Punya asked Sarita to write about the Tantra Festivals worldwide.
The day I became aware of a newly-conceived Tantra Festival in India, I happened to bump into Sarita up at Buddha Hall, here in Corfu.
“Would you not be the right person to write about the Tantra Festivals which are spreading across the continents and now coming back to the country of origin, India?” I asked her.
And Sarita can rarely say no to any of my requests, mainly if her heart is totally in it. So here goes her story:
There are now too many Tantra Festivals in the world for me to participate in all of them but, this summer, I had the privilege to teach at six of them, so I will talk about those. Some are festivals which have been running for many years, others have just started this year.
Like a fine wine, each festival carries it’s own particular flavour, as you will see.
This first ever Tantra Festival in Poland was a bold undertaking by Jacek and his wife Maya. They planned it carefully, to offer Polish people the maximum benefit of experiencing several major names in the world of Tantra and Conscious Sexuality, all at the same time. The festival lasted 10 days and was jam-packed with a non-stop intensive marathon of groups and events.
There were John Hawkins, Andrew Barnes, Bruce and Shakara Lyon, Roxana and Vincent, myself and many more presenters from various parts of the world, including Poland. The festival was certainly good value for money for the participants, and big on heart. Being their first event, they went through a big learning curve on ‘how much is too much’ and I believe that next year’s festival will be as full of heart as this one was, but with less of a stress factor.
Meditation France, the biggest online personal development magazine in France, is the organiser of this 3-day New Age extravaganza. And my good friend Emanuel Moulin (aka Khirad) is one of the founders of the magazine. The festival turned out to be an overflowing expression of the multi-talents who advertise their work in his online community. There is everything from Shamanism to Tantra, and fabulous concerts for two nights of the festival to top it all (eg Milarepa & OneSky Band and Red Fulka).
The venue is beautiful. Trimurti, a centre near San Tropez in southern France, has been running for the past 30 years. It has 5 different group rooms of varying sizes and so perfect to host a festival of this size.
I remember: the haunting melody of the song ‘Where Spirits Live’ at the end of Praful’s concert lingers in the air, the last note suspended beyond time and space. No one moves; no one claps. The audience drops into the exquisite place where sound and silence merge, a place of meditation and heartfelt gratitude.
During the concert we witnessed and heard Praful’s multi-faceted talent weave an incredible mix of eastern flute, western jazz, meditative music, joyous dance music and music straight from the heart. We were delighted by the presence of his two year-old daughter who was absolutely at home on stage with her father, making mischief, or simply being in the joy of the moment.
Each morning we gathered and sang the ‘Festival Song’ which Tarisha had composed especially for this 6-day event. Each day a new part of the song was added till we ended it, on the last day, with a 6-part harmony, complete with movements and an outpouring of love and celebration.
And, of course, I should not forget to mention the Masked Ball! Ooh la la! That was an amazing party! Being masked does something magical to a person’s psyche, it seems, because people really went for it! The masks brought out pure fun, mischief and general wackiness, the best of British humour and wildness. This is a not-to-be-missed yearly festival. It offers a line up of top quality Tantra teachers, 5-star vegan cuisine and the wonderful Osho Leela vibe, so relaxed, loving and fun.
On 3-7 July 2013 I was at the Festival of Life, the international festival of tantra, dance and live music in the Czech Republic – www.oslavazivota.cz
“Wow!” is the best and only way I can describe this event. Organised by two gorgeous women, Anet and Deepa, it was absolutely amazing to see the attention to detail they put into each and every aspect of it. It was hard to believe this was their first try at organising a festival. There was an impressive assembly of teachers, including Alan Lowen, John Hawkins, London Fairy, Niraj, Suta, Shashi and myself. There were artists, musicians, workshops of Bio-Danza and Tantra, shops with clothes, jewellery and delectable food items, including super-food smoothies (recipe to come)!
The venue is glorious. It sits in a forested area next to a river with lovely winding paths inviting exploration. A wonderful highlight, on the last day, was the unveiling of a painting. The idea came from a husband and wife team who specialise in charity work through painting. What they did was this: they brought a canvas which had the entire surface hidden, except for one small rectangular area reserved for the creative design of one person. This piece would then be hidden so that the next artist could add their bit, without seeing what others had done. The full glory of the painting was revealed at the end of the festival and was auctioned off to help raise funds for a venue for Tantra events in the Czech Republic.
Another highlight: I was asked to create an evening event wherein Anet should be caught absolutely by surprise by her beloved, who wished to propose marriage to her in front of the whole assembly. This was a bit challenging since she was the organiser and had to know about everything which was going on. However, with some subtle subterfuge I managed to pull it off and the timeless moment of the proposal, (complete with Peter on one knee, his hand outstretched with an engagement ring) was filmed. The look of shock, amazement, excitement, and ecstasy on Anet’s face was absolutely priceless….
This beautifully organised festival flowed ever so smoothly into a space of pure joy. The theme over the 4 days was loving yourself, loving another and loving the whole. There was a fabulous array of teachers from France and abroad, including Aditi Devi, a devotee and teacher of traditional Kali Tantra. She offered us a traditional Kali Puja at the end of the festival, which was both profound and exquisite in every carefully choreographed detail. We ended up covered in rose petals, revealing that benevolent aspect of Kali which is discovered when our ego has been surrendered to her lotus feet.
Another highlight for me was the very beautiful Satsang Meditation with live music, facilitated by Praful and myself. We wove together phases of music and dance, silence, humming, inspiring mystical quotes, and healing touch, in a one and a half hour of benediction for body and soul.
The Tantra Festival I couldn’t make it to this year was the Swedish Angsbacka Tantra Festival (24-28 July – en.angsbacka.se). However, I will definitely be there next year! If you have never heard of Angsbacka, check out the fabulous film, ‘Three Miles North of Molcolm’. It is a full feature documentary which has so many heartwarming and comic elements it became a blockbuster around the world.
Anyone who is a festival lover can benefit in any or all of these festivals. Some people went festival surfing this summer, and I saw some of the same people again and again as they did the rounds of several festivals in various countries.
I have acted as consultant for most of these festivals, offering tips on what are the components for a successful event. Tantra Festival Fever seems to be sweeping the world, because next year, there will also be Tantra Festivals popping up in Bali and Ibiza and possibly also in Thailand.
I have saved the most amazing news for the end of this article. At the end of November this year, there will be an Osho International Festival of Tantra, Music and Dance in Delhi, India (tantra-india.com). My friend Ashwin of the Zorba the Buddha Centre is the host for this international event. Ashwin has been attending my Tantra Meditation Retreats each year for several years, and has also been to some Tantra Festivals, including the one in Thailand last January.
He got so inspired that he said, “Why not do one in my center in Delhi?”
I asked him, “Do you think India is ready for that?”
And he said, “Yes, why not?”
And so it is that this event will take place during the last weekend of November (28 Nov – 3 Dec 2013). I will be there. After so many centuries of repression, India can at last breathe into the joy of her original celebrative, sensual and spiritual heritage. I wouldn’t miss this event for the world! Will you be there as well?
Sarita met Osho in Mumbai in 1973 and shortly afterwards received sannyas. She spent the next 26 years in his communes where she worked cleaning Osho’s house, as a medium in energy darshan, in the PR department and as a holistic healer. Osho gave her the title ‘Mahasatvaa’ meaning ‘keeper of esoteric wisdom’. Since 1997 she has been teaching Tantra, holistic healing and meditation across the world. She lives in England and France. www.tantra-essence.com