God is always present in the formless and He speaks to us in the soundless sound. Blessed indeed are those who are able to see Him. Love and listen to Him everywhere and in everything. Apart from our helping a limited number of people materially, there are two ways by which we are able to help all beings:
By harboring in our mind only good and noble thoughts, which in turn set up good thought waves and vibrations. They travel far and wide leaving a beneficial influence for the well being of all. On the other hand, evil and hateful thoughts create only discordant vibrations, which help accumulate only negative forces both within and without.
By producing sound-vibrations by singing, chanting and humming, music is an expression of one’s joy. It acts as a tonic for the heart and mind. Music sings in us, to us, so that we may rejoice in ourselves. Above all, it instantly uplifts us by taking us to a different plane from our mundane life.
While singing, chanting or humming with melody and harmony, we should listen to our own voice, which is always new and fresh as life itself. In this way our mind and heart will be able to flow with the melody and merge in Nada-Brahman (sound reality).
Listening to music on the radio and TV may not be of much help, as they are only mechanical repetitions as on a gramophone. That is why it is important that we ourselves should do the singing, chanting and humming, if we want to derive joy in ourselves. Doing it in rhythm, harmony and cadence is essential. While we are alone, our musing song or gentle humming brings about the most blissful form of meditation and also serves as our best companion in life. Yet all these should be spontaneous and should be done as and when we feel like it. There is no fixed place and time for doing them. While sitting alone, while doing the household chores, bathing, dressing or even while moving about in the house, front yard, or in the garden, this can be done. As we go on doing it for months and years, we will get the feeling, “I sing, yet not I, but God in me.” Long practice will keep the mind merged in the Nada (sound).
The very singing of sweet melodies softly and gently kindles joy in the heart. There is a magical quality in subtle music. Sweet melodies with a tinge of melancholy tune, by playing on our heart and mind, serve as the whisper of Eternity. The time wasted by thinking all sorts of negative and unwanted thoughts, which create only mental tension and unnecessary problems in daily life can be usefully spent in this manner when thoughts do not play any interfering role. Even reciting with melody repeatedly certain lines of good poetry will give a very joyous and uplifting experience. In this manner we are able to create an atmosphere of joy and harmony in and around us. Besides, we become instrumental in producing harmonious sound-vibrations, which does immense good for all.
On the other hand, the dinning noises of traffic, the rumbling sounds of machines, the deafening noise of loud speakers drowning the quiet and peaceful atmosphere, the boisterous and boring talks of people and their heated arguments, the shouting of slogans spreading hatred that leads to violence, bloodshed and misery, and, above all, the incessant chatter of the mind by jamming it with all sorts of thoughts and the noisy insanity of the world create only discord and disturbance, both in the minds of people and in the atmosphere. Instead of turning one’s mind into a devil’s workshop, it is our duty to make our own mind more quiet, peaceful and silent by gentle talking, singing, chanting or humming.
– Swami Nirmalananda (Excerpted from: A Garland of Forest Flowers, Chapter VI: Music and Poetry in Life, 1993).Selected by Sharon Gannon