Remark at Carnegie Hall
Sri Chinmoy made the following remarks to his disciples a few days prior to their April 13, 1976 performance of his music at Carnegie Hall.
When you wear a sari, immediately your divine qualities increase like anything. And the boys must wear dhotis. This kind of dress brings forward real spirituality. It will really add to your consciousness. We are trying to show our family at its best and our background is spirituality. These pieces of music are all my Indian tunes, Indian flow. If you wear saris and dhotis, it will definitely, definitely add to the music. But if you wear a tie and Western clothes while playing Indian music, it will look very odd. While playing Indian music in the haunting Indian way, if you wear Western clothes, it will really detract from the soulful qualities. So kindly try to have as much of the Indian way as possible. I am not converting you people; far from it. But if you see anything good in me, if you see any good quality in some aspect of my life, it is not wrong to accept it.
Previously, the girls used to get a mark of twenty or thirty from me for serenity, purity and inner beauty. Now, when they wear saris, those girls are getting seventy-five or eighty; some get even ninety or one hundred. These material garments are just Indian saris, but they are divine. Sometimes, when you wear a particular costume or dress, certain spiritual qualities come forward. Each garment has a vibration of its own. Each colour represents some quality of your soul. From within, the divine qualities have to come forward. Again, if there is any special way we can encourage the divine qualities by using outer means, we shall do it. We have to be very clever. Anything that adds to our aspiration we shall do. We do it just because it is adding to our spirituality, to our reality, and not because it is an Indian custom or an African custom. I know that wearing saris adds to the girls' spiritual dignity, spiritual height, serenity, purity.
For the conclusion of his Carnegie Hall concert, Sri Chinmoy asked has disciple musicians to each play a different one of his musical compositions — simultaneously. These pieces were all slow, and all were composed in the same key. In these extemporaneous remarks about a week prior to the concert, Sri Chinmoy briefly discusses this.
Here we see divine soldiers with dynamic spirit. You are enjoying full freedom, but still there is unity and uniformity. Nobody is misusing this freedom. Inside the freedom there is unity. The freedom is full, but you are maintaining a kind of unity and uniformity along with the freedom.
What we are hearing is not actually harmony; it is Indian subtlety. Each instrument, each note, has its soft, sweet, delicate touch. All the slow movements of the various groups are going together and creating one slow, haunting movement. Here, if a fast movement comes, even if it is my music, I will not appreciate it; it will ruin the quality.
Western harmony I don't like in some cases. I will not be so prejudiced to say I don't like it at all; far from it. But in a few cases, I feel and I see that it really ruins the music. Somebody wants to go really soulfully towards the goal and somebody else starts adding a few things which are irrelevant. The first one is desperately trying to reach the goal, but he sees a few irrelevant things standing in his way. In our case, also, the music will be ruined if we have harmony and fast movement. We cannot imitate Western harmony. But in our finale, it is not actually harmony; all the groups are playing basically the same type of haunting melody. That is why I am encouraging it. This is something new and I am always after the new. I have no idea whether others will say that our ensemble destroys the beauty of the tunes. I feel that it brings to the fore their dauntless, heroic quality. At the same time, a real bond of oneness I am seeing and feeling. I am very happy and proud of our wonderful family. We have really good musicians.