Question: Does it actually help the earth-atmosphere when we sing your songs or when you play and sing your music in concerts?

Sri Chinmoy: When my disciples sing my songs prayerfully, soulfully and self-givingly, it helps so much! When the children sing at the tennis ground, or people sing my songs soulfully at other places, the singing aspect gives much more inspiration, aspiration and dedication to mankind than the music aspect. The music aspect has its grandeur, but many times it loses its pristine purity. If we lose pristine purity, we lose many things.

When you see the natural beauty of a tree, you get one kind of feeling. Inside your entire being you feel the Presence of God. But if Christmas lights are on the tree and it is covered with decorations, this gives you joy for a few minutes but that joy does not last. It gives joy to the vital, but it does not touch the very depths of the being.

Occasionally when a musician enters into his soul or his very depths, then his playing is absolutely as good as prayerful and soulful singing. But unfortunately, if I have to be very frank, most of the time that does not happen. I know that as a singer, I am far better than as a musician. When I sing soulfully and devotedly, my voice carries much more divinity than my instruments. My most favourite instrument is the esraj. But even my esraj is no match for my voice.

Still, instrumental music does give us joy. We cannot remain all the time inside the soul or inside the heart. We have to come into the vital. Here I am talking about the dynamic, active vital, not the emotional vital or lower vital. We can feed the dynamic, active and enthusiastic vital with instrumental music. But when we want to get something very, very deep, something that will help us to climb up high, higher, highest, soulful singing is the right thing.

Many, many times I have seen that when people sing very prayerfully and soulfully — not the songs that are fast and lively and give joy to our vital — but songs like Jiban debata or Bhulite diyona, Mother-Earth or the soul of that particular place receives light. Afterwards, that light spreads like a fountain from any part of the world where people are singing soulfully.

The same singers may also be excellent musicians, but usually their voices carry more of their divinity than their instruments do. Again, when some super-excellent musicians play from their own highest and deepest, it is as good as singing. But many times it happens that our restless vital comes forward when we hear instrumental music. At that time music can never be as inspiring as soulful and prayerful singing.

To come back to your question, my music definitely helps the earth-atmosphere. It does not have to be me who is playing or singing. When any group or excellent singer sings soulfully, not only does it melt my heart, but also it immediately enters into the universal consciousness.