Question: How is it possible for us to gain the same spiritual benefit from playing your music as we do from singing your songs?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a very simple, effective way. While you are playing my music, you have to inwardly sing the melody of the song, not loudly but most hauntingly. Either you yourself have to sing it in silence or you have to feel that somebody else is doing it — your own soul or a most talented singer whose voice you deeply appreciate and admire.

If you can feel that a most soulful, haunting voice is singing the piece that you are playing, the soulful singing will enter into your music and make it very sweet. I will give you an example. When I play the Invocation in the morning, inwardly I sing along with it. When I sing in silence, I get much more benefit than when I just play and do not sing. Many, many times when I play the Invocation I get such joy when I hear my voice from within. As soon as I sing, “Supreme, I bow to Thee, I bow,” my whole world — my entire inner and outer world — offers its aspiration and dedication.

There is a great difference between singing my songs most soulfully and singing them in an ordinary way. When you sing my songs soulfully, it melts my heart. Again, when you sing the same songs like a parrot, just producing the melody and words, there is such a big difference! It is like the difference between the heart’s illumination and the mind’s mental understanding.

Most of the time when a disciple-musician plays my music, I see that his mind is operating more than his heart. But if you can feel that your soul or some inner being of yours is most prayerfully singing the melody, definitely you are going to derive the benefit. At the same time, if you can be more prayerful and soulful while playing my music, you will derive much more spiritual benefit from your performance. Naturally, it is best if you can do both. If you can play soulfully and, at the same time, feel that your soul is singing the melody, it is like using two hands instead of one; you will get more benefit.