Almost a year ago, I had written an article here on Sannyas News about Osho Tapoban’s official announcement of the upcoming four new communes in Nepal. Recently I made a trip to one of these communes, Osho Upaban in Pokhara, and what I saw there has impressed me over expectations. In just a few months after its constructions started, the commune has already taken shape and is ready to welcome Osho lovers.
Perched high on the rim of the deep Seti gorge, Upaban is practically an island bordered by two huge mountain rivers, the Seti and the Phusre. Osho Sannyasins have now changed the name of Phusre as Mandakini. Mandakini is the tributary of Ganges, which starts from Kedarnath in North India and has the same color and water quality as Phusre.
Situated at a 10 minutes drive from the Pokhara airport, the commune is connected with a metal road and is only 4 kilometers away from the main city of Pokhara. In Sanskrit, ‘Upaban’ means garden and this commune really looks like an exquisite garden located right at the base grounds of the Annapurna Mountain range from where one can enjoy an uninterrupted dramatic view of the whole Annapurna range and the intriguing Macchapucchre.
Apart from the rivers and mountains, the commune is also bordered by a lush green forest hill on one edge while the high rising gorges on the other side of the Seti River form dramatic scenery of almost surreal landscape. In addition to this, the commune is also connected to a turquoise colored natural swimming pool sourced by the fresh waters of the Phusre (now called Mandakini) that the visitors at the commune can enjoy at any time.
Arriving outside the commune, a driveway walled by towering cliffs overgrown with moss and long grasses leads to the main entrance of the commune. Beside the entrance is the beautiful bungalow of the semi-circular reception block that houses the spacious welcome center with its future modern audio-visual lounge. This complex is also a guesthouse with huge deluxe rooms that open to a balcony overlooking the beautiful scenery around.
Very close to the welcome centre is the three storied residential come meditation complex with three halls on each floor, two of which are dormitories and one a multipurpose meditation and therapy room. Situated right on the brink of a cliff overlooking the Seti River, I was impressed to see that even the bathrooms of this complex bear a five star view of the deep gorges and the river around.This complex also houses the common bathrooms, a small kitchen for the future Zorba Restaurant and guest rooms with attached and non attached bathroom facility. Until the construction of the main Buddha Hall is complete, all the meditation sessions are being facilitated in this building.
The other part of the commune is the adjoined long strip of flat hill where the 40 individual residential bungalows and the Buddha hall are being constructed. The construction of seven two-storied bungalows with three bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen have already started and are estimated to be completed by the end of this year. A beautiful walk through garden has also been built by the residential sannyassins living in the commune that extends a long way from the front of the welcome centre, through the residential buildings and right up to the edge of the strip where a silent meditation pagoda cum view tower has already been constructed.
Moving towards the northern side of the commune is a vast stretch of wildly vegetated land behind the reception block, which extends from a wide flat land at the base to the highest spot in the whole commune. Right at the edge of the flat land is the first hut of the commune. This orange house can be seen from the road and looks spectacular amongst its wild background. A silent meditation temple is to be constructed at the top of the hillock here.
When asked about the amazing pace with which the work is being done in Pokhara, Swami Yogananda the President of Upaban replied, “I don’t think it is coming too fast, we could have done faster but due to our limitations, we are still lagging behind. It is all because of the continuous efforts of Swami Anand Arun that this commune has taken shape. It is all because of Osho’s grace and His blessings.”
Regarding the meditation programs at Upaban he said, “I would like to invite everyone to come and have a taste of our commune. Next meditation camp of Sw. Anand Arun has been scheduled from 19-24 Nov. For this camp, we have accommodation available only for 75 people and as we expect more bookings, we will be confirming them at a first come, first serve basis. We have also been doing weekend meditation camps when we also have sannyas celebrations. Apart from that we have 3 regular Osho meditations – Dynamic, Kundalini and Whiterobe meditations everyday so people can come for the daily sessions also.”
After meeting the sannyassins here and living in Upaban for three days meditating, taking long walks or just sitting silently looking at the river or the mountains around Upaban I had a great time and it was one of the most beautiful experiences for me. Seeing the way things are coming up in this commune, it does really seem to me that mere human efforts are not the only inspiration behind it, but also the undying love and devotion for the master that can be felt everywhere in Upaban. Well whatever it is, Upaban is one of the almost impossible masterpieces that I have come across, both naturally as well as human wise and I recommend it for everyone.
Swami Aatmo Neerav