Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The Beauty of Mongolia

Uyanga Batjarjal says: My home country is Outer Mongolia. Mongolians are country people travelling with their camel and sheep herds from one pasture to another. The ancient culture and traditions still exist, and, as mainly Buddhists, we believe we have lived many lives before. My home in the only city, Ulaan Bataar, overlooks Mongolia’s tallest mountain. It's a holy mountain where people go to pray. Our climate is colder than the North Pole in winter, and, in the summer, we get sandy winds from the Gobi desert. It is a harsh landscape but the people are intelligent and happy and have a natural and instinctive spirituality. My country is six times the size of the UK, and has less than three million people scattered throughout its land area. This is an exotic place which has always appealed to travellers, it is sometimes known as 'Shangri-La. The rural countryside was brought to the attention of TV viewers when Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman filmed part of their motor-cycle adventures for the programme ‘Long Way Round’. This publicity brought many young motorcycle visitors. Mongolia is the destination for the annual London to Ulaan Baataar ‘Mongol Rally’ that has taken place since 2004, and is included on the itinery of the Blue Planet Run Foundation, which is a green issues fun-run from New York through Mongolia into China.  

I was born into a travelling circus family and have been a professional contortionist since I was eight years old. We have many wonderful traditional arts, overtone chanting, a special stringed instrument that was featured in the film The Weeping Camel, clowning and strong man acts, circus skills, fabric and leather work etc. My mother travelled to Russia to train with the Moscow Circus Academy as a high wire acrobat. Circus training is very hard and exhausting. It demands the highest standards of perfection. They used to say that circus folk, like gypsies, are very psychic but I also think I have a family gift.  Every circus has its ghost or spirit presence which either is dangerous or auspicious. When the Chinese State Circus celebrated 2000 years of their circus traditions, they demonstrated this spirit presence in that show. One lone performer dressed in soft yellow (colour of death in China) and sky blue (colour of spirituality) and watched the performers, sometimes aiding them, sometimes setting up jokes or disasters for them. The circus ghost sees everything that happens in the ring, but the performers rarely see the ghost! Extraordinary things take place in the circus, not just mystical feats of physical prowess but also amazing incidents that defy rational logic. Many times a performer’s life has been saved by an intuition or coincidence. As performers we have a telepathic communication as our lives depend on more than luck and good judgment. We also have other powers, such as superhuman speed, strength and foresight. I often have seen spooky lights floating around the big top and I know something will happen. Late one night, long after the show had finished, I saw the trapeze was moving slightly, as though by unseen hands. A steel safety rod for the high stand lay broken on the ground. The next morning, the performers were rehearsing on the aerial trapeze. This shocked me as I didn’t expect anyone to be practising there because I had seen the rod was obviously broken the night before. When I asked the acrobats how they repaired it so quickly, they showed me the steel rod was fine and knew nothing about it being broken so I told them and they installed a safety net. A day later, when our champion flyer was performing, the rod broke and he fell down, fortunately into the safety net but no-one suspected for one moment that it would really break. On another occasion, at dusk, I saw the lights once again, out of the corner of my eye and I saw something move near the trampoline. The acrobat troupe always stacked safety mats around the trampoline to use during rehearsals. On this particular day I had taken all the mats to the back of the arena. I thought they would check before their next practise session but, as I entered the tent, they were on the trampoline and one of the youngest members landed badly and was thrown off in my direction. I managed to catch that small child in my arms, saving her from a serious injury. It was so odd that I was there exactly at that moment, in that place and could catch her. It would have been very bad for me if the child had hurt herself because I had taken the mats away the day before. When I was a child, the Dalai Lama came to my school in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia. He asked me some questions and I had remembered being in another life before this one. He gave me a special blessing. By the age of eight, I was a child star at Monte Carlo where the greatest of world acts compete each year. Everyone put my success down to his blessing. By the age of fourteen, I had travelled to Russia, Australia, South America, Alaska and many European countries. In 1999, my father's health deteriorated and he left this life for the spirit world. My mother was offered the position of Ring Master with the Mongolian State Circus and, with me topping the bill, we came to the United Kingdom. I made my UK TV debut on Chris Evans’ TFI programme in 1999. I was his youngest ever guest performance artist. Later, I worked in the Eclipse Musical Circus at Blackpool's Pleasure Beach. I have inherited all types of psychic gifts, I am what is called a ‘sensitive’.  My grandfather is 90 years old, a great age for a Mongolian man. He is a herbal healer in Ulan Bator and people travel from all over Outer Mongolia to seek his assistance. My cousin is a shaman. He was only nineteen years old when, after a life of illness, he had an epileptic fit and fell into a prolonged swoon. When he came round, he could hear the spirit world. People who he has never met before arrive from country districts and he tells them about their lives and about their future. He always knows what they have in their pockets! I love my country, its spirituality and its strange people."  

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