Song-offerings

The song of the mountain
Gives me peace.

The song of the sea
Gives me bliss.

The song of my heart
Gives me love.

The song of my soul
Gives me life.

The song of my earth-gratitude
Brings God to me.

The song of God’s Heaven-plenitude
Carries me to God.

My songs

My earth-songs
Devotedly find me.

My Heaven-songs
Soulfully illumine me.

My God-songs
Triumphantly immortalise me.

Question: What is the relationship between music and silence?

Sri Chinmoy: Silence is the nest and music is the bird. The bird leaves the nest early in the morning and returns to the nest in the evening. Similarly, in the spiritual world, divine music comes from the inmost Soul of Silence. It is Silence that embodies real music, divine music.

Ordinary music comes from the vital, the gross physical consciousness, or from something subtle in our existence. This subtle existence need not be very high or very deep. It may only be an inch deeper than our gross physical.

But when we compare divine music and silence, we must say that silence is the all-encompassing nest. All peace, all joy and all confidence are inside that nest and from there the music bird comes out and flies all over the world. While flying in the firmament, it offers delight to the lovers of music as well as to the universal Consciousness. The universal Consciousness is fed constantly by the immortal, divine and supreme Music of the Absolute.

Question: Why do we like music?

Sri Chinmoy: We like music because it teaches us how to love, whom to love and why to love. How do we love? We love by self-giving. Whom do we love? We love him who aspires and claims God as his very own. Why do we love? We love because the divine lover in us has no existence of his own without feeling his oneness-reality with his Beloved Supreme.

Let us not try to understand music with our mind. Let us not even try to feel it with our heart. Let us simply and spontaneously allow the music-bird to fly in our heart-sky. While flying it will unconditionally reveal to us what it has and what it is. What it has is Immortality’s message and what it is is Eternity’s passage.

Question: What is the sound that music creates?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two types of music: earthly music and Heavenly music. There is also a third type which is the Music of the Supreme. Earthly music stimulates the vital in us, Heavenly music illumines us and spreads the divinity within us and the Music of the Supreme fulfils the Reality within us.

Question: What does God's Music sound like?

Sri Chinmoy: God’s Music is heard by each individual according to his own capacity of receptivity. God plays the same music, but it will sound one way to one person and totally different to another. When a professor gives a talk, there will be many students in the same classroom. One student will understand the professor’s talk in a way totally different from another. Because of his inner capacity, the best student in the class will understand much more than the worst student in the class. God’s Music is heard, valued, understood and felt in a specific way according to the listener’s own capacity of receptivity.

Question: I've heard that there are different tones or notes for each Heaven. Could you please describe them?

Sri Chinmoy: Heaven means the higher worlds in this case. There are seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. Each world has a music of its own and a note of its own. The higher worlds have a music that awakens us, inspires us, illumines us, perfects us and fulfils us. The music of the higher worlds constantly comes to us as the harbinger of the highest Height, whereas the music of the lower worlds naturally comes to us as a messenger of destruction.

It is not only the higher and lower worlds that have a music of their own; each individual has his music, each movement has music, each action has music. Each time we breathe in and breathe out there is music. When we don’t pay attention to the inner depth of the action, we don’t hear the music. If we do pay adequate attention to each action, then inside the very depth of that action we are bound to hear music. Unless we hear music inside each action, the action is lifeless.

Question: In what way does music affect our consciousness?

Sri Chinmoy: Our consciousness is like a book. When we play divine music, we will be able to write down something significant in the book. If it is undivine music, we will write down something undivine. The moment we write something undivine we will see that the quality of the book suffers. When we write divine things we will see and feel that the quality of the book is greatly elevated.

There is another way to feel how music affects our consciousness. If we have a piece of paper right in front of us and listen to bad music, we will immediately feel that we have dropped ink on the paper and ruined it. But if we hear good music, we will immediately feel that we have written something divine and immortal on it.

Bad music will immediately affect our consciousness. Consciousness, like water, is neutral. Water symbolises consciousness. What we put inside water is of paramount importance. If it is something harmless, sweet and divine, then naturally we get joy. But if we put something undivine, poisonous and destructive in the water, then naturally when we drink it we shall die. What we mix with the water before drinking it is up to us.

Question: Can we use music to help us in our spiritual life?

Sri Chinmoy: We can use music to help us in our spiritual life provided we know that music and the spiritual life are like twin brothers; we cannot separate them. How can we separate two fingers, two eyes? They sit side by side. If one eye is not functioning well, then we feel that our vision is imperfect. We also have to know that music and the spiritual life must go together; one complements the other. Music helps the spiritual seeker to go deep within to get the utmost satisfaction from life, from Truth, from Reality. The spiritual life in turn helps music to offer its capacity and its strength, which is the soul’s light, to the world at large.

Question: Can you define soulful music?

Sri Chinmoy: Soulful music is the music that wants to eventually transform our consciousness. It carries us into the universal Consciousness and makes us feel that we are in tune with the highest, with the deepest, with the farthest. It also makes us feel that God Himself is the Supreme Musician. When we play soulful music we come to realise the actual truth that we are not the musician; we are just an instrument. We are like a piano, violin or guitar, and God is constantly playing on us. If we really play soulful music, we will see that we are just an instrument, that somebody else is singing in and through us, and that somebody is our Inner Pilot, the Supreme.

Question: What is the best way to become one with soulful music?

Sri Chinmoy: The best way to become one with soulful music is to breathe in and breathe out with the firm inner conviction that while you are breathing in, the breath is immediately entering directly into your soul, and with the breath the universal Consciousness, divine Reality, divine Truth is also entering. When you breathe out, try to feel that you are breathing out the veils that are around your soul. Feel that they are lifted and discarded. If you can consciously imagine and feel this, it is the best way to become one with soulful music.

What do we mean by soulful music? If you say it is the music that embodies the soul, then I wish to say that it is incorrect. You have to feel that soulful music is the Light that wants to express itself in a divine way. Even as darkness wants to manifest its authority on earth, Light also wants to manifest its Reality and Divinity in a specific way. Light is the soul of everything. Light is the soul of music, Light is the soul of love and Light is the soul of all art. When Light manifests itself in a divine way in the form of music, it is the music of the soul.

Question: Can spiritual music be played during meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Certainly, although it depends on the one who meditates. There are many seekers on earth who meditate extremely well, but who have not developed their musical sense. Their ears have not been trained so we cannot expect them to change their nature over night. They either lack the capacity of appreciation or they have some austere feeling about music. There are many seekers who have the silly notion that all music is vital, from the lower vital. They don’t encourage their children to learn music because they feel that as soon as they enter into the music world, they will fall. There is some truth to this because we all know that vital music is appreciated most all over the world. Psychic music is not very widely appreciated and very few people appreciate the soul’s music. They feel it is like a stranger who is entering into their consciousness. It is actually their eternal tenant, their soul, who is deep within them waiting to come to the fore.

If divine music is played during deep meditation, it enhances the meditation. Naturally, undivine music will immediately lower the consciousness, while soulful music will immediately help in elevating the consciousness. This is why we play music from time to time in our Centre. We do not encourage music all the time because there are many people who do not appreciate or admire music. We don’t want to create problems for them since it is a group meditation. So if you are fond of music, then please play soulful songs or chants during your meditations at home. Soft, soulful music will definitely help you.

Question: Can some kinds of music cause us to feel upset and change our spiritual condition?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. There is some music that is really destructive to our inner being. This music comes from the gross physical or lower vital. The spiritual person will immediately be affected by this music. But soulful and spiritual music really helps us; it feeds our inner life. Music has tremendous power. With fire we can burn ourselves, or we can cook and do many other good things. So it is with music. The divine music immediately elevates our consciousness. Undivine music immediately lowers our consciousness, and it tries to destroy our sincere inner cry for a better spiritual life. Undivine music tries to awaken our lower vital consciousness and throw us into a world of excitement.

Question: Could you please tell us the spiritual significance of your chanting?

Sri Chinmoy: I have chanted a few Sanskrit verses which I set to music. These verses were composed by the Vedic and Upanishadic seers. The Vedic seers had opened their third eye, the eye that sees the Real. With our earthly physical eyes we do not see the Real. The ultimate Real can be seen only with the third eye, the eye of Vision.

If one consciously accepts the spiritual life, the inner life, naturally one will aspire and meditate; one will always try to elevate one’s consciousness to the highest. When we chant, our psychic being which is the representative of the soul, is fed. A mother feeds her child whenever the child is hungry. Similarly, we have to feed the soul, the divine child within us, by chanting or meditating. When the soul is fed, our entire being is freed from the fetters of ignorance and the soul-bird gets the opportunity to fly in the sky of Infinity and Eternity.

Question: When you sing in front of us, what are you accomplishing?

Sri Chinmoy: When I sing I do two things. First of all I try to bring down universal Harmony and Bliss into the aspirants, especially into the disciples who are in tune with the cosmic Joy. Next I try to uplift the limited consciousness of each disciple into the limitless consciousness.

If we sing a divine song, a soulful song, it immediately brings purity into our system. The spiritual songs that I sing are prayers to the Supreme to ferry us across the ocean of darkness and ignorance to the ocean of Delight and Immortality. The Supreme is the Boatman and we pray to Him to ferry us to the Golden Shore. Singing immediately inspires us and awakens the slumbering soul in us. Singing purifies our limited consciousness and brings to us universal Harmony. We constantly break the universal Harmony, but when we sing, we build and create this universal Harmony in and around us.

If you can sing, you have the purest consciousness and perfect harmony in your nature. Nothing delights our soul more than soulful singing. Please sing at home; at home you can sing loudly. Sing in the street or at any other place. Of course in the street you will sing inwardly; otherwise, people will laugh at you.

The Supreme blesses those who both inwardly and outwardly sing soulful songs. Some people do not have a beautiful singing voice at all, but their voice is deeply appreciated by the Supreme because they sing soulfully. The Supreme does not care for someone who is a very great singer but who sings without any aspiration or devotion. He cares only for the ones who sing wholeheartedly.

I wish all who have consciously become my devoted disciples to sing “The Supreme” early in the morning, in the evening or once any time during the day. It only takes three minutes and these three minutes pass away in the twinkling of an eye.

Each soulful song leads us to the Highest because it is the purest flower that can be offered at the Feet of God. When we sing, our whole existence actually becomes a garden of flowers ready, ready to be offered at the Feet of the Supreme. This is why I sing.