Quotes on Music
- To the ordinary musician the sound is
important. To the master musician the silence is important: he uses
sound only to create silence. He raises sound to a high pitch and
then drops it so suddenly that you fall into a deep silence. In the
East the classical music is absolutely devoted to meditation. It has
not forgotten its origin. But the origin must have been thousands of
years back. There is no written record about it, so whatever I am
saying is according to my inner experience. I have felt it, that I
use language also in the same way... words to create moments of
wordlessness. Basically it is the same technique. So it is possible:
listening to music you may remember me. You may feel close to me,
although I am not a musician. There is no superficial connection
between me and music, but there is something deeply connected. The
musician is using notes of music to create periods of silence. I am
using words to create gaps.
- When for the first time you fall in love,
you meet the opposite. Immediately, it is as if you have got wings,
you can fly; poetry arises in your heart. What is happening? The
opposite has created something in you. Silence alone is not very
beautiful, sound alone is not very beautiful, but the meeting of
sound and silence is very, very beautiful -- that is music. The
meeting of silence and sound is music.
- Music comes next to silence, but the
difference is very big. And it is not that all music necessarily
comes close to it. In the name of music, contemporary idiots are
doing something which goes even farther away from silence -- from
Beatles to jazz to Talking Heads. It is not music; it is simply
making noise! It is simply disturbing the silence. In the East,
music has been always accepted as a spiritual phenomenon. If your
music cannot create silence in the people who are listening, it is
not music. If your music does not become an unmoving no-mind in the
people of your audience, it is not music. It is just making noise.
- A musician can easily become a meditator,
he is very close. There is nothing closer to meditation than music
-- wordless, meaningless, but tremendously significant. It says
nothing but shows much, expresses nothing but brings to you a great
splendor. From musician move towards the mystic. The day your music
consists only of silence, you have arrived home.
- Even a man like Picasso is not sane --
very intelligent but not sane. The paintings show his mind. They are
nightmarish. They don't have the beauty of the classical art. It is
just like jazz music, which is insane and cannot be compared to
classical music. Classical music has tremendous sanity. It can make
even an insane person sane. Just listening to classical music, he
may calm down. But jazz -- even a sane person may start feeling a
- Compared to classical music, jazz music is
in the lowest category, because rather than creating a spirituality
in you it simply activates your sexuality. The great classical music
takes you higher, beyond your mind, to silences which can give you a
taste of meditation, a taste of existence.
- Music can be understood only by those who
have a musical ear. And those who have a musical ear should think
themselves fortunate because beyond music, just one step more, they
enter the world of meditation, silence. Silence is the ultimate
- If you want to enjoy classical Indian
music you will have to learn. You cannot just go and enjoy it, it
needs a certain preparation in you, it needs a certain receptivity
in you. It is not vulgar. It needs a certain understanding in you...
a deep understanding of sounds and silence -- because music consists
of sound and silence. It is not only sound, it contains silence in
- I am not teaching you anything at all. I
am simply preparing you to listen to my silence. Certainly teaching
can be used to create silence, just as sound can be used to create
silence. But the sound is not the real music... the real music is
between the sounds, the gaps, the intervals.
- When the dancer disappears and only the
dance remains, it is meditation. If the dancer is there then it is
only dance, not meditation. When the singer disappears and only the
song remains, it is meditation. When the musician is not found and
only music remains, then it is meditation.
- To understand classical music is possible
only if you learn -- and it is a long learning. It is not like jazz
music, for which no learning is needed. Even monkeys can understand
jazz -- in fact, only monkeys understand it. It is not music, just a
few crackpots making all kinds of noises, and you think it is music.
You will find better music in a waterfall, or when the wind blows
through the pine trees, or simply when you walk in the forest in
autumn on dry leaves, and sounds are created. But to understand
that, you will need to be free from hunger, free from poverty, free
from all kinds of prejudices.
- First the bodily needs have to be
fulfilled. If they are not fulfilled you will not have higher needs
arising -- impossible. The hungry person cannot think of music. If
you start playing on the guitar before a hungry person, there is
every possibility that he may retaliate in anger. He may throw your
guitar, he may break your guitar, because it is insulting, it is
- Remaining uncreative is almost a sin,
because you exist and you don't contribute. You eat, you occupy
space, and you don't contribute anything. My sannyasins have to be
creators. And when you are in deep creativity you are close to God.
That's what prayer really is, that's what meditation is. God is the
creator, and if you are not creators you will be far away from God.
God knows only one language, the language of creativity. That's why
when you compose music, when you are utterly lost in it, something
of the divine starts filtering out of your being. That is the joy of
creativity, that's the ecstasy -- svaha!
- Music is not property; it is art, it is
love. It is devotion, it is prayer. You cannot possess it.
- You cannot taste food the way I taste. I
can say it because once I was also a camel like you, so I know both
kinds of taste. When I see a sunset you may be standing by my side,
but you cannot see it; your eyes have lost their sensitivity.
Listening to Mozart you may fall asleep, but listening to jazz music
you start jumping, shouting, screaming. Jazz is simply crazy! It is
not music. These Beatles are really beetles, not human beings, but
they appeal to you. To understand the classical music of the East
you will need very sensuous ears, very trained, disciplined; the
music is so subtle.
- In fact, the greatest music in the world
is nothing but an echo of the inner music. Whenever a musician comes
closer to that music, great music is born. Only very few have
reached close to it: a Tansen, a Baiju Bawara, a Beethoven, a
Mozart, a Wagner. Only very few have come close to it, but whenever
some music comes close to it, resembles it, it has something great
in it. The modern trends in music are far away from it: they are
more noisy, less musical. Jazz and other music is more sexual, less
spiritual. They are loud. They keep your mind occupied, certainly;
they are so loud that you have to remain occupied.
People go on listening to the radio, to the television, at full
volume, as loud as possible, blaring, so that they need not think,
so that they need not be worried, so that they remain occupied. The
noise is so much, you cannot think -- and they are tired of
thinking, tired of worrying. People are glued to their chairs for
hours listening to just stupid noise; it is not music at all. Music,
to be worthy of being called music, has to be meditative. If it
brings meditation to you, if it brings silence; if it fills you with
silence, if it reminds you of the soundless sound inside you, then
only is it real music. Otherwise it is a false coin.
- You can try one beautiful experiment: just
put some sand on a plate and then when somebody is playing music,
put your plate with the sand on top of it. You will be surprised to
see that every sound makes a change in the pattern of the sand on
the plate. It goes on changing with every sound. Classical music
will put all the sand in a very silent, very harmonious state; it
will create a pattern of harmony. The same sand, the same plate and
any stupid kind of modern music -- from jazz to the skinheads -- and
you will be surprised that your sand is in a chaos. It loses all
harmony, it loses all peacefulness, and patterns are created which
show immediately to anybody disharmony, discord. A man of silence
moves with a certain field of energy around him, and if you are
receptive, his vibe starts touching your heart.
- AUM means exactly what Zen people call
"the sound of one hand clapping". AUM is the innermost music of your
being. When all the thoughts and desires and memories have gone,
have disappeared, and the mind is absolutely quiet and silent, there
is no noise inside, you start hearing a tremendously beautiful music
which does not consist of any meaning. It is pure music without any
meaning, gives you great joy, fills you with celebration, makes you
dance. You would like to shout "Alleluia!" But the music itself has
no meaning; it is pure music, not polluted by any meaning. AUM
represents that inner music, that inner harmony, that inner humming
sound which happens when your body, your mind, your soul are
functioning together in deep accord, when the visible and the
invisible, the manifest and the unmanifest are dancing together.
- AUM represents the music of existence, the
soundless sound, the sound of silence, when your whole being hums
- This fact has to be meditated upon. A
musician creates music, hence his sexual energy is used in a
non-sexual way. A dancer creates dance, he need not create children.
He becomes a creator of something higher -- what is the need to
create the lower? Even animals can create children; that is nothing
special to man. In fact, animals are far more productive -- even
mosquitoes can defeat you! That is nothing special to you. Now there
are two ways: either repress sex -- as has been done by all the
so-called religious traditions of the world -- or transform it.
I am for transformation, hence I teach my sannyasins to be creative.
Create music, create poetry, create painting, create pottery,
sculpture -- create something! Whatsoever you do, do it with great
creativeness, bring something new into existence, and your sex will
be fulfilled on a higher plane and there will be no repression. Let
your sex become more and more love and less and less lust. And then
finally let your love also become a little higher -- that is prayer.
Lust is the lowest form of sex, love higher than sex, and prayer is
the ultimate transformation.
- Om is the silent sound, when the mind
stops all chattering and you enter into the world of no-mind. The
music of no-mind is something closer to Om. It is not exactly Om,
but Om comes very close to that subtle sound.
- Existence can sing any song that it wants;
the flute does not interfere. The flute allows existence to commune
with those who are capable of listening to the music that is flowing
- In Indian music there are ragas. A raga is
a certain type of music for a certain period of time. For example,
for the morning, one raga; for the evening, another; for the middle
of the night, another. Around the clock those ragas are played, but
each has its own time. And it is really strange, that if you play
the raga that is meant to be played in the early morning, in the
evening, it does not create the same climax within you. The same man
is playing, but something is missing.
It is just like at sunrise when the birds start singing and the
flowers open up. At sunset the birds stop singing, the flowers start
closing. Existence is going into rest, so there is a different music
for this moment which will be in tune with the whole existence.
There is a different tune for the morning Because the sun is rising,
your music should be harmonious with the rising energy, the wakening
energy of existence.
- If a person is hungry, how can he
understand music? It is sheer absurdity to ask him to listen to
classical music when he is hungry. Or to tell him to meditate or to
sit in zazen. He cannot think anything about Buddha, cannot think
anything about God or Jesus. He cannot meditate, his mind will
flicker and waver; it will go again and again to his empty stomach.
No, he cannot love poetry and he cannot love music when the first
needs are unfulfilled. Give him fulfillment in the first, primary
needs -- food, shelter, love -- and then suddenly the energy is
released from the lower world and he will start reading poetry,
listening to music; he will enjoy dancing. Now higher needs are
arising: he would like to paint or sculpt. These are luxuries. They
only come into existence when lower needs are fulfilled. And when
these higher needs are also fulfilled -- you have loved music,
listened to music; you have loved poetry, enjoyed it; you have
painted, danced -- one day you will see a new realm of needs is
arising called the ultimate needs: meditation, God, prayer.
- Listening to classical music you fall into
a totally different kind of state. Everything becomes tranquil,
still, but it is momentary; it is only a dream world that the
musician creates around you. Listening to poetry or looking at great
sculpture, for a moment you are dazed, stunned. The mind stops as if
you are transported for a moment to some other world, but again you
are back in the same old world, in the same old rut. But there are
different kinds of poets, painters, sculptors too: the buddhas. A
single verse from them may transform you forever. Listening to a
buddha is listening to divine music. Listening to a buddha is
listening to God himself. A buddha is God visible, a buddha is God
available. A buddha is a window into God, an invitation from the