- Created on Sunday, 23 August 2009 07:31
I sit here in a little pension in the mountains. I guess you could call it the Japanese Alps (Yatsugatake), we're about 1300 m high. It's late afternoon and we have just arrived here from Kyoto, the city of geishas, temples and incense sticks.
We had a 7 hour drive, which we interrupted with a stopover at the house of Satprem, who lives deep in the heart of the countryside, near Nagoya. We were welcomed there with great food, beautiful smiles, and fresh clean air. An Osho welcome, Japanese style. (One of the things that never changes, country to country).
We are now coming towards the end of our three week tour here, and I can honestly say we have enjoyed every minute. Tomorrow we will start a three day workshop with another full group of participants, who will be making the three hour trip from Tokyo to join us. Immediately after, we'll be on the plane back to Germany.
Miten and I have travelled so much in the last 10 years, and actually I find that most countries are pretty much the same...there are not so many surprises. But here in Japan, almost everything feels different! And that's what I love so much about it.
Let's see if I can give you a little idea of what I mean.... For example, the train conductor bows each time he enters and leaves the compartment (which he does backwards), no matter if anyone is looking or not. It's another of those Japanese rituals that you see everywhere....and I have been so touched by them.
And of course the houses and temples are so beautiful and always immaculately clean and aesthetic.
...The sight of the Japanese writing everywhere (I found myself always looking for some familiar signs, and all I could find were western numbers, or the names of train stations)...the profusion of vending machines even in the tiniest village (where you can buy every drink from green tea to Coke, to all kinds of fruit and vegetable juice)... the loudspeakers which remind you it's 5 o'clock in the afternoon, with melodies like Greensleeves (strange, but true)...Actually, the piped music in Japan is something of an obsession. You hear it everywhere, consistently, all the time, day and night, in hotel lobby's, restrooms, restaurants, elevators, banks, tea rooms, train stations, etc etc. Here's an (extreme) example: We'd just finished our concert in Osaka, and we'd just landed in that sacred space that Gaté Gaté transports us to. The whole auditorium was in darkness, there wasn't a sound in the room... when all of a sudden, out the speakers creeps the delicate strains of a piped Japanese version of Auld Langs Sine!! (true)... ha...The concert was over!
We loved the elegant bamboo forests, the bath houses (men and women separated, so could've been more fun), often with natural hot spring water in the bath tubs...wow, and the expensive-ness of everything! (8 DM for a cup of green tea is not unusual)...the delicate trembling of the earth that you sometimes feel while laying in bed...and taking off of your shoes whenever you enter houses, restaurants, restrooms, and being provided with the tiniest houseshoes imaginable (Miten looked hilarious)...all these things remind us...AH YES, WE ARE IN JAPAN!
Our first Japanese experience was our arrival in the ancient city of Kamakura, about 90 minutes from Tokyo.
Kamakura has many beautiful temples, including Chiyono's, which became our favourite. The well where she collected the water is still there, and it became a kind of pilgrimage for Miten, who took sannyas inspired by the story Osho once told of her enlightenment.
The city is surrounded by beautiful nature and has a very relaxed, laid back feel to it. It was a great way to arrive. We had time to adjust to Japan without being overwhelmed by the masses of people and noise. Like, for instance, in downtown Tokyo or Osaka, where you wonder how people can survive the sheer intensity of the noise pollution that they're bombarded with. Actually, nobody seems to notice!
After two days in Kamakura, we were driven to Tokyo by our gracious host, Gatasansa, for our first concert. We were happily surprised to arrive at a beautiful concert hall with about 200 seats, every one full for the concert. It was a very delicate space we all entered into that evening, only a week after the terrorist attacks in NYC, and it was such a very tender, vulnerable, sweet and silent gathering. The singing that evening was so delicious, a new sound for us, the Japanese accent, and Miten and I were both moved by the beauty of the voices.
We dedicated The Gayatri Mantra to the victims of the WTC attack, and the hearts and voices of everyone present flew out into the universe, with such love.
The next day we had an afternoon workshop, also very full and well attended and very, very enjoyable.... Thanks here, to our tour organiser, Jagruti, who worked miracles for us, wherever we went.
After Tokyo we went to Osaka, via Izu, where we visited our friends Upasak and Parampara, whose tiny, wooden traditional house looks out onto Mount Fuji. Osaka is just a big, big city, comparable to Sao Paulo or Milano, and apart from the people, I couldn't find much beauty in it.
But the concert, again full, and the workshop which preceded it, went very well. And although smaller than in Tokyo, no less warm. The response of the people to our coming was filled with so much love and appreciation. We have been made to feel so welcome, and so taken care of, and must say ''love and thanks'' to our friends Viru, Ritambhara and Anubhav, who played such a big part in making us feel at home in Osaka. Ritambhara's chai is legendary in this part of the world, and quite rightly so!!
A big question mark for us was the food, because Japanese food contains so much fish or meat, and we are both vegetarians...but actually we always found good, tasty dishes...miso soup, rice, sea weed, tofu, tempura, and vegetables. We had our limits stretched with Natto though (fermented soya beans), an acquired taste for sure, extremely healthy and loved in Japan. But very alien to our taste buds, (I'm being polite here!). I guess some things do just take time!
In Osaka we discovered a great Italian restaurant, which Miten visited every chance he got, not only for the food, but also, I suspect, for the waitress who was so cute! What a sweet soul she was.
After Osaka, we were invited to visit the main Shinto shrine for Sarasvati, the Goddess of music and dance. The invitation came directly from Guji-san, the head priest of the temple, so it was a great honour for us.
The shrine, which is over 1000 years old, is tucked away in the mountains, and is a stunning place. Our visit was planned for October 1st, which happened to be the day of a fire ceremony. There were about 20 monks there, all dressed in traditional clothes. It was like a movie, only real! They went through the various rituals of a warrior-like dialogue, archery, fire ceremony and eventually fire walking, in which we also participated, much to the monks delight. I was so touched to be a witness to it all. It felt very intimate, almost as if we were part of a secret rite.
In the evening we participated in a Shinto ceremony, which included the chanting of the Heart Sutra of Buddha, Gaté Gaté. (A bit different to our version!). This was followed by a concert from Devakant, who has been a regular visitor to the temple for many years, and is obviously well loved by Guji-san. For us, it was a treat to see our friend there. It seems this has become his second home, and his command of the Japanese language totally impressed us!
We were told that Guji-san is a rebel and often in trouble with the temple authorities (remind you of anyone?). In 1988 Osho sent him a robe, a hat, and shoes. All these gifts are treasured and are kept in a vault underneath the temple. Guji-san loves Osho and once visited Pune back in 1979.
The next morning was a highlight for us both. We were invited for tea with Guji-san. During our talk, Miten offered for us to sing to him, and he immediately created a ceremony right there and then! This is the kind of wild man he is!
Within minutes, we were at the foot of the altar, already a great honour in itself, but then we were taken up the stairs to the High Altar, where we sang The Gayatri Mantra.
Guji-san, who had changed into his full priest regalia, had somehow informed everybody in the temple, so monks and visitors alike gathered in silence while we sang. He then recited an invocation, which we followed by more singing: The Other Side, and Gate Gate.
The most amazing part was, while we were singing, the sun suddenly broke through the clouds, and two beautiful doves fluttered down and perched on the alter in front of the gathering!! (I swear this is true!) They continued to sit there with us until the singing was over, then they took off again. Afterwards, Guji-san payed us the highest compliment, saying that if the whole world could hear our music there would be peace on Earth. A tribute we will never forget.
So...I hope you have a little idea of how precious our time at Tenkawa was...and I hope, between us (like everything else, Miten and I wrote this message together!), we have conveyed something of our experiences in this magical, mysterious country.
With love from both of us,
ps. The afterword of this little travelogue, is that the group we were waiting for turned out to be one of those amazing gatherings, when the heart just explodes into immense gratitude.
Miten, who had been feeling a little low in his energy before the group began, was 100% healed by the end!
For three days we just melted into one singing, dancing, sharing organism. And if any of you guys from Japan are reading this, we want to say just one more time, from the bottom of our hearts, ''Beloveds...Arigato!!''
Beloved Miten, Deva
Thank you for coming to Japan on a really right time. It was great to meet you.. Just a week ago before you came, seeing the accident in NYC and looking the war getting ready time to time, I had been asking myself what we can do. But no good answer I could find out, the feeling of powerlessness were getting bigger inside me. when I listened this beautiful Gayatri Mantra in a concert, I was amazed the power this Mantra. It has such a deep purification and a function to bring all the energy to our center, to purifize our conciousness and bring it into silence. In the moment I could feel ' maybe the humanity can be all right.....in this opportunity, I hope we will clean up the basement of unconciousness of all humanity's mind. I am so glad to pray with Miten, Deva and everyone in 7 o'clock, in white robe time, and to be surrounded by everyone's light. Let's enjoy fully the dawn of this new age... I wish we will see you again! Much Love,
~ Ma Kisha Gautami
Beloved Miten and Deva
Closing the eyes, I remember the moment of morning satsang in the workshop..such a peace and bliss was overflowing in the air which was so transparent and shining..!
Whenever you started singing, the sun appeared between the clouds immediately..this is not a metaphor, it happened everyday!
Even such a happenings were very ordinary with you, we have lived in miracle for ?days together.
Suddenly being touched by the beauty of friends, finding such a jewel of myself,watching your unordinary ordinariness..my heart was filled and tears overflew.
You did not do anything "special", in that way you showed us how life is beautiful as it is.Without any effort, showered with a radiant love... suddenly, YES,THIS IS IT..HERE WE ARE!
It was exactly the feeling like the river meets the ocean. This is not a ordinary love affair..Japan fell in love with you! Gratitude
Beloved Miten & Deva
Thank you so much for 3 days.
My daily life came back, but I often notice the body overflows with the sound.For years I had put myself on the place to work to get rid of a suffering and emotions which I have been avoiding to recognize. I got addicted to do it, even though I got tired to fiddle with myself, I could not stop it.
In this workshop, I just sung.,.just singing, laughing, looking into each other.The body shed tears a lot which I could not find a reason for.In the deep breath and silence after singing and dancing, I was watching an "empty" cup which came to be fulfilled with something like a warm light and expanded endlessly.There are no reason at all for all happenings.Just because I had felt so much joy and happiness,I cried a lot.
Through 3 days, the vastness, depth and strength which was given by doing something simple visited my body, the bliss still makes my heart full. Thank you so much for coming Japan. I am looking forward to see you again.
Today I got home. Thank you very much, I really enjoyd. When Miten said that sing a song in a train going back to home, everybody laughed. But because we (with Samantha, Yaeko, Hiromi) could not find a seat on the train, we were standing between the coaches and singing all the way! The sound of train protected our singing. We all were saying it was better than sitting. Until the end, everything was beautiful.
I think everybody who went back by train must did the same. The world is in such a situation now, to heal each other is important now. I agree with what Miten said at the end of workshop that not to try to heal someone, to be in a space of love as everyone is important.
Anyway I will go to Greece next year, so I hope the world will be all right until that time! LOVE
~ MUKAM (3days participants)
Dear Miten & Deva,
Thank you for coming to JAPAN. Thank you for many beautiful songs. Thank you for joy of singing. Thank you for your guide to silence. Thank you for your patient and huge tenderness. Thank you for your beauty and LOVE. I miss you so much even now. We cannot back to the past.But the love that you gave me will carry on in my heart. If you will come to Japan again someday, I will go!!! Have a nice trip and take care of yourself. Thank you,Thank you,Thank you!!!
~ YAEKO OKADAYA ("Yaeko", my firstname, means the Child of Eternal Glory. "Okadaya", my last name, means the hill and the field and the valley)
My dear Miten and Deva,
I really can't find the sound word to describe the incredible 3 days I spent with you....so I decided to add a new adjective to my dictionary. "Miten and Deva"!
Thanks ever ever so much for the Miten and Deva time and also for the heavenly hugs...so beautiful..so beautiful, Miten, Deva you're so beautiful together. Until next time... Big love
~ Kayo XXX
Beloved Deva & Miten,
The magic is strong and subtle, everyday I sing and listen to your song, I notice the feeling of my body is like after Cranio bodywork everyday. Something deep is changinng and changing..I never imagine the music can make a magic like this..
How is everything?
The magic is still continuing inside me and everyone around me. This is a kind of shock statement..Now I am always feeling to be sorrunded by ocean of silence, pray and love from nowhere. It is incredibly beautiful, sometimes I just cry... such a deep cleaning is happenig for inside spaces which has not been really touched by anything and anyone before. What you gave us was much much more than I was expecting, it was an amazing gift for my life to be with you now in this way. Already I am more than full!
Dear Miten & Deva,
That was absolutely beautiful evening that we had at the place tonight!! Definitely I was brought into a peaceful moment. I thank your voice, your existence, and people brought you to Japan.
I often struggling myself in busy, big city Tokyo, but it seems that the atmosphere you create by song and spirit always bring me to the calm space......(It is a miracle, isn't it?) I hope you would have pleasant stay in Japan, and I will keep touching your voices from my audio at home. And I wish I could join your workshop somewhere in the world again. Take care + Much love.
Dear Miten & Deva,
Thank you so much for your present to Japan. I experienced a beautiful moment in harmony. You showed us that people, including materialistic person like me, can join together in harmony in song and silence. I have been working at District Court and Family Court in Japan for 12 years afer graduation. Because I have been in such a practial business so long, I felt ashamed to meet you. However,When you sat at the same table with me at breakfast, you poured me a coffee I cannot forget the moment. I cannot forget your tenderness. I have felt that I am constantly asked to help people who is in trouble with other people. They need both material and emotional satisfaction. I always wonder ..how can I help them to get a peace in their mind. I feel it is difficult to feel a peace even in myself! And sometimes I went the wrong way to seek a peace, so that ironically I felt that I lost myself. When you and the group chanted my name "kenji" and you thouched my forehead, I heard a divine call. You taught us, answering our questions. "It is difficult to get rid of the darkness. but,you can light up the darkness. Everyone has the light. To keep the light burning, it is better to find a spiritual leader, to join the sangh, and to practice meditation." The words will lead me.
I promise to keep the light burning. Exercises are excellent, too! I began to pat my body with hands at work. It is good to relax. I do Master's Exercise a-o-u-e-i at home. Thank you so much again. You brought a great joy in Japan and for me. Have a nice stay in Germany. I hope to see you again.
~ Kenji Nishizaki
After the concert in Tokyo, one friend told me,"The music and singing of Deva is so beautiful that a tears fill my eyes, but in my eyes Miten is just very tender nice middle-age guy..".
Yes, in a different meaning, I agree with what she said. But, How beautiful "to be a just tender middle-age guy"is..! Remembering the love you shared with us, a tears overflow. I wish if I could be one who are full of love like you. You really got pure love!
At a first time I listened your song, I felt it's a good song, beautiful and sofisticated. That's all feeling at that time. But singing with you in the group, I could feel the beauty of Mantra song from inside more. Thank you. See you again
PS I would like to ask you a message for your friend, Rajrishi.. Listening to your CDs and Devakants',I have been feeling his play is also so great..if there is a chance, please tell tell him. Thank you.
Dear Miten & Deva
I am thankful to have joined your nice workshop in Yatsugatake. Since then, I am singing everyday, so I am happy and healthy. During the workshop, I became aware that I had not accepted yet my name "Hiromi" as one who had been loved by my parents.
I felt a kind of shame and lost my presence of mind when many people called my name. I was named by my grand-father. To my sorrow , I and my parents do not know why he named me Hiromi. I am going to ask him about my name next time when I meet him. By the way, I drew a picture of "Maria with stars" in balcony today. In the picture, Maria is singing delightfully with bright stars on a sea of clouds.
When I met Deva , the image of Maria in my heart became clear. The voice of Deva makes me feel nostalgy. Maybe I had listened the beautiful voice anywhere, long long ago.
The group with Miten & Deva reminds me a feeling from childhood. Without any struggle inside, it was calm and beautiful. All the effort to be strong, to go beyond was not needed, Just singing and dancing with Mantra which I don't really know what it means, I could feel so easy! Just beautiful! Thank you...All the tenderness among everyone touched my heart. Perhaps those happy days were made of everyone's heart!
Miten & Deva,
Thank you for very beautiful time with you. I have been longing for singing with my true voice. And I have been thinking if I could share my love to sing with many people. Especially the children love singing very much! It is so pity that their love used to Loose by the situation and opinion around them. Miten's message , " our voice are ourselves, to look for your own voice is to look for yourself", encouraged me a lot. Also once Deva told us that she her new voice appeared when the block in the body was away, I remembered the deep connection between the body and voice.
It was the third day when I was enjoying a feeling for expression inside and a connection with friends through singing and silence. When we were singing hallelujah, Finally the voice which was trying to come out overflew. It was such a wonderful gift for me. I wish all the being in the world can remind their own lights and could listen their harmony.
With gratitude and love to you who are sharing a lot of love through singing
" Miten and Premal are extraordinary artists who open into profound depths of stillness from which their exquisite music is born. They carry the listener into realms of ecstasy, bliss, joy, laughter - breaking our hearts wide open, carrying us back into the stillness within. It is a rare blessing to experience the beauty of their song... "
Brandon Bays (Author of 'The Journey')
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