The first time I sang solo for Avatar Adi Da was on Naitauba
Island in Fiji in 1985. It was during a period of time when Adi Da's Work
included many occasions where He would gather together with His devotees for extended
periods of instruction, conversation, and enjoyment of dance and music. These
occasions were full of love and humor and would last for hours. It was a setting
where we could speak and ask Him questions. After some period of time in the evening,
we would listen to opera and other music and we would all sing together ecstatically.
One night, He invited me to sing for Him. I had written a song called Lost
in Love that expressed my love and devotion to Him as His devotee. There were
about thirty devotees in the room. As I stood up I felt uncharacteristically nervous
and self-conscious and my voice was "small", constricted, and coming from my head.
Adi Da was seated before me smiling and giving me His full attention. He could
see that I was nervous.
Adi Da gracefully began to wave His arms in the
air like an encouraging conductor and started to sing with me even though He had
never heard this song before. Then He placed His hands on His heart, then His
chest, and then on His belly. As he did so, I could feel Him instructing me to
sing from the heart, from my navel, and all the way down to my toes. My entire
body began to open and before I knew what happened, I was being sung. A great
relaxation was occurring. I no longer felt concerned and fearful. I felt sheer
joy. There was no longer an obstruction in the throat or chest or navel. There
was a wide-open channel of song flowing out of me effortlessly and I felt bathed
in His Love. I had never sung like this before. What I was singing about actually
was physically demonstrated to me — I became "lost in love".
was remarkable! Not only was it the most potent voice lesson I had ever had, but
Adi Da also perfectly communicated the essence of His teaching to me — the
choice to turn in on myself and feel shut down, contracted, as a separate self,
like a clenched fist — or to be like an open hand and drawn beyond self
into the ecstasy of Divine Love-Bliss and communion with Him. I was weeping with
happiness at this revelation and I have never forgotten this lesson. At the end
of the song everyone was clapping and cheering, and Adi Da exclaimed, "Bravo!
As you can imagine, after such an evening, I could feel the longing
to repeat this incredible experience. I was on retreat for a month so there were
many more evenings of such occasions with Bhagavan Adi Da. I felt the desire to
sing to Him again and again. But an interesting lesson was shown to me. If I volunteered
to sing, I could feel the search to "perform" and be the center of attention and
Adi Da obviously felt it. So when I asked and was in that state, He would tell
me to just sit down. The time was not right and that was immediately reflected
back to me. I'd let it go and forget about singing and just participate by bringing
my energy to the occasion in other ways. When I would least expect it, and my
attention was fully given over to Him in love, then He would invite me up to sing.
Night after night I would be given this lesson. Each time my heart would be broken
in love. He would give me the sweetest regard and fully receive my devotion.
the years, musical occasions with Bhagavan Adi Da became what He referred to as
"Sacred Offerings". Musicians were there to make an offering to Him that serves
everyone's participation in the fact that He is there granting His Sublime Darshan.
It creates occasion for people to give Him their attention. The attention was
not on the musicians, we would be there simply to serve the occasion by providing
contemplative music. I remember one occasion in 2004 in Samraj Mahal, an exquisite
Temple on the island of Naitauba. It is a beautiful open-air Pavilion overlooking
the ocean. Tropical breezes waft through the environment and it is wholly conducive
and pleasurable to sit in such a pristine setting. This particular evening a lounge-type
chair was set up for Bhagavan that allowed Him to sit either cross-legged in His
accustomed manner, or to extend His legs and feet out down the length of the chair.
was particularly appreciative of this change in His chair, as from where I was
sitting, and with the chair angled off center a bit, His hands and feet would
point directly at me. We sat to the side, but only about five feet away from Him.
For a time he did sit cross-legged, but when He unfolded his legs, I felt a Transmission
flowing from His Feet that was almost too much to conduct at times.
I felt His Divine Touch Infusing my entire being. It rested me in deep contemplation,
and the music poured out of me from a much deeper place. It was that feeling again
of having my throat and the entire frontal
line wide open, and He drew everything out of me effortlessly.
once talked to Him about what happens when I sing for Him and how I lose my mind,
the body opens up to Him, and the voice just comes out. I don't even know where
it comes from sometimes. His response was very sweet. He said:
The sacred art of music has
become my main form of service to Avatar Adi Da over these last thirty-two years.
He has given hours of instruction on the true meaning of sacred art, where one
is transformed and enters into communion with the Divine. He spoke about the need
for the Sacred Domain, a place that is set apart for sacred activities, meditation,
worship and chant, a holy place, a temple where we can contemplate, free of the
need to interact socially. The occasions that I described earlier are examples
of that Sacred Domain. An artist or musician in that circumstance serves the sacred
occasion through music, not through drawing attention to him/herself. As Adi Da
once instructed us: