Subhuti writes from Russia…
I had never heard of the Azov Sea until last year. It wasn’t on my bucket list of places to visit before retiring from my life as a spiritual gypsy. But now it seems to have become a priority, a regular stop on my yearly travels.
The reason is the Osho Festival, held by the seaside at Kuchugury, near the city of Krasnodar. Once upon a time, Soviet leaders took their summer vacations here, hoping their comrades back in the Kremlin weren’t planning a coup in their absence.
Now it’s an ordinary seaside resort, made unusual by the sudden influx of several hundred meditators.
Organised by Darpan, a Russian sannyasin, and his girlfriend, Ameeta, this festival now attracts more than 300 people, coming mainly from Russia, but also from neighbouring countries like Ukraine, Lithuania, Kazakhstan and even Mongolia.
Participants are often new to meditation and combine innocence with enthusiasm. When more than a hundred people turn up in the early morning to do Dynamic Meditation, you know that everyone is riding a wave of energy that is going to carry us through the 10-day festival.
Dynamic, Kundalini and the Evening Meeting are daily, fixed items on the agenda. A small band of musicians, including Ravi, Hush, Lalitya, Svagato and Nirav, anchors the Evening Meeting with a fine mix of music and silence, and with an occasional guest appearance by Pune bass player, Arjun.
There are workshops throughout the day, included in the festival price, and I find myself challenged to convey the essential experience of the Enneagram to over 60 people, in less than two hours, via my translator and friend, Anando.
Intellectual chat just won’t do in this situation, so I create playful mini-dramas for each of the nine Enneagram personality types. It seems to work well – everyone is happy and enjoying themselves.
More challenging is Darpan’s request that I lead a men’s group, running parallel with a much larger women’s group that is being led by Leela from the Ukraine. For inspiration, I draw on Osho’s insight that “male energy needs to be provoked” and soon we are lining up as native warriors for battle, re-enacting ritual tribal combat that still goes on today in Papua New Guinea as a way of testing male courage.
Meanwhile, several trainings are running through the festival, including a creativity training with Nisargan, the well-known sannyasin artist, aquafloating with Darpan, and Remembering Your Past Lives with Subhuti.
Other guest therapists in the festival include Vatayana, who has supported Darpan over the years in his efforts to sustain and expand this festival, and Sheela from Greece, who offers a workshop in which participants have the opportunity to “Die Before You Die”.
All in all, it’s a generous smorgasbord of many kinds of meditation methods and therapeutic techniques. In addition to my other festival activities, I also find myself leading three meditations, giving 22 individual sessions and selling copies of the Russian translation of my book about my life with Osho, titled My Dance with a Madman.
Afterwards, I’m told that during the festival there were a total of 165 events and 349 sessions given. About 40 percent of participants were doing Osho meditations for the first time. And, yes, there was still time to sunbathe on the beach and take a dip in the sea.
Participants are generous in their thanks and we are rewarded with long hugs and grateful looks, plus, of course, an endless number of ‘selfie’ pics snapped by mobile phones.
Anand Subhuti worked as political correspondent for ‘The Birmingham Post’, being a constant presence in the chambers of the House of Commons in London. He took sannyas in 1976 and lived at the ashram, in Rajneeshpuram and then again in Pune until Osho left his body. He mainly lives in Europe yet visits India every year, the country he loves. He is also author of My Dance with a Madman, a chronicle of his life in India with Osho. anandsubhuti.com, Facebook Fan Page
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