Anand Mehrotra, a modern, young guru from India and founder of Sattva Yoga, leads a group of seven seekers over 18,000 ft. and 2,000 km on a motorcycle journey over the highest motor-able pass in India in the upcoming documentary film, The Highest Pass. Anand, then 27, now 29, and a Master Vedic Astrologer, bears the prophecy that he will die in an accident in his late twenties.
“When you ask human beings are they afraid of death, most of the people say they are not because ego cannot understand death. So we are always in denial because even when we think about our death we kind of survive it. But when it knocks at your door that’s when fear grips you by the throat. And that knocking there is also the immense possibility of liberation. Of immense freedom.” – Anand in The Highest Pass
With regards to fear, I was excited, enthusiastic, in love. I really wasn’t trying to overcome any fear. Why live a life in fear? It’s not a life then. Fear is absurd, it’s an abstraction of the mind.
Prophecy: I had been wanting to go on this bike trip for a while, but it just hadn’t come through due to my schedule. And then things opened and I said I am going to do it now and the people around me were very surprised. A lot of these things don’t make sense to the mind you see. They wonder, “Why not wait three years until the prophecy is over? Why not play it safe?” But I never play it safe. I play it free. That’s how the universe decided it. The pointers were clear and the Divine Mother asked me to do it then. And who am I to refuse? If the prophecy said I was to die, then that would be a magnificent way to die, in the high Himalayas. Better than in a bedroom, how boring. Why not in the high mountains, in the cold and in the snow where your body would stay preserved. (laughs) If it comes, I embrace it with open arms. Death is not separate from living, it is a deep part of living. So, I realized that there was an opportunity for me to dive deeper. An immense synchronicity. Too much for me to ignore.
Death is alchemy, it is transformation. So it became an alchemical journey. From there a desire arose to share it. I always have had a passion to share and create opportunities for radical shifts and awakenings in consciousness for others. I didn’t know how or in which way it would occur, but I knew there was alchemy in the offering. So why not share it? Through Adam and six other people, we shared this journey. Seven is an auspicious number. Seven chakras. Seven notes in music. Seven days of the week. Seven oceans. So very synchronistic again. A very harmonious journey from the beginning.
You see, in alchemy you have to go through the fire to come out gold. As in the Tantra tradition and with Shiva who is this deeply fierce being, there was bound to be fire in the process, meaning challenges and triggers. So to be aware of that, for me, allows me to not take it personally and instead, I can facilitate that alchemical process for the riders. And at the same time I deepen my own consciousness and understanding. Most of the time my attention was totally on the riders, but there was not a distinction of me and them; it was just other as a reflection of self. The journey for me on a personal level was deepening into the love affair, my own love of life, of this radical aliveness of being. An intoxicating life, a fiercely alive life. And it has always been this way, so the trip was another extension of this and it will continue to be so until my last day.
To share such beauty and silence and the magnanimity of the peaks and the great mystery of the monasteries and to somehow make it accessible to the riders was such a great experience. To see the fears and shadows rise and then see them go beyond it in spite of such challenges was an incredible sight to watch. So it was in some way a reassurance of the human capacity; that yes, awakening is possible in spite of the mind. Irrespective of circumstance, there can be an awakening. To have it filmed and offered as a documentary became an expansion of the same intention to inspire others to live their lives.
The journey is a metaphor for life. You cannot be skilled or unskilled at living. Life simply is. It’s not a matter of skill, it’s a matter of your courage and willingness to show up. It’s a matter of getting out of your mind and your condition. It’s a matter of tapping into your potentiality. That’s what this journey reflects. A life journey, not just a bike journey. It brings up all so that it’s released forever.
And that’s the global lesson. You see, we have created a world of waiting and of self victimization. So we must look at our own capacity for fear. I have found people who have given up sex, talking, food and all clothes; they walk around naked, covered in ash. But I have not found enough people who have given up fear. And all violence in our world, all conflict, all depression, self hatred and shame is a product of fear. So one of the strongest messages of the film is to really look at our fears deeply and not be in denial of them; To see how fears keep us from our capacity.
When the fear comes, we must look and transcend instead of going toward blame and defense. Usually we create more conflict by trying to control. It’s a controlling society, it’s violent and a reflection of fear. We must look into the fear instead of moving through it because that fear becomes competition, manipulation, terrorism and abuse. The global message is for us to look inside ourselves and see what is fear doing to us. Are we suppressing it or denying it? Instead of seeking security, can we seek freedom? Freedom now. Freedom from self. The only ones keeping us in shackles are ourselves. If you are not taking responsibility for your fear then it will come through in your life through jealousy, control, all those things I just mentioned.
Ask yourself what it means to live. What are we here for? What are we trying to achieve and run after? And until when will we keep waiting to be free? So this journey was about freedom. And the practice goes on forever. Your life is a practice. You must be aware of your capacity for violence, which can come up, then look into it and transcend it. Look in and transcend. And that becomes a celebration of life; radical and alive, with no option of regression.
The Highest Pass (documentary film) – Seven riders and their guru make life and death decisions while traversing icy cliffs and the chaos of India’s traffic while on a motorcycle journey through the Himalayas. Carrying a prophecy of death in his late twenties, their yogi leader, Anand, inspires the riders to question what it means to truly live as they cross over 2000 km of hard terrain and climb 18,000 feet on a journey that will change them forever. Written and produced by Adam Schomer and directed by Jon Fitzgerald. Released by Cinema Libre Studio.
Coming to theatres starting April 27, 2012 and DVD/VOD August 7, 2012.
Check www.thehighestpass.com for details.
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