After the Kabir Fest rocked Mumbai earlier this month, it was now Pune’s turn to feel the magic of the mystic weaver poet. Shabnam, director of the Kabir Project was at The Urban Ashram yesterday along with her friends Vipul Rikhi, Gopal Singh Chouhan (manjiras) and Ajay Tipanya (dholak) to take us on a musical journey into the poetry of mystics like Kabir, Shah Latif, et al.
About 30 seekers gathered together at 6 am for an intimate early morning satsang, which began with an hour of silence. What made this silence gathering even more beautiful was the anticipation of the satsang that was to begin at 7 am.
When we closed the silence hour with 3 bells; bright eyes, open hearts and quiet minds greeted the musicians as they started tuning their instruments. Shabnam shared that she was hoping to get all of us to sing along with the musicians as well as share their feelings/ reflections/ interpretations of the songs.. And participate we sure did!!
Mystical poetry comes layered with many hidden messages and pointers for a seeker to discover the inner truth. Shabnam has an amazing gift, whereby she can interpret this poetry to make it applicable and understandable to the journey of an urban seeker.
As the morning progressed, the deeper we went into this magic land. Some songs evoked deep stillness while some like the popular “Mat kar maya ko ahankar” had all 30 of us playfully and joyfully clap and sing along.
After every song, we would take a few minutes to share what the music was invoking (and evoking) in us. Shabnam kept all of us engaged with her thought provoking questions and interpretations and we experienced multi dimensional perspectives in every song.
An older gentleman visiting from Princeton, USA shared “In such gatherings, my chattering mind quietens down, and I am able to see my inner truth more clearly!”
Another lady shared “I am feeling all the scattered parts of my being come together with your songs. I am experiencing a deeper acceptance of all parts of me, whether good, bad or ugly!”.
And this eloquent email just came in from Neha today about her experience:
“My heart is jumping with joy after listening to Shabnam’s intense voice. Sitting right in front of her, getting tuned with her divine and feeling the sacred in these Bhajans. I believe shift has happened in me with my awareness. I feel the flow within me being connected to divine. How beautifully she explained that we all seekers who are walking our own journey feels they have left it all behind. However there is subtle form of ego in us without our awareness which also needs to be renounced. Feeling deep gratitude for all these realizations happening within me!”
Later in the day, as we visited our favorite Either Or, the Universe delighted me yet again as conditions ripened for a spontaneous little satsang right in the middle of the shop. As we were waiting for the others to finish shopping, I requested Vipul to share the tune of “Hove Re”, a beautiful song that he learnt from Mahesha Ram, a folk singer from Rajasthan. As he started singing, one by one all the others in the shop dropped whatever it was that they were doing and soon we had Shabnam joining in as well as Gopal (sans manjira) clicking away to give us musical support. When we finally ended, there was a beautiful energy all around the space with beaming smiles on everyone’s faces. Love these little surprises that the Universe keeps throwing my way and deeply grateful for the same!
Before leaving Pune, Shabnam gifted me a 4 DVD set of her now iconic Kabir Project. The very same evening, I get a call from the office of Rev. Dada Vaswani, the much loved spiritual head of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission, wondering if I had the Kabir documentaries as Dada was keen to watch them! And so the same DVD’s found their way to Dada. What a blessed opportunity it is to be an instrument of sharing what I love with someone I have huge regard for.
And in the end, all I can intuit is a universal circle of “give. receive. dance” in which I am happy to “be”!