Whenever you sing in a group1Consciousness, oneness, sweetness, soulfulness, confidence and perfection: these are the things that I expect from you whenever you sing in a group.
First I am looking for consciousness. Next comes oneness, and the collective sweetness in the voices. Then comes soulfulness, then confidence and then perfection. For each and every song, inwardly I will give grades.
When I say “consciousness,” it is your collective consciousness that I am looking at, not your individual consciousness. When you sing in a group, please think of your collective consciousness. Before you sing, the members of the group should come together and meditate for at least two or three minutes. That will help your collective consciousness and your oneness.
Then comes sweetness. Sweetness you can get by repeating the Supreme’s Name. First sing one line of a song without repeating His Name. Then repeat His Name three times or seven times and sing the same line. You will see the difference! Of course, while you are saying “Supreme” you are praying to the Supreme to give you sweetness in your voice.
Not only for sweetness but for all these qualities you have to pray to the Supreme. He is the only one who can give you consciousness, soulfulness and all the other qualities. For everything you have to pray.
Next comes confidence. This is the confidence that you know the song well, and not the confidence that will make you use destructive power. Confidence means that you know the song very well from the beginning to the end. Even if all of a sudden the rest of the members of the group hesitate or forget a line and stop singing, if you have confidence you will be able to carry the whole group — even if you are not the leader. If the other members of the group and the leader also have forgotten the line, if you have confidence you have to carry the burden of the whole group.
Then comes perfection — how perfectly you are singing. If I request you to make a note a little higher at the end, or if there is some subtle quality at a particular place in the song, at that time you have to think of your divine geometry.
From each group I expect all these qualities. For each and every song I expect these qualities. It is perhaps impossible when you are singing thirty or forty songs at a stretch, but I really expect these qualities when you sing a very important song like “Cheyechhilam kabi hate” or “With every breath of my heart” or “The Invocation.”
“The Invocation” must be sung this way. When I request you to sing “The Invocation” while I am walking meditatively at P.S. 86, for my first four or five steps your singing melts my heart. But alas, there will always be some very unfortunate singers. This is what happens. When there is a large group, to have a high standard is impossible. At that time, compassion becomes the boss.
WSI 13. 16 January 1999, Sheraton Hotel Surabaya, Indonesia. Comments after various groups sang the song "Cheyechhilam kabi hate"↩