The Tree of Knowledge
Music is Divine
After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
— Aldous Huxley
Tension is triggered when we stretch ourselves beyond our mental, physical and financial capacities and capabilities. The root cause is our expectations. When what we expect to happen does not happen, frustration leads to tension. This in turn leads to compression of the spiritual heart, which is the foundation of bhakti or devotion that connects us to our soul.
To overcome stress, we need to release tension and come to enjoy a serene and a tranquil life and for this we need to introduce bhakti into our lives. You might ask, is devotion different from prayer? Prayer is a concentrated effort from us directed towards God, whereas devotion is to acknowledge that energy as God.
Devotion helps release pressures of unwanted thought. Thinking without incorporating devotion creates jagged thought patterns that strain the mind, creating pressure that leads to more stress and tension. Whereas thinking with devotion — that is, thinking with love — creates soft, soothing thought patterns that bring about calmness, serenity and lends that musical resonance to our thoughts without pressure, stress or tension. This kind of devotion was followed by great bhakti saints like Kabir, Namdev, Mirabai, the Namazhwars, Purandaradasa, Kanakadasa, Tyagaraja and Tansen.
Devotion helped bhakti saints cultivate an awareness of soul through music. This awareness brought them clarity from the ocean of thoughts that tend to cause storms and imbalances in the mind. Devotion brings about focus, while awareness with devotion makes possible the experience of unconditional love. A sincere devotee comes to understand the import of true love and its essence. Remember here the difference between alertness and awareness. Alertness is focusing our thoughts on a particular task externally through the mind whereas awareness is being in focus on our tasks all the time through devotion and love.
Devotion and love lubricate the soul, and the absence of any friction makes possible the creation or discovery of the rhythm of the soul that is reflected in the cosmic rhythm. Music loosens the knotted heart knot known as rudragranthi. Seamless and fluid love helps to remove rusty thoughts and rigid mindsets and thus begins the clearing of all doubt. Shruti or rhythm converts itself in a musical form and this we call raaga.
These raagas touch the base of our soul, which is the subtlest of the subtle energy within us. The rhythm we experience creates in us positive, divine thoughts from within like a series of air bubbles rising up to oxygenate fish in a fish tank. We enjoy these patterns of thoughts which bring about a serene, tranquil, blissful and calm state of mind in us — where earlier we experienced much turmoil and lack of direction. This state brings about a visualisation and a state of realisation in us.
Raagas like Pahaad, Bhoopali, Kalyani and Yaman in classical Hindustani music traditions, Mohana, Ananda Bhairavi, Yaman Kalyani, Shri Junjhoti, Hindola and many more in Classical Carnatic tradition, Bach and Tchaikovsky and others in classical western tradition or just plain and simple bhajans, kirtans and other devotional renderings lead one to experience joy and peace and could well lay the foundation to progress on the path of bliss-attainment.
Therefore sing, dance and experience joy, for life is beautiful. Music and devotion are happy ways of elevating our consciousness. Music is a divine vehicle that can take us to a higher state. But not any music – music itself must be in tune with Spirit, in other words to emit divine vibrations. Indian classical music, which is based on the primal sound OM, emits such vibrations, and so also do many of the works written by the great Western classical music composers.
The purpose of music is to create silence deep within you and the purpose of silence is to create dynamism in life, so that silence which doesn’t create dynamism is no good and that music which doesn’t create silence, peace, harmony within one self is no good either. Music binds us all together. Across race, religions, continents, there is one power other than love that unites everyone and that is music. Music touches the heart of everyone, so whether you are a musician or not is immaterial: everyone should sing. When you start singing you become a musician.
Music cleanses your feelings, makes your feelings softer, lighter and if the feeling are purified, the thoughts get purified; you know the right thought comes to you. The intuitive aspect in you wakes up and this is what spirituality is. Music and spirituality are so intertwined, one cannot be without the other. Everything is possible when there is divinity, when there is divine grace and music. That is the way whereby you go deep into yourself, to relax! There is one power that is underneath all the living beings on the planet, including not just humans but also trees, birds and animals., That is the power that is underneath us when we start dancing and singing with all our heart.
When you are angry and you have to take it out, sing; sing your anger out — ‘You are stuuuupiiiiid, I am sooooo maaaad at youuuuuu.’ Music is harmony and anger is disharmony, so when you bring music in, you cannot be angry when you sing. In the mind there are always some thoughts, essential and non-essential. How do you silence the mind? In singing, all the senses get dissolved into one. At that moment, silence dawns in you. In singing, the words, the sounds create energy in your nervous system. They purify and energize the system. Something starts happening, very profound, very deep, very beautiful.
The purpose of all music is to return to the self, to the silence. Singing should lead you into ecstasy and joy. It is to enable all your senses to dissolve into the being.
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