Kul Bhushan discovers what dance is all about while leading an Osho Meditation Camp dedicated to Dance
Out of the blue, I was asked to conduct an Osho Meditation Camp already announced as ‘Dance Body Soul’. The camp was less than a week away and I did not know anything – yes, anything! – about this topic. No wonder I was terrified at the prospect of conducting a three-day camp on this theme I had no idea about. It was an astounding challenge and I just plugged into Osho to face it.
Osho’s four major meditations (Dynamic, Kundalini, Whirling, and No Dimension) revolve around dance to celebrate. Then there is Nataraj Meditation – just dancing. That was not enough. Desperately, I looked up old issues of ‘Osho World News’ on Dance, read Osho’s take on this and my editorials. Still, I lacked some personal connection with the theme.
One evening, casually watching a BBC show – ‘Dancing with the Stars’ – I saw a big fat – really F-A-T – African and a shapely, sexy European girl about to dance in this contest. Mad! I thought. How on earth did this couple ever reach this far in the contest? I wondered. A very sad looking African came on stage, and sat down. The perky girl then pirouetted on stage looking tough. The African slowly started to move to woo the girl. No way, the girl was angry but he pleaded, cajoled and entreated with smooth movements, got her into a good mood, until she yielded. Wow! The audience applauded no end. The judges said they did very well and gave them nine out of ten. Why? He put his soul into the dance and not only his body. I got it!
At the camp, I shared this story at the start. Bull’s eye! Half the participants were Europeans and the other half were urban Indians and they all liked it and got the message. So we had three days of dance and music – the first day, dance with the body; the second day, dance with the mind; and the third day; dance with the soul. The mid-morning meditations followed this pattern: Nataraj, Whirling and No Dimension.
I read an article quoting Carl Jung who developed a theory called ‘Active Imagination’. This is the basis of modern dance forms: to use movement to tap into the dancer’s subconscious. With Osho’s insights, I developed the dance theme into three stages:
1. Conscious Level – Body
2. Subconscious Level – Mind
3. Superconscious Level – Soul
Dance at the Conscious or Body level
Tribal Dances from Africa, Latin America, North America
Folk Dances and Gypsy Music in Europe
Dance at the Subconscious or Body level
Disappearing in the dance, then relaxing into silence and stillness is the way inside
Dance at the Superconscious or Soul level
Mystics and Schools which use dance:
- Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the great scholar, abandoned all learning and just danced his way to God. Today, he is visible in the Hare Krishna movement.
- The Baul mystics of Bengal also sing and dance in prayer.
- Meera, the princess who become a total devotee, immortalised in her devotional songs and dance. Osho has delivered a full series of his discourses on Meera.
- The Sufis – Jaluluddin Rumi who whirled for 16 hours non-stop and became enlightened. In the Middle East and North Africa, the Sufis whirl into no-mind state.
- Gurdjieff Movements akin to whirling but more controlled and in sequence also transport one beyond mind.
Osho says that a dancer starts the dance at the body level, later moves beyond the mind and finally the dancer disappears and only the dance remains.
“Remember the way you danced when you were a small child? You had no cares, you did not follow any style or any prescribed steps, you just moved the way you wanted to move in dance, you did not care how others looked at your dancing. You were just dancing totally – only for yourself as if you were tipsy, even drunk with life. You were dancing your way to bliss. Now you can recapture that experience with Nataraj meditation,” says Osho.
And also: “When the dance really possesses you, the dancer is no more, the dancer has disappeared, he or she doesn’t exist. The dance is so tremendously real that the unreal has to disappear before it.”
On sharing this concept with the participants, there was an immediate and positive response both in terms of live feedback and also in their dance. On the final day, a very English young man, who was very stiff and locked-in at the start, became fluid and free in his dance. I talked to him about it and he agreed that the camp had helped him to loosen up. The others were also ecstatic at their experiences.
Finally, we all danced with the CD ‘Dancing with You, Osho’. I enjoyed it thoroughly and so did they! Yes, it was zany, wacky, madcap… true Osho! Thank you!
Another quote I like where Osho talks about Lord Shiva as Nataraj:
“Lord Shiva is usually shown as Natraj – the god of artistic skill in his famous dance pose. Standing on one leg, he balances the other leg and his four arms in an exquisite pose in a symbolic meaning. Nataraj is the dancer of all dancers. You cannot separate the dancer and the dance, they are always together. If there is a dance, there is the dancer; the dance has no other life than the dancer. And when the dancer is really in the dance he is not separate from his dance either. The dancer dissolves into his dance.
“When the dance really possesses you, the dancer is no more, the dancer has disappeared, and he or she doesn’t exist. The dance is so tremendously real that the unreal has to disappear before it.
“The unreal cannot face the real; the false cannot confront the real, the lie cannot face the truth, the darkness cannot encounter the light. When the real arises – and the real is when you are a part of the whole, whether in laughter, in dancing, in love – whenever you are part of the whole, the real is. Separate, you are maya. One with the whole, you are God.”
Text by Anand Kul Bhushan