….Continuing from previous post…..

No sooner had we taken the last “ good bye” picture, that Nyima’s wife called us back into the house, to

“PLEASE buy something, to help”

They now have lost their only bread winner and although all women of the family are making/ stringing the widely available “Tibetan jewellery” items, since they have to stay home for the mourning period and take care of the lighting of the butter lamps, they are all but out of money and dependent on the good will and help of their neighbours.

Hastily mother and daughter spread a tangled jumble of necklaces of all varieties onto the table, then left to get a few of Nyima’s personal things, that they were prepared to spreeThere was a small “movable Altar” – 625 silver with a picture of Padmasambhava in the centre. It was a well used and not to clean, tarnished and still held a few yellow flower pedals.

I was shocked! Did they RELAY want to sell that to us? Should that not stay with the precious Melongs and his headdress????

BUT then, when I touched it – – something did not feel right….. there was no Power!?

Someone else quickly claimed it.

More things were taken from a small bag and put onto the loaded table. There were a Dorje and a tangled mess of leather onto which 3 copper balls were attached. A red flash of lightning zzzaged right onto them and I reached for.

They felt HOT!

Not with heat from Fire, but with – what I again only can describe as Anaguilin = Spirit POWER.

They were about Walnut size, each on a tangled leather string, symmetrical “4 directions design” soldered in brass onto 1 side, and respectively each adorned with a Turquoise and a Red Coral stone in its middle. The reverse side also showed a kanji and a design, that immediately reminded me of our Siberian Ülziy eternal knot design, that also is very prevalent here in Nepal.

The 2 halves of the copper ball come apart so as to make up a prayer box and one can insert a protection amulet or any other small power item. A permanent protection amulet made of Yak leather is attached at the lower end of the copper pieces.

They are known as Ghau


Also immediately I KNEW, that 2 of these were “for me” and one was “for my friend M.

OK, no problem. I held on to them.

All the other items were also taken and now the ladies were looking through the jewellery.

I felt overwhelmed and slightly befuddled by the Energy emanating from the ritual objects in my hands, handed over the asked for financial contribution and left the small house to the shoppers. Outside the rain had finally stopped.

A while later we made our way back through the village and then up to the monastery. In front of its gates were a row of covered stalls of Tibetan vendors.

They all beckoned us, but Bhola urged us, not to linger but rather hasten to the monastery.

But I was in no mood to be rushed and took a closer look at the wares offered in the stalls.

Beautiful pieces of handiwork most quite similar to what we had seen in Hanuman Dorka Square in Kathmandu and then also similar beaded necklaces like the ones for sale in Nyima’s home.

I also noticed several more of the small silver altars, identical to the one seen at the house, less “worn and used” but with the same pictures and flowers… All were offered as “authentic” and “old”

Nowhere however I saw any of the copper prayer/ amulet ghaus again and so was glad, to have “adopted” them, when I did….  

-Neither here or anywhere else in Nepal.

I was much intrigued by a single cymbal or tingsha (NO idea, how this word is written.. 😦 )

It is rung with the tip of a Yak horn. It had a beautiful prolonged ring and a prayer mantra was engraved into the cast.

The Elder, that sold it was obviously poor, wearing ripped trousers and a shirt that was more a rag than a garment. He was somewhat shy and – with the weather being what it was, when I looked at him I was not surprised to “see” red and inflamed joints namely right shoulder and both knees.

I asked him – more in sign language than anything else, if he had often carried heavy loads. Yes, yes, wood and rocks for building 45 years… “and pain?”

Yes, yes, here” = shoulder and Aou ou ou, here,” pointing to his knees and the moist fog outside……

I bargained hard with him for that tingsha – from 450 rupees down to 150, but then gave him the full amount he had initially asked for, also pulling out my bottle of ibuprofen gave some some instructions as to when to take 1 and specifying, that the rest of the money I had given him was for another bottle of anti inflammatories at the drug store in town.

cymbal with Yak horn

Tears welled up in his eyes as he hugged me good bye…..

my salesperson

But then I HAD to go.

I caught up with the rest of the group at the entrance of the monastery temple.

after the rain

to the temple

Monestary Drum

Monestary altar with tormas

4 thoughts on “Shopping:

  1. What a sad story, Mi-Shell, that Nyima’s family is now so reliant upon others’ goodwill… and that their village is now without their Shaman.

    I’m so delighted that you were there to receive those amazing Ghau, Mi-Shell… that they weren’t just whisked away as something pretty to wear as jewellery… and how fortunate for the Elder who sold you the cymbal… also beautiful… I am glad you were there for him…

    Your story and images take me back to Nepal and Ladakh, and I thank you for that. Such awesome (and I really mean awesome) scenery and beautiful, smiling, people… and beautiful, sacred, items for the finding, too, if one is blessed with good fortune 🙂

    I believe Nyima would be content to know that his special Ghau have found their way to yourself… and to fortunate M, whom I sure will also hold them sacred 🙂

    Many Blessings to you.

  2. Blessings to you too!
    Later I found out, that, at times, these kind of Ghaus are to be found at e- bay….
    But to me it matters most, where they came from……
    I just wonder, iffff out of financial need Nyima’s family will make a habit of inviting “tourists” to their home and show / exhibit his regalia……
    Tibetan refugees are not really allowed to work in Nepal and so this family may be falling on hard times…..

  3. Hi Mi-Shell
    I’ve been following your blog posts about your trip. I don’t know how to put this politely – so I do mean it politely – but it really seems to be a mixed bag. It seems you had some wonderful experiences and gathered a lot of personal growth from the trip.

    I don’t mean this as an insult to Bhola but.. I was wondering if you felt that the time spent with Bhola was enlightening from a teacher-student perspective or just because you can make something out of your time there because of self-learning? I guess the best analogy I can use is that I have stopped going to horse clinics because most of the time the clinician is not providing enough focused time on the students specific needs but is doing just an overview.

    Sorry if this offends. And it may be too personal to answer.

  4. Hi eureka! No offence taken. It is quite a valid question.
    Yes, I was presented with a magnificent opportunity and took as much advantage of it as I could = the group setting allowed.
    Not everyone in our 12 people group was a shamanic practitioner and also not everyone was/ is able to journey . For some the journey opportunities/ drumming that Bhola provided were just “meditation time”
    We had 2 participants there, who follow a Hinduism / Buddhism inspired spiritual path and they – due to their knowledge of the deities and the mythology along with journeying knowledge they had quite profound personal experiences as well.
    But as I said, not everyone knew how to journey on the drop of a drum beat…..
    Bhola had his plan, of what we were going to do on any given day and largely stuck to it, making room for opportunities when possible. Individual questions I had sometimes got answered, sometimes he encouraged me to figure this out myself…..
    Bhola makes a living first and foremost as a tour guide. He is gentle but firm, patient with difficult clients and very caring about the welfare of the group. When he shamanizes, he puts on his regalia on – matter off fact like, no fuss, no pretence. What you see is what you get. Peter and me and several others did not have the impression that he is putting on an act, it is just part of who he is and what he learned. He does not have patients , like Maile Lama or the “Egg Shaman”, whom we met.
    In a shamanic session, when he comes around touching you/ me it felt warm, caring and honest, not like Maile Lama, who has that “Glittering, velvety deeeeep Healing touch” not only in her hands but also throughout her person and aura. She is a true healer. I would have Loved to spend more time with her!!
    Bhola fosters cross-cultural understanding and respect. That is also necessary for healing on a global level. He leads tour groups through Nepal, Thailand and has the very same shamanic workshop in Nepal coming up this fall again. He regularly tours through the US and gives “workshops”.
    This, “giving workshops” is the THING lately…. A money maker and to gain respectability. It is there, that shamanism has become a business, an “ism”, that has led more than one practising Medicine person astray….
    Bhola lives part of the year in Italy and does workshops there .He also is preparing to lead a pilgrimage around sacred Mount Kailash this year. Ifff I was younger and could deal with the altitude better I would sign up in a heart beat, trusting him with providing a wonderful experience…..but for my bad back I would go to Maile….

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