yoga on film
The Highest Pass
BY FELICIA M. TOMASKO
We’re all walking this Earth carrying a prophecy that
marks our death, whether or not we know when that
day will come. Facing this may spur us on to traverse
our highest pass.
Rishikesh-based spiritual teacher Anand Mehrotra
carries a prophecy more serious than our collective
terminal illness called life. He has a mark on his astrological chart – an injunction that he will meet death at a
relatively early age (in his late twenties) in an accident.
Even though he’s in his late twenties, the mark doesn’t
stop him from zipping around on a motorcycle or even
proposing what some may consider a reckless ride.
Filmmaker and yogi Adam Schomer was in Rishikesh,
India, with Anand when the teacher suggested they bike
over Khardung Pass, in the region of Ladakh, famous
for being the highest road through the Himalayas.
Schomer said yes even though he was not fluent in the
art of riding a motorcycle, particularly across the preci-
pices of the Himalayas. But Schomer was inspired by
the opportunity to be with his teacher embarking on
an adventure. “I knew something would come of it. If I
lived. Which I did.”
So, he learned to ride.
After all, Schomer recalled Anand’s teaching around
fear, “It’s too much to ask not to have fear. Just have a
little more love than the fear.”
“I’ve got 51% love and 49% fear. That’s enough,”
That ratio was enough to embark on a journey—and
to create a film.
Anticipating the auspicious, cinematic, and transformative nature of the journey, Schomer gathered a crew
of filmmakers and avid motorcyclists to join him on the
ride – and record the adventure.
What ensued is a compelling feature-length documentary that is part motorcycle adventure, part mountain
expedition, part tale of skillfulness in action, and part
spiritual coming of age story. The Highest Pass is about
the ultimate adventure of this life: The adventure is the
spiritual journey, the road we traverse, and our own injunctions to cultivate that 51% love in order to ascend
our highest levels of consciousness.
Composer and musician Michael Mollura scored
The Highest Pass, creating music to set the mood
for this adventure.
Felicia M. Tomasko: How did you feel about the film?
Michael Mollura: I love the analogy of The Highest
Pass. There’s a bunch of guys riding motorcycles to the
top of the Himalayan Mountains: it’s a metaphor for a
spiritual journey. It has moments when you hit a dead
end, or you have an accident, but even still, something
pulls you to keep going. These guys on bikes have their
doubts and they have their ecstasy. It’s a fun spiritual
film, not your typical straight-up “life is love” message,
yet it is grounded in bhakti teachings.
FMT: How did you choose musicians?
MM: I chose people devoted to the bhakti path, many of
them in LA, including MoMo Loudiyi, Dahveed Hari-bol Das, Marty Lieberman, Annmarie Solo, Violeta Vil-lacorta, and Eddie Young. Tibetan Buddhist monks and
Vedic traditions of North India influence the music in
the Himalayan Mountains, so in the film you hear everything from Buddhist-oriented sutras to the classic ragas
of India, and then you have the voice of John Anderson,
the lead singer of Yes. I met up with Anderson, who has
a high level of consciousness and interest in spirituality.
Together we wrote two songs for the film.
FMT: How does this work relate to your own spiritual
MM: This project is trying to raise the consciousness of
the world. This is part of my sadhana, that’s the beauty
of it. It’s bhakti – once it is open, it’s always there.
The Highest Pass is the opening night film at
the Topanga Film Festival, July 28 at 7: 30 P.M.
Anand Method and a group of the riders will
attend the screening for a Q and A afterwards.
For more info visit: Thehighestpass.com
Anand Method will also be giving free teachings
in Southern California throughout the Summer.
For a full schedule, visit: Mysattva.com