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Volume II - The Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word

Part II: Music

Chapter II

By this title I do not mean to encourage any superstition, or any idea that might attract people into fields of curiosity. My aim is to direct the attention of those who search for truth towards the law of music which is working throughout the universe, and which in other words may be called the law of life; the sense of proportion, the law of harmony, the law which brings about balance, the law which is hidden behind all aspects of life; which holds this universe intact and works out the destiny of the whole universe, fulfilling its purpose.

There are many in the world who look for wonders; if one only noticed how many wonders there are in this world, which is all phenomena! The deeper one sees into life, the wider life opens itself to one, and every moment of one's life then becomes full of wonders and full of splendor.

What we call music in our everyday language is only a miniature, which our intelligence has grasped from that music or harmony of the whole universe which is working behind everything, and which is the source and origin of nature. It is because of this that the wise of all ages have considered music to be a sacred art. For in music the seer can see the picture of the whole universe; and the wise can interpret the secret and the nature of the working of the whole universe in the realm of music.

This idea is not a new idea; yet at the same time it is always new. Nothing is as old as the truth, and nothing is as new as the truth. It is man's desire to search for something traditional, for something original, for something new; all these tendencies can be satisfied in the knowledge of truth.

All the religions have taught that the origin of the whole of creation is sound. No doubt the way in which this word is used in our everyday language is a limitation of that sound which is suggested by the scriptures. Language deals with comparative objects, but that which cannot be compared has no name. Truth is that which can never be spoken; and what the wise of all ages have spoken is what they have tried their best to express, little as they were able to do so.

The music of the universe is the background of the small picture which we call music. Our sense of music, our attraction to music, shows that there is music in the depth of our being. Music is behind the working of the whole universe. Music is not only life's greatest object, but it is life itself. Hafiz, the great and wonderful Sufi poet of Persia, says, 'Many say that life entered the human body by the help of music, but the truth is that life itself is music'. What made him say this? He referred to a legend which exists in the East and which tells how God made a statue of clay in His own image, and asked the soul to enter into it; but the soul refused to be imprisoned, for its nature is to fly about freely and not to be limited and bound to any sort of capacity. The soul did not wish in the least to enter this prison. Then God asked the angels to play their music, and as the angels played the soul was moved to ecstasy, and through that ecstasy, in order to make the music more clear to itself, it entered this body. And it is told that Hafiz said, 'People say that the soul, on hearing that song, entered the body; but in reality the soul itself was song!'

It is a beautiful legend, and much more so is its mystery. The interpretation of this legend explains to us two great laws. One is that freedom is the nature of the soul, and for the soul the whole tragedy of life is the absence of that freedom which belongs to its original nature; and the next mystery that this legend reveals to us is that the only reason why the soul has entered the body of clay or matter is to experience the music of life, and to make this music clear to itself. And when we sum up these two great mysteries, the third mystery, which is the mystery of all mysteries, comes to our mind. This is that the unlimited part of ourselves becomes limited and earthbound for the purpose of making this life, which is the outward life, more intelligible.

Therefore there is a loss and a gain. The loss is the loss of freedom, and the gain is the experience of life, which is fully gained by coming into this limited life which we call the life of an individual.

What makes us feel drawn to music is that our whole being is music; our mind and our body, the nature in which we live, the nature which has made us, all that is beneath and around us, it is all music; and we are close to all this music, and live and move and have our being in music.

Therefore music interests us and attracts our attention and gives us pleasure, because it corresponds with the rhythm and tone which are keeping the mechanism of our whole being intact. What pleases us in any of our arts, whether drawing, painting, carving, architecture, sculpture, or poetry, is the harmony behind them, the music. What poetry suggests to us is music, the rhythm in the poetry or the harmony of ideas and phrases. Besides this, in painting and drawing it is our sense of proportion and our sense of harmony which give us all the pleasure we gain in admiring art. And what appeals to us in being near to nature is nature's music, and nature's music is more perfect than that of art. It gives us a sense of exaltation to be moving about in the woods, and to be looking at the green; to be standing near the running water, which has its rhythm, its tone and its harmony. The swinging of the branches in the forest, the rising and falling of the waves, all has its music. And once we contemplate and become one with nature our hearts open to its music.

We say that we enjoy nature. But what is it in nature that we enjoy? It is music. Something in us has been touched by the rhythmic movement, by the perfect harmony which is so seldom found in this artificial life of ours; it lifts one up and makes one feel that nature is the real temple, the true religion. One moment standing in the midst of nature with open heart is a whole lifetime, if one is in tune with nature.

When one looks at the cosmos, the movements of the stars and planets, the law of vibration and rhythm, all perfect and unchanging, it shows that the cosmic system is working by the law of music, the law of harmony; and whenever that harmony in the cosmic system is lacking in any way, then in proportion disaster comes to the world, and its influence is seen in the many destructive forces which manifest there. The whole of astrological law and the science of magic and mysticism behind it, are based upon music.

Therefore the whole life of the most illuminated souls who have lived in this world, like the greatest prophets in India, has been music. From the miniature music which we understand, they expanded the whole universe of music, and in that way they were able to inspire. The one who receives the key to the working of life, is he who becomes intuitive; it is he who has inspiration. It is he to whom revelations manifest, for then his language becomes music. Every person who comes to us, every object we see, is revealing. In what form? It tells us its character, nature and secrets. Every person tells us his past, present and future. In what way? Every person explains to us all that they contain. In what manner? In the form of music, if only we can hear it.

There is another language: it is rhythm and tone. We hear it, but we do not hear it with our ears. A friendly person shows harmony in his voice, in his words, in his movement and manner. An unfriendly person in his very movements, in his glance and expression, in his walk, in everything, will show disharmony if one can but see it. I had a friend in India who became cross very easily. Sometimes when he visited me I would say, 'Are you cross today?' He would ask, 'Now how do you know I am cross today?' I said, 'Your turban tells me. The way you tie your turban wrongly shows disharmony.'

One's very actions show an inharmonious or harmonious attitude. There are many things one can perceive in handwriting, but the principle thing in reading handwriting is the harmonious or inharmonious curves. It almost speaks to you and tells you the mood in which the person wrote. Handwriting tells you many things, the grade of evolution of a person who has written, his attitude towards life, his character and his mood when writing. You do not need to read the whole letter he wrote, you only have to see his handwriting. For line and curve will show him to be either harmonious or inharmonious, if only one can see it.

In every being you can see this, and if one looks with deep insight into the nature of things one will read it even in a tree. According to the fruit or flowers which the tree bears one discovers what music it expresses.

You can see from the attitude of a person whether that person will prove to be your friend, or will end in being your enemy. You need not even wait until the end; you can see at the first glance whether he is friendly inclined or not, because every person is music, perpetual music, continually going on day and night; and your intuitive faculty can hear that music. That is the reason why one person is repellent, and the other attracts you. It is the music he expresses; his whole atmosphere is charged with it.

There is a story of Omar, the well-known Khalif of Arabia. Someone who wanted to harm Omar was looking for him, and he had heard that Omar did not live in palaces though he was a king, but that he spent most of his time with nature. This man was very glad to think that now he would have every opportunity to accomplish his object. And as he approached the place where Omar was sitting, the nearer he came the more his attitude changed; until in the end he dropped the dagger which was in his hand and said, 'I cannot harm you. Tell me what is the power in you that keeps me from accomplishing the object which I came to accomplish?' And Omar answered, 'My at-one-ment with God'.

What did Omar mean by that at-one-ment with God? He meant being in tune with the Infinite, in harmony with the whole universe. In other words, Omar was the receptacle of the music of the whole universe.

The great charm that the personality of the holy ones has shown in all ages has been their responsiveness to the music of the whole being. That has been the secret of how they became the friends of their worst enemies. But it is not only the power of the holy ones. It manifests in every person to a greater or lesser degree. Everyone shows harmony or disharmony according to how open he is to the music of the universe. The more he is open to all that is beautiful and harmonious, the more his life is tuned to that universal harmony and the more he will show a friendly attitude towards everyone he meets. His very atmosphere will create music around him.

The difference between the material and the spiritual point of view is that the material point of view sees matter as the first thing, and considers that intelligence and beauty and everything else evolved from it. From the spiritual point of view we see the intelligence and beauty first; and from them comes all that exists. From the spiritual point of view we see what one considers last to be the same as first; and therefore in the essence of this whole being, as the basis of all that exists, there is music. One can see that in the essence of the seed of the rose there is the rose itself, its fragrance, form and beauty; and although in the end it may not be manifested, at the same time it is there. And the one who tunes himself not only to the external but to the inner being and to the essence of all things, gets an insight into the essence of the whole being; and therefore he can to the same extent find and enjoy even in the seed the fragrance and beauty which delights him in the rose.

The greatest error of this age is that activity has increased so much, that there is little margin left in one's everyday life for repose. And repose is the secret of all contemplation and meditation, the secret of getting in tune with that aspect of life which is the essence of all things. When one is not accustomed to take repose, one does not know what is behind one's being. This condition is experienced by first preparing the body and the mind by means of purification; and by making the senses fine one is able to tune one's soul with the whole Being.

It seems complex, and yet it is so simple. When one is open to one's true friend in life, one knows so much about him; it is only a question of the opening of the heart; it is the at-one-ment with one's friend. We know his faults and his merits, but we know also how to experience and to enjoy friendship. Where there is hatred and prejudice and bitterness, there is loss of understanding. The deeper the person, the more friends he has. It is smallness, narrowness, lack of spiritual development, which makes a person exclusive, distant, different from others. He feels superior, greater, better than the others; the friendly attitude seems to have been lost. In this way he cuts himself off from others, and in this lies his tragedy. That person is never happy. The one who is happy is he who is ready to be friends with all. His outlook on life is friendly. He is not only friendly to persons, but also to objects and conditions.

It is by this attitude of friendship that man expands and breaks down those walls which keep him in prison; and by breaking down those walls he experiences at-one-ment with the Absolute. This at-one-ment with the Absolute manifests as the music of the spheres; and this he experiences on all sides, in the beauty of nature, in colors of flowers, in everything he sees and in everything he meets. In the hours of contemplation and solitude, and in the hours when he is in the midst of the world, the music is always there, he is always enjoying its harmony.

checked 23-Oct-2005