The French holistic platform, run by Shantidharm and Khirad, is celebrating its 20-year anniversary. Many more anniversaries will be celebrated this year…
In 2020 we look back at several markers – it has been 3 decades since Osho left his body; the music label New Earth Records was established in the same year, while the magazine Viha Connection started to come out just a year earlier. Meditationfrance has been active for 20 years, Osho World for 15, and last but not least, Osho News for 10 years.
The idea for Meditationfrance came to the two Frenchmen in January 2000, while they were both working in Pune. Shantidharm, a web designer, and Khirad, the born networker, were the ideal partners in this new venture: a website on meditation and tantra for the French-speaking community.
“At the beginning we wanted to make an information site about self-discovery without really knowing if it would take off and where it would lead us. It should be remembered that at that time meditation was very much frowned upon in mainstream French media; it was difficult to find anything interesting to read on this subject,” they write in their latest newsletter.
After three years they decided to open the scope of the website to the wider French-speaking holistic community, taking on articles from teachers and session-givers not necessarily affiliated with Osho. (But our Master still sneaks in by the back door. For instance, this month they propose an excerpt from a discourse they translated into French and published an introduction to the Osho Mystic Rose, written by Leela and Anahato who run a meditation centre in the French countryside. And a few months ago we spotted an interview of a French sannyasin.)
“From the few pages on meditation, the site has become a popular web portal on spirituality with many sections dedicated to personal development: meditation, therapy, tantra, shamanism, yoga, alternative medicine, Buddhism, Zen, astrology, healing, dance, etc…”
In addition, in 2012 they started organizing a yearly holistic festival in Southern France, Festi’Spirit, which continues to this day to the delight of the many visitors. (RadioMagico, with which they were also involved for 10 years, has merged at the end of last year with Shoutcast, and has therefore closed down.)
When we interviewed Shantidharm and Khirad in 2011, their site was reaping 80.000 visits a year, whilst by now it is reaching over 100.000 visits (exceeding 1.560.000 pageviews a year). It is now also widely present on social media.
As the work is mostly in cyberspace, the team could live wherever internet was available. Shantidharm was initially living in Italy and Khirad in Israel, but in 2015 Shantidharm moved to Carcassonne in Southern France, and a year later Khirad also moved, with his lovely partner Sitara, to the same area, to Montpellier. However, Shantidharm will be moving next March with his beloved Deepa to Japan, where she grew up. Because he is mostly doing the technical work on the website he can really live anywhere.
Shantidharm comments in an email, “Yes, 20 years of Meditationfrance already! Who could ever have thought – and yet, here we are, me and Khirad, making a living out of it… But I suppose, this is how it goes with things we are supposed to do. They just come and develop on their own, day after day, year after year. You must be seeing this with Osho News…”
Where to Meditate in France? – Shantidharm and Khirad tell Punya the story of how their web portal meditationfrance.com came into being