the music of life – Hazrat Inayat Khan

When we look at life with a philosopher’s view we see that every person is like one note in this symphony of life; that we all make this symphony of life, each contributing the music which is needed in that symphony. But if we do not know our own part in the symphony of life, naturally it is as if one of the four strings on the violin is not tuned, and if it is not tuned it cannot give the music which it should produce. So we must each produce that part for which we are born. If we do not contribute what we are meant to and what we should contribute, we are not in tune with our destiny. It is only by playing that particular part which belongs to us that we shall get satisfaction. (from Hazrat Inayat Khan: A Sufi Message Vol. VI The mystics of all ages have loved music most. In almost all the circles of the inner cult, in whatever part of the world they are, music seems to be the center of their cult, or ceremony, or ritual. Those who attain to that perfect peace which is called nirvana, or in the language of the Hindus samadhi, do so more easily through music. Therefore the Sufis, especially those of the Chishti school of ancient times, have taken music as a source of their meditation. And by meditating thus they derive much more benefit from it than those who meditate without the help of music. The effect that they experience is the unfoldment of the soul, the opening of the intuitive faculties. Their heart, so to speak, opens to all the beauty that is within and without, uplifting them and at the same time bringing them that perfection for which every soul yearns. (from Hazrat Inayat Khan: A Sufi Message Vol. II, Music) In the Vedas of the Hindus we read: Nada Brahma – sound, being the Creator. In the works of the wise of ancient India we read: ‚First song, then Vedas or wisdom‘. When we come to the Bible, we find: ‚First was the word, and the word was God‘, and when we come to the Qur’an we read that the word was pronounced, and all creation was manifest. This shows that the origin of the whole creation is sound. No doubt the word, in the way it is used in our everyday language, is a limitation of that sound which is suggested by these Scriptures. Language is made up of names of comparable objects, and that which cannot be compared has no name. Truth is that which can never be spoken and, what the wise of all ages have spoken, is what they have tried their best to express, little as they were able to do so. Music as we know it in our everyday language is only a miniature: that which our intelligence has grasped from that music or harmony of the whole universe which is working behind us. The music of the universe is the background of the little picture which we call music. Our sense of music, our attraction to music, shows that music is in the depth of our being. Music is behind the working of the whole universe. Music is not only life’s greatest object, but music is life itself. Hafiz, our great and wonderful poet of Persia, says: ‚Many say that life entered the human body by the help of music, but the truth is that life itself is music‘. I should like to tell you what made him say this. There exists in the East a legend which relates that God made a statue of clay in His own image, and asked the soul to enter into it. But the soul refused to enter into this prison, for its nature is to fly about freely, and not be limited and bound to any sort of captivity. The soul did not wish in the least to enter this prison. Then God asked the angels to play their music and, as the angels played, the soul was moved to ecstasy. Through that ecstasy – in order to make this music more clear to itself- it entered this body. Hafiz remarked: ‚People say that on hearing the song the soul entered into the body, but in reality the soul itself was song‘. (from Hazrat Inayat Khan: A Sufi Message Vol. II, The Mysticism of Sound and Music)

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