Guiding Light of The Month

THERE is a great difference between being in the midst of active work, of external action, while keeping one’s thought constantly fixed on Thee, and entering into that perfect union with Thee which leads to what I have called “absolute Consciousness, true Omniscience, Knowledge”. - The Mother


Music. What place does music hold in our lives? Its time to dwell on this special topic of interest to many. In fact, to state it boldly, there is no one who is not touched in a special way by music. What kinds of music are there? We know of the popular, the classic, the fusion varieties, Eastern, Oriental, Indian or Western music. Each of these touch us in different ways. In fact, our preference for different kinds of music changes with the flight of time. What may have appealed to us in one phase of life does not appeal and in some cases, turns one off, at another. Music is like a living entity, something real and true we respond to, relate with, something that may bring out the best in us or the worst sometimes, without our even knowing it. Perhaps taking a closer look at our relationship with music would reveal a whole world within us, our many planes with which we establish relationships with or sometimes, and perhaps rarely, identify with.

Wikipedia defines music, quite comprehensively to the measuring and calculating mind, as “an art form that involves organised sounds and silence. It is expressed in terms of pitch (which includes melody and harmony), rhythm (which includes tempo and meter), and the quality of sound (which includes timbre, articulation, dynamics, and texture).” Scientifically, according to the laws of physics, music can be defined as "sound through time."

The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (3rd Edition, 1995) defines music as “The arrangement of sounds made by instruments or voices in a way that is pleasant or exciting”.

The above definitions of music are representative of what the academic human mind has gleaned of music and classified according to its highest (presumably) mental precepts. What does the genius of Sri Aurobindo speak of music? In The Indian Renaissance (Pg 227, 228), Sri Aurobindo, writes of how in ancient India, music, like the other art forms, was placed under the sanction of the Rishis “and were made instruments of the spirit’s culture.” Though it was, like the rest of the art forms, nurtured and enjoyed for pure aesthetic satisfaction, it was “still raised up to minister to the intellectual, ethical and religious development of the being.” In Essays Divine and Human (Pg 389), Sri Aurobindo points out how “music and art reveal perhaps more absolutely the soul of a nation..” In Savitri (Pg 235), he writes prophetically about there being a music “that can immortalize the mind…make the heart wide as infinity..”

There is certainly more to music than meets the eye. What is this music “that can immortalize”?. What is it, at its highest expressions and possibilities? What of the listener of music, what of its composer. Let’s venture on.

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