The Music for Osho’s Active Meditations

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Chaitanya (G. Deuter) reveals how he created the music for our meditations under Osho’s guidance

After Chaitanya’s first LP entitled D for Deuter was released – later recognised as the first New Age release ever – he embarked on a journey in search of a master which led him to meet Osho in 1971: “The first time I saw him was in one of those huge open air talks he used to give in Bombay, with thousands of people attending. Of course I did not understand a word because he was speaking in Hindi.”

On his next visit to India he took sannyas and participated in the camps which Osho often conducted in Mt. Abu. The meditations (some led by Osho himself) were the Dynamic, the Kirtan dances and Tratak* at night just before the second discourse of the day. The ‘music’ which accompanied the meditations were mostly drums which made a hell of a racket.

Georg Deuter in his Studio

When Osho moved to Pune in 1974, Chaitanya was invited to come and create the music for the meditations. He packed up his studio and instruments in Germany and shipped them off to India where, unfortunately, they languished for a whole year at the customs depot. At the time India did not allow any foreign electronics to come into the country – although nobody wanted to buy their inferior quality equipment anyway; those who could, bought foreign-made articles on the black market.

The first project was going to be the music for the Kundalini. Osho no longer wanted non-sannyasin musicians in the ashram, so Chaitanya set to work on the project as soon as he arrived. “Osho would tell me his idea about the music, what the effect should be, what the music should help with, what the goal of the meditation was and what the music should do for it. He gave me the outline, the feeling of the meditation and with that I went and tried to put some music together.

“For the first stage of the Kundalini, the shaking, he had some ideas. He told me he a feeling about snake charmer’s music and suggested I should go and listen to some snake charmers (there was one who used to come regularly to our backstreet). So I recorded him playing and for the other stages I took various pieces of Indian music from records; in one of them was a santoor. When I played it to Osho he said that it had to be more alive, it had to be more wild and crazy and dynamic.”

So then Chaitanya made a new version and composed his own music for the Kundalini. In our digital age it is almost impossible to imagine the difficulty he must have had. He had his faithful Uher reel-to-reel recorder but no mixer. This meant that there was no cutting and no editing. Also, he had to stop playing and recording exactly after the fifteen minutes each stage lasted….

The second project was to be the Dynamic. After having received the instructions from Osho for this meditation he recorded the stages. “We would listen to the music together in his room. He would give me feedback if he liked it or not, what was missing, and what was good; maybe he would mention to add a flute somewhere. He would also tell me if it should be faster, wilder or input like that. I would go back and make the changes – but after that he did not want to hear it anymore.” Of course, if he wanted, Osho could hear it from his room while we meditated – the ashram was quite small!

When the equipment was finally released from customs, he was amazed to see that the recording equipment and instruments had not been damaged by the Indian climate (heat and humidity) and lack of cleanliness (bugs and rats). “I did not expect anything to work when it finally came out. I had feared that all the instruments would be broken or rotten, and the machines eaten up. Everything actually worked when I set it up.”

Chaitanya was given a large and bright room in Jesus House which was going to be his sound recording studio cum bedroom. It was situated in the middle of the hussle and bussle of the ashram, next door to the workers’ canteen where the clatter of the vegetable choppers and the roar of the kerosene stoves running at full blast all day were competing with the noise of the construction work which was going on throughout the ashram at the time. Not to mention the clanging of bolts and locks on the doors of those living on the same floor. My personal apologies for that! Or do I vaguely remember seeing at times a very discrete sign on his door saying “Recording”?

Now with the newly recovered equipment and instruments in place Chaitanya thought of re-working the music for the Kundalini Meditation, but Osho was adamant against changing it and absolutely wanted to stick to the original version: “He said ‘No, it is OK the way it is. It is building up energy and it should not be changed.’ He stressed a few times that once the music was established the way he wanted it, it should not be changed. That was really important for him.”

It is everybody’s experience that the moment we hear the music of say the Kundalini, we promptly fall into the space of that particular meditation, as if we have fallen into the collective which recognises it. The music helps us connect to the meditation immediately and to go deeper into meditation. “Osho said that its effects would build up over the years, that it would create its own energy field by itself. Over a thousand years the music would form a field of resonance that would deeply affect each person doing the meditation.”

Then came more meditations (not specifically in this order): Nadabrahma, Whirling, Mandala, Devavani, and Nataraj, of which a second version had to be created. Chaitanya laughs, “Osho wanted it to be a little wilder!” For the Gourishankar meditation, the one with the strobe light, “Osho had something in mind which at the time was technically impossible – but now it would be doable. He wanted the lights running at the same time as the beat of the music; he wanted 490 beats per minute. At that time I did not know how to count while recording. This was really tricky, I tried but it drove me almost nuts!”

Asked if the procedure of proposal and feedback from Osho was the same for the meditations after the first two, the Kundalini and the Dynamic, Chaitanya replied that Osho just gave him the indication of the stages, what the music should provoke in each stage. “He told me I should just do what I felt like doing. He must have heard the final result from the new speakers in the meditation hall – unless he used his ear plugs….”

Thank you for the beautiful music you have created for us!

* Tratak: For half an hour jumping up and down, shouting Hoo! and looking into Osho’s eyes without blinking

Text by Punya for Osho News (from an interview Feb. 2011)

Chaitanya Hari (Georg Deuter) was born in Germany in 1945 and has been acclaimed as the founder of New Age music. He took sannyas in 1973 and created the music for all the meditations Osho devised before 1981. In the forty years of his career as a musician he composed 70 albums, his most recent one being Mystery of Light released by New Earth Records. His studio and home are in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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