Fragments from a conversation with Devadip

On 27 December 1975, at a spiritual retreat in Puerto Rico, Sri Chinmoy discussed music with his devoted disciples, Devadip Carlos Santana and Tom Coster, a member of Devadip's band. Earlier in the day, the band had given a concert in San Juan. Following are portions of Sri Chinmoy's remarks:

Music is an indispensable thing. We don't have to know what it looks like or what it does. Its very existence keeps us alive. Music means Self-expansion and oneness. The Self expands through music. The Self that expands is not the individual self but the unlimited Self. Music is the expansion of unlimited Reality. When the Unlimited expands, that is music.

Music is God's Dream. God is dreaming at every moment through music. His Dream is called the cosmic Reality, the universal Reality. If we don't dream, reality cannot come into existence. Reality is always there inside dream. So you can say that this moment reality is the body and dream is the heart, and the next moment reality is the heart and dream is the body.

Sometimes when you play, on the strength of your heart's oneness with the audience, do you observe one thing? There are two hearts: one heart is your small heart, which is playing, and the other heart is the big heart, which is listening. Again, the big heart is playing and the small heart is listening. It is like this. The audience is the larger heart and you are the smaller heart that is expanding and becoming one with the larger heart. When you are playing, at that time do you feel this? And then, do you feel that you are the larger heart and that the audience is the smaller heart? If you do have this experience, then you will feel that you were one and now you have just become many, and that you were many and now you have just become one. This is what happens when the smaller heart and the larger heart meet together. The smaller heart is the seed and the larger heart is the tree. The seed grows into the tree and the tree gives birth to new seeds. If you can see it this way, then at every moment your musicwill give the greatest satisfaction; for this moment you are the seed, the next moment you are the fruit. You are the fruit, you are the seed; you are the dream, you are the reality. This is what the heart feels.

This is the experience I had when you were playing today. When I identified with the musician, the smaller heart, sometimes I was seeing you as the seed and sometimes as the fruit. It is absolutely true. The seed and the fruit, the smaller and the bigger — you have to take them as one. Or, when it is small, take it as one, and when it is large, take it as many. On the strength of our oneness we see the seed and the fruit as the one and many.

The musician and the audience are like lotus petals. All around they are blossoming, blossoming, blossoming. Sometimes you see the lotus petal after it is fully blossomed and it is inside another petal. You have played your role, you have blossomed; and inside the blossom is a new creation, another lotus petal that has blossomed. At that time, your whole existence is perfection. There is no end to our perfection. But when we come to realise that perfection is not only inside us but also inside our creation, at that time we feel that a whole new world of perfection is dawning.

Each time we play music, in the beginning the music is the creation and afterwards it becomes the creator. At first it is the creation, but once it is well-established it becomes the creator. Why? Because new light, new life, enters into the creation itself and energy, reality, divinity start functioning inside the creation. At that time, the creation becomes the creator. It is like children. In the beginning, they are lifeless; we don't expect anything from them. We just give and give. But when they grow up, they start giving joy and satisfaction to the parents. They add to the parents and become creators. God created; He made you. Then you get satisfaction by becoming more than the creation, by becoming a creator yourself and offering something to the world.

Then, when you play music, please feel that it is not you who is playing. Somebody else is playing and somebody else is enjoying. But that somebody else is part of you. One part of you is playing, one part is enjoying and still another part has become the music itself. So the moment you start playing, make yourself into three parts. Feel that one existence of yours is playing, another portion is observing and a third part of you is the music itself. You are the creator, you are the creation and you are the reality that exists in the creator and the creation. These things need not come as mental thoughts or images; far from it. At a glance they can come.

Sometimes, when you were playing I was clearly seeing a boat. When you were playing very fast, it was like inclement weather. The boat was not going to capsize, but it was rocking. You were playing very, very fast on the outer plane, and on the inner plane the boat was sailing very fast. It was not my mental hallucination. It was absolutely true. I had no idea what kind of music you were playing. The mind did not know, but the inner message or inner experience that I was getting was absolutely real. Again, when the music went very high, sometimes I saw a very high mountain. Once I was seeing you on top of a high mountain. At that time the music was not very loud, but I was seeing a mountain. You were all there on the mountain. Like that, at least twenty different images I saw at different times while you were playing. I may have been writing notes to Bansidhar or talking to Dhruva, but in my vision I was seeing this because of my identification with you. While the music was playing, I was watching.

The way to get such experiences is through meditation. When you meditate soulfully, early in the morning, you enter into a higher world, the world of divine reality, perfection and satisfaction. Then you bring this world down into your music. You do it this way. While you are breathing in and breathing out, try to feel that you are offering your life-breath to the instrument keys that you will use. Your life-breath is something very precious, and you are offering your life's most precious thing to your instrument.

When the Supreme created you, He gave you a portion of His Reality, His Divinity. That was the supreme sacrifice. He gave something of Himself and created you. And now, you are creating something for the world. You are giving to your instrument something of yourself — something really precious and luminous, something which is part and parcel of your own reality. You are the instrument of the Supreme. He is using you and you are using something else, your own instrument. It takes only a few seconds. You don't have to go to all the strings. Just cast a glance at one or two keys and feel your life-breath inside. Please, at that time, offer your gratitude to the Supreme. It was He who gave you life itself and a portion of your life you are giving to your instrument. The Creator created you by offering you a portion of His Reality. Now He is asking you to create something in the same way.

There is something called the cosmic sound. We call it Anahata Nada, the soundless sound. This is the word that we use, but that word is an infinite understatement. The cosmic sound is infinitely more powerful than the loudest sound that we can produce; yet it is inaudible to the ordinary ears. If we hear the soundless sound inside our heart, it is infinitely more powerful than the loudest sound we can produce. You will use the word dynamic. But I wish to say that in softness there can be the greatest dynamism. Sometimes I talk to the disciples in a fatherly way, with utmost concern and affection. I am talking in a very soft, delicate voice, but at that time I am holding my absolutely most dynamic power. I am smiling at the disciples and offering them all kinds of affection, so they think, "Guru is all affection, like a tiny feather that will be blown away by the wind." But in my softness there is divine volcanic power. Again, when I am shouting, barking, scolding, insulting, at that time there is absolutely no strength there. I am shouting, but I know that when it is a matter of solid strength, strength that can build or break, then there is nothing so powerless as my shouting.

As a musician, when you want to offer something to the audience, if you all the time use outer means, you will not be able to give satisfaction. You say that here in Puerto Rico they always eat beans and rice, and that is all that they like. But I wish to say that the world is always looking for the new, the new. God Himself is looking for the new. I have written thousands of poems with no rhyme or metre. But why should poetry all the time have metre and rhyme? People will say, "It is very easy without rhyme or metre." But I do not see eye to eye with them. With God's Grace, in my poetry I entered into another world, a world of oneness. So something new, something divine has to come out of it. Let us call it a new river flowing from the source. This new river is flowing and we have to become one with the flow. Something new is coming out which offers progress to mankind, and if we become one with it, then we can really offer something to humanity.

If one is a great runner and people have seen him win all the time, then people will expect him always to increase his speed. But there comes a time, no matter how fast one runs, when people will not be satisfied with him because the thing that he has created or offered as a runner is not enough either for him or for the audience. But if the same runner enters into the long jump or javelin, then he is all the time creating newness. If a musician all the time performs loud music, then he is acting like a runner, the best runner. The audience has got from him inspiration, joy and aspiration as a runner. But now the audience expects something new from him in the same field of sports. If he can become a good shotput thrower or discus thrower, then immediately he creates a new road for the audience to travel.

Each time you play, you create a road for the music-lover to walk along. One particular road he may like today, but tomorrow he may not like it. You will say, "What is wrong?" Nothing is wrong. But human beings always want to change. They are not satisfied with one thing; they will be satisfied only with four things or six things. So, when your music changes form every now and then, it is a great boon for mankind.

I am telling you some tricks of mine. As you know, I never play any piece without making mistakes, but sometimes when I strike a wrong note, inside the wrong note I do something. I use my concentrative power to give my voice or music a sweetness, and that power enters into the audience. I am hearing the unsatisfactory notes, but the audience is hearing the sweetness, the subtle, delicate qualities. Sometimes their minds may know that I hit the wrong note, but inside that note they get tremendous joy: something new, something sweet. I have done this many times with my disciples. I also do it when my voice is not good. In your case, when you know you are playing correctly, but you are not getting the same sweetness or height, at that time do you become sad or depressed? Or do you put your concentrative power inside the so-called lesser music to immediately produce new life? You are not trying to fool the audience; far from it! Only you want to give new life to the lesser music and maintain the same height, the same creation. Here you are creating something else, giving something new to the audience, so that they are delighted.

The best thing would be for you to write a book. People may not accept it overnight. But in ten years or twenty years they will see that what you are saying is all reality, all truth. You don't have to prove what you are saying; your proof is your music. If you stick to your own principles, you don't have to prove anything. The very fact that you are continuing to play is your proof.