Question: What does 'soulful' mean in relation to music?

Sri Chinmoy: When we listen to soulful music, or when we ourselves play soulful music, immediately our inner existence climbs up high, higher, highest. It climbs up and enters into something beyond. This Beyond is constantly trying to help us, guide us, mould us and shape us into our true transcendental image, our true divinity. When we hear soulful music, or when we play a soulful piece of music, we feel a kind of inner thrill in our entire existence, from the soles of our feet to the crown of our head. A river is flowing through us, a river of consciousness, and this consciousness is all the time illumined.

Next to deep prayer or meditation, music is of paramount importance. Meditation is like a direct route, or short cut, to the goal. Music is a road that is absolutely clear: it may be a little longer, but it is quite clear of obstacles. If one can play soulful music or hear soulful music, the power of his own meditation increases. Music, soulful music, adds to our aspiration. Similarly, if a spiritual seeker wants to be a musician, even if he does not have a musical background, he will be able to be a good musician because prayer and meditation contain all capacities. You have never studied music but if you pray and meditate soulfully, then inside your prayer, inside your meditation, by the Grace of the Supreme, the power of music looms large. Then you can utilise this power in your own way.

Soulful music is the music that immediately elevates our consciousness to the Absolute, to the Highest. But ordinary music, vital music, brings our consciousness down. For a fleeting second or a few hours, we get a kind of pleasure; but then this pleasure takes us into a lower vital consciousness where we are tempted. From the temptation-world we enter into the frustration-world, and from the frustration-world we enter into the destruction-world. But soulful music takes us into the world of aspiration. From aspiration we enter into the world of realisation, where our inner existence is flooded with Light and Delight.

Soulful music is the music that wants to eventually transform our consciousness. It carries us into the Universal Consciousness and makes us feel that we are in tune with the highest, with the deepest, with the farthest.

It also makes us feel that God Himself is the Supreme Musician. When we play soulful music, we come to realise that we are not the musician; we are just an instrument. We are like a piano, violin or guitar, and it is God who is constantly playing on us. If we really play soulful music, we will see that we are just an instrument, that somebody else is singing and playing in and through us, and that somebody is our Inner Pilot, the Supreme.

Sri Chinmoy, God the Supreme Musician.First published by Agni Press in 1976.

This is the 168th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book God the Supreme Musician, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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