What is Meditation

Meditation Techniques

Spiritual Inspirators








Faqir Baba

Manav Dayal

Nirmala Pandit

Pandit Dayal

Bassi Gulam


Bhargat Singh

Lakbir Singh



Lal Chand

Lahori Pandiji

Ramesh Giri

Asha Thakur

Asha Thakur - A Shaman from the Himalayas


Meditation connects us in strange ways...

I think it was Neem Karoli Baba who said: 'Unknown are the movements of fish in the water...' Modern fishers with their radar equipment might disagree, but I still feel it was magical movements that connected me with all the wonderful spiritual inspirators, including Asha.
Asha Thakur is a tribal woman from the Himalayan mountains, hailing from the village of Shilla in the Kullu Valley, beyond Manikaran. In the 1990s, she was the only person in her area to have received a formal school education. She was even quite familiar with computers and the internet!
However, first and foremost, like all her tribesmen, she is deeply rooted in the overwhelming Himalayan nature.

Asha's father Nupram worshipping the holy tree.
This gigantic cedar tree is a protector of the village

Once, we—guests from Denmark—were sitting in her Himalayan wooden family house, enjoying chai in a friendly and relaxed setting. We often felt closest to the tribal people of Shilla. They understood our weird Danish self-ironic humor, laughing and responding with jokes in the Danish way, which left the traditional Indians puzzled, wondering what was going on. We loved the loving jokes in which Asha and her father, Nupram, made about the lowland Indians.

Suddenly, the harmony was interrupted by continuous screaming from another room in the house. It was a twisted, loud female voice. Asha immediately got up to assist. The screaming continued for about 15 minutes and then stopped. Asha returned, sat down with her tea, and explained what had just happened. It was her aunt, who, while foraging near a waterfall, had gotten too close and was attacked and possessed by the demon of the waterfall.

Asha knew instinctively what to do. She drew a circle of rice and another of flour around her aunt and offered these to the demon as a bargain to leave her aunt. The demon agreed and departed, leaving her aunt unharmed and back to normal.
In this way, Asha had evolved—not through formal tradition or education but by circumstance—into the shaman of the village. Sometimes, she spontaneously enters a state of divine trance, especially when we go trekking in the high mountains with her. Often while singing she came close to the state of trance.

Asha, singing with her mother

Shilla Treks

For a period of more than 10 years, beginning around 1998, I arranged trekking tours in this wonderful area. We were always accompanied by the wonderful people of Shilla. These trekkings were basically organized by my Indian friend, Anurag Sood, who owned an apple orchard very close to the Shilla village. His orchard became basically our 'Base Camp.' 

Anurag Sood with his family in 1999

Our Base Camp, Anurag's Apple Orchard

Below are a few photos from our various treks going out from our Base Camp


The most wonderful flowers are blooming in June


In the photo above, you can see Asha and her aunt warming their hands by a nearly extinguished fire on a chilly morning. In 1999, we, a group of Danes, went trekking with the incredible people from Shilla. Our destination was the sacred lake Mantalai, about five days' trek from Shilla, following the Parvati river upstreams. We were accompanied by 25 locals of all ages, from children to grandmothers—an overwhelming number considering our group's modest need for porter assistance. However, for some of the older villagers, this journey was a potentially final pilgrimage to the sacred lake. Additionally, a lively group of teenagers and young adults from the village had spontaneously decided to join us, hitching a ride on our trekking adventure.

Seen from behind, the trail was not easy; in fact, it was sometimes dangerous, especially for us flatlanders from the West.

Pandu Pull consists of two natural boulder bridges spanning a river. The first boulder, as seen here, is noted in Hindu mythological scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. It commemorates the retreat of the Pandava brothers.

Climbing the boulders requires careful attention. Our mountain friends from Shilla are always ready to lend a helping hand. Without ropes and their assistance, one might risk a perilous and final cold plunge.

 Here we are almost on the other side.

And this was how it looked on the other side.

The wrath of the Goddess
One morning, as we neared Mantalai, I awoke to the cheerful sounds of youngsters baking chapatis at the campfire, stacking them high in a tower. Despite the joyous atmosphere, the gathering grey clouds hinted at impending rain and storm. Noticing Asha's absence from the campsite, I searched and found her sitting in trance behind a boulder. I joined her in meditation for a while. When calls from our group reached us, I gently nudged her to awaken. In a trance-like state, she pulled me close and whispered:

"I am not Asha—I am the goddess Ma Mantalai!"

With the agility of a spring, she leapt up, dashed to the fireplace, and scattered the chapatis. Her outburst frightened the youngsters; some fled, while others fell to prostrate at her feet. Our group of Danish trekkers watched in stunned silence.

Moments later, Asha returned to her usual self. Approaching me with a calm voice, she reassured, "The Mother Goddess Mantalai bears no ill will towards you Westerners; you are guests and unknowing. But the people of Shilla are mine and should know better. They ought to worship in my realm, not engage in frivolity with food."

Within half an hour, normalcy returned to our camp as the elders assumed control and the youngsters receded. What happened next, dear reader, is open to interpretation. The sky cleared, and in typical high-altitude Himalayan fashion, bright sunshine emerged swiftly, accompanied by a stillness in the air. This good weather graced the remainder of our trek.

Our final destination - the holy lake Maantalai


Asha sitting in worship with a flower in Rudranag

Asha with her mother


Singing with her friends

Gunnar, Christoffer, Eva and Martin
in Thunda Bhoj.