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Hazrat Inayat Khan on the Spirituality of Music


"Spiritual Development by the aid of music"

Music is a miniature of the harmony of the whole universe, for the harmony of the universe is life itself, and humans, being a miniature of the universe, show harmonious and inharmonious chords in their pulsations, in the beat of their hearts, in their vibration, rhythm and tone. Their health or illness, their joy or discomfort, all show the music or lack of music in their life.

And what does music teach us? Music helps us to train ourselves in harmony, and it is this which is the magic or the secret behind music. When you hear music that you enjoy, it tunes you and puts you in harmony with life. Therefore we need music; we long for music. Many say that they do not care for music, but these have not heard music. If they really heard music; it would touch their souls, and then certainly they could not help loving it. If not, it would only mean that they had not heard music sufficiently, and had not made their heart calm and quiet in order to listen to it, and to enjoy and appreciate it. Besides music develops that faculty by which one learns to appreciate all that is good and beautiful in the form of art and science, and in the form of music and poetry one can then appreciate every aspect of beauty.

What deprives us of all the beauty around us is his heaviness of body or heaviness of heart. We are pulled down to earth, and by that everything becomes limited; but when we shake off that heaviness and joy comes, we feel light. All good tendencies such as gentleness and tolerance, forgiveness, love and appreciation, all these beautiful qualities come by being light; light in the mind, in the soul, and in the body.

What is wonderful about music is that it helps us to concentrate or mediate independently of thought - and therefore music seems to be the bridge over the gulf between form and the formless. If there is anything intelligent, effective and at the same time formless, it is music. Poetry suggests form, line and colour suggest form, but music suggests no form. It creates also that resonance which vibrates through the whole being, lifting the thought above the denseness of matter; it almost turns matter into spirit, into its original condition, through the harmony of vibrations touching every atom of one's whole being.

Beauty of line and colour can go so far and no further; the joy of fragrance can go a little further; but music touches our innermost being and in that way produces new life, a life that gives exaltation to the whole being, raising it to that perfection in which lies the fulfillment of our life.

Hazrat Inayat Khan
excerpted from The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Vol II
copyright 1962 Wassenaar Publications, Geneva


More by Hazrat Inayat Khan:

Preface to his book "The Music of Life"   or the   Hazrat Inayat Khan home page


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