Kirti’s display of his magic collages…
About forty years ago the way I saw the world underwent an unexpected change. At the time I was living in an ashram in Rishikesh, at the foot of the Himalayas, to learn the classical body postures of Hatha Yoga. One day my teacher sent me to New Delhi to deliver a written message to one of his older disciples. A registered letter would have fulfilled the purpose much easier and cheaper. Maybe it was just a good pretext for me to receive one of the most radical experiences of my life: “Kirti”, he said to me, „in the coming week you should be just like a camera whose lens is wide open and let in randomly all impressions, without being for or against, without valuing the things you see, judging them as ‘bad’ or ‘good’. And so that you do not get hooked by the judgements and reflections of the immediate impressions, remember that in the camera there is no film where a picture could be captured!“
This I practiced zealously and plunged into a blissful drunkenness, in a state of clear vision in that all things took on a magical quality. Poetry and painting could convey something of this mood, but I am no poet nor a painter. Instead, I tried to describe my perception of the world using scissors and glue, joining together cut-out pictures.
Not that I experienced events and encounters in the surreal colours you see in my collages! However fascinating the forms and colours may be, I am not interested in representing the visible – nor to distort perception or entertain the senses to divert them from everyday life. I would rather like to draw the attention to the magic of the invisible – the space between, behind and in things, the play of nearness and distance, the perspectives and unconventional points of view that render new meaning to the manifestations of form. The seamless connection of picture fragments and the flowing into each other of lines and colours outwit the rigid mind which always ‘knows’ exactly what may belong together and what not. Here the circle closes and I return to my real subject: Yoga.
Yoga means union or unity. Its wide-spread view is able to embrace all apparent contradictions: Good and evil, young and old, important and insignificant, soft and hard, boringly and sensational – the enumeration could continue endlessly. In yoga, like in the art of collage, it is about healing and wholeness. Health and well-being can develop if all elements are given equal attention. And after all, what else could join all things, if not the limitless, all accommodating, space?
This non-material aspect can only be recognized if we are ready to get involved in the play, to behave as if there is ‘no film in the camera’! Then one stops looking at the individual elements and sees the whole picture – in which even the viewer is included. The question is not only: ‘What do I see? ‘, but also ‘Who is seeing?’ – pure awareness without subject, without object.
Kirti came to India in 1972 and took sannyas in Bombay, one of the first from Germany. Since he wanted to live in India permanently, Osho suggested he study Yoga and apply for a student visa in Pune with B.K.S. Iyengar. Nobody knew that Osho would eventually move to Pune! He was part of the commune (1974 – 1981) and many might remember him as one of the guards at the main gate. During this time he started making collages that he presented to Osho, who returned them each time with “blessings”. He is now a Psychosomatic Health Professional, a Yoga teacher and an author of four books – and one is in preparation. He lives near Hamburg. www.kirtimichel-traumwelten.de