God the Supreme Musician

Bůh nejvyšší Hudebník

1.

God-Music purifies our body.
God-Music strengthens our soul.
God-Music expedites our life-liberation,
God-realisation and Love-manifestation.

I sing because You sing

I sing because You sing.
I smile because You smile.
Because You play on the flute,
I have become Your flute.
You play in the depths of my heart.
You are mine, I am Yours:
This is my sole identification.
In one Form You are my Mother and Father eternal,
And Consciousness-moon,
Consciousness-sun all-pervading.

2.

God-music embraced and treasured is the perfection of my soul. Heaven-music revealed and manifested on earth is the perfection of my heart. Earth-music perfected, divinised and transformed is the music of my life.

God the supreme Musician

God the Musician knows that music is spirituality, music is Immortality. Man the musician thinks that music is sensuality, music is mortality.

God the Musician knows that His Music is His transcendental Self-communion. Man the musician thinks that his music is his world’s life-long companion.

God the Musician is divinely and eternally mysterious. Man the musician is humanly and temporarily marvelous.

God’s Music tells us that music is the realisation of the universal Soul. Man’s music tells us that music is the aspiration of the individual soul.

God’s Music runs from the height to the depth. Man’s music runs from the breadth to the length. On the height God’s music is His Vision. In the depth God’s Music is His Reality. In the breadth man’s music is his crying soul. In the length man’s music is his victory’s goal.

God’s Music is the constant expansion of His Soul’s Delight. Man’s music is the preparation of his life’s hunger for perpetual joy.

God’s Music kills God with its infinite Luminosity. Man’s music kills man with its undying curiosity.

Music in the unlit body is destruction. Music in the unlit vital is passion. Music in the unlit mind is confusion. Music in the unlit heart is frustration.

Music in the aspiring body is creation. Music in the aspiring vital is purification. Music in the aspiring mind is liberation. Music in the aspiring heart is revelation.

My God the Supreme Musician has two families. One is in the East, the other in the West. He tells His Eastern children, precisely His Indian children, that music is the soul’s purity. He tells His Western children that music is life’s beauty. He tells his Eastern children that music is the fulfilling rest at the bottom of the life-sea. He tells his Western children that music is the dance of the multitudinous waves of the life-sea. He tells His Eastern children: “My children, among you those who can run will run, those who can march will march and those who can walk will walk towards their destined goal.” He tells His Western children: “My children, I want you all to stay together. I want you all to run together towards your destined goal.” He tells His Eastern children: “My children, what you have is a one-pointed and unbroken chain of unity. That is good.” He tells His Western children: “My children, what you have is the unity in diversity. That is great.” He tells His Eastern children: “My children, what you have is your dream’s poetry, what you have is your reality’s literature.” He tells His Western children: “My children, what you have is your dream’s arithmetic, what you have is your reality’s mathematics.”

Here we are all seekers, seekers of the infinite Truth. I wish to tell you that Beethoven was also a genuine seeker. Some of you are consumed with the desire to arouse and awaken your Kundalini so that you can have occult powers to perform miracles. Well, I wish to tell you that you do not have to practise any specific spiritual discipline in order to awaken your Kundalini. Beethoven is a striking example. His soulful music of the other world did awaken his Kundalini. You try with your own soul’s music. I assure you that you, too, will succeed. Now, what Beethoven says on music is true not only from the intellectual and emotional point of view, but also from the spiritual point of view:

Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. Although the spirit be not master of that which it creates through music, yet it is blessed in this creation, which, like every creation of art, is mightier than the artist.

Music is the Vedic bird in us. This bird is called Suparna. This bird divine flies in the welkin of Infinity, through Eternity, with the message of Immortality. Here on earth we do notice that the birds have the capacity to sing in endless measure, whereas we human beings try to create or develop this capacity. Tagore defends us:

To the birds you gave songs, the birds gave you songs in return. You gave me only a voice, yet asked for more, and I sing.

The poet-bird in Keats, divinely intoxicated, flies in front of me, before my ken.

Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music: — Do I wake or sleep?”

The music bird is within us to stay, to give us love.

The music bird is without us to fly, to give us joy.

Since music is a universal language, it has no need to express itself in any particular language of the world. Rabindranath Tagore says:

Music is the purest form of art and, therefore, the most direct expression of beauty, with a form and spirit which is one and simple, and least encumbered with anything extraneous. We seem to feel that the manifestation of the Infinite in the finite forms of creation is music itself, silent and visible.

Our body’s food is either vegetable or meat or both. But our soul’s food is music. Undoubtedly it is so. Even our physical nature at times desperately needs music. What Bovee says is undeniably true:

Music is the fourth great material want of our nature — first food, then raiment, then shelter, then music.

In the spiritual world next to meditation is music, the breath of music. Meditation is silence, energising and fulfilling. Silence is the eloquent expression of the inexpressible.

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

— Aldous Huxley

They say: “Music is another woman who talks charmingly, but says nothing.” I say, “Music is verily the woman who at once tells everything divinely and offers everything unreservedly.”

They say, “Classical music is the music without words, modern music is the music without music.” I say, “Classical music is the music that lasts after it has all been sung; modern music is the music that begins long before it actually begins.” In classical music we try to see God the eternal Beyond. In modern music we see God the eternal Now.”

Music is our soul’s home. God is the Supreme Musician. In Sri Krishna I see God the Supreme Musician. Krishna’s flute stirs the universal Consciousness. He plays on His flute. We listen. We do something more. We barter our body’s dust with His Soul’s plenitude.

To Sri Krishna I bow, we bow.

Two conductors

Man the conductor
 Sees the players
  And
 Sees not the audience.
His hunger for growing appreciation
 Is
 Half fed.

God the conductor
 Hears the aspiration-music of the cosmic gods
  And
 Becomes the appreciation-applause of the divine audience.
His hunger for the joy-distribution
 Is
  Sumptuously fed.

Music

O music of love,
From you I learn
The secret of closeness.

O music of will,
From you I learn
The secret of future-creation.

O music of silence,
From you I learn
The secret of universal oneness.

O music of surrender,
From you I learn
The secret of cosmic perfection.

Spiritual essays on music

1

The universal excruciating pangs and pathos of music is the beauty of the earth-heart.

The transcendental music of liberating Light and immortalising Delight is the beauty of the Heaven-Soul.

Silence and music

Silence is the source of everything. It is the source of music and it is music itself. Silence is the deepest, most satisfying music of the Supreme. Silence is like a stream that goes to one place and becomes a river, or to another place and becomes a brook, or to the sea where it is totally expanded.

Consciousness will offer us the music of the Supreme. What is the music of the Supreme? It is the constant elevation of our consciousness. God-realisation itself is the supreme Music. The meaning of God-realisation is conscious oneness with the rest of the world and with God. Each seeker is one with God, but he is not conscious of it. We use the term ‘God’ at random. Even an atheist, who does not believe in God, has the mouth to use the term ‘God’.

Where is God? Someone will say He is in Heaven; someone will say He is somewhere else. One moment He is here; the next He is not in our vicinity. He is always somewhere else. This is our conception of God. But this is wrong. We must feel, “God is where I am.” How can we have this consciousness, this feeling? The deeper within we go, the clearer it becomes that it is He who has tied us together, who has bound us with His inner Oneness. One supreme tune is being played and this tune is the tune of universal oneness.

God is the Supreme Musician. It is He who is playing with us, on us and in us. We cannot separate God from music. The universal Consciousness is constantly being played by the Supreme Himself, and is constantly growing into the supreme Music. God the Creator is the Supreme Musician and God the Creation is the supreme Music. The Musician and His Music can never be separated. The Musician Supreme is playing His Music Supreme here in the universe. His creation is being fulfilled. The Music Supreme feels its fulfilment only when it consciously becomes one with the Supreme, the Creator Himself.

God’s existence and universal music can never be separated. When God spreads His arms, it is His music. When He stretches His legs, it is His music. When He opens His eyes, it is all His music. In His Arms we see the music of Infinity’s Benediction; in His Feet we see the music of Eternity’s Compassion and in His Eyes we see the music of Immortality’s Illumination. These three — Benediction, Compassion and Illumination make God what He is: Perfection, perfect Perfection.

The truth-poet in the seeker sees the light-sky, and then houses the light-sky. The truth-musician in the seeker feels the light-ocean and then grows into the light-ocean.

Music

God has created this universe; the universe has come out of God. God will always hold the world with His inner Music. But His inner Music, His transcendental Music, is unfortunately not the music that we hear today. Jazz and rock and roll are not His Music; they are a degraded form of proper music.

God is the Supreme Musician. The music that God originally created is the music of the soul. He played for the soul and the soul wanted to play for Him. This music came from the soul and wanted to express and fulfil itself through the heart. Here is where the problem arose. When the soul started to play its music in the heart, the lower vital did not allow the heart to listen. Gradually, the vital became more powerful than the pure heart.

The music of the vital destroys our subtle nerves and like a hungry tiger wants to devour the heart’s divine qualities. Here in this world when we think of music, the vital immediately comes to the fore. But the lower vital music will not always reign supreme on earth. The world also has a soul. Today the vital is nourished and the soul is starving, but when there are more aspiring people on earth than unaspiring, naturally the inner soul-elevating music will replace the music of the impure, unlit and obscure vital.

The music of moksha, liberation, tells the seeker that Sky-Peace is all.

The music of siddhi, realisation, tells the seeker that Sun-Bliss is all.

Three songs

 A Heavenly song
Inspired me to strive and become.

 An earthly song
Instigated me to deceive and achieve.

 A God-song
Liberated me to divinise and immortalise
  Earth-cry
   And
  Earth-surrender.

Music

Right now the world may not seem to appreciate spiritual music, but if we continue to create, one day people will appreciate music from a spiritual point of view. We must create another world of music, because music can do much for the Supreme. It is a way to reach humanity through spirituality.

A musician’s biography is written wherever he performs. Everybody hears what he is playing. But for spiritual people it is not like that. Spiritual people may be suspected because their whole biography is written inside, and not all will be able to see it.

Spiritual Masters can only approach humanity if people come to them with real aspiration; whereas, musicians have the means to approach humanity with their art. When this artistic capacity is joined with spiritual capacity, the musician can break through the walls other musicians have created. With guidance from a spiritual Master, a musician’s spiritual capacity becomes most powerful. When a musician leads a spiritual life, it is very easy for him to help thousands of people at a time because they appreciate his music and the kind of life the musician leads.

The vital of the world has been to the fore for quite a few years. Eventually, the music of the soul will replace the music of the vital. Once the world reaches a particular point, we can tell the world that we have something else for them. The shopkeeper gives something to the customer and the customer appreciates it. Then the customer begins to have faith in that particular shopkeeper. The shopkeeper says, “You have appreciated my mango, but now I have something else for you; I have a guava also. This will also satisfy you and nourish you.” Because the customer has faith in the shopkeeper, he will taste the new fruit and be satisfied. The time has come for spiritual people to say, “We can give you something else. Try it.”

Inwardly the world wants to make progress. Outwardly the world wants something new: that which is eternal is outwardly new. On the vital plane and in the physical world, the eternal is new, but in the inner plane it is not. There is nothing new in the soul’s world. If we see a thing twice in the physical world, we may think it is different each time. If we see our own wristwatch in the morning and again in the evening, and if we are in a different consciousness each time, we will feel it is a totally different watch. But in the inner world, even though we see twenty things at a time, it all remains the same.

We all know outer music; outer music is very often destructive. But inner music is always bound to be soul-stirring and soul-elevating. For God-realisation, inner music is of paramount importance. If outer music is devotional music, if it is something that uplifts the musician’s consciousness and spreads pure, unalloyed joy, that music also plays a considerable role.

Inner music can be heard and created while we are meditating. Thousands and millions of times at the age of thirteen or fourteen I used to hear the cosmic gods and goddesses playing music. We have to hear inner music through aspiration. What is inner music? We have learned from the Vedas that this music is the mother tongue of humanity. Music is the language of the soul. It is through music that the Divine in us gets the opportunity to manifest itself here on earth. Only spiritual aspirants who have musical capacity can eventually show the world at large that inner music can also be played outwardly and appreciated by the world.

Music is my Eternity’s Kite, Infinity’s Flight and Immortality’s Light.

You are bound to hear

Stay with your suspicious mind.
You are bound to hear
The drum of doom.

Stay with your aspiring heart.
You are bound to hear
The trumpet of bloom.

Stay with your surrendered life.
You are bound to hear
God’s transcendental Music
In His own Room.

When I play

When I play soulful music, my Beloved Supreme embraces me and treasures me. When I play the music of the lower vital, titan-frown and death-buffalo blind my heart, bind my body and throw me into the den of a hunger-pinched tiger.

Questions and answers

When I sing

When I sing, I am a runner, running and running like an expert runner.

When I compose music, I am a driver, driving and driving like an expert driver.

Running is my life-preparation. Driving is my life-examination. My life-preparation and my life-examination eventually see the face of God the Supreme Musician.

Song-offerings

The song of the mountain
Gives me peace.

The song of the sea
Gives me bliss.

The song of my heart
Gives me love.

The song of my soul
Gives me life.

The song of my earth-gratitude
Brings God to me.

The song of God’s Heaven-plenitude
Carries me to God.

My songs

My earth-songs
Devotedly find me.

My Heaven-songs
Soulfully illumine me.

My God-songs
Triumphantly immortalise me

Question: What is the relationship between music and silence?

Sri Chinmoy: Silence is the nest and music is the bird. The bird leaves the nest early in the morning and returns to the nest in the evening. Similarly, in the spiritual world, divine music comes from the inmost Soul of Silence. It is Silence that embodies real music, divine music.

Ordinary music comes from the vital, the gross physical consciousness, or from something subtle in our existence. This subtle existence need not be very high or very deep. It may only be an inch deeper than our gross physical.

But when we compare divine music and silence, we must say that silence is the all-encompassing nest. All peace, all joy and all confidence are inside that nest and from there the music bird comes out and flies all over the world. While flying in the firmament, it offers delight to the lovers of music as well as to the universal Consciousness. The universal Consciousness is fed constantly by the immortal, divine and supreme Music of the Absolute.

Question: Why do we like music?

Sri Chinmoy: We like music because it teaches us how to love, whom to love and why to love. How do we love? We love by self-giving. Whom do we love? We love him who aspires and claims God as his very own. Why do we love? We love because the divine lover in us has no existence of his own without feeling his oneness-reality with his Beloved Supreme.

Let us not try to understand music with our mind. Let us not even try to feel it with our heart. Let us simply and spontaneously allow the music-bird to fly in our heart-sky. While flying it will unconditionally reveal to us what it has and what it is. What it has is Immortality’s message and what it is is Eternity’s passage.

Question: What is the sound that music creates?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two types of music: earthly music and Heavenly music. There is also a third type which is the Music of the Supreme. Earthly music stimulates the vital in us, Heavenly music illumines us and spreads the divinity within us and the Music of the Supreme fulfils the Reality within us.

Question: What does God's Music sound like?

Sri Chinmoy: God’s Music is heard by each individual according to his own capacity of receptivity. God plays the same music, but it will sound one way to one person and totally different to another. When a professor gives a talk, there will be many students in the same classroom. One student will understand the professor’s talk in a way totally different from another. Because of his inner capacity, the best student in the class will understand much more than the worst student in the class. God’s Music is heard, valued, understood and felt in a specific way according to the listener’s own capacity of receptivity.

Question: I've heard that there are different tones or notes for each Heaven. Could you please describe them?

Sri Chinmoy: Heaven means the higher worlds in this case. There are seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. Each world has a music of its own and a note of its own. The higher worlds have a music that awakens us, inspires us, illumines us, perfects us and fulfils us. The music of the higher worlds constantly comes to us as the harbinger of the highest Height, whereas the music of the lower worlds naturally comes to us as a messenger of destruction.

It is not only the higher and lower worlds that have a music of their own; each individual has his music, each movement has music, each action has music. Each time we breathe in and breathe out there is music. When we don’t pay attention to the inner depth of the action, we don’t hear the music. If we do pay adequate attention to each action, then inside the very depth of that action we are bound to hear music. Unless we hear music inside each action, the action is lifeless.

Question: In what way does music affect our consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: Our consciousness is like a book. When we play divine music, we will be able to write down something significant in the book. If it is undivine music, we will write down something undivine. The moment we write something undivine we will see that the quality of the book suffers. When we write divine things we will see and feel that the quality of the book is greatly elevated.

There is another way to feel how music affects our consciousness. If we have a piece of paper right in front of us and listen to bad music, we will immediately feel that we have dropped ink on the paper and ruined it. But if we hear good music, we will immediately feel that we have written something divine and immortal on it.

Bad music will immediately affect our consciousness. Consciousness, like water, is neutral. Water symbolises consciousness. What we put inside water is of paramount importance. If it is something harmless, sweet and divine, then naturally we get joy. But if we put something undivine, poisonous and destructive in the water, then naturally when we drink it we shall die. What we mix with the water before drinking it is up to us.

Question: Can we use music to help us in our spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: We can use music to help us in our spiritual life provided we know that music and the spiritual life are like twin brothers; we cannot separate them. How can we separate two fingers, two eyes? They sit side by side. If one eye is not functioning well, then we feel that our vision is imperfect. We also have to know that music and the spiritual life must go together; one complements the other. Music helps the spiritual seeker to go deep within to get the utmost satisfaction from life, from Truth, from Reality. The spiritual life in turn helps music to offer its capacity and its strength, which is the soul’s light, to the world at large.

Question: Can you define soulful music?

Sri Chinmoy: 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 the actual truth that we are not the musician; we are just an instrument. We are like a piano, violin or guitar, and God 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 in and through us, and that somebody is our Inner Pilot, the Supreme.

Question: What is the best way to become one with soulful music?

Sri Chinmoy: The best way to become one with soulful music is to breathe in and breathe out with the firm inner conviction that while you are breathing in, the breath is immediately entering directly into your soul, and with the breath the universal Consciousness, divine Reality, divine Truth is also entering. When you breathe out, try to feel that you are breathing out the veils that are around your soul. Feel that they are lifted and discarded. If you can consciously imagine and feel this, it is the best way to become one with soulful music.

What do we mean by soulful music? If you say it is the music that embodies the soul, then I wish to say that it is incorrect. You have to feel that soulful music is the Light that wants to express itself in a divine way. Even as darkness wants to manifest its authority on earth, Light also wants to manifest its Reality and Divinity in a specific way. Light is the soul of everything. Light is the soul of music, Light is the soul of love and Light is the soul of all art. When Light manifests itself in a divine way in the form of music, it is the music of the soul.

Question: Can spiritual music be played during meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly, although it depends on the one who meditates. There are many seekers on earth who meditate extremely well, but who have not developed their musical sense. Their ears have not been trained so we cannot expect them to change their nature over night. They either lack the capacity of appreciation or they have some austere feeling about music. There are many seekers who have the silly notion that all music is vital, from the lower vital. They don’t encourage their children to learn music because they feel that as soon as they enter into the music world, they will fall. There is some truth to this because we all know that vital music is appreciated most all over the world. Psychic music is not very widely appreciated and very few people appreciate the soul’s music. They feel it is like a stranger who is entering into their consciousness. It is actually their eternal tenant, their soul, who is deep within them waiting to come to the fore.

If divine music is played during deep meditation, it enhances the meditation. Naturally, undivine music will immediately lower the consciousness, while soulful music will immediately help in elevating the consciousness. This is why we play music from time to time in our Centre. We do not encourage music all the time because there are many people who do not appreciate or admire music. We don’t want to create problems for them since it is a group meditation. So if you are fond of music, then please play soulful songs or chants during your meditations at home. Soft, soulful music will definitely help you.

Question: Can some kinds of music cause us to feel upset and change our spiritual condition?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. There is some music that is really destructive to our inner being. This music comes from the gross physical or lower vital. The spiritual person will immediately be affected by this music. But soulful and spiritual music really helps us; it feeds our inner life. Music has tremendous power. With fire we can burn ourselves, or we can cook and do many other good things. So it is with music. The divine music immediately elevates our consciousness. Undivine music immediately lowers our consciousness, and it tries to destroy our sincere inner cry for a better spiritual life. Undivine music tries to awaken our lower vital consciousness and throw us into a world of excitement.

Question: Could you please tell us the spiritual significance of your chanting?

Sri Chinmoy: I have chanted a few Sanskrit verses which I set to music. These verses were composed by the Vedic and Upanishadic seers. The Vedic seers had opened their third eye, the eye that sees the Real. With our earthly physical eyes we do not see the Real. The ultimate Real can be seen only with the third eye, the eye of Vision.

If one consciously accepts the spiritual life, the inner life, naturally one will aspire and meditate; one will always try to elevate one’s consciousness to the highest. When we chant, our psychic being which is the representative of the soul, is fed. A mother feeds her child whenever the child is hungry. Similarly, we have to feed the soul, the divine child within us, by chanting or meditating. When the soul is fed, our entire being is freed from the fetters of ignorance and the soul-bird gets the opportunity to fly in the sky of Infinity and Eternity.

Question: When you sing in front of us, what are you accomplishing?

Sri Chinmoy: When I sing I do two things. First of all I try to bring down universal Harmony and Bliss into the aspirants, especially into the disciples who are in tune with the cosmic Joy. Next I try to uplift the limited consciousness of each disciple into the limitless consciousness.

If we sing a divine song, a soulful song, it immediately brings purity into our system. The spiritual songs that I sing are prayers to the Supreme to ferry us across the ocean of darkness and ignorance to the ocean of Delight and Immortality. The Supreme is the Boatman and we pray to Him to ferry us to the Golden Shore. Singing immediately inspires us and awakens the slumbering soul in us. Singing purifies our limited consciousness and brings to us universal Harmony. We constantly break the universal Harmony, but when we sing, we build and create this universal Harmony in and around us.

If you can sing, you have the purest consciousness and perfect harmony in your nature. Nothing delights our soul more than soulful singing. Please sing at home; at home you can sing loudly. Sing in the street or at any other place. Of course in the street you will sing inwardly; otherwise, people will laugh at you.

The Supreme blesses those who both inwardly and outwardly sing soulful songs. Some people do not have a beautiful singing voice at all, but their voice is deeply appreciated by the Supreme because they sing soulfully. The Supreme does not care for someone who is a very great singer but who sings without any aspiration or devotion. He cares only for the ones who sing wholeheartedly.

I wish all who have consciously become my devoted disciples to sing “The Supreme” early in the morning, in the evening or once any time during the day. It only takes three minutes and these three minutes pass away in the twinkling of an eye.

Each soulful song leads us to the Highest because it is the purest flower that can be offered at the Feet of God. When we sing, our whole existence actually becomes a garden of flowers ready, ready to be offered at the Feet of the Supreme. This is why I sing.

Question: Is it possible to be both a musician and a Yogi?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly, it is quite possible to be both a musician and a Yogi. In Mother India there have been many saints, sages and spiritual Masters who were blessed with divine music. Their musical talent did not interfere with their God-realisation, and even after achieving God-realisation, their musical talents did not leave them. A Yogi’s qualities and a musician’s qualities can go side by side, provided the Yogi has the capacity and inherent talent for music. Even if the Yogi spends a very short time in the musical world, he can be a very good musician, but it will take infinitely more time for a musician to become a Yogi.

Yoga means union, inseparable oneness with God. A Yogi is one who has established conscious union with God. He can easily become a musician because in his inseparable oneness with God, he can do anything he wants, But a Yogi waits for God’s Will. If it is God’s Will, he will become a musician; or if it is God’s Will, he will become something else. Otherwise, he will remain with his own lofty realisation and oneness; he will reveal and manifest the highest Peace, Light and Truth the way the Supreme wants him to.

A musician eventually has to become a Yogi, because no musician, no matter what he is playing right now, will remain unrealised. God will not allow any person on earth to remain unrealised forever. If he is not a seeker, he has to become a seeker. Then naturally, in the course of time, he will become a Yogi.

Question: Do our souls sing when we sing most soulfully?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, it is either a portion of the soul or the soul proper that sings when we sing most soulfully. One may think it is the voice of the soul, but it is not. The music of the soul is different from the voice of the soul, the language of the soul. The soul can adopt any voice it wants to. The voice of the soul, the language of the soul is light, not electric light, but the light that constantly illumines our inner and outer being, the entire world. We can hear singing that comes directly from the soul or from a portion of the soul, but the soul does not require the voice to sing. The soul can sing directly without the voice.

How can we hear the soul singing? How can we be aware of the fact that the song is coming directly from the soul? We can know if it is coming from the soul just by observing our own consciousness. Sometimes we may catch a haunting tune, a very delicate, subtle tune, but it is immediately followed by earthly, undivine thoughts, as if it were being chased by a dog. If undivine thoughts, lower vital thoughts immediately enter, then the song is not coming directly from the soul. If it is coming directly from the soul, then not an iota of undivine thought can enter during the whole song. We will have our highest consciousness and deepest consciousness, right from the beginning to the end of the song. Very often when we sing most soulfully, even after the song is over we will hear a voice within ourselves as if somebody else were singing the same song. We may be talking to our friends or looking around, but we will be aware that somebody is singing; that somebody is our soul.

Question: How is it possible to make music a soulful offering to the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, the music itself has to be soulful. Then only can we offer it. When we hear divine, soulful music, we immediately feel that it is a beautiful flower fresh from our heart garden, ready to be offered at the Feet of God. If we have the feeling that a piece of music is a real flower, a fresh flower, a fragrant flower, we can immediately offer it at the Feet of the Supreme.

Question: Is learning a musical instrument important in our spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: Learning a musical instrument is important for those who have musical talent, but not for others. If you have musical talent, then it is necessary and will help you. But if you don’t have a musical ear, then an instrument is absolutely unnecessary. If you don’t have the capacity, but want to study out of greed or jealousy, then you should not learn. If you don’t have the capacity, there is no necessity of acquiring it.

There is only one necessity and that is your daily soulful meditation. If you do that you will be able to realise God. You may spend your time in music for years and years, but without meditation you will not be able to realise God. If you have the talent, it is advisable to use it. But if you don’t have the talent, then don’t waste precious time which you could be using for a higher, divine purpose. You should just continue with your meditation, which is your inner music.

Question: How can a person manifest the highest, most joyful music in his soul while playing a musical instrument?

Sri Chinmoy: While playing a musical instrument, you have to feel that music is the universal language, that music has and also is the key to unlock the Heart-Door of the Supreme. It is only music that has a free access to unlock the Heart-Door of the universal Heart of the Supreme. If you can do that, then the musician in you will be able to manifest the Highest.

Question: What is the spiritual essence of Beethoven's sound-creation-manifestation?

Sri Chinmoy: The spiritual essence of Beethoven’s sound-creation-manifestation is that the outer life can be harmonised, liberated and fulfilled by the soul’s conscious guidance of the physical in us. Even if the outer life starts from the darkest ignorance, it has its hope. First it has hope, then it has the certainty of its total transformation, illumination and perfection.

When Beethoven’s music starts, it gives the feeling of a mad elephant, first striking this side, then that side. We can imagine it striking one wall, then moving to the other side and striking another wall, but it is moving, moving, constant movement. Then the movement, after getting a few blows, after breaking heads here and there, goes toward the goal. Whether we call it soulful movement, vital movement or something else, it eventually reaches the goal.

Question: How can I bring spirituality into my music?

Sri Chinmoy: As a sincere seeker you must know that your music has to please the Supreme who is our eternal Guru. You are quite young. You have to play music that brings inspiration to the heart and not excitement to the vital. You must not play types of music that will only arouse excitement in the vital. Play only music that inspires you, that comes from the very depth of your heart and illumines your consciousness. When you play any particular piece, you have to feel that it is the right music for your own spiritual progress and inner growth.

You have to know that each seeker-musician has a golden opportunity to please the Supreme with his music. Whenever you play any music, you have to know whether or not that music is going to please the Supreme. If it pleases you and you feel it will please Him, then play it. If you feel it does not please Him, then never play it. Playing lower vital music to get appreciation from the public can never please the Supreme. If an ordinary person who has not launched into the spiritual path plays that kind of music, he is doing the right thing according to his own standard. But if a seeker plays that kind of music, he cannot make any progress.

A sincere seeker who has already accepted a path of his own, should play only spiritual music, psychic music, music that elevates his consciousness and the consciousness of others. When you play this kind of music, you will see that in each note God Himself is blossoming like a lotus, petal by petal. When you play His own music, please feel that God is unveiling his own inner music and fulfilling Himself in and through you.

Question: As a disciple, should we play only soulful music when we play an instrument?

Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the disciple. If he is a first-class disciple and wants to play music, then naturally he will have to play soulful music only, for if he plays lower vital music he will fall down from the top of the mango tree. With greatest difficulty he climbed up the mango tree and now he is so happy that he is on the topmost branch. But if temptation comes and he falls down and breaks his leg, then it will take him quite a few years to climb up again. Because he was a first-class disciple he was able to climb up the tree, but when temptation began, he fell down and became a seventh-class disciple. For a seventh-class disciple to climb up the tree again is almost impossible. So a first-class disciple should always play soulful music.

You may say that if you drink nectar ten times and then drink poison only once, nothing will happen. No. You will die. You can drink nectar as many times as you want to, but if you drink poison even once, you won’t be able to nullify its effect. You have to feel like this: you can take sugar seven times, but if you take salt only once, it will ruin the taste of the sugar. You will immediately feel the effect of the salt.

It is always advisable to play only soulful music. Again, there are grades and degrees of soulfulness. We should try to play the most soulful music, but if we cannot, we should try to play the next most soulful music that we hear.

We have to know that if you play music from the vital plane, we are only fooling ourselves. The music that is inspired from around or below the navel is the vital music. Music that comes from the heart is psychic music and the music that comes from the inmost recesses of the heart, very deep within, comes from the soul. If we can feel that it is not our voice as we sing, not our tongue, but some reality deep inside our heart which is expressing itself, then we will know that it is the soul’s music.

Question: What is sound to the musician?

Sri Chinmoy: To the musician, sound is his own child. It is like a flower to the garden; a garden without a flower is useless. Similarly, the musician is useless without his beautiful inner child. The musician and sound are like the Creator and the creation. They are inseparable and indispensable to each other.

Question: Is dancing to soulful music a form of meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes, if the music is soulful and the dancing is also soulful, then it can be a form of meditation. Anything that is soulful is a form of meditation, but we have to know that there are degrees of soulfulness. Talking to someone soulfully is a form of meditation. Dancing soulfully to soulful music is a form of meditation. Soulfully reading spiritual books is a form of meditation. Sitting alone in your room concentrating and elevating your consciousness to a very high, deep and sublime plane is also a form of meditation.

We have to know the difference between the highest meditation and ordinary meditation. Naturally, meditating most soulfully in front of a shrine is of infinitely greater importance than dancing soulfully to soulful music. Very often there are difficulties with dancing. The dancing may be soulful, but the audience may be absolutely undivine, impure and vulgar. No matter how pure one is, the undivine consciousness of the audience will lower one’s consciousness. There are many dancers in India who have come from very religious, respectable families and when they first started dancing, they were pure and spiritual. They were pure, but the eyes of the people in the audience were not pure. Naturally, the audience’s lower quality of consciousness was thrust upon the young dancers and they lost their spiritual consciousness.

In a spiritual community, dancers may safely perform soulful dancing because everybody there prays and meditates and it is not open to the public. The community is only for seekers who are under spiritual guidance and who are expected to lead a higher life. If the dancers also pray and meditate, they are like members of the same spiritual family. Since the audience and the dancers have the same divine consciousness, there can be no problem.

The difference between a song and a piece of music is this: The song is the rose, the piece of music is the garden. The song is usually of the heart and for the heart. The music is of the entire being and for the entire being.

Great singers

Swans sing
 Before they leave the world.

Men sing
 After they have left
  Ignorance-sea.

Human doubt sings
 Before the dawn of faith.

Human despair sings
 After it has embraced
  The life of Light.

My songs

My desire-song
  Began.
But I do not know
 When I stopped it.

My aspiration-song
  Began.
But I do not know
 How it began
  Or
 How I am
Continuing it.

My realisation-song
  Began.
Who began it? God.
Who continues it? God.
Who listens to it? God.
Who is enamoured of it? God.

From: Sri Chinmoy, God the Supreme Musician - , Sri Chinmoy Lighthouse, 1974
Sourced from http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/gsm