Night with a Yogi
Actually Friday night was MahaShivratri. It's a traditional festival that includes an all night long vigil.
Ratri, the goddess of the night is especially exemplified every month by the 14th day, new moon or no moon, and into that blackness of pure night it is said that the human energy has the strongest tendency to rise. Maha, of course, is the first Shivratri or most important one each year, last Friday night.
I met with 30 friends, followers of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Indian Guru and Yogi from Tamil Nadu, and we attended the full night, 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, virtually, on the internet. Actually the full festival was broadcast live by Aastha TV, and one of us had captured all the live TV, so that the rest of us could be there 12 hours later. It was better than being there live, because as he does it these days, a couple hundred thousand people show up, and this way we were right up front, projected life size on the wall.
After watching his temple rituals and movements of the day, we did our own meditation and Guru Puja, all of which were moving. There was plenty of great Indian food, and then at 10:00 pm he was on, to prepare for midnight. First a lot of stories and yogic lore, which I had learned to discount (in one ear and out the other) like a good non-dualist. Of course he was hinting about resistance and acceptance and the flow of life in these stories (I was on the resistance side). This guy is a real theatric specialist.
Then at the appropriate time we started the process he had planned, chanting, (we chanted) mudra (hand positions at the right time), loud and penetrating drums, him singing these chants in sanskrit, and the lot, to go on for a half hour or so. I was noticing how "sticky" this guy is, really encouraging followers to identify with him. (I used to love it myself, for about 4 years. Then I got wise, right?) So about half way through the process my mind just switched off, even as I was thinking "dog gone this guy, he's always up to his tricks". I kept on believing my non-dualist story, but I had to honor him and not take my little story too seriously. Then midnight came and there was kind of a "poof" interior explosion. A real shift in seeing.
Then we were front row for an amazing series of great Indian musicians, traditional and modern. along with the doubt to whether staying up all night was such a swift idea? Tiredness alternated with energy, and by morning we were all light as a feather jumping around looking for another festival to attend. The closing chant lasted all the way home and on into the morning, and what he said about Maha Shivaratri really happened, energy rises and all that stuff, and even all the while I know without a doubt that what he is saying; a mega-story that is full of beans. Even now, I can drop into the "zone" pretty much in a moment.
Anyhow, who says your supposed to have these lightness experiences, and of course the I/me knows that "I" for one am not believing in them nor addicted to them. But what about all those other followers, poor chaps, they are really sucked into it, like this IS enlightenment. Such a delusion? I don't mind it, either way. I feel no pull to go back into that mix, and no pull to avoid it. It is a beautiful play, and to spend time with my old friends and those that are new in his crowd, it's a divine pleasure.