Satyadharma reminisces about the times he was playing on the streets in Japan with Neera and Adarsha – and shares the track ‘Adarsha’s Medley’.
From the album CD ‘Travelling Light’ by Neera and Satya
Guitar riff by Adarsha; melody by Neera; lyrics by Neera and Satyadharma
Neera (vocals), Satyadharma (guitar), Toby (flute), Veetdharm (keyboards), Nirjano (bass)
Recorded by Nirjano in 1993, Tokyo, Japan
Golden days of long ago
Memories that seem to last
The forest green
The never seen.
Then, you were beautiful
Bathed in the light
Of a dawn that rose so warming.
And I was beautiful
Like a queen in the hills and the dales
That roll down to the sea.
Here it still remains,
And I will find you there
To dance again upon the shore
That held our dreams and deepest longings….
Here a Treasure waits
That once was freely giv’n
And blessed rain
Soaking in the souls of the children
That played in that morning….
Here we are playing on a bridge that goes to Enoshima Island. Photo taken in December 1994. From left to right: Neera, Adarsha, Satyadharma
We recorded this song in 1993 on the first full CD Neera made, and that I ever recorded on. She and I were in Japan, playing music (popular world folk songs) on the streets, at festivals and through agencies for places like department store openings, yakuza street fairs, and theme parks, as a duo.
I played a one-man band rig, built and styled by Prasad who was our mentor and often host with Japanese Bharti, while we were in Tokyo. (Prasad is known in the world as Harry Manx, and quite a successful musician in his own right.)
I played with a bass drum-hihat on my back, a harmonica in a holder in front of me, and my guitar in hand. I was the “back-up band,” while Neera fronted as the vocalist, also playing a descant recorder and a beautiful mandolin.
Every yen we gathered, we would put toward creating a Sound and Silence concert somewhere – finding a venue, a sponsor, an agent, whatever, whenever we could – so that we could bring meditation and music together, sharing original music in a sacred space for people.
Now to the story of ‘Adarsha’s Medley’. Before we left for Japan, in 1990, we had been playing in darshan and music groups in the Resort, both while Osho was in the body, and after. Adarsha was a major connection for both Neera and me, musically of course, but as a deep and heartful friend and laughing cohort! I told him, whenever we were sitting around a café or the smoking temple, that I needed a roll-up ‘cuz he made it look so good. And it was good, I didn’t care about all that other noise… Sitting with Adarsha and having a smoke was always the best smoke, ever.
I know at different times in her life, Neera moved between loving Adarsha and falling in love with him. She was totally open about it… and he was totally loving and caring in his way with her. Both as a woman, and as a fellow-musician. When she and I packed up our gear and left Pune for the shores of Tokyo, she knew she wanted, if ever possible, for Adarsha to be part of our motley crew.
You like it?
Also, before I left, Adarsha and I were sitting around playing guitars and rollicking over some story or other, as well as talking about those mystic chords – those sounds that we look for that tap into and express the deeper sense of moving into and out of silence. That we especially felt while being with Osho, and playing music in such Presence. As we played, noodling about on our guitars, he remembered a small piece he had written/discovered years earlier. He showed it to me. I absolutely loved it. Took me over totally. So simple, so in my wheel-house as far as being resonant with my sense of soul, music, silence and Osho. And being that utterly sharing, open, giving heart that he is, Adarsha saw how much this piece touched me, and he said, “You like it? It’s yours….” And he told me he wanted to give it to me. His gift.
I was honored and dumbfounded. All I wanted in that moment was to just see if I could learn it! Let alone “have” it. Anyway, I took the gift gratefully.
One year later, on our Japan adventure, the opportunity came up for Neera and me to make a CD, through Anupa’s music production company Haisai – associated with Upanishad and his music. We were given a window of about 7-10 days in which we had to come up with material for a full CD, rehearse, plan out what our sound was, and record. It was a daunting task. In the making of this task that felt like the Impossible before Brown Rice and Tofu Breakfast, I drew up Adarsha’s tune he had given me. We had been playing it in our Sound+Silence venues, but not on the streets. It was too soulful and sensual for that. Neera usually simply sang that soaring, mystical scat she could pull from the heavens in her soprano to accompany the guitar piece. There were no lyrics per se. But in that week, she and I put our poetry pens together and came up with the lyrics – and called it Adarsha’s Medley… dedicating it to our good friend. It’s a love song. Love for the Mystery, and the man.
Fast forward a couple of years and many miles of the streets of Japan behind us, Neera and I were finding ourselves pretty much at the end of the Street Music in Japan rope. Trying to make a living, make more CDs, and make our way to Pune as often as possible by standing on street corners, in rain, snow, sleet, humid heat, blazing sun, schlepping amps, drum, guitar, mics, bags, coats – even a rescue cat named Ikkyu! – around with us on trains, taxis and subways to stand vulnerable and soul-naked, making music in front of masses of strangers, drunks, kids, families, animals, crazy-makers, police, etc. This for 3+ years got us… how shall I say?… into another dimension. That one that borders joy/sorrow, Monty Python silliness, rage, laughter and tears – and on into burn out.
So we huddled up one night, and asked each other and Existence, How can we make us, this, and what we are doing, better? Neera immediately thought of Adarsha. I could only hope that our idea of making a better band and doing this together with Adarsha would somehow convince him to jump in. Basically we wanted to have his wonderful energy and music genius around. Our duo needed to be a trio. The idea that we could attract the energy and fun we needed to make a hot pot of coin was a calculated risk, which we were going to take anyway. We just wanted to include Adarsha in on it. Another adventure into the Unknown – where music can be a wicked mistress. And can also set you free.
As our good fortune would have it, Adarsha was ready for an adventure.
And if the economics of it could pan out the way Neera figured it could, now that we had our chops down, knew the streets and the scene in Tokyo, and had a new infusion of Adarsha-energy, we would all be able to go to Goa on motorcycles afterwards, for a much needed healing rest, and then have a good year or so at the Resort. The plan was simple, three months of the winter holidays on the snowy streets of Japan, playing music non-stop, crashing in business hotels for a few hours of sleep each night, taking coffee and roll-up breaks on a daily basis, and playing some more, off on the next train to Osaka, or Machida, or Sakuragi-cho or Enoshima. This would net us the fun and funds we needed.
There are a dozen stories that could fit in here. But perhaps for another time. Adarsha did come to Japan, and we played our trio of music – sharing the spirit of Osho and our hearts with the spirit of Japan’s wonderful people.
We reached the space of enjoying and creating the energy we needed to move on to the next place in all our lives. It was a gas. It was a creative collaboration that saved the connection between me and Neera, juiced up all our connections with “music for the people,” and just made for a lot more laughter, jokes, tears, coffee and smokes – all in the name of celebration of life.
This is the energy that is Adarsha. Yes, he is still this. Wise, fun, loving… dark, tender, deep. Music’s realm. He shared himself and music in ways that are precious. And I am full of gratefulness and honored by his love and friendliness.
Sail on, Dear Brother! Keep the Flame! Keep the Laughter! Keep the Song!