Nataraj: Our Next Meditation

Remembering Here&Now

Fatima discovers the god Nataraj, the dancer Nijinsky and her own blissful dance

‘Our next meditation is Nataraj’, oozed the hiss into the air.

Nataraj. The word is familiar to me. It is the title awarded to the Hindu god Shiva for his dancing skills. Innumerable bronzes of the deity in the Nataraj dancing pose adorn our museums. Beautiful in their strength and grace. But what is he doing in the Buddha Hall of the Rajneesh Ashram?

‘This is a dancing meditation devised by Osho himself,’ explained the ever obliging hiss.

‘As the music begins to play you must shut your eyes and drown yourselves in dance. Simply let go, dance with abandon. When the music stops lie down on the floor in total relaxation. Then wake up to lilts of a very soft music.’

What a relief! No need to chase the truant breath, to nab and detain it. No need to shadow the mind, catch and subdue it. Lord Shiva has come to my rescue. Nataraj promises to be fun. Before I could laugh and rejoice the hiss leaked out a damper.

Osho dancing before the meditation

‘Watch your mind leave you! Watch the bliss a state of no-mind brings to your being!’

Oh, is there no holiday for me from this peeking and prying? First it was the breath, then the mind and now even bliss. Suddenly I heard a flutter of impatience in my head. It was the rebel in me, refusing to sanction me further eyeing or ogling. ‘It is indecent, don’t you know?’ it chided. I did not dare rebel against the rebel in me. If the mind decides to leave, let it slink out of the back door, unnoticed by me. I will hence close my eyes to all watchables and dance with full abandon.

With the spacious Buddha Hall filled to capacity the gong resonated through it. And sannyasins readied themselves to dance their way to enlightenment. Strains of a melodious music filled every pore of the hall and I swung into the magic of Nataraj. At first stiffly and self consciously. Then with a gradual loosening up. Then with a total let go.

With eyes shut, with my feet barely touching the floor I felt transported to another world. A world of murky moons and rippling streams. A world I would hate to come back from. Swirling to the enchanting music, I hoped this elation would never end. But it did, the very next moment! The music stopped and I flattened myself over the floor. Relaxing in peace and silence. A while later I heard ripples of a soft, dulcet tune. Like petals opening to their first season of flowers. Utterly enchanted I lingered on in the Buddha Hall long after the gong had ruffled its still air. And announced the end of the meditation.

Unlike Vipassana, Nataraj did not incite the gastronome in me and rushed me to Vrindavan. Instead it landed me politely over a seat in the ashram’s garden. Covered with lush foliage and twittering sparrows. Basking in the warmth of my soft energy, I lost count of time until a voice in the vicinity reminded someone, ‘Let’s go get some lunch before Vrindavan closes.’ That tickled my appetite and I rushed to grab the remains of the lunch spread. Looking for a good place to sit down and eat I spotted the Belgian Ma once again. Seated on the same table facing the same empty chair! Incredible. Has she bought that table and is enjoying its sole proprietorship? In spite of a wide choice of places I felt drawn to her as a bee to a hive. Her look now spoke of more joy and less resignation.

‘Hi, enjoyed your Nataraj?’ she greeted me.

‘Yes it was beautiful.’

‘Was this your first time?’

‘I am a first time meditator. I had not heard the word meditation until I read Osho.’

‘I see. This was my first Nataraj too. But I have done the other meditations in my last visit.’

She fell silent. Sat staring at her empty plate. Smiled to herself and asked, ‘Do you know what Osho says about Nijinsky?’

I confessed my ignorance.

“When you come across a dancer – a REAL dancer, not a performer — then you will see that he is not dancing but something of the beyond is dancing in him. He is totally with it.

It is said about the great Nijinsky that there were moments when he took such a high leap that was physically impossible for a human. Gravitation does not allow that high a leap. He was asked again and again, ‘How do you do it?’ and he would say, ‘I am as surprised as you are. I cannot MANAGE to do it. When I try to manage it never happens, I fall short. But when I am in the dance and completely lost, when I am not, only the dance is, then it happens. Gravity loses its force and I become weightless. I feel I am being pulled upwards, not downwards.’

This pull upwards is known in yoga as levitation. It happens in meditation too. Nijinsky was unknowingly moving into deep meditation. The dance was so total that he became a meditator and levitation happened.”

I was awe struck as always by Osho’s gems of wisdom and insight.

‘Dance is a beautiful medium. Direct like music,’ the Ma said.

‘Yes, I feel the same way. Nataraj was like a spell of magic cast over me.’

‘We are in the same boat then,’ she smiled.

At this point a tall, white swami came up stamping his big feet. With one big hand he pulled out a chair from the next table and plonked heavily over it. Bending forward he gathered the petite Ma in an angry frown. She, however, maintained her cool, smiling at me and at him by turns.

But our boat had begun to rock. Three certainly was not company for it. I got up and returned to the peace of the park. Till it was time for Buddha Hall’s post lunch occupation. Osho’s taped discourse.

Copyright © 2010 Fatima

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