…left his body on 14th May 2018.
For a rebel like Amareesh (name rhymes with ‘dish’) a bit of a non-biographical tribute page. Perhaps he’s the only person on the planet to have a personal website without his own picture nor a bio in it. Amareesh was totally unique.
Milarepa writes: “I never knew anything about his past. He was very much an in-the-moment kind of guy. He never talked about his past [or was there something about visiting Sufi’s on his way to India?]. He never talked about what he had done or who he was, before meeting Osho [probably 1987]. It was his life with Osho that really mattered.
“Ama was something of a genius. Perhaps he had no formal musical training (I don’t know this for sure) but he understood music intuitively and wasn’t limited by its rules and structures. Hence, in the right moment when inspired, especially in Osho’s presence, he could soar as if in a limitless sky, unbounded. This was his quality and I would venture to say where he resonated with the master.”
‘Soaring’ is certainly the right word to describe his flute when he played almost daily in front of Osho for the 10-minute meditation during the Meeting of the White Robe Brotherhood. (Listen to the track on this video: youtu.be)
Chinmaya writes: “As a musician Amareesh was infuriating, uncompromising and extraordinary. I remember him mainly from the late ’90s and early 2000s, when he had his weekly spot leading a band for WRB. He thought nothing of suddenly playing in a different key than the one that had been practiced, or starting up something that hadn’t been practiced at all! The results were sometimes a disaster, sometimes brilliant and he could shrug off both, secure in his confidence that the highest art is always experimental.”
And as an experiment one night he included a male choir. He had heard the newly-arrived Georgians at the German Bakery sing one of their traditional songs, liked what he heard, and the next day there they were in Buddha Hall!
After Osho left his body, many musicians from Pune gravitated to the Osho Tao Centre in Munich. There he became part of the live Sunday morning satsang band (photo where he plays the dilruba).
In recent years Amareesh dedicated himself to the making of bansuri flutes for professional players and procuring the bamboo in situ. “He goes through great lengths to find perfect pieces of bamboo in forests of several south Asian countries and fashions on demand any style of flute such as Indian Bansuris, Iranian Nays, Japanese Shakuhachis, Indonesian Sulings or fantasy ‘Amazone’ flutes with bird faces and mother of pearl inlays – and all exactly tuned to the western concert pitch!” wrote Bhagawati for Viha Connection in 2008.
He also organised, together with his beloved Shola, wildlife meditation trekking tours in southern India, taking visitors through pristine forests with dramatic prehistorical fern trees and gushing waterfalls. They lived half of the year in Karnataka.
“Sadly I never got to visit him in his Kerala home, or take part in one of the meditative journeys he used to lead for tiny groups into the wilderness. I saw some of the pictures he took up on the great basalt slabs high above the plains, the only places where the dense vegetation allows much in the way of photography. A lonely figure cross-legged beside a waterfall, or crouched against the buttresses of some huge rainforest tree,” writes Chinmaya.
Amareesh leaves behind a legacy of 18 albums released under his own label Cosmicmusic, as well as beautiful contributions to three tracks in the Music from the World of Osho production, Garden of The Beloved (‘Doorway of the Heart’, on sarangi in ‘Seashore of Eternity’ and ‘Unfolding Mystery’) many might know. He was instrumental in bringing the now world-renowned bansuri player Hari Prasad Chaurasia to the western audience, especially with the albums ‘Now’ and ‘Here’.
“I’d visit his website, on his page entitled Mystic Chaishop sometimes and marvel at the eclectic range of poetry he’d written or collected, sometimes original, often obscure,” continues Chinmaya. Our poetry editor, Madhuri, chose one for us: Reality beyond the obvious
Amareesh died after one and a half years of illness with cancer. His last words on Facebook, on 5th May, were: “Might be opting out of fb, erase my account pretty soon…”
His cremation will be today or tomorrow.
Text thanks to Chinmaya, Milarepa, Bhagawati’s article for Viha Connection, 2008 – credit for alert goes to Avesh
Articles, poems and music by Amareesh on Osho News
Exit – a music track by Amareesh, with Simant on keyboard
Reality beyond the obvious – a poem by Amareesh
Freedom from Oppression – a spontaneous music mix for Iranian friends
Open Letter to PM Manmohan Singh – to protect natural ecosystems and end the use of coal
Shocking and sad for me to hear of his passing this morning; a true original and one who will not be forgotten. Soar with the eagles, beloved. So loved being part of the Buddha Hall music when he was involved…<3
The world is slightly poorer by losing him, but immensely richer by his having been here with us!
Our good friend and fellow traveler, Amareesh Leib, left his body last week in India silently like a whisper in the wind. We spent time together in the Osho Commune and he was one of our first musicians on our label, then called Tao Music. His co-production with Hariprasad Chaurasia ‘Now’ was one of our first five releases in 1990 (followed by ‘Here’). His music will remain forever in our hearts as a tangible presence of his being. Farewell old friend – fly high.
Bhikkhu and Waduda
Two weeks ago after I read a post on Facebook from Amareesh, in response to a query winding around among us friends there about how we shall stay connected when we shutdown our Facebook presence, and not truly aware of his health issues, I wrote:
“…how we stay connected is how we always have… way before the internet. We found each other… took the trail and travels both inward and outward necessary. Trust. Mystery. Osho. Music. Love. Great Spirit. It all works. Not making it so convenient may kick our asses to move more. Like Rumi sez: When you pray, move your feet! See you round the quad, good brother.”
Well, Amareesh, there you go…! Off on the cosmic wind like the notes from your flute. What a divine music you lived and shared. I’m a better man from knowing you.
Amareesh was the only White Robe Brotherhood Pune musician lead who invited me to come play my own lively (a kind of Sufi-rock) meditation compositions – I deeply felt his connection to music in utter resonance and respect with my own. Much more of the channeling and getting out of the way music… a kind of purity of the language of the soul. That music is Amareesh’s music, for me. It was a blessing to collaborate with him while collaborating with everyone in Buddha Hall, while collaborating with Osho as we all merged… to then emerge again in that tongue-tip taste of the buddhafield birthright that is our steady flame within – and that Osho keeps lighting the path with as his own gift.
Amareesh got it and gets it… certainly now!🤣… blessings on you dude and maestro. Mahalo for hearing, playing, sharing. Keep the Fire. Keep the Laughter. Keep the Song!
Sad to hear that Amareesh has left us. He invited me to play keyboards for the White Robe Brotherhood. He was so gentle and friendly in the rehearsals and he had so much trust in the people around him. There was really no problem. Also I remember he was wearing earplugs all day to protect his hearing. So when we wanted to say something to him he had to first take one out. That was so funny!
Amareesh, You might not remember, but when I had an exhibition in Meera Gallery of a photo album I had made for a Californian client (paintings of mine with photos of her husband stuck on), after looking around you said to me: “Why hide behind a photo album? Rip off these photos and make your own thing.” It meant for me to ‘stand on my own ground’. Thank you so much for this, for believing in me. I still need this reminder. Tears of gratitude. (Now that I think of it, I indeed took the photos off, because the sheets were too big for my client anyway, and I still have them all in a huge folder.)
Amareesh was really unique in his approach to music and all things in life. While making music he could trust in such a way that we would easily take risks nobody would take, he would find the joy of making music in this very process.
I was invited many times to play, usually without rehearsal or a performance that went deliberately into a totally different direction than rehearsed.
And I owe a lot to Amareesh.
He was in a way living so much of Osho’s vision and was really jumping with his fellow musicians into the unknown. His philosophy would go like this: “Life is imperfect and utterly joyful. We give ourselves the full permisssion to explore it.”
He had enough of his own charisma to play with Hariprasad Chaurasia and all these qualities would shine through next to this giant of Indian music.
Many magical moment of music could happen with Amareesh.
I remember there was one White Robe were we even played so much more wildly and unpredictably… The next morning I walked across the ashram and people were constantly asking, “Did YOU play last night? It was the most chaotic (or wild, nonsensical, noisy, horrible, etc. playing I have ever heard.” But there were a few people who said, “It was the best White Robe EVER!” So that was Amareesh (and Osho!) playing his cosmic joke.
On a more “normal” music event with Amareesh I would just enjoy this sense of freedom and love for music and give my very best in return.
Veet Sandeh (guitar player from Germany)
I was sad to learn of Amareesh’s passing today. When I was coordinating the music in Buddha Hall in the nineties, Amareesh was always a risk as who knows what sort of sound is going to happen! Yet his mercurial genius shone through, and even when it was discordant, the spirit of Osho was still there, moving in the music, moving us to play it. Amareesh had an ability in bending and combining sound in ways I thought impossible. His genius was so multi-faceted that it spread far beyond the evenings in Buddha Hall and touched many lives. I will miss him and his mischevous smile, knowing he had some magic up his sleeve. Fly high, brother.
Oh dearest Amareesh, dear fellow traveler, now you have left your physical form like others who have left before you and there are the ones who are still here but will also follow at one point. How beautiful that we are eternally connected deeply in our hearts. I always remember your cheeky smile as you are such a cheeky fellow. Heart to Heart dear Amareesh.
Gabriele aka Gatha
Hey Ama. I’m stunned by your exit. You left an indelible mark on my consciousness. Cheeky bugger. Love you.
Dearest Amaresh, difficult to say much… how to meet again your mischievous look and smile. We met several times in Munich and although we did not talk much there was always an understanding, a synchronicity, which did not need many words. Yes, it is long time we did not meet again since then, but I feel a wonderful part of this planet has changed form and is not available any more for those wordless meetings and a laughters and this makes me feel sad. At least I can say it was not nice to see your name in the “voyages” column. Wish you a good trip and I am sure you will. With lots of love,
Thankful for your music, I bow before you.
Amareesh and I did not really know each other in Poona 1. We were both living in 36 Koregoan Park. The place on the Ashram back road. He had a room in the house. I had a little bamboo hut.
One night as I was in bed under my mosquito net he knocked at my hut door saying softly, “Are you still awake Upchara?”
He came in, sat next to my mosquito net and said, “I shall read something to you.”
Out of an Arab fairy tale!
He read to me from the magnificent Sufi book, The Conference of the Birds, the passage called, The Valley of Awe and Bewilderment.
I so fell in love with this book that eventually he gave it to me and it traveled many many years with me wherever I went.
Dear Amareesh, so much love to you!