Shastro tells the story how the music track for the No Dimensions Meditation was ‘found’.
I came to know that Avikal and I would have the privilege of having another photo session with Osho. It would be my second. [Read about the first session in: Let’s Put the Fan on Now]
“Wow!” I thought, “Does life get any better than this?”
In fact, it did.
I distinctly remember one night in Buddha Hall, during that month, Osho talking in discourse about the Four Directions Meditation, a meditation that we had been practicing in Buddha Hall for several years. The original author of the music – I believe somewhere in Germany – was claiming copyrights on the meditation. Osho said that the movements were ancient Sufi movements and nobody could have a copyright on meditation. He also said that the meditation would have a new name, “No Directions Meditation,” and he said that consciousness is a circle and as such it has no directions and therefore this new name was more appropriate. A few days later, the name was again changed to “No Dimensions Meditation,” and I heard that they wanted some of the sannyasin musicians to create a new music for it.
The last thing I would have thought, hearing all this, was that I would be involved in the process. I mean, I was not even considering myself a musician at that time, I was a fashion photographer!
Well, this is how photography brought me to music via Osho: When the second photo session came, a month later, I had learned my lesson, and, in order to avoid having to tell Osho to “do something,” we prepared a different set. He would sit on a big pillow on a carpet, surrounded by musical instruments like bells, gongs, Tibetan bowls, and even a guitar, so that he would have something to play with while we were taking pictures.
The session went very smoothly, and he seemed to enjoy playing with all those toys. When at the end everyone left the room, I was left alone. I needed to take a little time to unwind from the intense energy of the session, so I sat down on the pillow where he had been sitting a few moments earlier, picked up the guitar he had just played, and started picking on its strings. A very simple and hypnotic tune came out immediately. I loved it. It sounded so familiar, and it drew me into itself making me soon lose the sense of time. When I finally got up, I was surprised to notice that almost an hour had passed! I left the room, but that tune followed me and stayed in my head for several months to come. When I later went back to Europe, it was still playing in my head, and I kept hearing it in all kind of different rhythms and variations. I finally thought that if I could put it down on a tape, maybe it would leave my head and I could eventually be free from its tyranny!
A few days later I happened to visit my friend Sirus, a Persian musician, who at that time was living in Parimal, an Osho center in the North of Germany. He had a small Tascam four-track cassette recorder, very funky, and I asked him if he would like to record something and that, as a matter of fact, I had a certain tune that I thought we could play together. In those days Sirus was very involved with setting up a plumbing system (he is also an engineer) for the new Parimal restrooms, but he happily agreed to let me record in his room. I played flute (my very first flute recording), tablas, and guitar, and when Sirus had some spare time, in between plumbing sessions, he would come in and play his beautiful violin and his setar (an Iranian string instrument) on the tape. That’s how the temporary title for the tune became “The Whirling Plumbers.”
It was my first recording and when I listen to it now, I can hear that it is technically very funky, but I can also hear an incredible and mysterious energy force in the music that I had no idea at that time was even there. The recording was done in a few days, and we were both very pleased with it. It turned into a 40-minute track, with a haunting melody and rhythm. Listening to the final recording one night, Sirus said to me, “Hmm…you know, I talked on the phone the other day with our friend Zahira. She is here in Germany, leading a Sufi group in a center, and she told me that back in Pune, a month ago, they asked her if she could look into finding some new music for the Osho No Dimensions Meditation. Do you think this could work for that?”
“I don’t know,” I replied, “Let’s send her a copy and see what she feels.” And so we did.
Only a few days later Zahira called us up, all excited, and she told us that during her group she did the new Osho No Dimensions Meditation and used our music for it.
“You should have seen,” she said. “The room was packed! Even people who are resident in the commune and usually don’t participate in the meditations, upon hearing the music they came in and did the meditation. The energy was beautiful and powerful! I am going to take this copy with me back to Pune and present it to the committee that is in charge of the new No Dimensions project.”
A couple of months later I was back in Pune, and they told me that the people who were to approve the music for the meditation had already turned down a few different music tracks from some other musicians, but they really liked the one Zahira had given them and had approved it for the new No Dimensions Meditation! I was so happy and I couldn’t believe it. The meditation needed two music tracks: the first one was supposed to be 40 minutes. (Our track was 40:12 minutes long!) The second one – for the whirling part – needed to be 15 minutes. They asked Sirus and me to record the second track there in the ashram. In the studio we also added a breath sound on top of “The Whirling Plumbers,” that was rhythmically locked in with the Sufi movements. Sirus, Zahira, and I actually ended up all together in the studio for that last “breathing session” into the microphone!
This is life with Osho, so mysterious and moving in such unpredictable ways… So…did I write the music for the No Dimensions? Did Osho write it? Or was it existence? Ha! I know the answer by now: It’s all one!
Shastro was born in Italy and studied to become a fashion photographer in the late 80s. He took sannyas in 1981 and went to Pune in 1986 to see Osho. He photographed Osho in various occasions but also played music for him. He is, together with Sirus, the composer of the music for the No Dimensions Meditation. He is the owner of the USA based label Malimba Records where he has released – to date – 12 of his own CDs and many of other sannyasin musicians. He lives now in Tuscany, Italy. www.shastro.com – www.malimba.com
Shastro has recently published a new CD, listen to the title track of Lovers Night