Music and Spirituality
Weekend Special

Music and Spirituality

For a very long time, when people mentioned the word India, they always saw it as a possibility because India has been the greatest experiment on the planet, in terms of making a whole culture, a whole nation into a spiritual process. Once you are born in this land, you may do many things – you may pursue your careers, you may build your families and many other aspects of life, but essentially, your life is basically about you attaining to the highest liberation. Mukti is the only goal. This is the way this culture was created. Every single act that you perform was aimed only at elevating your consciousness.

So in this culture, music, dance or whatever else you did was not entertainment, it was also a spiritual process. In classical music, the way sound is used – the ragas, the tunes, everything – is such that if you get deeply involved in this, it will bring meditativeness. Dance is not just entertainment. If you use the postures and the mudras properly, it will lead to meditativeness. If you see a person who is very deeply involved in classical music, he will be saint-like. Music was not some “jing-bang” that somebody invented just for entertainment. Entertainment was not the attitude in life. Everything was a sadhana to reach a higher level of consciousness. Everything, just sitting, standing, and eating was also sadhana.

If you have the ears to hear, the whole existence is just music. Your body is music, everything is music because the whole existence is just a reverberation. Where there is a vibration there is bound to be a sound. So the whole existence is a complex amalgamation of sounds. These sounds, if you listen to it in a certain way, it is a horrible noise. If you listen to it in another way, it is a tremendous music. So one who listens the right way, for him everything is music. One who does not perceive the wholeness of the sound, for him it is noise because he is hearing in bits and pieces. One who listens to the wholeness of the existence, for him everything is music; there is nothing which is not music. The very body is reverberating with wonderful music if you listen.

Now what is sound? If you feed any sound into an oscilloscope – a sound measuring instrument – depending upon its frequency and amplitude, a form is created. That means every sound has a form attached to it. Similarly, every form has a sound attached to it. Or in other words, today modern science is proving to you that the whole existence is just a vibration of energy. Just sixty to seventy years ago, modern science believed in matter, but not anymore. When the scientific renaissance started happening, scientists started believing that if you have mastery over matter you can do anything. People like Friedrich Nietzsche declared that we are beginning to have mastery over matter and we can do anything. If we want, we can create a creation itself, and he declared God is dead. That was his famous statement. But today, science has gone a full circle and now science itself denies matter. Science says there is no such thing as matter – it is just a make-believe thing. The reality is just that the whole existence is a vibration.

Where there is vibration, there is bound to be a sound. So in yoga we say, the whole existence is just a sound. We call this Nada Brahma, which means that the creation and the creator is just sound.

“If everything is sound, why don’t I hear it?” This question will naturally come up. You cannot hear it simply because your hearing range is just in a small band of frequencies. Anything below that you call subsonic, anything above that you call ultrasonic. What you hear, the sonic, is just a small band of frequencies. For example, if you tune a transistor radio, suddenly it starts singing or talking. Where is it coming from? It is in a frequency mode which is not in your hearing range, but it is all over the place. Similarly, the whole existence is just a sound, but it is not in your experience because your hearing range is limited.

If you move into certain states, which we call Ritambhara Pragna, if you look at any form, the sound attached to it becomes clear to you. In such a state, the whole existence is just sound. The seven basic musical notes or swaras came from this. The way the human body is constructed with seven basic components and the root sounds for these seven basic components, are what have become the musical notes everywhere in the world.

If you experiment with music, everything falls within the parameters of these seven notes because the very construction of the body is within the seven dimensions of creation, which is being represented as chakras. Chakras are just a meeting point for the energy system in a certain way. If one becomes utterly silent within himself, then the body can be experienced as sound. It is in that state that these seven notes or swaras have evolved.

Ranked amongst the fifty most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author. Sadhguru has been conferred the "Padma Vibhushan" by the Government of India in 2017, the highest annual civilian awards, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service.