The word 'spiritual' does not apply to goodness, or to
wonderworking, the power of producing miracles, or to great
intellectual power. The whole of life in all its aspects
is one single music. The real spiritual attainment is to
tune one's self to the harmony of this perfect music.
What is it that keeps man back from spiritual attainment?
It is the denseness of this material existence, and the
fact that he is unconscious of his spiritual being. His
limitations prevent the free flow and movement which is
the nature and character of life. Take for instance this
denseness. There is a rock, and you want to produce sound
from it, but it does not give any resonance; it does not
answer your desire to produce sound. String or wire on the
contrary will give an answer to the tone you want. You strike
them and they answer. There are objects, which give resonance;
you wish to produce sound in them, and they respond; they
make your music complete. And so it is with human nature.
One person is heavy and dull; you tell him something but
he cannot understand; you speak to him, but he will not
hear. He will not respond to music, to beauty, or to art.
What is it? It is denseness.
There is another person who is ready to appreciate and
understand music and poetry, or beauty in any form, in character
or in manner. Beauty is appreciated in every form by such
a person; and it is this which is the awakening of the soul,
which is the living condition of the heart. It is this which
is the real spiritual attainment. Spiritual attainment is
making the spirit alive, becoming conscious. When man is
not conscious of soul and spirit, but only of his material
being, he is dense; he is far removed from spirit.
What is spirit and what is matter? The difference between
spirit and matter is like the difference between water and
ice: frozen water is ice and melted ice is water. It is
spirit in its denseness which we call matter; it is matter
in its fineness which may be called spirit. Once a materialist
said to me, 'I do not believe in any spirit or soul or hereafter.
I believe in eternal matter.' I said to him, 'Your belief
is not very different from mine, only that which you call
eternal matter I call spirit; it is a difference in terms.
There is nothing to dispute about because we both believe
in eternity; and so long as we meet in eternity, what difference
does it make, if the one calls it matter, and the other
calls it spirit? It is one life from beginning to end.'
Beauty is born of harmony. What is harmony? Harmony is
right proportion, in other words, right rhythm. And what
is life? Life is the outcome of harmony. At the back of
the whole creation is harmony, and the whole secret of creation
is harmony. Intelligence longs to attain to the perfection
of harmony. What man calls happiness, comfort, profit or
gain, all he longs for and wishes to attain is harmony;
in a smaller or greater degree he is longing for harmony.
Even in attaining the most mundane things, he always wishes
for harmony. But very often he does not adopt the right
methods. Very often his methods are wrong. The object attained
by both good and bad methods is the same, but the way one
tries to attain it makes it right or wrong. It is not the
object which is wrong, it is the method one adopts to attain
No one, whatever his station in life, wishes for disharmony,
for all suffering, pain and trouble is lack of harmony.
To obtain spirituality is to realize that the whole universe
is one symphony; in this every individual is one note, and
his happiness lies in becoming perfectly attuned to the
harmony of the universe. It is not following a certain religion
which makes one spiritual, or having a certain belief, or
being a fanatic in regard to one idea, or even by becoming
too good to live in this world. There are many good people
who do not even understand what spirituality means. They
are very good, but they do not yet know what ultimate good
is. Ultimate good is harmony itself. For instance all the
different principals and beliefs of all the religions of
the world, taught and proclaimed by priests and teachers
but which man is not always able to follow and express,
come naturally from the heart of someone who attunes himself
to the rhythm of the universe. Every action, every word
he speaks, every feeling he has, every sentiment he expresses,
is harmonious; they are all virtues, they are all religion.
It is not following a religion, it is living a religion,
making one's life a religion, which is necessary.
Music is a miniature of the whole harmony of the universe,
for the harmony of the universe is life itself, and man,
being a miniature of the universe, shows harmonious and
inharmonious chords in his pulsation, in the beat of his
heart, in his vibration, rhythm and tone. His health or
illness, his joy or discomfort, all show the music or lack
of music in his life.
And what does music teach us? Music helps us to train
ourselves in harmony, and it is this which is the magic
or secret behind music. When you hear music that you enjoy,
it tunes you and puts you in harmony with life. Therefore
man needs music; he longs for music. Many say that they
do not care for music, but these have not heard music. If
they really heard music, it would touch their souls, and
then certainly they could not help loving it. If not, it
would only mean that they had not heard music sufficiently,
and had not made their heart calm and quiet in order to
listen to it, and to enjoy and appreciate it. Besides, music
develops that faculty by which one learns to appreciate
all that is good and beautiful in the form of art and science,
and in the form of music and poetry one can then appreciate
every aspect of beauty.
What deprives man of all the beauty around him is his
heaviness of body or heaviness of heart. He is pulled down
to earth, and by that everything becomes limited; but when
he shakes off that heaviness and joy comes, he feels light.
All good tendencies such as gentleness and tolerance, forgiveness,
love and appreciation, all these beautiful qualities, come
by being light; light in the mind, in the soul and in the
Where does music come from? Where does dance come from?
It all comes from that natural and spiritual life which
is within. When that spiritual life springs forth, it lightens
all the burdens that man has. It makes his life smooth,
as thought floating on the ocean of life. The faculty of
appreciation makes one light. Life is just like the ocean.
When there is no appreciation, no receptivity, man sinks
like a piece of iron or stone to the bottom of the sea.
He cannot float like a boat, which is hollow and which is
The difficulty in the spiritual path is always what comes
from ourselves. Man does not like to be a pupil, he likes
to be a teacher. If man only knew that the greatness and
perfection of the great ones who have come from time to
time to this world, was in their being pupils and not in
teaching! The greater the teacher, the better the pupil
he was. He learned from everyone, the great and the lowly,
the wise and the foolish, the old and the young. He learned
from their lives, and studied human nature in all its aspects.
Someone learning to tread the spiritual path must become
like an empty cup, in order that the wine of music and harmony
be poured into his heart. When a person comes to me and
says, 'Here I am, can you help me spiritually?' and I answer,
'Yes', very often he says, 'I want to know first of all
what you think about life and death, or the beginning and
the end'. And then I wonder what his attitude will be if
his previously conceived opinion does not agree with mine.
He wants to learn, and yet he does not want to be empty.
That means going to a stream of water with a covered cup;
wanting the water, and yet the cup is covered, covered with
preconceived ideas. But where have the preconceived ideas
come from? No idea can be called one's own. All ideas have
been learned from one source or another; yet in time, one
comes to think that they are one's own. And for those ideas
one will argue and dispute, although they do not satisfy
him fully; but at the same time they are his battleground,
and they will continue to keep his cup covered. Mystics
therefore have adopted a different way. They have learned
a different course, and that course is self-effacement,
or in other words, unlearning what one has learned; and
this is how one can become an empty cup.
In the East it is said that the first thing to be learned
is how to become a pupil. One may think that in this way,
one loses one's individuality; but what is individuality?
Is it not what is collected? What are one's ideas and opinions?
They are just collected knowledge, and this knowledge should
One would think that the character of the mind is such
that what one learns is engraved upon it; how then can one
unlearn it? Unlearning is completing this knowledge. To
see a person and say, 'That person is wicked, I dislike
him', that is learning. To see further and recognize something
good in that person, to begin to like him or pity him, that
is unlearning. When you see the goodness in someone you
have called wicked, you have unlearned. You have unraveled
that knot. First one learns by seeing with one eye; then
one learns by seeing with two eyes, and that makes one's
All that we have learned in this world is partial knowledge,
but when this is uprooted by another point of view, then
we have knowledge in its completed form. This is what is
called mysticism. Why is it called mysticism? Because it
cannot be put into words. Words will show us one side of
it, but the other side is beyond words.
The whole manifestation is duality, the duality which
makes us intelligent; and behind the duality is unity. If
we do not rise beyond duality and move towards unity, we
do not attain perfection, we do not attain spirituality.
This does not mean that our learning is of no use. It
is of great use. It gives us the power of discrimination
and of discerning differences. This makes the intelligence
sharp and the sight keen, so that we understand the value
of things and their use. It is all part of human evolution
and all useful. So we must learn first, and unlearn afterwards.
One does not look at the sky first when standing on the
earth. First one must look at the earth and see what it
offers to learn and to observe; but at the same time one
should not think that one's life's purpose is fulfilled
by looking only at the earth. The fulfillment of life's
purpose is in looking at the sky.
What is wonderful about music is that it helps man to
concentrate or meditate independently of thought; and therefore
music seems to be the bridge over the gulf between form
and the formless. If there is anything intelligent, effective
and at the same time formless, it is music. Poetry suggests
form, line and color suggest form, but music suggests no
form. It creates also that resonance which vibrates through
the whole being, lifting the thought above the denseness
of matter; it almost turns matter into spirit; into its
original condition; through the harmony of vibrations touching
every atom of one's whole being.
Beauty of line and color can go so far and no further;
the joy of fragrance can go a little further; but music
touches our innermost being and in that way produces a new
life, a life that gives exaltation to the whole being, raising
it to that perfection in which lies the fulfillment of man's