en More about Sri Chinmoy

Becoming the Instrument

When we play soulful music, we come to realise that we are not the musician; we are just an instrument. We are like a piano, violin or guitar, and it is God who is constantly playing on us. If we really play soulful music, we will see that we are just an instrument, that somebody else is singing and playing in and through us, and that somebody is our Inner Pilot, the Supreme.

The earthly creator we misunderstand because of his shortcomings. But he is bringing down his creation from another world, especially if he is a soulful musician. He brings down reality from a higher world on the strength of his intense aspiration, and for half an hour or an hour he remains high, very high. The music he writes or plays at that time comes from that high realm. But after half an hour or an hour he may enter into his ordinary consciousness again. That is why people appreciate a soulful musician while they listen to his music and later look down upon him for his human failings. Everything he has brought down from the very high worlds to illumine and fulfil the earth-consciousness is undoubtedly the representative and the reality of the life-breath of God coming down from the higher worlds.

Music is of God and for God. Real music, divine music, takes you back to God, the Supreme Musician. Divine music is of the heart and for the heart. If it is for the vital world, then those who play will have to live in that world. But if you want to live all the time in the soul's world, your music has to be totally different. Give the world the reality that you live. Even if the world does not appreciate it right now, still you have to remain faithful to your reality. If you are not playing the music that you live, the music that you are, then you will feel sorry. It is like living a double life. Your outer life must add to your inner life. Anything you do in the outer life has to be a proper expression of your inner life. If there is a yawning gulf between your inner life and your outer life, then you can never be happy.

If you are crying to see God's Light in your consciousness, then you have to give the world what you really are. If you bring to the fore music from the soul, then only will your contribution to humanity be significant. When artistic capacity is joined with spiritual capacity, the musician can break through the walls that other musicians have created. At that time, outer success will not only be worldly success but also divine success.

You may say that in the outer world you have to play undivine music. But you are in no way compelled! Just to attract the attention of the world, please do not let your spiritual life suffer. Sincerely follow the spiritual life. Try to bring the soul's music to the fore. 1

Question: How can I overcome fear when I am performing in front of an audience?

When you play music, feel that it is not you who is playing. Somebody else is playing and somebody else is enjoying. But that somebody else is part of you. One part of you is playing, one part is enjoying and still another part has become the music itself. So the moment you start playing, make yourself into three parts. Feel that one existence of yours is playing, another portion is observing and a third part of you is the music itself. You are the creator, you are the creation and you are the reality that exists in the creator and the creation. These things need not come as mental thoughts or images; far from it. At a glance they can come.

Sometimes when you play, on the strength of your heart's oneness with the audience, you can observe one thing. There are two hearts: one heart is your small heart, which is playing, and the other heart is the big heart, which is listening. Again, the big heart is playing and the small heart is listening. The audience is the larger heart and you are the smaller heart that is expanding and becoming one with the larger heart. When you are playing, try to feel this. And then feel that you are the larger heart and the audience is the smaller heart. If you have this experience, then you will feel that you were one and now you have become many, and that you were many and now you have become one.

This is what happens when the smaller heart and the larger heart meet together. The smaller heart is the seed and the larger heart is the tree. The seed grows into the tree and the tree gives birth to new seeds. If you can see it in this way, then at every moment your music will give the greatest satisfaction, for this moment you are the seed, the next moment you are the fruit. You are the fruit, you are the seed; you are the dream, you are the reality. This is what the heart feels.

Whenever you perform, feel that you are not performing in front of fifty people. Feel that there is only one person listening to you, and imagine that that person is a child only two years old. This is the human way.

The divine way is to see immediately the Supreme before you. If you see the Supreme and feel that you also are the Supreme, then how can one Supreme be afraid of the other Supreme? There is only one Supreme. If you bow down to the Supreme inside each individual in the audience, then immediately you become one with each individual. Then you will not be afraid. Because you do not feel your oneness, you are afraid. But if you are one, then you do not feel afraid. This is the divine way. 2

Question: Can we use meditation to increase our creativity?

Certainly! Prayer and meditation are the only way. Many people are not born poets or artists. But by practising meditation, they bring into their system literary capacities, painting capacities, musical capacities, because meditation means new life. When new life enters into you, you become a new person. Before you were not an artist, let us say. God gave you a particular type of life, with particular capacities. But when a new life enters into you, that means a new opportunity, a new avenue, a new light enters. At that time you can easily acquire creativity. 3

Question: How can I make my music full of supreme beauty?

You can make your music full of supreme beauty if you can remember constantly that your music is only an extension of your inner consciousness and that it is also an expression of the divine within that is crying for manifestation. If you can accept or feel or be aware of the divine within you, then you can bring to your music, through the expression of your life's reality, the supreme beauty. But always feel that the divine within you has accepted music as an expression of its reality for your own perfection in life.

When you play music, you have to feel you are playing not to satisfy your vital, not to compete with others, not for the applause of the audience and not for name and fame. You have to feel that you are the instrument and the Supreme is playing in and through you. You are His instrument and He is playing you. He is the musician and, at the same time, He Himself is the listener. You have to feel that He is the player, He is the listener, and He is the instrument itself. If you have that kind of feeling, automatically divine perfection dawns in your music. 4

Question: Does it make a difference if you play music from memory rather than reading it off a sheet of music?

If you are interested in the spontaneous fountain of the heart, it is better to play music by heart. Then you can give life to the music. When you read music, the eyes are seeing the paper and the mind is operating. At that time, the mental consciousness enters into the picture; the paper consciousness enters into the mind, and the spontaneous, soulful qualities are all gone. So let the fountain flow only from the heart. If you have another small fountain in the mind, in spite of having a big fountain in the heart, you are going to create a problem. Again, if you know all the notes but just play mechanically, that also is not good. You should learn the music by heart, but you should also give life to the music while playing. Reading music takes away from the spiritual quality, even though it is the usual method. 5

Question: When someone feels a beautiful poem or song inside, what prevents its outer expression?

There are two main reasons. The first reason is that when you feel a poem or song, you doubt it; you doubt whether it is real or not. You feel, “Oh, how can I have that kind of beautiful feeling? Five minutes ago I told a lie, ten minutes ago I was jealous of somebody, so it is impossible to feel this way now.” But what happened five minutes ago has nothing to do with what you are feeling right now.

The mind is so clever. When you have a wonderful experience, a very good, high experience, your mind will immediately try to throw cold water on it, because your mind does not want you to have joy in its pure form. Your mind will immediately ask you how you can experience this kind of thing when you acted so undivinely just a little while ago. The mind will say it is all mental hallucination. And the moment you give up the experience, the same mind will come and say, “See, you are such a fool! You have lost everything; you have thrown away everything. God alone knows how many months it will take you to get this experience back again.”

The second reason why you cannot express a poem or song that you have inside you is that there is a gap between your feeling and your becoming. When you feel something, if you do not immediately become that thing, then your vital being revolts. The vital being feels that you have allowed a stranger to enter into you, and it becomes jealous. It acts just like a child when he sees that his mother and father have allowed somebody else to come and stay at his house. Naturally he becomes jealous because he feels that now his parents will not be able to pay as much attention to him as before. When you feel something inside you, it means that you have invited someone or something into your house, but he has not yet entered. Once he enters, the expression is as good as achieved, but before he enters the child may revolt. He may start crying and say, “I do not want him; I do not want him.” But if the parents become serious and say, “We have invited him and he will definitely stay,” then it is all over. Once you become what you feel, the difficulty is over.

These are the two main things that keep you from manifesting in your outer life what you feel within yourself. 6

Question: How can I keep my ego out of my art?

You have to be clever. If the ego comes, then think that you are one individual and your ego is another. This other individual is undivine, but you are mixing with him. You have got a piece of bread and you are sharing it with somebody whom outwardly you call a friend. But from your personal inner experience you know that this ego is really your enemy. Why should you share with somebody who does not have the same goal as you have? The ego will stand in your way when you try to run toward your goal. By feeding someone who has a different goal from you, you are only delaying your own progress and weakening your own strength.

The Supreme is waiting for you; He is crying, crying for you to reach Him. Yet you are giving half your strength to somebody who is really your enemy. The Supreme gives you the opportunity and the capacity to run the fastest, but you are sharing half your capacity with somebody who is running to another goal, the goal of destruction. You have to feel at that time that he is a real enemy. If you see the ego in this way, then you can easily separate your creative capacity from your ego. 7

Question: How can I retain my aspiration to manifest and serve God through my music and not be affected by the people involved in the music business who are concerned only with dollar signs?

You can transform the nature of those who care more for money than for real music. How? You have to make yourself feel at every moment that your music is not something to excite humanity but something to illumine humanity. If it is excitement, then only the vital is fed. If it is illumination, then the entire being is fed. When you think of music, always think of illumination. Take music as something that constantly illumines and not as something that brings money and will make you a multi-millionaire. Always make those people who are money-minded feel that it is illumination that can come from your music and not money-power.

Music can do much for the Supreme. It is a way to reach humanity and bring spirituality to humanity. The shopkeeper gives something to the customer and the customer appreciates it. Then, when the customer begins to have faith in that particular shopkeeper, the shopkeeper says, “You have appreciated my mango, but now I have something else for you; I have a guava also. This will also satisfy you and nourish you.” Because the customer has faith in the shopkeeper, he will taste the new fruit and be satisfied. The time has come for musical people to say, “We can give you something else. It is called spirituality. Try it.”

When a musician leads a spiritual life, it is very easy for him to help thousands of people at a time, because they appreciate his music and the kind of life he leads. Spiritual Masters can only approach humanity if people come to them with real aspiration, whereas musicians have the means to approach humanity with their art. 8

Question: How can I bring spirituality into my music?

Each seeker-musician has a golden opportunity to please the Supreme with his music. Whenever you play music, you have to know whether or not that music is going to please the Supreme. If it pleases you and you feel it will please God, then play it. If you feel it will not please God, then never play it. Playing lower vital music to get appreciation from the public can never please the Supreme. If an ordinary person who has not launched into the spiritual life plays that kind of music, he is doing the right thing according to his own standard. But if a seeker plays that kind of music, he cannot make any progress.

A sincere seeker who has already accepted a path of his own should play only spiritual music, psychic music, music that elevates his consciousness and the consciousness of others. Play music that inspires you, that comes from the very depth of your heart and illumines your consciousness. When you play this kind of music, you will see that in each note God Himself is blossoming like a lotus, petal by petal. When you play divine music, please feel that God is unveiling His own inner Music and fulfilling Himself in and through you. 9

Question: I am a musician and I am also trying to follow the spiritual life. I find it difficult to reconcile these two parts of myself, and I feel I shouldn't try to move too quickly in this area.

You may say that it is necessary to evolve slowly, that you cannot change your music overnight. Then I will say, “All right, but also try to bring forward the other life.” Each time you make a successful attempt, feel, “My old life is coming to an end.” Feel that you have got enough money, fame and so on. Even if you have not got enough, just try to convince your mind. In this way your soul will come forward. If you can make yourself feel that the whole world appreciates and admires you, that the whole world has given you what you want, but still you are not satisfied, then you will ask yourself what you still have to do in your life. What you have to do is to please your Inner Pilot in His own way.

Right now you may think that the world will not appreciate your spiritual music. It may take time, but today or tomorrow you will create another world of music. If you go on creating, one day people will appreciate your creation.

Inwardly the world wants to make progress. Outwardly the world wants something new. That which is eternal is outwardly new.

As a musician, when you want to offer something to the audience, if you use outer means all the time, you will not be able to give satisfaction. The world is always looking for the new. God Himself is looking for the new. This new river is flowing and we have to become one with the flow. Something new is coming out which offers progress to mankind, and if we become one with it, then we can really offer something to humanity. 10

Question: What is the spiritual essence of Beethoven's music?

The spiritual essence of Beethoven's music is that the outer life can be harmonised, liberated and fulfilled by the soul's conscious guidance of the physical in us. Even if the outer life starts from the darkest ignorance, it has hope. First it has hope, then it has the certainty of its total transformation, illumination and perfection.

When Beethoven's music starts, it gives the feeling of a mad elephant, first striking this side, then that side. We can imagine it striking one wall, then moving to the other side and striking another wall; but it is moving, moving—constant movement. Then the movement, after getting a few blows, after breaking heads here and there, goes toward the goal. Whether we call it soulful movement, vital movement or something else, it eventually reaches the goal.

What Beethoven says about music is true not only from the intellectual and emotional point of view, but also from the spiritual point of view: “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.” 11


  1. Sri Chinmoy, God the Supreme Musician, Agni Press, 1976↩︎

  2. Sri Chinmoy, God the Supreme Musician, Agni Press, 1976↩︎

  3. Sri Chinmoy, Art's life and the soul's light, Agni Press, 1974↩︎

  4. Sri Chinmoy, A galaxy of beauty's stars, Agni Press, 1974↩︎

  5. Sri Chinmoy, God the Supreme Musician, Agni Press, 1976↩︎

  6. Sri Chinmoy, Flame-Waves, part 8, Agni Press, 1976↩︎

  7. Sri Chinmoy, Art's life and the soul's light, Agni Press, 1974↩︎

  8. Sri Chinmoy, Aspiration-Tree, Agni Press, 1976↩︎

  9. Sri Chinmoy, God the Supreme Musician, Agni Press, 1976↩︎

  10. Sri Chinmoy, God the Supreme Musician, Agni Press, 1976↩︎

  11. Sri Chinmoy, The height of silence and the might of sound, Agni Press, 1974↩︎