Suman Bhattacharya

Sitarist from Imdadkhani Gharana


Music - A Spiritual Journey - Part 1

Posted by suman-bhattacharya on February 11, 2012 at 5:15 AM


Music is the purest form of art. Therefore many poets who are seers, seek to express the universe in terms of music. The singer has everything within him. The notes come out from his very life.They are not materials gathered from outside.

-Rabindranath Tagore


Gods favourite sound is the sound of His inner Music. This inner Music is the music of earths transformation and humanitys Life perception. Music is a miniature of the harmony of the whole universe, for the harmony of the universe is Life itself, and humans being miniature of the universe show harmonious and unharmonious chords of pulsation in the beat of their hearts, in their vibrations, rythm and tone.

Man goes from truth to higher truth. In this journey of spiritual evolution, perfection plays a major role. To achieve perfection is to touch the horizon. But is that so easy to achieve? The closer you seem to go towards the horizon, the further it seems to move away.

Then why is this obsession to achieve perfection so ingrained in human nature? According to Hindu Philosophy, to attain perfection is to attain mukti or enlightenment.

We need to be born a million times more to reach that state.

-AdiShankaracharya , Vivekachudamani

A state where you go beyond time and space. Then why this pursuit of such a Herculian task? You can attribute this to the undying spirit of Man. Indian Classical Music is all about hitting that perfect swara, though it is not restricted only to that, as raga, laya, taal etc are other of its important aspects too. But above all being in perfect sur is what music is all about.

Let us reflect on these two words: Asur and Sur. If we remove the letter A, we get Sur. Asur being the demon, and Sur denoting God. Being in sur means being one with God. God is the one who is always perfectly tuned and always in tune.

To find the swars sthaan is nothing short of a miracle. It is a walk on a double edged sword. You can hit the wrong edge if you falter a bit, and that becomes besura and if you touch the right swara, its a miracle-as the sword no longer remains one. Its edge becomes smooth, expanded, broad, It opens into a vast space - shoonya. One can bask in this shoonyata in pleasure, and continue to stretch it further and it remains ever so perfect on that note. This is Swar Sadhana. A student of music is sadhak, who is polishing this coal of imperfection to the glitter of a perfect diamond, meticulously polishing every note, till it shines with the tejas andaura of the sheer purity of the sound of that note.

Swara, a sanskrit word: swa- meaningself, ra -meaning to bring forth or throw light upon.

Meaning the artist or sadhak goes deep within himself to bring out the essense of Self to the surface. Only then it reaches out to the other to touch the core, and one is moved by this music. Its like a candle, once lit, throws light on all others around. Soulful music works miracles.This is the only way by which we are touched by music.

Words or sathiyaa does not make music spiritual, anymore than virtuosity would. Music needs no language, no gimmicks, or mastery over techniques. There are very many singers who have had no formal training in music, yet how pure and simple and in sur their songs were.

Words, virtuosity, control, mastery over taal, laya, harkat, etc. are all fabrics with which a musician clothes that swara for people to enjoy, just like swagun is nothing but clothed version of nirgun niraakaar.

When the musician is egoless, humble, surrendering, in a state of perfect self, with the perfectly placed swara, he is one with the Eternal spirit. That is spirituality in music. This can be achieved in any kind of music.

Music is the highest form of art, and those who understand it, the highest form ofworship

-Swami Vivekananda

Forme Sur is namaaz and namaaz is sur

-Ustaad Bismillah khan

Music is the wine, which inspires one to new generative process, and I am  Bacchus, who passes out this glorious wine for mankind and make them spiritually drunken.


I despise a world which does not feel that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy


Categories: Music, Spirituality

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