Question: When you create a painting or write a song, at what point does the soul of the creation enter into what you have created?

Sri Chinmoy: In the case of my songs, sometimes I feel the presence of the soul long before I have composed the song. At other times I have almost completed the song before I see the presence of the soul. From time to time, the soul will wait for one note — not a whole line even — just one haunting note, and from that most haunting note, the soul appears.

Sometimes the soul enters after the first line. Sometimes the whole song is composed and I am not seeing the soul. Then when I am singing it, the soul comes. There is no fixed timing. Any time the soul comes, it is good. But when I get the most haunting notes, at that time, like a flower, the soul blossoms.

Some songs I just see with my third eye. The words and the music immediately come together. Again, sometimes I may not set the tune at the same time. One of my most favourite songs is Jiban debata. The tune came immediately while I was composing the words, but perhaps I did not sing the song immediately.

It has happened to me many, many times that the tune comes while I am writing the words. I am not humming inwardly, but while I am writing the words, I find that the music is already there. Sometimes I see the Bengali notation very clearly on the words as I write them down. But then again, while playing on the tote-a-tune to get the melody, I may change it a little bit.

I like both slow songs and fast songs, but if I have to make a choice, I like slow songs more than I like fast songs. Fast songs only shake the life-tree. Sometimes if you see a tree shaking, you get joy. It is not malicious joy because you know that the tree is not going to be uprooted, but it is shaking and you are enjoying it. Sometimes in nature we like to watch a storm blowing and shaking a tree. The trees are not going to be uprooted, but just because they are shaking, we get a kind of joy.

But again, in still trees, there is profound silence. And if I am at the foot of the tree, I will deeply appreciate the silence and peace of the tree.