It is the stretched soul that makes music, and souls are stretched by the pull of opposites -- opposite bents, tastes, yearnings, loyalties. Where there is no polarity -- where energies flow smoothly in one direction -- there will be much doing but no music.
If we respected only what is inevitable and has a right to be, music and poetry would resound along the streets. When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence -- that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.
When I was a little child there used to be two blind performers in Rajkot. One of them was a musician. When he played on his instrument, his fingers swept the strings with an unerring instinct and everybody listened spellbound to his playing. Similarly there are chords in every human heart. If we only knew how to strike the right chord, we would bring out the music.
At different times in our journeys, if we're paying attention and able to create some luck, we get to sing the song we're meant to sing in the perfect key of life. Everything we've ever done and all we're meant to do comes together in harmony with who we are. When that happens, we feel the truest expression of ourselves.
Music is a mysterious form of mathematics whose elements partake of the Infinite. It is responsible for the movements of water, the pattern of curves traced by the wavering breeze; nothing is more musical than a sunset. For anyone capable of seeing it emotionally, it is the finest lesson of development contained in this book, too seldom referred to by musicians -- I mean the book of Nature.
Whoever wants to live and enjoy his life today must not be like you and me. Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours . . .
Siddhartha listened. He was now listening intently, completely absorbed, quite empty, taking in everything. . . . He had often heard all this before, all these numerous voices in the river, but today they sounded different. . . . . They were all interwoven and interlocked, entwined in a thousand ways. And all the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life.
. . . I urge young musicians: 'Don't be vain because you happen to have talent. You are not responsible for that; it was not of your doing. What you do with your talent is what matters. You must cherish this gift. Do not demean or waste what you have been given. Work -- work constantly and nourish it.'
Of course, the gift to be cherished most of all is that of life itself. One's work should be a salute to life.
I've listened with intense emotion to the waves of the sea, to the mountain torrents and waterfalls, and to all the sound made by water and wind. And I would add that I make no distinction between noise and sound, for me, all this represents music.
Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the Infinite: we look for moments, across the cloudy elements, into the eternal Sea of Light, when song leads and inspires us.
No one imagines that symphony is supposed to improve as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.
The music you thrill to is actually one facet of the great voice of the Creator. When you understand this, you understand that the divine is not far away from you, but is actually dancing fierily in the core of your life at every moment.
For myself as a writer -- and for any artist in the process of creating -- I realize sometimes that I am just an instrument, a channel, a conduit for a spirit far greater than myself. There's something truthful coming through me . . . . This is the experience of co-creation. We realize, "My God, we're creating with God and God needs us to create."
A woman is singing in the valley. The shadows falling blot her out, but her song spreads over the fields.
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Her song, as pure as water filled with light, cleanses the plain and rinses the mean air of day in which men hate. From the throat of the woman who keeps on singing, day rises nobly evaporating toward the stars.
Our soul was from the beginning endowed with the principle of this music, for the heavenly harmony is rightly said to be innate in anything whose origin is heavenly. This harmony is then imitated by various instruments and songs. This gift like the rest was give us through the love of the divine providence.
There is one who sings the song of his soul, discovering in his soul everything -- utter spiritual fulfillment.
There is one who sings the song of his people. Emerging from the private circle of his soul -- not expansive enough, not yet tranquil -- he strives for fierce heights, clinging to the entire community of Israel in tender love. Together with her, he sings her song, feels her anguish, delights in her hopes. He conceives profound insights into her past and her future, deftly probing the inwardness of her spirit with the wisdom of love.
Then there is one whose soul expands until it extends beyond the border of Israel, singing the song of humanity. In the glory of the entire human race, in the glory of human form, his spirit spreads, aspiring to the goal of humankind, envisioning its consummation. From this spring of life, he draws all his deepest reflections, his searching, striving, and vision.
Then there is one who expands even further until he unites with all of existence, with all creatures, with all worlds, singing a song with them all.
There is one who ascends with all these songs in unison -- the song of the soul, the song of the nation, the song of humanity, the song of the cosmos -- resounding together, blending in harmony, circulating the sap of life, the sound of holy joy.
O Universe, all that is in tune with you is also in tune with me! Every note of your harmony resonates in my innermost being. For me nothing is early and nothing is late, if it is timely for you. O Nature, all that your seasons bring is fruit for me. From thee come all things; in thee do all things live and grow; and to thee do all things return . . .
Waste no more time talking about great souls and how they should be. Become one yourself!
When we are touched by mystic grace and allow ourselves to enter its field without fear, we see that we are all parts of a whole, elements of an universal harmony, unique, essential and sacred notes in a divine music that everyone and everything is playing together with us in God and for God.
Every work of art has 'two faces,' one directed toward eternity and the other towards its own time. . . . .
We can perceive the infinite in music only by searching for this quality in ourselves. As human beings we do not possess infinite qualities, but as musicians I believe we can extend our finite power to a point where we can create an illusion of infinity. It is only by knowing ourselves that we come to know the things outside ourselves.