Swami Kriyananda Receives an Inspiration to Compose Instrumental Music

The video: A song, “Lord, I Long To See Thee,” from the sonata that Swami Kriyananda wrote for his mother.

(Part 9 on our ongoing series, Swami Kriyananda on Art & the Artist.)

In December, Swamiji decided to write a piano sonata, as a birthday present for his mother. She was also a musician; the baby grand piano in his living room had been hers. As a young woman, she had gone to Paris to study the violin. It was there that she met her husband-to-be, though both were Americans from Oklahoma. Ray was an oil geologist, working in Europe, on vacation in Paris.

The sonata was Swamiji’s first instrumental piece. After months of writing words, it was relaxing for him to write melodies without the need for words. The secret of Swamiji’s prodigious creativity was to concentrate on one thing at a time. In his teens, Swamiji had spent hours every day practicing the piano, but since then had played very little. Now, day after day, he practiced the sonata, in order to be able to play it for his mother when he went to see her after Christmas. “The best way to learn to play the piano,” he said, “is write a piece of music that is beyond your level of skill, then practice till you can play it.” He called the sonata The Divine Romance. (Swami Kriyananda: Lightbearer , 1975, pp. 90-91)