In the last part of our interview, Gayan talks about the time she danced around Osho in the big meditation hall, the Mandir, during the Festivals in Rajneeshpuram. (Part 4 of 4)
When did you start dancing for Osho again?
Our first celebration, for Osho’s birthday, was in Magdalena Cafeteria, which was by then almost completed, but soon we moved on to the hangar, later called Vimalkirti, before the big hall, the Mandir, was completed to accommodate all the visitors that were going to come for the First Annual Celebration, in June 1982.
I did not dance for Osho in Magdalena, but then in Vimalkirti and the Mandir. The morning of the Birthday Celebration 1981 Nirvano told me, “He wants you to dance.” I remember that we went together that afternoon onto the newly constructed stage in Vimalkirti, to try and figure out the choreography, so to speak. There was a set of sequences: The music and songs, then Taru would sing the gachchhamis, the humming and the silence and then songs. We decided that I would dance around Osho while there was the singing and later sit in front of Osho and do the gachchhamis together with everybody else, then move to the side and just sit there during the humming and do whatever would come up. Then with the singing I would dance around the Master again. That was some kind of plan and worked out beautifully and easy – and actually stayed like that for all future celebrations.
When the celebrations moved to the Mandir for the Summer Festival, it was not clear to me if I would be dancing because it was a different situation. I remember sitting in the second or third row to his left; it was not the darshan evening for which I would usually dance; it was a morning satsang. But by the end of the session he wanted to call me up. Because he was so far away I didn’t hear what he was saying. I could see that he was saying something and pointing in my direction. “Whom does he mean?” I wondered. I understood that he wanted something, but because I wasn’t sitting in the front row I was sure he did not need me.
In the end, because he again and again called up and nobody came, people started getting up and moving forward. I was sitting next to Nirupa. We both jumped up quickly and went close to Osho, kneeling in front of him. Everybody came closer, even onto the podium, all around him. Our hired security guard was standing behind Osho – he was a lovely man – he too felt that everything was okay, nobody was touching Osho or pushing forward. Everybody was so loving and respectful, and when Osho started to walk out, an aile opened up for him to get to the car. It was such a beautiful scene full of love and joy. With Osho even a small misunderstanding can turn into a whole Mandir full of bliss!
I came home and Nirvano said, “He was calling you to dance.”
The next time he called me was during a morning satsang of another celebration. As soon as he called me, I got up because now I was on the alert. He took me by one hand and shook me! There I was, holding onto his hand, shaking and laughing until he folded his hands to namaste everybody and walk out of the hall.
Later, back at the House, Nirvano came to see me and said, “Osho wants to know what you were thinking.” And I replied, “I didn’t think of anything really.” I couldn’t think. And then Nirvano said, “He wanted you to move and you did.” Yeah, I did. That was really funny.
How did it feel to dance for Osho? What were the sensations that went through you?
I used to wait behind the podium screens watching for the car to arrive from the left. As soon as I saw it – so I had decided – I would go out in front of the screens – I felt I had to announce his arrival. I started dancing on the podium by myself. It was always a little bit uncomfortable, I must say, but I felt that I had to announce that he was coming and it was understood; the musician would know that he was arriving and the whole hall went into an even more joyful celebration.
I knew how to dance on stage and I knew how to connect from there with people, but that was not my purpose here. I was just one of his sannyasins. I just wanted to say, “Hello, he is coming.” When he finally arrived, I could relax and enjoy. I only had to watch out that when his eyes were open I would not be in front of him. I wanted him to be able to look around. But when his eyes were closed I could circle around him. I was always looking at him and watching what he was doing. There I learned to be alert to what was going on around me. I also had to watch the edges of the podium, otherwise I would fall; I had to watch where the photographer and the cameraman were standing – they also wanted to take their pictures and films. There were so many things going on at the same time of which I had to be alert. I had to be watchful and move in between. At the same time I was able to be relaxed and just have fun. I loved to bring all that together, without anybody telling me what to do and where to be. That was really an incredible experience.
Osho had never told me what to do and where and how to dance. When I had doubts about anything I talked to Nirvano, and together we sorted out what felt best. He never told me anything. In fact, in a discourse where he later answered one of my questions (see Spiritual guidance should not be direct) he said, “If I had said that there are guidelines to be followed, she would not have been able to be totally in it; those guidelines would have been a disturbance.”
After one of the first celebrations in the Mandir, Osho put his hand on my head before leaving and repeated this ritual in many more celebrations. At one time I could clearly feel how it worked; there was nothing running in my head and I could feel how his energy went through me and then out into those sitting in the hall, into whomever wanted to receive it. The interesting thing was that, on that very day, many came up to me and told me what they had felt; they had felt exactly that.
It was an amazing experience to be able to get out of the way and be there for this; to pass on the energy like a hollow bamboo. I also learned that everything is momentary. Sometimes the moment is just there and everything goes easy, the mind is quiet and other times not. There is no way I can push it. I can tell my mind: off you go now! – but that guy doesn’t listen. I can only happily accept my shortcomings.
One time I was dancing behind Osho when he was dancing with the audience and making upwards movements with his raised arms. I had the clear feeling that with those movements Osho was trying to raise everybody’s energy, the energy of the whole hall. I could physically feel how he was doing that and how hard it still was to do so. It was like lifting up a big energy blob that was stuck to the floor. And he had the strength to hold it up. That was also an amazing moment because I had always thought he was doing something light and playful with the energy. He was really doing a big job – demanding a lot of physical strength too. Amazing!
Are there any other experiences you remember?
In another darshan, maybe it was one of the last ones, when I was dancing around him just before he got up to leave, suddenly the whole flock came up on stage: Nirvano, Radha and Maneesha and somebody else, maybe Sunshine. Nirvano came up first and told me to stay next to her. Then Osho danced with all of us – one after the other. In the end he danced with Nirvano and with her he left for the car. Nobody had told me about this plan. Afterwards Nirvano said to me laughing, “Good surprise, no?” It was so beautiful!
Things were always very playful with Osho.
Did you dance for all the celebrations?
For one of the first celebrations in Mandir Osho wanted me to dance together with Bhadra, one on each side of him. Bhadra was still a very young woman. It was very sweet to have somebody else there on the podium.
Practically, with a few exceptions, I danced for all the evening darshans on the last day of the festivals, when we had music with songs to sing along. The summer celebrations lasted five days, so that would have been on the evening of the 5th day. We also had three more celebrations per year, but these lasted only one day.
One time Maitri danced and another time Sugandha. For Maitri and Sugandha to dance was organised by Sheela. I tell you now the story about Maitri, because that was quite some learning for me.
The celebrations were the busiest time at work in the sewing room, especially during the summer festivals because we had to sew so many new robes. Just before one of the smaller celebrations I was so burnt out that – I knew – if I did not rest I would fall ill, and that then I would not be able to dance at darshan. Osho’s robes were all ready. I talked to Nirvano about this and she thought it would be best if I went to Pythagoras, our ward, to rest for a couple of days.
The second day I was there Sheela came to the ward – it looked as if she was visiting somebody – then surprise, surprise, she saw me and said: “Oh, you are sick, but then you can’t dance.” “Look”, I replied, “everything is okay. The doctor said I am fine. I’ll just need a bit more rest today and I will be able to go home tonight.” “No”, said Sheela, “ you can’t do that,” and left Pythagoras. Later I received the message through a nurse that I was not allowed to go home. I was stranded in the ward.
How did you feel about that?
Well, not very happy I must say. I felt cheated by Sheela. I phoned Nirvano and told her what had happened and that I feared I might not even be able to come to darshan at all. Later I was finally allowed to go home, but no dancing was allowed! I was just in time to join the others from the House to drive over to Mandir for the celebration. While in Lao Tzu House, I heard that Maitri would dance instead of me.
We came into the hall and by chance I saw Maitri sitting among everybody else. It looked as if she did not know that she was going to dance. I wondered what the hell was happening. I felt it was not good for her not to know and then be pushed onto the podium. I said to the girls, “I’ll just go and talk to Maitri.” And I asked her, “Maitri, aren’t you dancing tonight? What are you doing here?” She replied, “No, I don’t know. What, dancing?” “You are dancing tonight! Come on, let’s go before he arrives. I’ll explain to you what I have been doing and what you might have to watch out for,” I said. We got up, climbed onto the podium and I explained the little routine for the dancer; where to stand and wait, watch for Osho’s car to arrive; and then come out on the podium and dance – all the details I had figured out over time.
Later on I saw Vidya walk up to Maitri which confirmed my suspicion that they had forgotten to tell her. What a stupid thing! And Maitri – unprepared for the event – was not wearing underpants, so while whirling during practice the people in the front rows noticed that. It was funny but nobody was shocked. Then someone helped her out with the undies!
The next day Maitri came to the House – it was so sweet – she was so happy that she had danced for Osho.
That was Sheela’s first attempt to change things. But before the next celebration I was asked by Osho to dance again. I was very happy and grateful!
How was it for you to lose the opportunity to dance for Osho?
It was like passing the job on to somebody else: “Let her also enjoy.”
There was a second instance?
Yes, there was another time when Sheela wanted to introduce another person. She must have talked to Osho and he must have approved of it. I got the message from him that for the next celebration a Hawaiian girl would be dancing and that I should show her the procedure. He wanted to know from me if she was the right person to dance in darshan and report back. He didn’t want to have somebody doing a sexual dance. He wanted something graceful.
I had asked Sugandha to come for the sound check of the musicians so that I could see her dance. Sugandha was a pretty girl and her Hawaiian dance was nice to look at and I sent the message, “She dances nicely, gracefully, but nothing emanates from her. It is as if she is dancing behind a glass screen.”
Just before the celebration darshan I met her in the Mandir and I showed her my routine, what I was watching out for, just to make sure that she had an idea and didn’t feel lost. Then suddenly, guess who arrived? Sheela and her gang. I suppose they wanted to see how I was putting up with the whole thing, but I was not worried.
That night everybody from the House went to darshan together. It was beautiful for me to dance around with everybody else in the Mandir within that sea of joy.
After Rajneeshpuram did you dance for Osho again?
No, there was no dancing in Pune 2, there was just sewing – sewing adventures! I was a seamstress for nine years (see In Osho’s sewing room). In Rajneeshpuram and afterwards in Pune until Osho left his body. All the time it was sewing.
I was very lucky. Around Osho I could do the three things I like best; one was sewing (and any other handicrafts), the second were the books and third the dancing and music. I could do all these things around him, for him, with him – what a joy and what a blessing!
Thank you, beloved Master!
Thus concludes our 4-part Profile of Gayan based on an interview by Punya. Read all parts under ‘My Story’ by Gayan
Credit for photos: Gayan, Bhadra, Radha, Sugandha and Osho News archive
Spiritual guidance should not be direct