered on either side of us, but beyond fifty meters, the world was only grey.
Just like everyone else who had taken that bus, I went to have a meal at that Tibetan «restaurant». It was a present to meet a people on the way and, felt lucky not to be alone in this high, unconquerable mountain world.
Before reaching the shelter I felt that something was happening to me. It was so obvious that it suppressed the strong hunger and fatigue I had acquired during the exhausting bus ride on the serpentine mountain road.
I looked around as if trying to see the source that would explain the strange dominance I continuously felt. But the surroundings were absolutely normal: the fog, our bus at a distance, and travelers impatiently bustling around the yurt waiting for some hot meal.
Being experienced in mountaineering in the USSR, I had prepared myself by taking a light tent, a primus, and a kettle. But here, in the Himalayas, was the first time I had come across the situation where one could manage quite well without all these things. Almost everywhere in the mountains (up to 4.5 — 5 km high) there were human settlements, simple «guesthouses», small shops and restaurants. One could find a hot meal, and a cheap overnight stay. Then, in the morning leave there, backpack and engage any local boy as a porter to go higher into the mountains, reach glaciers and unassailable snow walls, where climbing would only be possible with special equipment, and return «home» to a cozy room on the same day.
In about an hour the driver returned to the bus and gave a sharp signal that echoed through the emptiness around us. This was an invitation to return back to the bus and go ahead. But I had been wandering back and forth between the bus and the yurt during all the lunch-time, «scanning» the surrounding area in search for the «mysterious source».
The utmost watch by the strange way was combined with unusual weak will, my body felt as heavy as lead. And all my motives to do something, to go somewhere or to strive for something cleared away like a smoke. Simultaneously with seeing the surrounding objects with my eyes, I Saw immovable and clear structures, colour «grids».
Indifferent to what might happen, to whether I should stay on this road and wait for the next bus, even if it took in a week, and it might not have vacant seats…
I stopped on the very top of the passage and watched the turn of the road that hid the bus. A strong wind lashed my face with dusty water. And I felt myself on the top… The top of the passage was the upper point of the cavity between two giant peaks, which, although invisible, but could be «heard». All this «called up» some associations with my present place on this Planet…
Solid waves of the Power runs down through me from above. Disbelieving that all this was really happening to me, I stood with my feet wide to avoid falling as I felt myself becoming heavier and heavier.
Suddenly standing became absolutely impossible. I turned over my backpack, which was setting nearby, rested my back on it and closed my eyes. Instantly something started to change inside me, and I started to «take-off», rising above the body that rested on the backpack. «Floating» slightly from side to side I stabilized, hovering at about three meters above the body, and felt simply «petrified». After noticing some Essence somewhere in the space behind me, just «behind my back». Not with my eyes but with some wonderful Seeing I saw its beauty, which made my hair raise. It was impossible to understand what it was: he, she or it. But its (?) broad face dangled in the air like a chimera above me for some more time, baring its long tusks, and staring with its sultry predatory eyes wide open. His (?) forehead was decorated with a wreath of beaded human skulls. Fear and real Death surrounded me. But she (?) seemed to be studying whether I was ready for something… It was growing dark.
My senses slowly recovered. I looked around trying to establish my place and find a spot to stay overnight. Nepal and India rested somewhere in the valley far below. I turned back and understood that this is the beginning of the Tibetan plateau. This passage was not only the highest point between the two valleys, India and Tibet, it was like a Rubicon connecting two ancient spiritual cultures…
Only now I noticed how worn-out, wet, cold, and hungry I was. It showed myself unreasonable to test my health moreover by spending the night on a bed of snow in a strange place, and I headed towards the Tibetan yurt…
The morning was glorious. The clouds rose much higher and dispersed in some places opening a splendid blaze of snow-white peaks. The sun was beginning to burn and there were springs everywhere.
The area was absolutely lifeless, but clear and colorful. Water drained into the bed of a small river running from the north to east from the side of Tibetan plateau. A little bit lower, on the south-west, a lake formed, its blue mirror reflecting the snowy peak towering behind it… Long posts stood along the crests of the nearest hills with a thin flagged thread stretched between them. Mortar-like stones stood on the other crests of hills.
Such signs were everywhere in the Himalayas and served as landmarks for spiritual pilgrims, directing them to the holy places of their pilgrimage.
I went up to the ridge and followed the signs. After about a two kilometer walk, I discovered a small «temple», if it could be so called at all, standing on the ridge of the hillside. (Such structures can be seen throughout the territory of Nepal, Tibet, India. They are designed for prayer or meditation for the pilgrims or the dwellers of the nearby villages, and are constructed in Places of Power. Their design represents a highly simplified form of a Hinduist, Buddhist or a Moslem temple, although a very small one, designed for one man.)
I approached it without expecting anything extraordinary. This was a Shivaist «temple». Inside the central whitewashed wall there was an ash-drawn «Om» sign, and a rusty combat trident stood in the corner. A small «Shiva-Lingam», and a terrible-looking whip, lay on the floor among ashes of burnt incense and dried flower-leaves.
I went inside, under the «temple’s» dome, and felt a sudden powerful «electric» wave which pierced all of my body from top to bottom. So I rose up on my toes as if somebody had grabbed my hair and vigorously pulled it upwards.
It had been a long time, since I had become acquainted with a flow of such nature. Once in the Crimea (at peninsula Tarkhankut in the Black Sea), when I was 25 years old, and long before my trip to the Himalayas, the same flow had raised me above the ground during «the raising of Kundalini» while I was in the «Lotus» posture. That time I had stretched my arms downwards, hardly reaching the ground. I still disbelieve this myself, but my friends, who were not far from me, near the tent, saw that also. And they said it was a long period in the air rather than a jump of «transcendental meditational practice».
But now this flow operated while I stood upright. I Saw a giant cobra rising from «inside of me», somewhere from the solar plexus. Its body seemed to have the diameter of at least three meters and reaching dizzy heights up in the sky. Its head reached the skies and had a golden crown on top.
All this was accompanied by a terrible sound as if somebody simultaneously pressed all the keys of an organ; the sound was swelling like an avalanche.
I had two feelings: on the one hand I was overwhelmed by the demonstration of such power and splendor, on the other hand, however, there was fear of annoying this powerful Creature contemplating the Universe. My hair was standing on end…
«Awed», in a blessed «fever» for about two hours. When something was finished, and it completly transformed my consciousness. (This process has no something same with epilepsy. Even though it may occur on the spur of the moment, it may be interrupted at any time because it is always controlled by consciousness. Those people who deem such processes an illness or a «syndrome» are those who have never experienced similar spiritual experience personally).
When it was all over «The Picture of the World» radically changed, and I felt absolutely clear in the silence of peace.
The world was perceived globally as one whole thing. I felt an exact understanding of the sense of life… But life somewhere in the valleys seemed a stupid fuss and a delusion…
I walked for half a day following the signs, first along the ridge of the hill, then on the steep mountain slope which was rising higher and higher. Finally, I reached a passage behind which was a long canyon that entered a glacier between splendid snow peaks. These places were absolutely desolate although something made me be on the alert. I had a feeling that the stones around me were alive and moving…
I always travel alone so as to be able to avoid being distracted by companions and in order to contemplate all that surrounds me, staying tete-a-tete with the Infinite. This is risky but the risk can be overcome by believing in fate…
There was a stone mortar behind which I could not see another sign… I must have climbed rather high because I started to feel slight heart arrhythmia, when my chest and head blood pressure increased. I dropped my backpack near the mortar, rested on it and took a nap…
I was awakened by a loud clap and a push. I looked around in dismay but saw nobody. I felt «the creeps». I looked around again and again but nothing changed, there was just snow and stones. I closed my eyes again, intending to take a little bit more rest, but «something inside me moved again and stretched my body», it forced me upright into Siddhasana, with my eyes closed…
First, I saw a bar of gold hanging motionlessly in «inner space». Then appeared «Vajra», currents of suspended lightning, descending from the splendid source somewhere above. Then Something appeared naked, looking like Buddha or Mahawir, it seemed to be cast of gold, had ideal proportions, but no sex features. It was sitting with one leg bent, like in Siddhasana, with the other hanging down. Its head was crowned by a unique gold headdress which vaguely resembled a helmet. One of its arm was hanging along its body and folded at the elbow to direct its palm at me. All fingers of the hand were slightly bent, except the forefinger, which was straight and directed upwards. With this mudra It both calmed me and suggested me to be attentive. Its other arm was smartly directed to the side, slightly bent at the elbow and palm turned to the sky with all of the fingers folded inward, except the forefinger, which pointed at something on the side. I was astonished to see that instead of eyes It had just two hollow openings that made it look like a robot… In a couple of minutes it suddenly disappeared.
I opened my eyes and looked at the place it had been pointing to. It was in the eastern direction. There, at the foot of a snow-covered peak, was a rock. I could not understand what the meaning of all this was, and what I should do further. It was the second half of the day and the sun was dropping. I seemed to have pulled my senses together, and when I imagined that no matter where I went or how I rushed now, I would be forced to spend the night somewhere on the same rocks, this made me feel somehow uncomfortable. But this «Fellow» intrigued me. And I at the same decided to go to the rock it had pointed to.
Having approached one side of the rock, I moved along keeping my eyes on it from time to time. After walking for about a hundred meters, I discovered a cleft that could not be seen at a distance. Stepping closer I saw some elaborate symbols or drawings carved in the stone on the walls near the entrance. After looking inside I understood that it was the entrance to a cave. I was scared. My legs were trembling. And if it had not been for those drawings, I would have probably not dared to enter. But I thought that I would never forgive myself unless I satisfied my curiosity. I took a light out of my backpack and entered inside.
The cave was formed by a split of rock and, most likely, was once very deep. But about fifteen meters from the entrance, it appeared to be blocked by a blind wall. Possibly, to prevent uninvited guests like snakes and other creatures coming from the depths of the earth. Everything here bore traces of human presence. The walls and the ceiling were smoked. There was a fireplace in the middle of the cave, and the walls had torch openings. And near one of the walls was a bed made of flat stones.
It was hard to imagine that the place was habitable. Of course there were no problems with water, though this could not be said about food… I still cannot understand where the resident of the cave got his food because the area for many kilometers around was severe and lifeless, even in summer. In winter, when the temperature here falls to minus fifty degrees Celsius, it is absolutely inconceivable where he would have gotten something to burn and warm himself. (In general, Himalayan locals often use the dried dung of mountain yaks to make fire and cook food). All this only concerned the life of the cave’s host, but his creative activity astonished me immensely.
Through the soot on the walls there could be seen numerous strange drawings which slightly resembled Egyptian writings scratched on the stone. Different walls showed drawings of different types.
The western wall was covered with multiple «lines» which were composed of a great number of simple drawings of men in different postures. Some of them were so simplified that they were lacking some limbs, e. g., hands, legs, and head. Maybe this was for some reason unimportant for the artist. These «lines» of drawings were different in length and formed chaotically positioned vertical columns that also had different lengths. Besides the figures, there were stars with five, six and twelve rays with drawings of men on top.
The eastern wall also showed «lines» which consisted of simple drawings of hands and some strange variously positioned circles and loops resembling the infinity sign. There were four drawings in each «rows». These «rows» also formed vertical columns. There were two «lines» of such columns, and I counted eight «rows» in the columns with the drawings of hands. The number of such columns was also eight. But the columns composed of different circles and loops were also different. This wall also had some «swirling» symbols in the shape of swastikas with smooth wave-like twists. Each of them twisted first to one side, then to another. This swastikas consisted of four, eight, sixteen, thirty-two and sixty-four rays. The more rays they had, the less was their resemblance to a swastika, but more to the sun.
There were not so many drawings on the artificial blind wall, but they were touched with some inexplicable beauty. On the left, above the very cave’s floor there were intricate «snakes» and unusual symbols. All of them were different. On the right, above the very cave’s floor there were images of different gods and some inscriptions. And in the middle, between them, there were several «rows» of men in different postures. Over all of these a huge Yantra in the shape of concentric circles was depicted. Rays divided its margin into sectors with human drawings inside. Closer to the middle there was a circle with different «snakes» inside, in which march closer to the center there was a circle of godlike faces. And in the center there was a multi-ray double-sided swastika which looked like the sun. Unfortunately, since the wall was artificial, it seemed worn by time and many of the elements of the drawings on it had disappeared.
Enthralled with my discovery, I completely forgot about the time and noticed that it was dark outside only when the batteries of my light discharged and it started fading away. I had a couple of candles with me and lit one of them. It seemed strange that now I felt myself quite comfortable inside the cave. It was as cozy as home. There were neither mosquitoes nor bats, and I could hardly believe that I was «god knows where», far from people and civilization.
Having taken a bite of dried fruits and nuts, I decided not to burn the candle, and to go to bed early so that I could use its light in the morning in order to have a closer look at these walls. I laid my sleeping bag on the stone bed, blew out the candle and lied on my back. Only then did I notice that I was ill and probably had altitude sickness and a high temperature. Most likely it was due to the fact the I had climbed over three kilometers for three days without due acclimatization…
For some reason I did not want to sleep at all, and suddenly somebody pressed down on my shoulders. I jerked, trying to jump to my feet, but the hands of somebody firmly pressed my shoulders to the stone bed. I opened my eyes and peered into the darkness, but saw nothing. Suddenly «ultra-violet» light flashed somewhere behind me. I closed and reopened my eyes peering in the dark, but the light did not disappear. After that the silhouette of a man in a mantle and a high head-dress appeared at a distance just opposit of me. He approached smoothly as if he was flying in the air. His garment reflected the light with the «ultra-violet» shine. He stopped very close in front of me. The shape of his head-dress was extraordinary: high as an Egyptian’s, but cut front to back at an angle, and not strictly oval but wavy in the front. It was decorated with shining patterns which resembled intertwined mandalas, in the middle of the hat was a violet crystal in the shape of a long water-drop turned upside down. It was totally impossible to tell the sex of the silhouette by the face. No hair showed from underneath the hat, as if he was bald. The face was pale-white but was «ultra-violet» due to the light. He showed proper and exquisite features. The same as his predecessor, he had two hollow openings instead of the eyes and the expression of his face was absolutely neutral. He affected me so strongly by his look, that my state was completely controlled and manipulated by him. He kept up my fear to prevent me from «jerking», at the same time did nothing bad to me.
Trying to understand him, I looked into his eyes and was drowned within them. From this moment on, I realised that we had an high rate information exchange, without any words and thoughts. He was likely to be reading all the content of my consciousness, at the same time sending extremely packed conceptual codes back. This lasted for only a few minutes. After that, he disappeared in the same smooth fashion and the light died away.
I cautiously moved. There were no hands on my shoulders. I jumped up and lit the candle. I walked around the cave and looked outside, there was nobody. I became scared and decided to leave the candle burning for the whole night. Sleeping was impossible, however. When the first candle burnt away, I lit another one and did not notice how I finally fell asleep… The impact of this night’s events is still felt in me, assisting to realise fundamental events and directing me in my life…
Despite high temperature and constant chill, I lived in the cave for two more days, until I ran out of all sources of light, including matches. During this time I copied everything that was possible to copy from the walls, and despite a strong desire to stay in this holy Place, my common sense pushed me to return to civilization in order to prevent the development of my illness. On my way to the road, I understood that differences in drawings on opposite walls were in some way connected with their directions towards India and Tibet…
The next day a lorry going to Lhasa picked me up.
Materials from the drawings I found in the cave have become a part of this site…