Singing and spirituality

Next to real spirituality is music, soulful songs; and after that comes poetry. Poetry is also very close to spirituality, but when it is a matter of setting up an order, first comes singing or playing on an instrument and then comes poetry. If we sing soulful songs — not rock and roll and so forth — then we are really adding to our aspiration. We cannot meditate twenty-four hours day, or even sixteen hours or eight hours; it is impossible for ordinary human beings like us. But if we are asked to sing, even if we are very bad singers, without difficulty we can sing for three or four hours a day. Even if you have very little talent in music, if you spend just fifteen minutes or ten minutes or even five minutes a day learning my songs, it will really help you in your spiritual life. But if you have no talent at all, then you can spend your time in meditation and selfless service. There are few unfortunate ones who cannot sing; but God, the Supreme, will utilise them in other ways, so they don't have to worry. But if you have even a little talent, then I would be very happy if you would practise and exercise your talent and learn a few of my songs. If you can sing one song soulfully every day, it will definitely help you in your spiritual life. From time to time I will ask you to sing. It gives me great joy to hear my songs. It is like a forgotten or lost wealth coming back to me.

Now, I do not always sing my own songs correctly. If you ask me to sing a particular song of mine, I will get sometimes three out of a hundred, sometimes zero out of a hundred. Why? Just because I do not sing them, I do not practise them. These songs I sing once or twice or a few times and then for years I don't sing them, so they are not at home in me; they don't stay within me. I excuse myself by saying that I do many other important things, but when I was in India, when I was in my teens, I learned hundreds of songs — not just ten or twenty. I sang each song twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, hundreds of times while walking along the street, while in the playground, while showering — everywhere. I used to practise these songs so much that even now I know them perfectly. Sometimes I show off on bus rides with my disciples. For two hours consecutively, I go on, go on, go on, singing one song after another. Before one song actually finishes I start another song, so I don't allow anybody else to sing. Believe me, I am not making up the tunes. The tunes are perfect. In India I had two or three very good teachers for two and a half years and I learned these songs very well. But now I do not practise my own songs and I can't sing one line of most of my songs without the harmonium and the notation. If I try to play on the harmonium without the notation, not even one line will I be able to sing well; all the notes will be wrong.