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Volume II - The Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word

Part II: Music

Chapter III

The nature of creation is the doubling of one. And it is this doubling aspect which is the cause of all duality in life; one part is positive, the other is negative; one expressive, the other responsive. Therefore spirit and nature in this creation of duality stand face to face. There is the first aspect which is sound, and the next which is light. In these nature-aspects, or responsive aspects, at first only the light works; but when one goes deeper in creation there is sound. In nature which is face to face with spirit, what is first expressed is light, or what man first responds to is light; and what man responds to next, what touches man deeper, is sound.

The human body is a vehicle of the spirit, a completed vehicle which experiences all the different aspects of creation. This does not mean that all other forms and names which exist in this world, some as objects, others as creatures, are not responsive to the expression of the spirit. In reality every object is responsive to the spirit and to the work of the spirit, which is active in all aspects, names and forms of the universe. One reads in the Masnavi of Rumi, that the earth, the water, the fire and the air, before man are objects, but before God they are living beings. They work at His command, as man understands living beings working under the command of a master. If creation can be explained, it is the phases of sound or of vibration, which manifest in different grades in all the various forms in life.

Even what we call matter or substance, and all that does not seem to speak or sound, is in reality all vibration. And the beauty of the whole of creation is this, that creation has worked in two ways. In one way it has expressed and in the other way it has made itself a responsive mold. For instance, there is substance, matter to touch, and there is a sense to feel, to touch. There is a sound, and at the same time there are ears which can hear sound. There is light, there is form, there are colors; and at the same time there are eyes to see them. And what man calls beauty is the harmony of all one experiences. What after all is music? What we call music is the harmony of the audible notes; but in reality there is music in color, there is music in lines, there is music in the forest where there is a variety of trees and plants; and there is harmony in how they correspond with each other. The more widely one observes nature, the more it appeals to one's soul. Why? Because there is a music there; and the wider one's outlook on life becomes, the deeper one's understanding of life, the more music one can listen to, the music which answers the whole universe. But the one whose heart is open need not go as far as the forest; in the midst of the crowd he can find music. At this time human ideas are so changed, owing to materialism, that there is hardly any distinction of personality. But if one studies human nature, one sees that even a piano of a thousand octaves could not reproduce the variety of human nature. How people agree with one another, how they disagree; some become friends after a contact of a moment, some in many years cannot become friends. If one could only see to what pitch the different souls are tuned, in what octaves different people speak, what standards different people have! Sometimes there are two people who disagree, and there comes a third person and all unite together. Is that not the nature of music? The more one studies the harmony of music, and then studies human nature, how people agree and how they disagree, how there is attraction and repulsion, the more one will see that it is all music.

But now there is another question to be understood. That what man knows is generally the world he sees around him. Very few trouble to think that there is something beyond what they see around them. To many it is only a fable when they hear that there are two worlds. But if one looked deep within oneself one would see that it is not only two worlds; it is so many worlds that it is beyond expression. That part of one's being which is receptive is mostly closed in the average man. What he knows is expressing outwardly, and receiving from the same sphere whence he can receive from himself. For instance, the difference between a simple man and a thinking person with deeper understanding, is that when a simple person has received a word he has heard it only in his ears; whereas the thinking person has received the same word as far as his mind. The same word has reached the ears of the one and the heart of the other. If this simple example is true, it shows that one person lives only in this external world, another person lives in two worlds, and a third person lives in many worlds at the same time. When a person says, 'Where are those worlds? Are they above the sky, or down below the earth?' the answer is that all these worlds are in the same place as that person is himself.

As a poet has said, 'The heart of man, if once expanded, becomes larger than all the heavens.' The deep thinkers of all ages have therefore held that the only principle of awakening to life is the principle of emptying the self. In other words, making oneself a clearer and more complete accommodation in order to accommodate all experiences more clearly and more fully. The tragedy of life, all its sorrows and pains, belong mostly to the surface of the life of the world. If one were fully awake to life, if one could respond to life, if one could perceive life, one would not need to look for wonders, one would not need to communicate with spirits; for every atom in this world is a wonder when one sees with open eyes.

In answer to the question as to what is the experience of those who dive deep into life, and who touch the depth within, Hafiz has said, 'It is not known how far is the destination, but so much I know, that music from afar is coming to my ears'. The music of the spheres, according to the point of view of the mystic, is like the lighthouse in the port that a man sees from the sea, which tells him that he is coming nearer to his destination. What music may this be? If there were no harmony in the essence of life, life would not have created harmony in this world of variety. And man would not have longed for something which was not in his spirit. Everything in this world which seems to lack harmony is in reality the limitation of man's own vision. The wider the horizon of his observation becomes, the more harmony of life he enjoys. In the very depth of man's being the harmony of the working of the whole universe is summed up in a perfect music. Therefore the music of the spheres is the music which is the source of creation, the music which is heard while traveling towards the goal of all creation. And it is heard and enjoyed by those who touch the very depth of their own lives.

checked 23-Oct-2005