Relationship of Music and Spirituality
Music has a close connection with spirituality. Spiritual music has the capacity to enlighten our minds and inspires us to dive deep within. The most profound spirituality involves peace and silence. But to enter this realm of peace and silence it is quite practical to take the benefit of spiritual, soulful music.
Music that helps us spiritually is music that elevates and uplifts our consciousness. It is music that makes rather than breaks. Some music embodies a restless, aggressive quality. Spiritual music energies our inner being, but it does this without creating restlessness and vital excitement. Spiritual music can be a great aid to meditation. If we listen to music with our heart it awakens the inner aspiration to dwell in the higher realms of consciousness. The great composer Beethoven said of music
“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. Although the spirit be not master of that which it creates through music, yet it is blessed in this creation, which, like every creation of art, is mightier than the artist.”
A popular form of spiritual music is bhajans. Bhajans are simple devotional songs, which are sung many times to invoke a quality of God , The Supreme. Many spiritual teachers have noted the power of devotional music to help seekers spiritually. To sit in silent meditation may be difficult for many seekers, but to enter into the spirit of devotional music is to get the fruits of meditation in an easy and accessible way. For some aspirants devotional music alone is a way to reach the goal. The great Indian Saint Sri Chaitanya sung endlessly devotional bhajans to Sri Krishna. His infectious singing, inspired many in India to follow the path of Bhakti yoga. His bhajans to Krishna are still sung today.
Spirituality and music can never be separated. If music awakens our inner aspiration we will be inspired to dive deep within. Sri Chinmoy says of music:
“When we play soulful music, we elevate our consciousness most rapidly. Soulful music is a form of aspiration, a form of meditation.”
From the outer music we will become in touch with the inner silence. In our deepest meditation great seekers say that we can hear the divine music in the depths of our own heart.
Music also has the capacity to bring people together. It is something that unites rather than divides. Speaking at the legendary Woodstock festival of 1969 the spiritual Guru Swami Satchidananda offered a welcoming address to nearly half a million spectators.
“I am overwhelmed with joy to see the youth of America gathered here in the name of the fine art of music. In fact through music we can work wonders”
Many who attended Woodstock of 1969 felt it was a unique occasion when so many people were attracted by the ideal of harmony and friendship that transcended any cultural or racial barrier. Oneness and harmony is an indispensable part of spirituality, music helps this to become a reality.