An Extravagance to Celebrate the Most Exuberant One
Over the years, Isha's Mahashivratri celebrations have grown into an exhilarating extravagance to coax body and mind into forgetting the need for sleep, so that we may make use of the extraordinary energies available on this rare night.
This year's program began with the melodious sounds of the living legend Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia's flute, lulling everyone into stillness. He was accompanied by Grammy-award-winning percussionist Vikku Vinayakram who charmed the audience with both his amazing, fluttering hands on the ghatam , and his electric presence. After a powerful chanting of Nirvana Shatakam by Isha's Brahmacharis, the crowd was graced by Sadhguru's opening discourse in which he explained the significance of Mahashivarathri, following up with a powerful meditation process.
Thus prepared, everybody settled in for an uplifting night. Then came Asima, a group headed by Devissaro, an unassuming presence with a wider scope of skill than is usually witnessed within one performing artist. His varied talents mesmerized the crowd to such an extent that only reluctantly, they released him to make way for the ever popular percussion virtuoso Anandan Sivamani. Accompanied this year by a collection of other artists performing on the electric guitar, the violin, and the saxophone, the audience gyrated to the various beats.
The highlight of the evening for some was the spontaneous coming together of the varied drummers in a jam session which expressed their unbridled joy in their art. Such joy was contagious, pulling the crowd to their feet, and making them move to the beat of those drums.
By the middle of the night, the audience anxiously awaited Sadhguru's returned presence and his answers to their questions. With their thirst for knowledge quenched, they were then ready to receive Annadhanam, an offering of food for this entire multitudinous crowd.
As the night wore on and fatigue began to play on those in attendance, the stage was conquered by the electronic music with an Indian soul of MIDIval Punditz. Though undoubtedly unusual to some, the music compelled the audience to jump up and joyfully dance through the last several hours of the long night.
Just before dawn, an exuberant night concluded with Sounds of Isha, Sadhguru's closing words, and the reverberation of 'Shambho' rising from hundreds of thousands of throats.
Again this year, the nightlong Mahashivarathri celebrations in Isha have opened up the possibility of a profound spiritual experience for an ever growing number of people from all walks of life who may not even have dreamed of being touched by his Grace.