I have recently come to the path of Bhakti. I’m a musician and keen mridinga student now. I really wish to immerse myself in the musical traditions and to serve in that way.
Is there any advice you would offer me?
I really enjoyed your talk recently on zoom with the Brighton group. Hare Krishna
Dear Lewis, thank you for your question.
Music is a very powerful combination of sounds meant to help us locate, experience and express different emotions. Like all phenomena available to our senses, it is best employed as a tool of self discovery and realisation of our inner nature.
Whether accompanied by musical instrumentation or not, the most transformative sounds are known as mantras. They have the potency to bring about rapid clarity within the consciousness, and have been compared to the clearing effect of brilliant sunshine on a misty morning.
Combining mantras with music is often known as kirtan. It is this practise that is highly recommended by all the Indian wisdom texts. This practise is particularly effective when performed with others, an activity known as sankirtan.
One great spiritual teacher named Bhaktivinode Thakur described music – meaning both tala or rhythm, and swara or notes – to be like ‘the flux that binds together two metals.’ One of those ‘metals’ is the ear of the listener and the other the divine mantra. So music is essential in binding the ear to the mantra.
I am especially happy to hear that you are dedicating your musical ability to kirtan, and that you are giving time to the practise of the mridanga. This instrument was favoured by Chaitanya, the Great Master, and I hope that He blesses you with all power in your learning and performance.
Yours with all best wishes,