Perhaps Ferdynand Ossendowski missed the possible entrance to the legendary Underworld due to a few longitudinal degrees only, pointing too East anyway. Recent archaeological discoveries prove the "metaphysical" centre of Asia is rather in the heart of Siberia, than next to the old Mongolian capital Urga, as he supposed. Just the same mistake of another Seeker of Truth, George Ivanovic Gurdjaeff, betrayed by the bloodthirsty voracity of his foolin’ camels in the Gobi, or simply by the unreliable Sarmung Brotherhood's emissaries. After the fall of the last Tsar, Ossendowski wished to return as soon as possible to his beloved Poland (on the road to independence), but joined the Whites in the Russian Revolution and finished to trust in Bogd Khan too much, when Outer Mongolia’s spiritual leader told him the story about the King of The World. An invisible ruler known by esoteric Buddhists only. Today researchers think the real centre of Asia is very west of Urga, exactly 250 km north of Omsk, a city where the same Ossendowski had lived for some years teaching engineering at the local Polytechnic, before being appointed to interim and anti-Bolshevik Admiral Kolchak’s government and suffering his tragic defeat.
It's true. Omsk is not equidistant from Asia’s coasts, as the obelisk of Kyzyl claims in the small republic of Tuva; nor has the strategic railway hubs like Novosibirsk, where the Trans-Siberian is out to conquer Asia’s steppes. Omsk, however, has history on its side and if excavations are going to confirm the legend too, then the hypothetical pivot of the world can become an irresistible magnet again. For many, after all, it is his own name to point: Om-sk. "This is the empowerment Agarthi by the mysterious science of Om; - Ossendowski noted in his striking travel report "Beasts, Men and Gods"(1924) - murmuring that, we begin all our prayers. Om is the name of an ancient saint, the first Goro, who lived three hundred and thirty thousand years ago (the Buddha). He was the first man to know God and to teach humanity to believe, to hope and fight evil. Then God gave him power over all the forces ruling the visible world".
THE X FILE OKUNEVO VILLAGE
Reachable after a five-hour bus run in dense taiga, the remote village of Okunevo seems to guard the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman among its five lakes. Proofs coming not only from the mystical visions of Rasma, Satya Sai-Baba’s follower who arrived here in 1993 on recommendation of the inspired Indian prophet, but from a surprising coincidence of evidences that make the village one of the biggest centre of pilgrimage in Siberia, with temples dedicated to Shiva, Krishna, but also to ancient Slavic gods and to Old Believers’ cult. Petroglyphs attributable to the third millennium BC culture of Okunevo were found by archaeologist Karl Jettmar in 1987: surprisingly, however, not in the traditional Yenisey River’s basin, but in the upper valley of the Indus, between the mountains of the Karakoram. A detail all researches have neglected till now. Following Lyudmila Sokolova’s results in The Journal of Indo-European Studies, this fact would be a rather clear evidence of the theory that sacred Vedas’s Gods descended towards India, along with the so-called Aryan peoples, moving from the Siberian lands where emblematic river Tara flows (whose name, in India, means “Goddess of Mercy”).
Pottery, fragments of mirrors and burials have been finding since 1963 in Okunevo, but something else has increased the thrill: elongated humanoid skulls, shortly disappeared after the discovery due to a suspected KGB’s blitz (but two similar examples survive in the ethnographic museum of the nearby little town Muromtsevo). Further evidences of the ancient Gods? Perhaps remains of the legendary 12 Goros, King of the World’s helpers, Ossendowski and Rene Guenon both talked about? If we consider the analysis of Linevo’s, Shuchye’s, Danilovo’s and Shaytan’s lake water - each of them not more than 30 kilometres far from the village but reachable on foot -show a meteoritic origin chemical composition, it should not surprise that swimming in their pools produces incredible benefits to the skin, thyroid or into the treatment of joint problems.
So much that locals say they feel their bodies are pervaded by an unknown, invigorating, sometimes powerfully erotic energy, coming to claim to have clear visions of natural phenomena next to the lakes. The same archaeologists from the University of Omsk have suspended investigations on the spot, because of unspecified "hostile signals". Attacks of madness. Unmotivated undressings. Sudden sounds and smells all around. Bewilderment in the taiga, despite the use of sophisticated orientation technology. Probably it could be more scaring to know the surface colour in Shaytan’s lake (literally “Devil's lake”) - due to its triple bottom and the supposed presence of what Rasma “saw” as a powerful crystal and collector of information about the relationship between heaven and earth - reflects shades of the light spectrum from time to time.
THE INVISIBLE EBEYTY
Popular tradition affirms Okunevo’s curative lakes are more hard-hitting only if people can immerse themselves in a fifth, but apparently invisible, body of water. Some say this is only a Self’s metaphor, some other a small and almost impossible to achieve hollow, anyway in the neighborhood, and someone else the dreaded lake Ebeyty. Located south-west of Omsk, among Mennonite communities of Poltava, Isilkulskom and Moskalenskii (this last one about an hour and a half from Omsk by “elettritschka” train, using a taxi to reach the lake then), Ebeyty isn’t a place for all. Surrounded by miles of rugged and extremely friable terrain, it can be achieved when the weather is very dry only; otherwise you risk being sucked into the quicksand. Maybe rare visitors expect that only, because its sewage and silt are an extraordinary concentration of a high alkalinity chloride-sulphate, enhanced by sodium, calcium, magnesium, hydrogen, boron and bromine even: a real panacea for ailments such as sciatica, urological diseases and trauma, as well as against sinusitis, which today medical staff uses also in Omsk’s sanatoriums. When you consider that even the springs of Achair’s monastery, a former prison camp 50 kilometres south of Omsk (along the highway Cherlak), have similar therapeutic properties, the theory of "Okunevo’s communicating underground vessels" gets more clues here.
GENERALOVKA, COSSACKS’ STRONGHOLD
Keeping control on Asia’s centre, from a geopolitical point of view, it means having in hand the entire continent: that’s the reason why – from the Tsars to Admiral Koltschack or bloody baron Ungern Von Sternberg - everyone has always given Omsk’s area a highly strategic role. Rather than gathering their troops in the big city on the Irtysh River, once the capital of the Cossacks, some years ago the legendary horse-men created their most Siberian outpost in the village of Generalovka, close to Kazakhstan border on the way to Odesskoie (one hour bus run from Omsk). Thanks to a rich countryside, here is the best centre for breeding the famous Siberian hunting dogs: without weapons, but with the help of an horse and knight’s sagacity only, any prey can be captured through these incredible dogs. Demonstrations of this ancient technique are organized also for visiting groups (by appointment only or during Cossacks’ festivals), together with exhibitions of traditional dances, old songs and the typical “Kazachiy Rubezh young cadets” equestrian and military skill; but it’s also possible to see evidences about the Cossacks in Siberia at the ethnographic archive in Generalovka. For the next few years it is planned the construction of the first Russian kinodromo and an hotel with 50 seats, in addition to the existing manors for guests.
Along the ancient defensive road that linked Moscow to Siberia (400 km are still preserved in Omsk area), you can then visit the villages of Stanovka and Forpost, living the original atmosphere of Bolsheukovky district. In prisoner’s rags and escorted by Cossacks on horseback, through a swampy and identical landscape to what was offered here nearly 300 years ago, the "new invaders" can retrace by walk long sections of the historic route, but at the same time they are also educated on the uniqueness of birds and fed with traditional food. The ones who visit Bolsherechye’s ethnographic centre, however, have the chance to smell the scent of freedom, reliving the typical folklore of the eighteenth century or exploring the only countryside zoo in the whole Siberian Russia. And if Omsk’s region can’t even claim the title of Asia’s centre at this point, at least it might strive for the World centre’s one.
Short English version of this article on Rbth: