A rapturous night with the Divine
Isha Foundationcelebrated Mahashivaratri in 2011, on 3rd March at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains, with over 8 lakh people from all parts of the world gathering at the Isha Yoga Center. Sadhguru’s discourses and powerful meditations were accompanied by musical performances by celebrated Sufi and Qawwali vocalists, The Wadali Brothers – Padma Shri Ustad Puranchand Wadali & Ustad Pyarelal Wadali, Prem Joshua & Band – Pioneer Extraordinaire in World Fusion Music, and Tabla/Fusion Virtuoso Bickram Ghosh. Television channels Aastha, Zee Tamil, Shankara TV and TV5 telecast the celebrations live, to a pan-Indian audience of over 30 million people.
Sounds of Ishakicked off the evening with a joyful array of tunes, sending a warm welcome to all those arriving. A feeling of anticipation for the big night pierced the air. By 6:45, the music switched to the turbulent drums and exciting tribal dancing of the Mysore Drummers. Moments later, Sadhguru arrived, and the performers amped up the beating of the drums to their utmost level of intensity – making all our hearts pound in unison. The crowds cheered with excitement – the night had officially begun!
The artful Sufimusic of the Wadali Brothers ensued, sending us all into a meditative state of awareness, followed by heightened states of ecstasy. The Wadali Brothers, who come from a lineage of Sufi musicians, sing freely as a homage to the divine. They believe that spiritual heights can be attained if one sings unreservedly, and indeed, it was a night of harmony for all those in their presence. The pinnacle came during their final piece, “Mast Kalandar”, which got the crowds out of their seats, dancing and clapping to the ecstatic heights of the vocals and instruments.
The midnight meditationfollowed and Sadhguru led the participants through a powerful energy process. The entire grounds became still as meditators absorbed this influx of energy on this powerful night. The meditations intensified with passionate chanting and then spilled into the powerful Pancha Bhuta Aradhana Arati by the Brahmacharies. Fire dancing and the pounding of the drums again lifted the night to a new level of excitement. Sadhguru chanted “Mahadeva”, and Sounds of Isha joined in with vocals and instruments. Sadhguru then took questions as they came in live across the world through the web.
Next upwas percussionist Bikram Ghosh. His mix of Hindustani classical and fusion was mesmerizing and he entertained all of us by weaving humorous stories into his lightning speed percussion. At 3:30 am, world music pioneer Prem Joshua set off some incredible blends of music inspired by both Eastern and Western styles.
And of course,Sounds of Isha played the familiar tunes that got everybody on their feet and singing in unison. By 5:45 am, the crowds refused to let the evening end and chanted “Sounds of Isha” repeatedly. They got their way and SOI played a few encore performances much to everyone’s delight!
Sadhguru then took the stage and closed the festivities with Mahadeva chanting. The standing crowds held their hands together and focused on the Master, unable to let go of his presence.