The Gandharvas sing with Swamiji in 1976. At the time, they were the only group performing Ananda’s music — now, hundreds around the world are finding joy in singing and sharing these uplifting sounds. L-R: Nitai, Uma, Arati, Parvati, Hridaya, Swamiji, Dinanath, Nalini, Shivani, Vasudeva.
(From a talk to the Ananda singers and musicians in Assisi, Italy.)
An emperor in ancient China would tour his provinces once a year to see how they were faring. He never inquired about the honesty of the officials, nor did he try to find out how things were being run. He didn’t even ask to see their financial records. Instead, he listened to their music, because he knew that if the music was right, it was a sure sign that everything was going well. But if some disharmony had been allowed to creep into the music, some dissonance, some element that was contrary to the higher laws of harmony, then he knew that there was cause for concern.
A nation that loves martial music is bound to go to war. A nation that loves sensual music is bound to fall into decadence. It’s much easier to change people’s hearts through music than through words. And if we can introduce into our civilization a kind of music that expresses harmony and divine joy, we can have a great impact.
The music that’s popular today gives us cause for a certain amount of fear. The violence they’re expressing is centered in the lower chakras. It’s very disintegrating, and it’s getting worse all the time, to the point where I can’t see it ending anywhere but in a big bang.
We’ve got to introduce something different. Ananda’s music is a wonderful ministry, because it helps people understand high truths directly. When you teach people with words, they can stand back and say, “Yeah, well, but what about this over here, and what about that?” And so the mind comes in, and their doubts take over. But when you express it through music, they understand it more directly.
Our singers have performed in many places where we couldn’t talk openly about our teachings. For example, the choir sang at one of the biggest churches in Assisi, Italy, and the priest there was at first very stand-offish. He was saying, “Well, let’s get it over with.” But after the concert he did something that priests in Italy never do. He bowed and said, very sincerely, “Wonderful!”
When I write music, I never say, “Let me see how I can do it.” Never! I pray, “God, show me what You want me to do. Tell me what You feel will express these wonderful teachings in music!”
Let us try in all humility to open ourselves as channels for God’s love and peace to all mankind. On wings of music, let us bring the harmony, light and joy that God has given us, and make it a living reality that people can deeply feel. For even if they can’t believe, yet experiencing God’s love directly, who can doubt it?