Created in 1995 with buying an old unrepaired farmhouse Shangri La Osho Meditation Center has moved quite a long way since. It can be best expressed with the question of someone who came for the first time this year, asking: where is Shangri La? while already standing with his car on the central parking ground, it is simply bigger than you expect. The compound is more than 5 ha big altogether, with 7 houses and some functional buildings spread out on a hill above a little village. Old and new tree plantations, 9 ponds, and lot´s of space make Shangri La OMC actually more of a village in itself than a Meditation Center. When you reach there, you get a beautiful view far over the landscape, and then you find your way into the main building where the groups and meditations are happening. From there you move on to the guest house, and still a bit further to the Caravanserai, a cafe and guesthouse being part of Shangri La community, and to the houses of the residents who live here. Life here is obviously inviting to relax in nature, enjoy walking or biking, apart from joining the meditations and the groups and trainings which happen all year round. Ecology is valued highly here, with ecological heating systems in the houses and growing food organically. But for a new arrival some of the most striking impressions are the gardens, ponds and the little stream which is running through the garden with little waterfalls. It would be hard for a new arrival to picture how it looked here 19 years ago. Still all the changes happened step by step gradually, with the income of the place creating the finances for further expansion. And obviously, a lot of work and love have gone into the place.
A typical feeback from group participants that you come across is, that what imakes this place special is that you find both aloneness and quiet next to each other, and you can move from one to the other any moment, according to your needs. You can walk or sit in the extensive gardens, or you you can meet people in the Shangri La eating areas or enjoy homemade cakes and Capuccino with people in the Caravanserai.
How did it all start Bhagat? “I lived and worked in Tao Osho Meditation Center in Munich before for quite some years. Coming from the countryside I always knew, that no matter how important it had been to live and work there, no matter how much it had given to me, that one day I would move to the countryside again. And I wanted to create an Osho Meditation Center in the countryyside. But - I didn´t have any money. What I earned in the center I spent for staying in Pune, so it seemed a beautiful but illusory dream. More than once I told myself to forget about it, but I couldn´t. Then I was invited to give a Vipassana course in the Czech Republic, and when I arrived there, the owner of the house, who had wanted to create something similar, had decided to sell the place again. People knew about my dream, and said: Bhagat, this is your chance. I slept over it once, and said yes. My heart was beating, it seemed too crazy to move to a country which had left communism behind just few years before, but I knew, this might be the one and only chance to make my dream come true ever. So I bought it, and I went for it. Within six weeks I had packed up my life in Munich, and left. I hadn´t even been to the Czech Republic as a tourist before, and there I was now, in an old unrepaired farmhouse, with no telephone, and no telephone possible ( it was the time before mobile phones), far from anybody I knew. Only few friends who were excited about the project stayed connected and came by regularly, and supported the project. And things moved very slow in the beginning, but they did, and the place picked up. A big step was when I realised, that it is not enough to say we are an Osho Meditation Center. I kind of hid behind Osho, hoping “he” would make people come, but they weren´t so many. So I had to stand there myself, talk for myself, meet and face people myself. And this was the turning point, people started to come more and more. And it wasn´t such a long time, till we often had our groups and trainings booked full with waiting lists. This helped tremendously to create the means to make the place into what it is now. A beautiful Meditation Center, and at the same time a community where by now 13 adults and 4 children are living. It always had been my vision to have it happen like a village, close to each other, supporting each other, without the centralised structures of the old commune era with hierarchies and the whole movie. And this is how it has happened also. Just this year two more friends have built houses here in the village, expanding our community. During those years Almasta, who came here qúite at the very beginning and lives and works here since then, has built his house and carpentry. Amar, who has supported Shangri La from the very first moment, built her guest house, Caravanserai, and the visitors of our place love to visit her café after lunch, and have delicious homemade cakes and chat. Sananda has built a round house, and Prapati her earthship. Creativity and individuality flower, and together create a precious climate. A climate where visitors and group participants find both transformation, as well as inspiration for new possibilities in their lives. This is something very important for people, we hear again and again, that they get so much inspiration from what we do here. We live in a way where there is no split between our material and our spiritual life. We meditate, we work, we celebrate, they all melt, there is no separation.”
For the residents meeting the visitors and guests who come for groups or trainings, or for some holiday alternates with much more quiet periods after the visitors have left. From an alive meeting place where transformation and meditation happens, the place changes into a quiet countryside resort, where you walk through the gardens and all you hear is the birds and the wind or the stream. It is a bit like the tides at the ocean. There is a constant rhythm from full and alive to peaceful and quiet, and back. And this is beautiful, it gives life here a richness, many facets, that are beautiful to live.
All our work here is inspired by Osho. His active Meditations form the basis of our programs, and when sometimes in summer we listen to an Osho audio discourse in the garden I feel a dejavue like sitting outside the old Buddha Hall next to the bamboos in Pune, just that here it is not the bamboos creaking but apple, plum or walnut trees moving with the wind. Over the years we also managed to create facilities which make life here pleasant and enjoyable, like an outdoor sauna, a warm saltwater pool, a swimming pond. As Osho has pointed to when he talked about Zorba the Buddha. You find both here, meditation, and celebration.
We are open for likeminded people to join us, to find or create their own independent place next or close to us, and enrich the community with new activities, create new income possibilites, or just for the good feeling that there is another friend living close by, weaving new threads into the social network here. It is an art to bring living both freedom and relating together. Over the years we did create a place where this is possible. And I am happy to live in this place. Living with friends becomes more and more valuable for me, it is a big support, and it helps so much to live one´s potentials, to create one´s life consciously according to one´s vision. And this also includes living in nature for us, living with nature, growing food ourselves, enjoying to harvest. And Meditation is what makes it all even more precious. When I started to do my first groups, I was so happy that there were people who were sharing their experiences, and now I am happy that I can share my experiences. And I am happy if Shangri La OMC is giving them the inspiration that I happened to get in the past. Over the past few years it happens more and more, that people come exactly for this and spend some time here, helping in our edible forest project, meditating, meeting new people. This is what Shangri La OMC was meant to be, and we are happy if this is what it will be in the future, a place of inspiration.