Music and meditation…

Have you ever realized that when you really enjoy music, when you deeply appreciate what you are listening to, you can reach a state where there is no difference between you, and the music. There is no separate listener, no separate musician, no separate music. Everything is one. You ARE the music. You follow every rhythm, allowing yourself just to experience the pure joy. You don’t think any more. Your mind is at peace. and you just follow. There are several activities where this can happen. like cooking, walking, etc. But for me, music is especially one venue where this is directly accessible. And I’m left with a deep appreciation for what transpires in that moment.

This blog comes to me because I experienced it yet again last evening listening to Pt. Bhimsen Joshi’s album ‘Siddhi-in eternal quest’. The album can only be felt, there are no words for how relaxed you feel listening to raag yaman in late evening. I’ve never been much into indian classical music, back when I was in India. There are so many kinds of classical music, I can’t really generalize this statement. Let me put it this way: there is north indian (hindustani) and south indian music. They are both rooted in centuries of tradition. Indian music has one of the most well-developed theoritical base to it, and this was actually intimidating to me. I could never quite differentiate between the different ragas, the different moods there could be (like in jazz). Over the years, I have learned to simply experience the music rather than think about it. It is now different for me. I no longer ‘think’, I just experience the gift the musician has created for me. I enjoy instrumental music the most, notably Pt Shivkumar Sharma, whose music is intangible, and just flows without hitting any tangible notes-thats how it appears to me! like magic! Similarly with Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and sarod. Pt. Ravi Shankar-to appreciate his music, you have to just sit back and go on the journey with him-there is no other way.

Even in film music (which I have always loved!)-or any music for that matter, that has depth and feeling in it. The only true way to do justice to the musician, is to feel the music. be one with it. And then I find myself amazed at the talent of the musician. and grateful for the experience. In fact, true musicians who move us beyond words, do not just play or sing. They experience, they emote, and they let us experience it with them. Now I understand why my grandma used to love going to concerts. Because in a concert, you can experience oneness-there is no longer an audience, you and the musician. There is only one-they are all one. (Another one of my favorites is ‘One’: one love, one life’.. :), I can listen to it anytime!).

A recent album that really touched me was ‘Jana Gana Mana’ produced by A.R.Rahman, that Mama sent us. This album has our national anthem (written by Rabindranath Tagore, the cd even has his original rendition!!) performed by many of the major musicians of India, as well as the younger generation of musicians. Its beautiful. and you revel in the beauty shared by so many. and now you too become part of it..

One time, I even enjoyed opera with my friend Stella. Yeah, opera!! It was amazing. We basically did music meditation-we just completely enjoyed the music. its sheer majesty. the unbelievable range. and like Tom Hanks in ‘Philadephia’, we experienced it. It was memorable :).

So, next time, enjoy your music :). and enjoy the place where no boundaries exist. There is only sheer experience :).

Love, S.


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