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Chapter 13: Krishna Goes to the West

If you can dance with abandon, you will begin to see yourself and your body as separate from each other. Soon you will cease to be a dancer; instead you will become a watcher, a witness. When your body will be dancing totally, a moment will come when you will suddenly find that you are completely separate from the dance.

In the past many devices were designed to bring about this separation between a seeker and his body, and singing and dancing was one such device. You can dance in such a way and with such abandon that a moment comes when you break away from dancing and clearly see yourself standing separate from the dance. Although your body will continue to dance, you will be quite separate from it as a spectator watching the dance. It will seem as if the axle has separated itself from the wheel which continues to keep moving - as if the axle has come to know that it is an axle and that which is moving is the wheel, although separate from it.

Dancing can be seen in the same way as a wheel. If the wheel moves with speed, a moment comes when it is seen distinctly separate from the axle. It is interesting that when the wheel is unmoving you cannot see it as separate from the axle, but when it moves you can clearly see them as two separate entities. You can know by contrast which is moving and which is not.

Let someone dance and let him bring all his energy to it, and soon he will find there is someone inside him who is not dancing, who is utterly steady and still. That is his axle, his center. That which is dancing is his circumference, his body, and he himself is the center. If one can be a witness in this great moment then kirtan has great significance. But if he continues to dance without witnessing it, he will only waste his time and energy.

Techniques and devices come into being and then they are lost. And they are lost for the simple reason that man as he is tends to forget the essential and hold on to the non-essential, the shadow. The truth is that while the essential remains hidden and invisible like the roots of a tree, the non-essential, the trunk of the tree is visible. The non-essential is like our clothes, and the essential is like our soul. And we are liable to forget that which is subtle and invisible and remember the gross, the visible. It is for this reason when someone comes to me to know if kirtan can be useful, I emphatically deny it and ask him not to indulge in it. I know that now it is a dead tradition, a corpse without soul, as if the axle has disappeared and only the wheel remains.

Questioner: Do you think Chaitanya’s singing and dancing was nothing more than a way of intoxication?

No, Chaitanya achieved the highest through singing and dancing. He achieved through dancing exactly what Mahavira and Buddha achieved through meditation, through stillness.

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