Origin of Music is as doubtful as origin of civilization. It cannot be said with confidence as how & when Music first came into existence. But, it would have been a defining moment when someone would have actually noticed the existence of Music in our daily lives. Though there were no means to record the sounds, but that experience would have been one of a lifetime. Experiencing nature’s Music while living within the nature itself, unmatchable, unexplainable.
Music can be made and played by virtually anybody, but only up to a certain level. Not everybody can play a piano like Elton John or present heavenly compositions as that of Ludavico Einaudi or to come up with a triumphant master pieces like A. R. Rahman. These kind of musicians live forever.
Are musicians really important? Some answer no, and we know there are people who would say that because of the image of certain musicians who are just lazy bums, who have addiction & attitude problems and do Music because they just love being a “rock star.”
Then, we would say to these persons, “Imagine your life without Music”. Because, without a musician, there is no way to preserve Music and to have Music performed and be heard by people. Imagine yourself without lullabies sung by your parents when you were a baby; no birthday song on your birthday; no song for kids to learn alphabets; no songs to go along with the games you play with your classmates in school; no Music in the Disney movies you watch; no Music to listen to when you fall in love or when someone breaks your heart; no Music to dance to; no Music to accompany your parties; no Music to your wedding; no Music to go along with your funeral. By listing all these events, you can tell how much Music is integrated into our life. The lullabies and birthday songs were probably sung by people who did not make Music a career, but those songs were created by musicians.
Music is our companion for life. Music makes us understand what silence fails to do. Let me share a story with you. When I say story, note that its not the truth but it talks about the true facts only. Every story is an example of how truth can be shared. So this is how it goes.
There used to be a traveler in Asia. He roamed all of Indian Sub-continent, Middle East, Russia, China & Japan in search of enlightenment. A moment came in the traveler’s journey when he achieved the total aloneness and the journey ended. When he returned back to his city, he wouldn’t speak a word. The king called a gathering in the traveler’s honor and asked him about what he learnt in his travels. He ordered him to share the eternal truth with everyone in the court. The traveler stood before the king in silence.
It was a very awkward moment for the king. The traveler simply stood there in silence. He did not say anything and the king was waiting for any kind of communication. For a moment, it appeared as if the traveler was the king and the king was nothing more than a beggar. The king waited, the court waited, then feeling the impossibility, that the silence will not be understood, the traveler did the next best thing.
He produced a flute from his robe, blew one short note, bowed politely, and disappeared. No one ever knew what became of the traveler.
That is the next best thing. If silence cannot be understood, then the next best thing is Music.
Music is not the language, and yet it is the language, it does not say anything and still it speaks. Music is not words, it is the just the sound between the words. If no-word can be understood, then Music. And if the Music also cannot be understood, then the traveler disappears, the musician dies. When a musician becomes a real musician, he does not need instruments. Then the Music arises in everything he does. And when his Music is not understood, he is as good as dead.
Have you ever noticed a dog, a cat or a squirrel? Just a small sound, a dead leaf stirred by the wind, and the squirrel is alert. You wouldn’t have noticed it at all. And a great & subtle Music surrounds life, with all its symphonies, notes, vibrations but we are absolutely unaware of it. There is a great rhythm – but to feel it we will need more alert ears, more alert eyes and a more alert touch. It all depends on the context – who you are, where you are. It depends from what point of view, from what experience, you utter. I use the same words that you use, but they don’t mean the same, they can’t mean the same. When I utter them I utter them, when you utter them you utter them. The words are the same but because they come from different spaces they carry a different meaning, a different connotation, different flavors and a different Music.
There is a reason why beggars usually sing while begging. This idea comes from the original sufis. Sufis used to sing and never demand anything. If you would ever come across a real sufi, he would stand at your door and sing. And his singing would be so deep & powerful that you would give him whatever you could, not as sense of begging, but as a sense of reward. But still that reward wouldn’t be enough. A sufi shakes your soul with his singing. Sufis are the ones to hold powerful positions in society and not go singing on roads. All that is right is not paid; it cannot be paid. The world is so wrong. The politicians are highly paid, highly respected. The newspapers are continuously full of their news. And these are the most mischievous people in the world. These are the people who make the Earth a hell. But they are the well-paid people.
A musician can only share his Music, there is no need to become one with him. Only one requirement is there – that you should be sympathetic, en rapport, that you should be able to listen, that’s all; that for a moment you should not judge. Who bothers to judge Music? If one enjoys it, one remains there. Otherwise one leaves. If your ears tell you a certain piece of music is sweet, you immediately stop to listen to it.
Music is something that creates joy, like watching a sunset. You think that the joy is because of the beautiful sunset. And that’s exactly where you are wrong. The beautiful sunset may have functioned as a situation but the joy is not because of that. The joy is coming from within. The sun may have helped, but it is not the source. It may have been helpful in creating the situation, but it is not the cause. The joy is coming from you. It is arising in you. It was there; the mind had only to settle in a quiet space to help joy start arising. Or looking at the moon; or sometimes listening to music – Beethoven or Mozart; or sometimes playing a flute; or sometimes doing nothing, just sitting on the grass, basking in the sun; or sometimes walking in the rain and the water goes on splashing on you and everything is cool and wet and the smell of the earth and the Music of the falling rain – suddenly the joy is there, the benediction is there. It does not come from the outside, it comes from your innermost core. And that’s what I call the real Music.
What we need to learn is how to play life, Music is already there, all the time.
The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, ‘Is there a meaning to music?’ My answer would be, ‘Yes.’ And ‘Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?’ My answer to that would be, ‘No.’