On gurus and shishyas, teachers and disciples…

We watched a Marathi film Katyar Kalijat Ghusali about music, musical traditions and the learning or grooming of the artist. The film is excellent, and no wonder, it is based on the old Marathi play, the music for which was written by Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki, who was the guru of my first Indian music teacher, Arun Apte. In the film, they have retained a number of songs from the original play, and, of course, it had to remind me about my four months of learning music in Vaitarna, and also about some of the stories Arun Apte was telling about his guru and their relationship.
It is really amazing, how the story in the film touches on the subtleties of the guru-disciple relationship. I will probably need to watch it again, and perhaps more than once, to understand more of it – if you only have a hint of this experience in your own life, and especially if you are not really a part of that tradition, it’s not easy to understand it beyond the superficial level of the apparent.
The film is about the stages of the maturing of an artist, and the challenge in maturing without a guru who can instruct you, or without one who is willing to do so. Yes, of course, it is also about going beyond the ego – that most difficult arrogance one acquires, when one begins to master some, even tiny aspects of the art, and this is the message the film claims to deliver, from the very beginning till the end. But I don’t think this is the most valuable message of this story, at least for me that was not what felt most important, inspiring and meaningful. It was interesting to see struggles the hero has to go through to connect gradually to deeper and deeper sense of music – through learning the knowledge, then imitation to the point of identification with the guru, then to mastering a different style, and perhaps eventually finding one’s own style, though this film finishes at the point when that stage would have probably just start.
What moved me the most, was the importance of being “recognized” and blessed by your guru to go on being an artist. It is not just about the learning and the instruction, and not about the ego-oriented achievement or pride, but about that special love and care that flows between the guru and the disciple, both ways, that ties them together, for that special kind of relationship that exists between the two, part friendship and part parent-child relationship, both of them together, and yet neither of them, but something else, the relationship that becomes even more beautiful because of the difference and uniqueness inherent in it. So when the guru witnesses the disciple who has mastered the art, not only the technical proficiency, but also the respect for the art and for other artists, and has met the essence of the art, that is the greatest and the only gift that disciple can offer back to the guru, as gratitude for all the lessons, for the generosity and the dedication that the guru has given while teaching. That is why it is so important for the hero in the film to have a chance to sing for both his gurus.
Maybe I’m wrong in saying that one has to be Indian to really get to the heart of what it means to be a disciple and to have a guru. Maybe it is so difficult for me to find the inspiration to finish this dissertation, because Sam has died – it has been written for Sam, working with his art, having made mistakes that disappointed him and having tried to correct them, having worked though the difficult challenges and found the treasures of understanding that he praised and admired. Now this last stage of putting the parts together, adding the final decorations and polishing the work, seems meaningless, when he is not going to be there to witness his disciple “perform on stage”. Yes, yes, I know it has to be done, but it’s hard to find that drive, that creative call and commitment, that flows from the bountiful expressions of the art practiced by a live guru.
Of course, it’s a different story, when the guru-disciple relationship is happening in the field (kshetra?) of spirituality, rather than a more “human” art. It is said (if I understood it somewhat correctly), that when a disciple has reached the state of mastery, then there is the recognition of God being the Guru. The one who has achieved that state, is learning from God directly, and is performing for God, to please that Divine Guru and to give thanks for the teaching, the love, and the care. Maybe I’m wrong again, and that’s also the case with music as well as philosophy and any other “art”?
Here is the recording of my first music teacher performing for his (our) spiritual Guru, and singing to please God. This is my favorite of all his recordings that I have seen, though I probably never heard him singing this song live… Enjoy…

By the way, that Marathi film with English subtitles is here: http://www.einthusan.com/movies/watch.php?marathimoviesonline=Katyar+Kalijat+Ghusali&lang=marathi&id=2783

Canajoharie Arts Academy – 2015

I already wrote one post here about Canajoharie few years ago, but that was in Ukrainian. Now that my blog is transitioning into the English mode, and also Canajoharie showed itself this time in quite a different light, a new post about it is definitely due.

Heidegger is quoting Hölderlin sharing his experience and insight in a letter to a friend that “all the holy places of the earth are gathered around one place”. This phrase resonates with me very much, I like to think of the common essence or fabric of both the actual physical places that have spiritual significance to me, and also of the places of the inner world. It is in the spiritual dimension that the outer and the inner places become interfused, the battle-fields, the temples, and the resting places, the places homely and dearly familiar, as well those wondrously alien and thus fascinating… Maybe one day I will write something about the inner musical places too, the places created by this or that raga, wouldn’t that be interesting?

Back to Canajoharie, one of my holy places. A week-end of the international meditation seminar was preceded by two weeks of the summer arts academy, and this was the first time that I was at the Canajoharie arts camp not as a volunteer, or just a visitor, but as a student. Perhaps this is why Canajoharie felt different, or maybe not, maybe it actually was different this time, no matter whether and how one was involved.

The type of meditation we do, Sahaja yoga, or Sahaja meditation, is simple, and it works quite well with even small commitment, provided it is consistent. And yet, it is really felt and enjoyed, when it becomes a worldview and a lifestyle, when it permeates the totality of our experiences, when it becomes an atmosphere, a sort of fragrance, which we breathe all the time. So we have this notion of sahaj culture – the aspects and ways of life that define the living within the atmosphere of this meditative state and make it easier for us to be in touch with, or, rather, to be immersed in, the ocean of Energy, and to feel at home within it.

Art is, and from the beginning has been, one of the key aspects of sahaj culture. Shri Mataji, the founder of our meditation technique, has promoted arts within our meditative community, especially, but not exclusively, Indian classical music. She created opportunities for us not only to be exposed to music and art with good energy, but also to study it and to become good at it. Somehow, the arts give us special access to meditation, as if they create the shortcuts to get there in the first place, and then also to explore the subtleties and depths of this meditative state once we are there.

And so these arts academies were established in India, where mainly us, the Westerners, could come and learn Indian music, dance and art within a meditative environment. The first one (?) was for a while in Nagpur, I’ve heard lot’s of good stories about it, but it was well before my time. Then it was in Vaitarna, and I was lucky to have stayed there for four months, quite early in my “sahaj life”, learning singing from Arun Apte.

When I was leaving Vaitarna, I was sure that I would come back, in a few years, and more than once, I even had a few ideas about what I could maybe do for Vaitarna. But then Arun Apte died suddenly, and Vaitarna went through a few cycles of closing down, then opening for some time, then closing again. I did go back to visit and stayed there for about ten days in 2013. I guess, I wanted to feel out and also to face, what this actual Vaitarna as well as my inner “Vaitarna” could be like without Arun Apte, and it was quite an intense experience.

In the meantime, the music doesn’t stop, we have all kinds of music (and art) workshops, shorter or longer, in different places, and in the last years we’ve had maybe three or four arts camps in Canajoharie, New York state, about 6 or 7 hours drive South East from Toronto. The last one was two years ago, right after my short Vaitarna visit, and I considered taking classes, but I just did not “feel it”. So I hung out there for about a week, caught the first big public concert, which the teachers gave in Albany, enjoyed very much and went home. This summer I decided it was time to come and take classes, no matter what. I was looking through the list of classes, considering the possibility of trying out something “new”, but ended up taking two vocal classes and harmonium class, all from the same teacher, and never regretted it, because the experience was so joyful, so elevating, and at the same time grounding, that it felt incredible, both satisfying and humbling, and also inspiring.

One of Vaitarna’s gifts was the amazing capacity to absorb music. You sit in class, and try to repeat these difficult musical phrases, and you know you are not getting it, and you feel like you will not be able to get it for a long time. And so in the evening you go through the class recording again, sleep on it and next morning find out that you actually got it. You just have it now, it’s in you, and you barely even cooperated. Something similar was experienced by many of us in Canajoharie this time, both the teachers and the students were commenting on how fast we all were learning, and how much we were achieving in such a short time. It would be an oversimplification, and the unfortunate one, to reduce this special quality to the efficiency of learning, to make it about goals and results. Rather, as Alan once mentioned, it is about the subtleties of this music or art, once you start getting it, you can appreciate and enjoy. What was important to me in these classes was not the result of learning this much, that fast and that well. It was the enjoyment of the process, the tasting of the art, and the atmosphere that was extremely friendly, becoming in tune, and not only musically, immersing into this exploration and feeling so good, that you would want to linger in it, and wished that it never ended… The classes, of course, were the best, but also outside of the classes each of is took or gave, the atmosphere felt very nourishing and inspiring. It was great to spend time with other teachers and students of all ages, to chat and to listen, to eat, and occasionally to cook, to laugh (and we did laugh a lot), and to meditate.

I think it was around the third or the forth day, that I started noticing Vaitarna’s presence in Canajoharie. It wasn’t just the classes and what was happening there, rather, the place itself was sounding different. Sitting at the pond with the feet in the water, enjoying an afternoon break, the barking of the dogs and the noise or tractors somewhere in the fields, and the light, and the wind, and the serene mood, all of it in totality felt so intensely similar to sitting on a roof in Vaitarna and waiting for the sunrise! I heard the bird calls so elaborate and unusual, which I have never heard in Canajoharie before. Of course, it wasn’t the koyal, it was probably some owl that was late enough in it’s nightly pursuits for me to still catch it when I woke up around 4 in morning. And yes, waking up between 4 and 5 without any alarms, and feeling completely awake – that was just like Vaitarna also. I have a feeling, those who have been to Nagpur academy, and there were quite a few people this year in Canajoharie, who spend some good times there, were also feeling the presence of Nagpur. I could feel a slight hint of Nagpur, even though I have never been there. Cabella was also somehow present, with its river, and the castle, and the simple rustic way of life. So all these holy musical places of our sahaj world became gathered around Canajoharie, fused with it, made this Canajoharie very different from the place I have known and also loved before. Different, but also the same. I felt the presence and continuity of this sahaj musical tradition, that somehow was connecting us to its beginnings in this era and the different forms it took relatively recently, as well as to the previous manifestations centuries ago – we sang Kabira, you know.

It is not that there is one single physical location, to which all holy places can be traced and from which they originate. It is rather a place in the spiritual realm, where meditation is painted by the beautiful colours or the art, where it explodes with the cooling fountains and where the rainbows are born in the meeting of sunshine and the water. When this place somehow starts manifesting locally, be in in Canajoharie, or somewhere else, it brings together all these other places, the holy places of art, where art is inspired by the Divine, and where we become attuned to the Divine through art, if we cooperate, even barely, and then it becomes global – magnificent and breathtaking.

When the arts academy was over after two weeks, I though it could not get any better, and it did not, but something else, equally beautiful and inspiring, though in a different way, kept me blissed out for another two weeks: some of our teachers joined by two other musicians went on a concert tour. I will definitely write more about that later, for now, here is the the video of the last concert of the tour in Dallas, enjoy!

You can see more videos and photos here: Festival of Inner Peace

William Blake

Сьогодні день народження Блейка, мене надихає ця постать, хоч насправді про нього я знаю мало… Поет, художник, містик, чи, може, навпаки, в першу чергу містик? Кілька років тому, коли вперше звернула увагу на Блейка і переглядала якийсь альбом з репродукціями, звернула увагу на подібність до фреск Мікелянджело, в тому як скульптурно в обох виглядає людське тіло… Бачила захопливу британську виставу про Блейка кілька років тому… Якщо мене колись знову занесе в Англію, одним із обов’язкових моментів “програми” буде якийсь елемент відвідин якихось блейківських місць, включно з галереями, де можна подивитися на оригінали його творів. Ну а поки що – гуголь в поміч…

Ми любимо співати цей ось гімн Блейка, як в традиційному типу-хоровому, так і в сучаснішому варіанті:

Ось тут картина його, мабуть з менш відомих (зазвичай тиражуються його зображення Бога-творця), яка мені сьогодні запала в око, коли я переглядала, з думкою що б запостити.

З днем народження!

Ібн Арабі

Витягла з книжкової полиці книжку, і відкрила навмання (взагалі ніколи цього не роблю, чого зробила сьогодні – не знаю), а там таке:

Thirty seventh hadith

According to Abu Hurayra, the Messenger of God, may God give him blessings and peace, said concerning the Day of Resurrection:

I shall cry: “My community, O Lord! My community, O Lord! My community, O Lord!”
God will reply: “O Muhammad, bring in those of your community who have nothing to account for through the Right Gate of the Gates of Paradise. They are the equals of other men [who will enter Paradise] with respect to the other Gates.”

От, тепер міркую, що б це мало значити. А на сусідній сторінці оце:

Thirty ninth hadith

According to Abu Hurayra, the Prophet, may God give him blessings and peace, said:

God, ever exalted is He, says: “O child of Adam, devote yourself exclusively to My worship, and I shall fill your breast with riches and preserve you from poverty. If you do not do this, I shall fill your hands with labour, and preserve you not from poverty.”

Про гори – Кайлаш

Мій цьогорічний візит до Індії пройшов, крім всього іншого, під знаком розмов про “паломництво” до Кайлашу. Внаслідок жаркої пори року, в нашому медитаційному центрі в Мумбаї не-індійців були одиниці. Одною з них була Ніна з Москви – жінка невизначеного для мене віку (десь мабуть між 40 і 50) з минулим московського юриста, і непоганим індійським досвідом – вона прожила в Індії кілька років, з’їздила її вздовж і впоперек, і може годинами розповідати, куди варто поїхати і що подивитися. Причому їй це все вдалося з дуже млявою англійською. Крім кольору шкіри і опікунства над двома дядьками з Татарстану, які зовсім не знали англійської, нас з Ніною поєднувало ще й те, що її порадницею теж була Нейна, от тільки на відміну від мене Ніна досить пофігістськи ставилися до формальностей процесу – “домашнє завдання” не робила взагалі, або робила тільки те, що сама вважала за потрібне, постійно порушували всякі дрібні правила і намагалася втягнути мене в якісь дрібні пригоди. Я в принципі не проти була, бо не надто люблю організовувати і планувати якісь вилазки, то власне вона показала мені і мол, і друге Інтернет-кафе (коли “моє” було зачинене), і ше б показала де за рогом кури продають, а де рибу, якби мене не влаштовувала повністю наша внутрішня кухня, і якби дрібні продуктові магазинчики всього Мумбая не були на страйку. Шкода, що ми з нею тільки на одні вихідні перетнулися, а то б вона мене точно на якісь при-мумбайські місця туристичної слави звозила – ті самі печери Елефанти, про які я вже другий раз говорю, що ніби й не проти подивитися, а все ніяк не доїду, або й оригінальніше щось.

Не знаю, чим вона зараз в Москві займається (зазвичай не задаю малознайомим людям особистих запитань, тому знаю про них тільки те, що самі розповідають), але факт що вона приїхала цього разу до Індії десь на пів-року якраз на найнеправильнішу погоду, заради того, щоб поїхати на Кайлаш. Кайлаш знаходиться в Тібеті, тобто щоб потрапити туди потрібні китайські візи, а також всякі інші формальні дозволи китайського уряду – Ніна казала мені, що чула багато історій про невдалі виїзди на Кайлаш, коли поїздки зривалися в останній момент, і бажаючі, вже прилетівши в Катманду, чи, ще краще, приїхавши до китайського кордону, дізнавалися, що нічого не буде, бо на Кайлаш китайці раптом вирішили “не пускати”, туристична фірма при тому вмивала руки, немалі гроші просто пропадали. Тобто, враховуючи непрості міжнародні відносини в регіоні, там може вийти по-всякому, і Ніна дуже старанно вибрала фірму, і добре перевірила через якісь їй відомі джерела – я не вникала, які саме. Як виявилося, такий самий виїзд на Кайлаш, і з тою самою туристичною фірмою, тільки на інші дати, зібралася також і наша Нейна (що додало Ніні неабиякої певності). А через те, що Ніна англійську знає трохи приблизно, вона мене попросила помогти їх поперечитувати брошури з остаточними описами маршруту та інструкціями, а ще й заодно сходити з нею на останню зустріч з її тур-агентом, де вона хотіла задати запитання і переконатися (з моєю допомогою), що вона все правильно розуміє. Ну то я тепер теоретично підкована з питань виїздів до Кайлашу.

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Das Gedicht (1968)

Остання Гайдегерова лекція, і я від неї просто вмліваю. Осьо кострубаті спроби поділитися вмліванням. ням.

“Довгий/ час”
Наскільки ж довгий, питаємо. Настільки довгий, що простягається геть аж поза наш теперішній безбожний вік. Відповідно до цього довгого часу, мусить також і передчасне слово поета бути довгим – далеко-чекаючим. Воно мусить кликати “велику долю”. Воно мусить віршувати прихід теперішніх богів.
Але ж чи мусить те, що “теперішнє”, спочатку прибути? Тільки от “прибуття” тут не значить “бути вже прибулим”, а означає подію ранішого прибутя.  Ті, що прибувають таким чином,  показують себе у справжньому наближуванні. В цьому приході вони у свій спосіб сучасні з митцем: ті, що прибувають є су-часними богами. …

“Але тому, що так близько сучасні боги,
мушу я бути таким, ніби вони далеко-далеко, і темним у хмарах
мусять мені бути їх імена, лише перед тим як ранок
зажевріє, лише перед тим як життя засвітиться опівдні,
називаю їх тихо собі…”

Ми чуємо двічі “мус-“. Одне стоїть на початку другого, інше на початку третього рядка. Одне “мушу” стосується відношення поета до присутності сучасних богів. Інше “мусять” стосується виду імен, якими поет називає сучасних богів. Наскільки одне й інше “мус-” належать і стосуються того самого, а саме, віршування, до якого Гьольдерлін бачить себе змушеним, проявиться, коли стане виразнішим, якому виду віршування поет мусить віддатися.

“тому, що так близько сучасні боги”
Дивно – хотілобся вважати, що якщо сучасні боги такі близькі поетові, тоді і називання їхніх імен мало би датися само собою, і не вимагало би від поета жодних особливих вказівок (?). Однак “так близько” значить не “достатньо близько”, а “надто близько”. Гімн Патмос починається:
“Близький і важковловимий Бог.” “і” означає “і тому”. Бог надто близько, щоб його було легко вловити.

Місце, з якого поет повинен назвати богів, мусить мути таким, щоб ті, кого слід назвати, у сучасності свого прибування залишалися далекими, і власне так  – прибуваючими. Щоб ця даль відкрилася як даль, поет повинен вийняти себе з тяжіючої близькості богів, і їх “лише тихо називати”.

“Часто мусимо ми мовчати; бракують нам святі імена”
Мовчати – називається лише це: нічого не казати, залишатися німим? Чи лише той може справді мовчати, хто має що сказати? В такому випадку, мовчав би до найвищої міри той, кому б вдалося у своєму казанні і власне таки через нього, дозволити проявитися несказанному, власне як такому.

Поет називає собі “сучасних богів” “тихо”. “Тихий” означає: стишений, заспокоєний, в такому спокої, в якому покоїться поєднання із своїм призначенням, де воно відповідає святій вимозі і задоволене нею.

Сучасні боги, що наближаються здаля, призначені поетові як ті, кого слід назвати в поклику. Їхня надто близька присутність змушує його забрати своє називаюче казання на вже згадуване далеке місце.

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