November saw the completion of the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra meditation retreat trilogy – some of the Indian participants had also participated on the previous two retreats and so experienced an astonishing 108 meditations in all.
I had visited Osho Nisarga about seven years earlier when the land had been purchased but building work hadn’t started so I was quite amazed to see how the place had been transformed. Everything was beautifully constructed and sparkling clean in the cool mountain air and, wonder of wonders, you could drink directly from the tap – a rare treat in India. The food was delicious and the temperature just right to eat in the open. My room had been described as being in the attic, but was actually extremely spacious and had a beautiful view of the Himalaya. The only drawback were the sloping ceilings which took me 2 days to acclimatise to and stop giving myself brain-damage as I bumped my head in my haste to change for the various meditations.
The participants arrived on the previous day which happened to be Diwali – Festival of Light – so our group started with a party and fireworks! Next morning after breakfast, we assembled in the lovingly built Mandir (or Buddhahall) and began introductions. The retreat was facilitated by Sarita and Chintan and assisted by Santoshi and Niten with help and amazing sound support from Gong Master Suraj and partner Giselle.
I had just bought a sound recording device before my trip, so I was keen to record the teachings and was doing quite well until I attempted to relocate myself with the extension lead – there was a loud bang, a smell of burning and a little pile of soot on the floor. “Oh, I thought – that could have been me.” After that, I thought I was better off just participating and focusing on dissolving my ego rather than my entire physical being!
We were introduced to a beautiful meditation which we would be practicing everyday after dynamic and before breakfast. This involved gazing at an object and allowing ourselves to dissolve in it, sense by sense. The first few minutes were accompanied by gonging by Suraj on his beautiful Venus and Mars gongs. After the first day, we decided to sit outside facing the river which was just gorgeous. After 40 minutes, Chintan lead us all in a slow Zen Walk along the river path. This was quite a challenge and took us most of the week to synchronise the entire line of 40 plus people.
More meditations were practiced covering the 12 facets of Tantra and after three days we slipped into silence to enable us to go even deeper. During this phase, Prem gave us a beautiful demonstration of Sufi Whirling and facilitated a meditation the next morning.
The silence was lifted for the final three days in time for the Shiva Shakti dance. Some of the Indian guys really went to town and appeared painted head to toe in blue and sporting a trident and cobra. The lovely Keerti was particularly generous sharing his blue paint powder with anyone who came near! And Khirad didn’t seem to mind being stepped on by Sarita who played Kali to his Shiva.
During the retreat we went on two beautiful walks in the surrounding countryside – one where we could bathe in the river and another in the forest. I particularly enjoyed seeing the villages and simple lifestyle – it seemed idyllic but was no doubt challenging in ways other than what we are used to in Europe.
The last few days flew by, and suddenly it was time to leave. Many of us were continuing our explorations by joining the Sacred India Tour which started from Delhi the next day. We were given a beautiful send off with drumming and singing and of course lots of hugging. A beautiful experience, which will stay with me a long time.
All photos on this page thanks to Deva Ragini