The ‘time with the drum’

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Second part of Punya’s interview with pianist and composer Nadama.

First part of the interview: When music keeps calling…

Nadama in Maui
Nadama in Maui

Do you remember the first time you played for Osho?

On my first trip to Pune, I didn’t play music at all. I later played in satsangs and music events in the Berkeley Center and then on the Ranch in the Rajneesh Rock Band, but I wasn’t playing for Osho in person.

My most personal experience was when I played on the Ranch at a press interview in Sheela’s house. There were always a few musicians trailing behind Osho, playing music as he was walking to the house – and then when he went back to the car after the event. He’d dance with the people who lined the path.

Another musician, Veet Dharm, brought me an instrument, called a melodica, from Japan. It was a small handheld piano that was played by blowing through it – like a wind instrument. It sounded similar to a musette or an accordion. So, a few times, I was asked to be part of this small group and accompany Osho on the walk.

That was very special for me, so intimate. That was my most personal musical experience with him – other than the time with the drum.

The ‘time with the drum’ was on my birthday. On the Ranch we used to play all kinds of percussion instruments when Osho was driving on the road at lunch time. Because it was my birthday – I had heard that for people playing drums Osho would sometimes stop and give them a lot of juice – for a gift to myself I said, “I am going to find Shiven.” He was this great conga player on the Ranch. I remember him clearly, a beautiful guy. I went to him and asked, “Shiven, can you lend me that big drum you play? Because it’s my birthday,” and he said, “Oh, sure.”

So I got the drum and went down to the road and when Osho drove by he stopped the car. I was playing away. He had his hands up and moving, giving me lots of juice; his eyes looking straight at me. I loved that. It was a great moment for me.

Miten, Deva Premal and Nadama
Miten, Deva Premal and Nadama
Coincidentally, I’ll jump – I guess, some thirty-five years later – to Santa Fe where my wife, Adele, and I had recently moved. Deva and Miten had come for a concert. Adele and I both enjoyed it and had a wonderful experience. Afterwards I said to her, “Come backstage because I haven’t seen them in 15 years. We used to play so much music together.”

Ever since I met Miten in the Medina Commune in England years ago I knew there was something very special about this guy and his music. He wrote such beautiful songs and with his band created such a great celebration. And so I was always around him like a bee to honey whenever he was playing, and whenever we would play together, in England or in Pune, it was always so easy and inspiring.

Adele and I went backstage, and while we were standing between their tour bus and the building, Deva looked out the window and said, “Oh, Miten, it’s Nadama.” They came out, and with open arms and big hugs greeted us and said, “Come in the bus; we can chat.” We climbed in and some other people followed. The next person was the guy who had been sitting behind me in the concert.

During the concert they did this exercise where you turn around and sing to the person behind you. Behind me there was this guy; we were singing, facing each other with big smiles on our faces. I didn’t know who he was. I didn’t know if he knew who I was, but he was now also on the bus.

Miten asked, “Who are you?” He replied, “Shiven.” “Shiven!” I shouted and he looked at me and asked, “Nadama? I thought that was you when we were singing to each other. I just want you to know that I’ve been listening to your music for years and it’s been so important for me.”

It was a beautiful moment of reconnecting again after many, many, years.

And after the Ranch and Pune 2?

After the Ranch I was busy creating a new life for myself in America. I was reading Osho’s discourses as they became available. In one discourse he said something like, “I may pass at any time and leave this body.” I began to feel the urgency to get back to Pune. But I only made it back after he had left his body.

Regarding that I have another story. At the time I was living in Santa Barbara. We were a small group of sannyasins and used to meet once a week to do meditations or have a little satsang with quotes from Osho. One day the news came that Osho had left his body. We immediately called each other on the telephone and talked about what we should do and decided to have a satsang as soon as possible.

We met at someone’s house and agreed to start at around 7pm. When I got there I volunteered to play some music and they asked me to pick a tape off the shelf so that we could hear a few of his words during the satsang. There was no time to choose a quote so I just reached in the shelf, chose a tape at random and put it on with no queuing up or anything.

When the time came for the quote, I pressed the button and it started with the words, “When a Master leaves his body…” Totally amazing! It was as if he was there, speaking directly to us, telling us how we could embrace this moment and how to be with him after he was no longer in the physical form. It was an incredible gift for us – and such a blessing to receive on this night, thousands of miles away from Pune.

After finally returning to India, I had a very rich experience creating music for White Robe and Music Group every day in the Buddhafield. Doing this with musicians from all of the world was definitely a peak experience.

I hear you have now left Hawaii. Where do you live now?

Adele and Nadama in Maui
Adele and Nadama in Maui

About seven years ago I met my lovely wife, Adele, in Hawaii and we got married in 2017. I was still doing music, still doing fairs in Hawaii. During this time her daughter who lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was expecting her third child and asked her if we might like to move there to help out with the grandchildren.

We talked about it and I said that I wasn’t sure I was ready to leave Maui, but that maybe we could go back and forth, you know, sometimes here sometimes there. But in the end it was going to be too expensive and complicated to manage two places that were so far away from each other. So we finally bought a house on two acres of land in Santa Fe and since then we have been pouring our energy into beautifying the place.

Leaving Maui was a big jump for me and the first year was quite an adjustment. We went from wet climate to dry, from green tropics to brown, high desert. That first year I did miss Maui. I did miss the music. I did miss my customers. I did miss the ocean. But now that we’ve worked hard on the house and the land, I am settling into a new feeling of home. I also feel that I may be coming back to the music soon. We’ll see. I am sure it will call me again.

Any projects for the future?

I have started a few nice piano pieces but the land and the garden have been calling me. I’ve also had to upgrade my studio as my gear has been wearing out. The last track of my last piano CD recorded in Maui was called, Aloha Farewell. Aloha in Hawaiian means ‘hello, goodbye and love’.

You already knew you were leaving?

Landscaping in Santa Fe
Landscaping in Santa Fe
Actually, I didn’t know it at the time. Maybe it was a premonition. But during the completion of that album I felt that perhaps I’ve now expressed all that I wanted to say musically – and that if I went on I might just be repeating myself.

At the moment, I’m missing a physical audience in Santa Fe and am looking to new sources of inspiration within myself.

When I was selling my music in Maui people would ask me, “Where is your new CD? We have all of your CDs and we’re just waiting for your new one.” That was very inspiring for me to keep creating and I would say, “Well, let’s see. Let’s see what happens.”

That’s the great thing about music. It’s been circular with my listening audience. Like I said, every musician needs an audience. The people that you play to – or write for – actually participate in the music that you create by the degree of their receptivity. It helps to create it.

For the moment I’m in a gap.

Maybe the last question: How has Osho’s vision and love affected your life, and what has changed?

I learned so much! A big part of wanting to be with the Master in the beginning was not only this mysterious magnetic pull but I also felt like, “Okay, here is somebody who knows what life is about, somebody from whom I can learn to be a better, whole, loving person.” You know, we all came with our baggage; I dropped a lot of baggage over these years and learned so much.

During the period after the Ranch I felt inspired and I wanted to put into practice the things that I had learned about myself, about creativity and about living a joyful conscious life.

As far as enlightenment, I was never one who said, “Oh, I have to become enlightened.” That is not my goal. I love the statement that Osho made and that I remember as: ‘You just do your best to be unenlightened and I’ll do my best to help you be enlightened’. That was such a relief for me because I knew I could be anywhere; all I needed to do was stay connected to him.

I think I have put that into practice. I poured my love into my music, and as much as I could into my relationships – there’s still always a challenge there… But I appreciate my time with Osho because I feel that I’ve been able to share some really good things with other people.

When I was selling my music I would share things that I have learned from Osho, and I realized that we all have been given so much. We sometime don’t realize how much we have that we could share with other people. Sometimes we minimize it. But it’s there.

Do you think sharing is important?

I think it’s probably a natural overflowing.

I always want to encourage people to share their experiences because I know it can be very helpful for others to hear.

I think about that quite often. Right now, my wife and I are living more secluded lives in a new place, working on our house and creating beauty around us with flowers, grass and trees. I think this time has been a period of establishing a base, but I still feel the desire of reaching out to help somewhere, somehow. Maybe it will be again through music or maybe in some other way. I don’t know.

Anything else you would like to add?

It’s been great to connect again. I think that after the Ranch a lot of Americans didn’t continue meeting each other much, perhaps because America didn’t have many Osho Centers.

Going to Munich and playing meditations every day was so enriching for me. It was a sad day when that center had to close. I came back to Germany to help with that because I loved it and I loved the people so much. The fact that the Cologne Center still continues is just wonderful.

And the sannyas gatherings here now – that’s great. I am happy to be here in Corfu to play in a Buddha Hall again. I just wish there were more places like this.

Thank you. Thanks a lot.

Well, you got me talking….
More by and on Nadama in


Punya is the founder of Osho News, author of many interviews and of her memoir On the Edge.

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