Madhuri remembers dancing and whirling during a music group darshan in Pune.
The musicians sit cross-legged in a circle on the marble floor under the coloured lights, heads bowed over instruments or thrown back meditatively. The first tamboura notes, drumbeats, and they are in tune and it has begun. I have emptied out my brains; he has caught them and I am free.
Osho sits in white on a black chair under white lights, and as the music rises, he becomes just a suffused light, power source, there at the end of the open hall…thick, heavy, powerful, an explosion of light. Silent, a man illumined, he sits in flame.
I feel my body stir, and I know that my mind is gone and willing, and my body wants to move. It is going to let me move. I want to begin now – though everyone is still silent, and only one or two others have begun to sway or stand. I feel myself go oblivious; I put aside the part of mind that looks to see what others are thinking, tries to imagine how others see me. I abandon this; the abandonment of which has previously led me to embarrassment and hiding…but, bared freely, it leads to joy and fullness.
I rise and open myself to the music. I sway, then begin to twirl. Twirling takes over. I’m not listening to the music now; I’m just dancing, letting it move me without separating the sound from anything else. I’m very much concentrated within myself, and every awareness of the outside opens the more I twirl; I’m a vortex, in-focused, out-whirling. Faster. Others are up and moving but I see them only as shapes to not bump into, dancers in my dance who magically weave aside when I’m there.
Inside the twirling I feel his energy as a vastness, a sort of endless twirling galaxy of truth; of the way things are. My rapid rotation is to penetrate this. The speed of my body roars to the speed of matter, as matter dissolves and I am here, the penetrator, penetrated. I whirl and steam.
I am joyful but without flavour. I am movement. Red shapes spin by. We are all confused by him, so confused that we are shaken and rearranged into vapour bodies, and we think they are real, and the thoughts keep intruding, trying to make sense out of the movement-by-movement opening. He is the sun, the earth is music; we are three dozen red eccentric moons.
We are supposed to move round and round the circle: it helps the musicians. Usually I want to stay in one place, but tonight with this twirling, I feel as if in a dream of flying, where all is powerful and awake and here. I’m a sensate toy, a top, a-whirl, on and on, around and round the huge circle magically.
Again and again I approach the area at one side of the circle where his light shines. He is sitting over there in his chair, and hot bright light is shining from him, far too bright to bear. Nobody wants to be in that area in front of him, in his direct gaze; the dancers stay away from it, as though thrown backwards by a strong and blasting wind.
I find myself magnetized by that open yellow white space, and I let my breath out and twirl right out into it, as on a stage. I’m invisible in my whirling, and naked too. Even my brain is naked, thoughts blown into a fountain which shoots out the top of my head. Every time I pass him, I’m changed. Every time I pass him, another place in me, a terror, is exploded upwards and eaten by the brilliance of the present before my eyes, in my eyes, behind them in my skull, and up out the top of my head. And somewhere I am embarrassed; are people watching me?
But I’m naked. I twirl. And again I find I’m drawn, compulsion, or is it him? – to that certain spot somewhere to the right of him, in front of him, near the edge of the curved hall where the dark garden waits beyond, leaf on leaf; and I can see beside my turning feet the low edge of marble, dropping off into the black. Afraid, I tear myself away, hurl across that white space, into the safety and momentum of the other dancers. Wondering if I’ve missed his challenge. I’m caught now in the small spaces between the liquid mixing of the others, and I am of them, and they of me, red and flowing. And then again I’m compelled in front of him.
Each time I pass him the twirl grows mad in a different way, as if a different layer is igniting. My ears open to the music, my hands suddenly respond to it, opening and closing, giving character to the river of sound-lilt out my fingers.
Thoughts nudge and urge me, and when I throw one away, I’m released for a moment, bigger, more made of music. In front of him each thought is bare as a fly on a light-bulb. Light invades my brain, utterly knowing it. The release upwards of each thought gives energy to the whirling. Faces pass, suddenly clear, then blurred again. Padma passes with Uthika holding her waist, running at incredible flowing speed, with ordinary expressions on their faces. I bump into a soft breast somewhere and the dancer just smiles, and I smile out of the side of my head as I go on: Each of us is alone here, and understood.
…I feel us bending to the mid-space of now, faster, trusting utterly in speed and darkness, disturbed by the penetrating light, exalted beyond bearing. We are twirling on top of his flame. I am huge. I am as big as the auditorium. I twirl infinitely as though aloft, taking the huge space. I am fast and high as death.
My hands leap into exact vision, held out in front of my blurred gone body. The hands are still and precisely detailed against the indistinct flesh of sound. Something peaceful exudes from them; they are so still even if gesturing to the music; that peace flows up into me. I am me and my hands in a twirling world. Only I am still, and I can twirl forever.
Sometimes a thought comes that I’ll be glad when this is over, that I’m not in need, I’m just doing, just letting dance happen through me, not caring, and I won’t mind a bit when it’s over; I’ll be glad. The thought relaxes and I go on spinning.
The music is getting older. Once it fades down in unison, almost stops; then starts again in different time and different tone. New steps come out of me. The rotation loosens and I’m here, not a bit dizzy, just here suddenly in this stepping body, as though my whole form is a foot, stepping, lifted from above. I step with me. It steps me. I step here, there, here; forwards, sideways, unified as a foot. I am one. The thought is okay before I think it, it spills forward out of the front of me, like all of me it spills out the front of me before I step, before I step with me into me. Forward I step as me into me. I am way off the ground but the marble is up under me, too. I step with my hands, they are feet. My pace is forward, out of me, I step me. Hunky motions sway me here, backwards there, funky as a stepping train, low as high, hands as feet. I step by holding the air with my feet and hands.
He is watching me. I see each dark-lit leaf nearby. Now instead of wondering at each movement – Do I really need to go that way or not? – I see with light pleasure and huge joy that everywhere I go is right. Everywhere I go I step into myself. I’m marching. I’m turning. I shake with upwards energy, move out again, stepping and high: Very familiar and very rare. Thoughts transparent, back of the brain still rumbling like a superstitious cave, front of me pouring out the front of me into the step.
When the music drops, I’m slowly closing too; we drop together. We all drop, red figures graceful down into the music. Silent and heaping form.
At the end he’s white and blinding and he nods and says very good, very good, his hands folded to us; we don’t need to look but we watch our bodies sit up with folded hands to him, and he’s gone and I’m grateful, what I am of me, and part of my body, the left side, is knowing that Bodhi is over to the left on his drum, and my peace spreads from that side.
They are laughing, some of them, rolling in young black-bearded faces, others plain, lying there, some crying, some hugging now, of a heap. Stillness huge and swollen with we small flies who live within. We jerk a little sometimes.
I think I should be laughing or letting the tremendous energy out, but I don’t feel laughter. I feel like just lying here, suddenly curled foetal, letting be, light; then it’s solved for me, for at the moment of passive rest a jerk comes, knocking the back of my spine forward through my skull, leaving me more passive; thoughts come, relax, and the JERK of everything comes through me, without me doing anything. It’s so easy, as easy as lying here, because that’s what it wants to do, and utterly does the jerk come, of itself and totally beyond. I am made of Whole, and released and reborn, silly where I have thoughts, otherwise I am a JERK of spine upwards. Spasms like an infant with an electric ankle, passage like a tunnel.
Finally we’re getting up to go, and then laughter laughs, looking full at Bodhi, who is so there that JERK jerks me from buttocks forward with surprised face! …and laughing follows in the thinking mind, and then comes relaxation, and then JERK!
We go out into the shoes, up the dark path, hungry, high, talking words, forward into the still and moving dark, others before and behind us, blurred, and now we here inside are still, and in the blur, talking.
Text by Madhuri, 1975 or 1976
….and the Heart Starts Dancing with the Master – recollections by singer and song-writer Pratibha
Oh My Lord, You Are the Fire… – Punya remembers the Music Groups in Buddha Hall
Journey to the Heart: Music Group 1979 – video