My association with my Guruji, late Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar, a Dhrupad maestro, has been a very strong experience in my life. And dhrupad on its own is a very powerful medium to create a spiritual experience. Together, it is now a combination of connection to the person through whom I experienced the divine and also a medium for me to directly connect.
4th May, 2015: During a dhrupad concert by Gundecha Brothers both these cords were rightly struck and very soon I was in a space that I experienced with so much clarity.
When the recital began, I sat in the meditation posture and closed my eyes. I wanted to concentrate and enjoy the music and make the most of each moment. I remembered my Guruji and said thanks to him in my mind. The tunes and the voices were traveling inside me, resonating with my cells, opening them up, making them more receptive as the concert proceeded. By the time the pakhawaj started, I did not realize I was already pulled a little inside. With each beat on the pakhawaj now my body started to vibrate and hit my head again and again. Only when I wanted to open my eyes, I realized I was too far gone. My eyelids were forcefully shut, my eye balls rolled back. My body became motionless. The music itself was less and less heard as I was going further and further away.
Meditation on different days were different experiences. Some days it was a struggle to even peel through the first layer and some days to go deeper would be much easier. But during that moment it was a struggle the other way. The pull from within was so strong, it was difficult to remain on the surface.
I hesitated a bit initially, not knowing, if I really gave in, how and when will I return. But like a strong magnet it kept pulling me more and more inward. I then decided to give in. “Show me what you want me to see. Take me where you want me to be.” I gave in to that mysterious force that kept pulling me inside.
It took me very deep to a space very restful, where the motion of traveling inward had ended.
I tried to understand that space. It felt like the entire Universe has a core and I was in the center of that magnet. It constantly is pulling everything towards it and that pull is love. I realized that this centre was the centre of everything. This coincides with the centre of me, of the Sun, of the Moon, of all the planets, of the Earth, of you, of us and of the entire Universe and everything in it. For everything there is a common centre, and that is what connects us all. This is that navel of Vishnu from which everything emerged.
Just to try the intensity of the space, like an astronaut who would jump on the surface of the moon to test the gravity, like a lover who would intentionally push away just to be pulled back in, I forcefully tried to go away from there. I tried to move upwards towards the surface again. I tried to open my eyes and disturb the stillness. It only loosened the embrace a bit and I was taken back again.
I tried to further explore that moment and understand. I was not my body anymore and yet I existed and existence was the only truth I felt. There was a clarity and stillness like being very deep underneath a lake. If needed, thought could be evoked and it would come like a bubble and serve its purpose and leave to witness and experience.
I did not know how long I remained there but gradually my ears started to collect sound again. I could hear faint, muffled voices from a very distant surface. I could make out by the increasing voices of the people that the concert had come to an end. The grip from the center was loosening and gently and slowly I was released. I swam towards the surface and came back to the shore again. When I opened my eyes, the hall room slowly came to my vision. I found myself seated there. I stood up and touched the feet of the musicians. The power of music that evening was immense.