Travels

asher-in-india

For the past 11 years since leaving Australia I have flown hundreds of thousands of miles around the world. As a student I was always on a budget so I learned the secrets of cheap flights for my various international trips. I have frequently gotten very cheap flights from the United States to Europe (London, Brussels, Frankfurt) and also insanely cheap flights to India (New Delhi) and Australia (Sydney).

Below I outline the 12 steps I take to book the cheapest international flights every time. Read More

Category: Blog, Featured, Travels

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Posted on November 1, 2014 by

Get my FREE Step-By-Step Guide to India Travel HERE.

In February 2013, I was very lucky to get the opportunity to go to the once every 12 year Maha Kumbha Mela in Allahabad (Prayag), India. It was a wild journey to the largest spiritual gathering in the world where saints and sadhus, pilgrims (and scammers), tourists and everyone else under the sun congregate for a period of six weeks. I was fortunate to stay with the Uttar Kashi Purusha at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram on the more quiet side of the river. Below are 108 pictures I took over a 10 day period. Read More

Category: Blog, India, Photography, Travels

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Posted on May 15, 2013 by

Last weekend I went with my family to our favourite beach in Australia known as “Treachery“. As the map below shows it is about 3 hours North of Sydney and is located just past Seal Rocks. We first started coming here around 1997 and have come almost every year since for 2 to 3 weeks in the Summer. It is really an untouched wilderness nestled in the middle of Myall Lake National Park where there is a camp ground just behind the Northern end of the beach. Treachery is known for it’s laid back atmosphere, impressive wildlife and year-round excellent surfing conditions which at times can be rather treacherous. Check out my article: 17 Top Camping Packing List Items + What NOT to Bring

Click any image to ENLARGE.
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Here is a quick map I made to show you were Treachery is in relation to Sydney. The beach faces South East which explains why it always has good surf because it picks up the South swells.

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Here is a view of the headland at the Northern end of the beach.

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And this is the view looking South from the Northern end of the 1 mile long beach.

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The waves were quite good but a little too small.

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This was my first surf in a year. I am very thankful for muscle memory!

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It felt really good to be back in the water again. There’s nothing like the feeling of surfing.

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When we go camping we always have a nice setup complete with a kitchen, dining room, lounge room and bedrooms (individual tents).

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Here is my tent.

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And this is the view from inside.

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As I mentioned, Treachery is known for it’s fantastic wildlife. Here is a Goanna outside one of our tents.

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Goanna‘s are large lizards found throughout Australia. They can easily grow bigger than 2 metres (6 feet) and eat all kinds of other smaller animals. Thankfully they are quite shy around humans and I’ve never heard of any serious incidents except for scratched arms. Notice it’s huge claws and long tongue.

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Photo Credit: Utopia Images Online (My Dad)
Treachery is filled with a wide array of bird life. In the morning I counted at least 15 different songs that created a deafening symphony. The above picture is of the famous Laughing Kookaburra (from the kingfisher family) which is known for its song that sounds like laughter. They are often seen eating snakes so they’re a good bird to have around.

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One night we made a fruit salad for desert and this mother and baby Possum came down from the trees hoping for a piece of the action. In a previous year I fed one and it bit me! so that wasn’t happening again…

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My sister-in-law was about to flick this little insect off a chair when she realized that it was a scorpion! It posed nicely for the camera before I moved it to into the bushes.

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Photo Credit: Ogwen
The Seal Rocks area and in particular the Treachery camp ground has always had a small dingo population. They are ancient dogs brought by the Aborigine’s and have lived in Australia for thousands of years. They never bark only howl.

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Photo Credit: Richard Fabiszewski
On this trip I didn’t see any snakes but every time before I’ve encountered them including the red-bellied black snake pictured above.

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I love making fire using only natural means except for a match stick. There is something very primordial and mesmerizing about fire that has always fascinated me.

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I built the fire up quickly in order to produce coals that would be used for cooking our dinner – vegetarian lasagne!

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Here you can see the lasagne in the camp ovens waiting for the coals.

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We placed the cast-iron pots on a bed of red hot coals and then covered them as well. After about 45 minutes we could smell the delicious scent of fresh, wood-fired, vegetarian lasagne. My Dad swept the coals off with a brush to see if our noses were correct – they were.

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Here is another view of the campsite and my family preparing the lasagne for serving.

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Perfection!

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Bellissimo!

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Everyone silently enjoying the delicious meal.

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My parents are avid campers going to the remotest parts of Australia in there Landcruiser. Here you can get a glimpse of how well setup they are with a fridge, storage drawers and fold down kitchen bench.

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They even have whipping cream capabilities – heaven!

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We had a mouth watering fruit salad with jelly topped with whipped cream for dessert.

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The next day we went for picnic at Lighthouse beach where you’re allowed to drive on the beach.

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My brother Ehren was testing his Jeep for the first time on the sand – he had a blast.

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Here you can see where the beach gets it’s name with the lighthouse perched on the top of the cliff.

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Beach driving is fun – the trick is to lower your tire pressure so that the wheel has more surface area and to not stop because that’s when you sink. Also it’s helpful to drive in the tracks of others because the sand is more compressed there.

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Another example of how well my parents are setup to go to the “outback”. They have vital shade whenever they stop and it only takes seconds to setup.

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After I’d had a surf and we’d eaten lunch we went for a stroll to the headland at the North end of Lighthouse Beach.

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A shoreline wave.

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An amazing view.

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Quite a mixture of rocks compose this headland which is slowing washing into the sea.

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More interesting rocks and pebbles.

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This is the next beach around from Lighthouse called Boat Beach. And I think the rocks out there are the Seal Rocks.

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This picture is of the South Celestial Pole. It is a 15 minute exposure that captures the star trails due to the Earths rotation on it’s axis. The circle at the bottom is me shining a torch light at the camera in big arches. I did an earlier blog post with a series of these type of images called “Self Portraits – Painting With Light.

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On the day we were leaving the back door of the Landcruiser wouldn’t unlock so we had to unscrew a metal cargo barrier that blocked access so that I could crawl through the tiny space unlock it from the inside with my long arms.

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My Dad then tried to fix it by taking it apart but it didn’t work.

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So I came up with a way to unlock it with a series of ropes that lead to the middle section of the car – ghetto rig!

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Lastly my Mum snapped this photo of me taking pictures so you can see what I look like when I’m photo blogging…

The trip was very nostalgic and fun was had by all. I really love the Australian wilderness and feel lucky to be from this beautiful country.

All the best,

Asher.

P.S Comments and questions are more than welcome. 🙂

Category: Blog, Photography, Surfing, Travels

8 Comments

Posted on November 27, 2011 by

On an afternoon in August 2004, I boarded a jumbo jet in Sydney, Australia bound for the United States. After a long and arduous 30 hour journey, I arrived in Maharishi Vedic City – a few miles to the north-west of Fairfield, home to Maharishi University of Management (MUM).

I enjoyed a delicious dinner at the friends house that I was staying and was in bed by about 9pm. I awoke the next morning at 7am feeling great and as if I had always lived in this strange new land. The thing that I found remarkable was that I proceeded to not have any form of jet lag despite my extended journey.

The only explanation I could give for this phenomenon was that my friends’ house was built according to the principles of Maharishi Vastu Architecture. This style of architecture follows the guidelines as prescribed in the ancient Vedic texts of India and revived by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The most salient aspects include orientation or direction of the building, proportion, placement of rooms and sustainably built using local and natural materials.

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Click on the images to enlarge.
 
 
 
 

Since my initial taste of living in Maharishi Vastu Architecture I have traveled all over the world and tasted some of the finest Vastu houses and buildings around.

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^ In 2005 I was lucky to move into a brand new residence hall building on the MUM campus just outside the large meditation hall (dome.)

My experience of Maharishi Vastu Architecture is more or less the same regardless of the location in the world. I am always struck by the deafening Silence that pervade the walls of these buildings. I generally sleep extremely well, like a baby, and always feel expansion of the heart and mind while occupying a Vastu building.

In 2006 I had the opportunity to visit Maharishi European Research University (MERU) in Vlodrop, The Netherlands for about 2 months. This place is the international headquarters of the Transcendental Meditation movement run by Maharishi himself. Then in 2008 after graduating from MUM I moved to MERU to be the assistant to Dr. Harris Kaplan and Dr. Bevan Morris (President of MUM). For the first time I experienced Maharishi’s Vastu house from the inside and was utterly impressed by the galactic Silence permeating the building. The other noticeable quality is bubbling bliss and simply a magical feeling regardless of the day or night.

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^ Maharishi’s house, Vlodrop, The Netherlands

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^ The local newspaper did a story on us at Vlodrop. In the background is Harris and Arlene Kaplan’s beautiful house.

In 2009 I traveled to India with Dr. Morris and experienced a wide array of Maharishi Vastu buildings in different parts of the sub-continent. We were first in Allahabad, then later moved to the Brahmasthan (central point) and then went North to Uttar Kashi in the Himalayas.

I had already been to the Brahmasthan in 2008 for a couple of months after Maharishi’s funeral cremation in Allahabad. It definitely has the strongest quality of dynamism (or sound) in the silence. In fact, one morning I was actually woken by the sound of Vedic chanting but then I realized it was the sound of silence!

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^ Here is the main campus at the Brahmasthan. There are literally hundreds of buildings already built and under construction spread over three campuses.

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During my travels throughout Northern India I went through many towns and noticed buildings that looked like they built according to the principles of Maharishi Vastu and then realized that it was another Maharishi Vidya Mandir School. There are over one hundred of these schools across India with more than one hundred thousand students!

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^ Gajoli ashram, Uttar Kashi, Himalayas, India

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^ Kunsi ashram, Uttar Kashi, Himalayas, India

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^ View down to Uttar Kashi “Valley of the Saints” from the Kunsi ashram

After this India trip I returned to Holland and also made some visits to Fairfield, IA and India again. In India I had a very nice and long stay in Bhopal at a fantastic campus built according to the principles of Maharishi Vastu.

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^ Here is one of the buildings at the Bhopal campus where I stayed for three months in ’09 – ’10.

Then just a few months ago I attended a conference in Rendlesham, 2 hours to the Northeast of London in England. I was thoroughly impressed by the countless Vastu homes that have been built in this Village.

After a long, all day drive from Holland, through Belgium, France on a ferry and up to Rendlesham I was welcomed to a nice couples home. Upon entering the house and after meditating I was completely refreshed from the tiring journey. The deep well of silence enclosed within the building as if nourished my soul.

The three day visit to Rendlesham made me think of all the dozens of Vastu buildings I have visited around the world and how they all have this divine quality of subtle light and positive energy. I am truly a believer of the value of Vastu architecture and have realized that if done right it will be the same regardless of the country it is built in. I believe that by building a Maharishi Vastu home you are creating a little oasis of coherence and peace in your life. Maharishi coined the tag line for Maharishi Vastu as “fortune creating” and I think this it is true on every level.

So I guess you’re wondering if I’m living in Vastu now?…

YES! 🙂

In fact, over the past 7 years since I left Australia I have lived in different Maharishi Vastu buildings for about 5.5 of those years. And if I have my way I will never have to spend another day in a building that isn’t following these simple yet deeply profound principles.

Now I have a big goal of creating a Vastu village in Queensland, Australia.

If you have any questions about my specific experiences at any of the photographed places above please feel free to leave it in the comments sections below.

Also for more information about this style of architecture then visit MaharishiVastu.org

Lastly, here is a video slideshow showing many of the Vastu homes in Maharishi Vedic City, USA.

Category: Blog, India, Spirituality, Travels

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17 Comments

Posted on April 29, 2011 by

Yesterday I went surfing with Joss Paling who thankfully lent me his spare surfboard. It was my first surf in 2 years! Really it was the first in 6 years because the surfing I did 2 years ago was only for about a week. I am happy that I still know how to do it – I suppose it’s bit like riding a bike… I grew up by the beach and went surfing almost everyday from the age of 12 to 17 so I’ve probably done about 1000 hours of practice…

The beach I surf at is called Narrabeen and is on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It’s just down the road from where my parents live. I can even check the wave conditions from my balcony with a pair of binoculars. The water is quite cold since it is winter but not as cold as last time I was here. Below is a video my Dad made yesterday. He is really good at landscape photography and has a website called Utopia Images Online.

I am only in Sydney for another 10 days so I am going to try and surf as much as possible before I return to the US where I am land locked! I feel surfing is a very spiritual sport. When I am out surfing there is nothing on my mind except the ocean and where to position myself in order to catch a wave. Sometimes it is like I become the ocean and it makes me feel so good.

I highly recommend surfing to anyone but warn that it takes a lot of practice and is a very physical sport. After 6 years I am quite out of shape and so it is difficult to even paddle when I’ve been out there for more than 1 hour.

Best Wishes,

Asher Fergusson.

Category: Blog, Surfing, Travels

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Posted on August 10, 2010 by

On the 5th of February, 2008 at about 2pm I got the news that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had dropped his body and moved on. For years I had listened to his amazing talks about enlightenment, world peace and Transcendental Meditation. I even had the opportunity to tell him my spiritual experiences while meditating on which he gave a beautiful commentary that lasted for half an hour.

Maharishi-2007

By 10pm that night a friend knocked on my door and said, “do you want to go to India?” I jumped out of bed put on a coat, walked through a snowstorm and went to my friends place to start applying for the Indian visa. 11 hours later I was in downtown Chicago running to the consulate after a 9 hour, all night drive through a blizzard.

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Miraculously I got my visa (they at first told me I would have to go back to Australia to get it!) and was on the next flight to New Delhi. It was wonderful to land in India, even though it was my first time it felt like home. We took an all day train to Allahabad and arrived there at about 6pm.

By that time I was soooo tired but some kind of energy returned to me upon throwing my bags off the train that only stopped for 60 seconds. We took an auto rickshaw to the school/ Ashram where Maharishi’s body was being displayed. As we got closer and closer I felt more and more energy and happiness inside.

My friend and I stepped out of the vehicle and headed straight for the epicenter of this Vedic chanting that blasted from loud speakers. We neared a small shed that many people lined up to enter. We picked up a hand full of flowers at the door and walked in.

Galactic Silence, Unbounded Bliss, Light, Expansion of the Heart and Tears of Joy.

I was 2 meter’s away from Maharishi! It was absolutely like nothing I had ever experienced before – beyond words, beyond thoughts only a feeling of deep love and appreciation. Even though Maharishi had left his body days earlier I was feeling as if he was still there. The power and light that emanated from his body was incredible. I thought to myself, “now I know for certain he is the real deal, he is a fully enlightened master“.

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All kinds of people from all over the world came to this cosmic party. You may have heard of the filmmaker David Lynch who loves Maharishi and promotes Transcendental Meditation all over the world. In fact his foundation has already provided scholarships for more than 100,000 at risk children to meditate!

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The next day was the funeral and cremation. I was sitting at the cremation ground while a huge procession of people carried Maharishi’s body from the room where he was displayed the night before. It was like a gigantic power of energy and bliss was moving towards us. There were drums, whistles and cheering. As they got closer and closer the energy and excitement grew immensely. I strongly believe that Maharishi had an enormous aura of power, bliss and peace that extended for miles.

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Maharishi’s family had the honor of preparing the funeral pyre with large blocks of sandalwood. Apparently it is auspicious to touch the wood that burns the body of the enlightened. I was lucky to give some incense that was put on the pyre.

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Dr Girish Varma and Dr Prakash Srivastava, two of Maharishi’s nephews are picture here. They were the main people who performed the ceremony and lit the fire.

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I had my eyes shut most of the time and was experiencing so many emotions – sadness, happiness, joy, bliss, anger, peace and fulfillment. I had many very spiritual experiences during the 3-5 hour ceremony. It was like Maharishi was giving me more of his unbounded reality as the elements in his divine body were being liberated back to the Earth.

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After the cremation we were able to walk around the pyre three times. For some reason I sat down beside the coals where the wind was blowing. The hot ashes hit my face as I meditated very deeply. I was being fried on every level both spiritually and physically.

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Afterwards I was so burnt that my face began pealing almost instantly. By that evening I was so tired that I slept very deeply. During the night I had further spiritual revelations and darshan of Maharishi.

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The next day after the fire had burnt down, Maharishi’s family picked up all the ashes into large urns. These were later distributed all over India to the holiest rivers.

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On that same day we went out to the “sangam” which is the confluence of three rivers – the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. This is one of the holiest places in India and really has a divine, celestial feeling especially at dusk.

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There were hundreds of people who gathered in the boats to witness the release of Maharishi’s ashes. These are two friends Kevin and Justin.

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Following the 10 days that I was at Allahabad I went to the central point of India known as the Brahmasthan. In this place Maharishi has constructed an entire city for Vedic Priests to perform group meditation and traditional ceremonies that involve chanting the Vedas. I was there at the Brahmasthan doing my own long meditation for 6 weeks. It was a sublime experience that gave me deep rest and rejuvenation.

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I want to thank all the people who helped me go to India because without you I wouldn’t have fulfilled my life long wish of seeing Maharishi in person.

If you enjoyed this article feel free to share it. Also if you were there then please leave a comment about it below.

As Maharishi always used to say, “Jai Guru Dev.” Which means I give thanks to the divine teacher.

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Category: Blog, Photography, Spirituality, Travels

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Posted on July 21, 2010 by