Spiritual experience of Bliss experienced by a seeker comprehending the importance of classical music which is a treasure of Bharatiya culture only due to the grace of the Guru !

Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil, scholar in Bharatiya classical music

‘The proportion of Sattva, Raja and Tama components in every individual is different. Hence, the likes and dislikes too vary. This is applicable in music too. Every individual listens to music as per his temperament and liking. Considering this spiritual principle, an individual with more Raja-Tama likes rock and pop or corresponding music while a sattvik individual enjoys classical music. I, who was fond of Raja-Tama music began to understand a little of Bharatiya classical music from Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgilkaku and began liking it. Given further are some points from those learnings.

Mr. Snehal Raut

1.The music I had listened to in childhood was tamasik
and my liking for music was limited only to Raja-Tama music

Since childhood I loved listening to songs. But the music which we heard in our childhood was tamasik and loud. So thoughts such as what exactly is music?, What are the benefits of listening to music?, What role does music play in endowing  spiritual experiences pertaining to God? etc. never crossed my mind. In fact, I was not even aware then that it has such facets. And so, even though I was fond of music, my liking was limited only upto raja-tama predominant music only. During that period that music had such an impact on my mind that I was bored listening to classical music and would feel that only tamasik music is the best.

2. As I was a resident of Mumbai City, the misconception in the mind was ‘Being modern is true living’, and hence, liking the present-day modern Raja-Tama music and being oblivious of the ancient Bharatiya culture, music and musical instruments

As I lived in Mumbai because of the environment and friends, since childhood, listening to English and Hindi film music was my favorite pastime. I would write their lyrics and learn them by rote. Those days this was happening all around in society so it had an impact on me as well. It made me believe that only such songs are great. Living in the modern developed city of Mumbai created a misconception in my mind that ‘Modernity is real living’.. So, liking this music was part of my efforts of becoming modern. That is precisely why since childhood I was unaware of the ancient Bharatiya culture and music or musical instruments.

3. A change in liking for type of music
occurred due to guidance from Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil

3A. During the Divine tours with Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil
while collecting invaluable information
and material related to music a transformation in the perspective towards music

As part of the study session in the music section of Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay in the Ramnathi ashram, experiments in music are being carried on. At that time gradually I started realizing the effects of sattvik music in comparison with Raja-Tama music on the spiritual plane, yet it had absolutely no effect on my mind. I thought that ‘sattvika not having an impact on my mind could be due to me having spiritual distress’. With passage of time with Divine grace, on the advice of Maharshi I was granted the opportunity to travel with Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil during Her Divine tours. As a result, I was blessed with Her Holy company. During these tours Sadguru (Mrs.) Gadgilkaku collects invaluable information and material related to music for Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay. It was then that my perspective of looking at music started changing. I received an opportunity to understand what real music is and I also began experiencing Bliss from it.

3B. As I was blessed with the Holy company of
Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil I understood what pleasant music is and
that what I believed to be pleasant music till date was the most distressing music

When on tour with Sadguru (Mrs.) Gadgilkaku gradually I was able to learn what music really is. I began to comprehend exactly what I should learn from it. To prevent wasting time during travel Sadguru (Mrs.) Gadgilkaku asks that devotional songs of Bhaktaraj Maharaj, songs evoking spiritual emotion (bhavgeet), classical music, Bhagwat katha etc. be played in the vehicle. When listening to this she explains the meaning of lyrics or spiritual meaning of the katha. As a result, I was able to learn a lot from it.

3C. Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil explains
the features of Bharatiya music and imparts knowledge on it

When listening to songs, Sadguru (Mrs.) Gadgilkaku explains many points about the song and its music such as meaning of lyrics, errors in the song, what vibrations the singer’s voice emits, whether his voice depicts ego or spiritual emotion, whether it evokes spiritual emotion in others etc .and then explains the special features of Bharatiya classical music.

3D. Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil
teaching to derive Bliss from sattvik and classical music

Due to guidance from Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil I was able to learn what is appropriate and inappropriate music and how to judge it. Till today as I had been listening to only film music and loud western music, initially I would feel bored to listen to sattvik, classical music. Sadguru (Mrs.) Gadgilkaku taught how to learn from every activity and experience Bliss from it because of which, I learnt how distressing the present day film music is. Also, I learnt that music is not just meant for entertainment, and that it is a medium for God-realization. As a result. I began liking music which initially I found boring.

4. Importance of musical instruments

4A. Since childhood I loved western music and
hence had a misconception that western musical instruments are good

Since childhood I loved western musical instruments and I thought they were the best. Formerly when I spoke about music only western musical instruments such as guitar, drums etc appeared on my mind. I would never think about the tabla, harmonium etc.

4B. As part of Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay while on tour I realised the importance of musical instruments from Bharatiya classical music

While on tour, as part of Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay, I began to realise the importance of musical instruments from Bharatiya classical music. Due to the grace of Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale and Sadguru (Mrs.) Gadgilkaku, I began to acquire knowledge in music. Consequently, there were changes in my likes too. Initially the boredom I had for Bharatiya musical instruments has decreased and now I feel bored of western musical instruments. With the grace of the Guru I was introduced to the great Bharatiya classical music and began to like it and also have gratitude about it. I express gratitude a million times unto The Holy Feet of Shriguru for having brought about this change in me  and for guiding me on the right path. (The effects of western musical instruments are limited to the physical body. research has shown that sometimes the words from it affect the body and mind adversely. Whereas,Traditional Bharatiya musical instruments such as the veena (stringed instrument) and flute remove the covering of Raja-Tama around the mind and soul of man and endow him with the benefit of Divine Principles. Listening to them also gives mental peace and facilitates in attaining the meditative state and state of super consciousness (samadhi) expected on the spiritual path.)

5. Holistic benefits of Bharatiya music and its importance

5A. Music is not just a hobby but a complete healing remedy and helps in curing physically ailments

Nowadays the environment is highly polluted because of which people are facing different physical problems. As, due to pollution of the environment appropriate medicines and treatment too are not available and their health deteriorating further. At such times natural ayurvedic medicines coupled with music therapy helps. Music can cure several diseases. (I was unaware of this at first but now understand its importance.) Hence instead of looking at music simply as a pastime if looked at it as a perfect healing remedy then it helps genuinely.  (Ample research has been done of positive effects and benefits of Bharatiya music on the individual and the environment. Merely by listening to Bharatiya music positive changes have been noticed in trees, flowers, birds etc. What is most important is that at the end of these experiments it is accepted that bharatiya music has the prowess of curing physical and psychological diseases.. Like other treatment modalities, music therapy too has received recognition for being able to cure diseases. The different ‘Rag’ in music have healing effects on different ailments has been proved by various experiments performed by the music section of Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay. – Compiler).

5B. God-realisation through the experience of Bliss derived from music

Just as music therapy is helpful in physical and mental ailments, similarly its advantage  at spiritual level too is big and is of great importance. One can realise God through the medium of music. One can experience the notes from it and can get a vision of the Deity of these notes. Music leads man from the Vaikhari mode of speech to Madhyama, Paschyanti and Para and from gross sound (nad) to subtle sound (anahat nad). So, music is that which gives the spiritual experience of Bliss and the state of superconsciousness. It gives and receives Bliss.  (Western music only makes the body sway while Bharatiya classical music goes beyond that and makes the mind blossom and drowns the soul in its own colours. As it is capable of encompassing even the five Cosmic Principles, it possesses the prowess to give spiritual experiences associated with the Absolute Fire Principle (Tejtattva)  such as a lamp getting lit spontaneously and Absolute Water Principle (Aptattva) such as bringing about a shower of rain. It does not have only melodious words, it is the sound of the God Principle (nadabrahma). Nadabrahma possesses the potential to take one to the God Principle (Parabrahma). Hence when the real artist pleads to God through this nadabrahma not just his but the spiritual emotion and devotion of the Omniscient one too flows and the audience bathes in that Bliss. This chemistry exists only in the prestigious Bharatiya classical music. – Compiler)

5C. To benefit from music, it is important for the artist to be free of personality defects and ego

5C 1. When an artist performing music as spiritual practice is free of ideals and ego, God showers his grace upon him through the medium of music : To experience this Divine music the artist has to be a true devotee. It is not possible to become a good artist simply with practice; he should also be leading an ideal life and should be free of personality defects and ego. If he worships music with the spiritual emotion that his art is not his and is that of The God and that he is performing this as worship to realise Him then due to both, his music and worship, Divine grace is bestowed upon him. Then such music and true devotion towards such music in the true sense of the term will bestow God’s grace and this collection of music will prove useful for future generations.

5C 2. An artist with low ego derives Bliss from his own music and also gives it to the audience, that is precisely why when listening to H.H. Keshav Gindekaka’s flute recital one experiences Bliss: Often music artists have a high ego because of which they utilise this Divine gift to acquire fame. In the recent times there are very few artists with low ego. During our tour I was fortunate to be able to meet an artist with a very low ego, the famous flutist from Pune, H.H. Keshav Gindekaka. Neither is ego noticed in his speech and conduct nor does he have doer ship about his music. During his flute recital we got the spiritual experience that he has utilised his art for spiritual benefit. Every form of art is meant to lead man to God and H.H. Keshav Gindekaka is an excellent example of this. H.H. Keshav Gindekaka casually says, ‘I do nothing. Even this flute does not belong to me, it is  Shrikrushna’s flute. God does everything.’ As he plays the flute with a very low ego and the spiritual emotion that ‘one’s art is for God’, when listening to it one experiences Bliss. This shows that one experiences Bliss through any form of art only when it is performed without personality defects and ego and others too enjoy it.

5C 3. An artist receives Divine blessings when he has a simple lifestyle: The simplicity in artists from the olden days depicts the importance of their art. H.H. Vasantrao Deshpande would give a recital all night long and the next day would be at his office on time. He had a simple lifestyle and would wear ordinary loose white trousers and a kurta to his workplace. In this way through simple living and a sattvik lifestyle these artists received Divine blessings. True worship of art is deriving Bliss from a simple living.

5D. Bharatiya music leads to positivity and enhances spiritual emotion for God

Modern music only has the Great Illusion (Maya). It takes the mind towards pessimism and increases emotionality. As against this Bharatiya music prevents depression because of the benefit derived from the spiritual strength within it. Bharatiya music has variety. The younger generation instead of turning towards modern music which increases emotionality should turn towards Bharatiya music which increases spiritual emotion for God.

5E. Only Bharatiya music possesses the
potential to give spiritual experiences pertaining to Deities

Formerly I too was attracted to Raja-Tama predominant shrill music but when I realised the importance of Bharatiya music and musical instruments and its benefits, I realised  that despite having such a treasure of cultural heritage I was behaving as if I was impoverished. When I learnt how the famous flutist H.H. Keshav Ginde experienced God through the medium of the flute I realised how only Bharatiya music has the potential to give the experience of God. This made me aware of the greatness and superiority of Bharatiya music and why I need to preserve this culture. Today to preserve Bharatiya music, artists like H.H. Keshav Ginde are the need of the hour.

6. Importance of turning children to sattvic music

Even today in society some people want their children to enter the field of music but the objective is to acquire money and fame. The songs composed nowadays only increase the Raja-Tama within the self. Generally parents do, not want their wards to become sattvik.  Good guardians need to do exactly this as in the adverse times only that which is sattvik will last. That is why artists from the fields of music should turn to Bharatiya classical music and to playing traditional Bharatiya sattvik instruments such as the tabla, sitar, flute etc.  Hence, if parents encourage children then their future too will become bright and the purpose of life will be more than fulfilled.’Mr. Snehal Raut, Sanatan ashram, Ramnathi, Goa

 (‘With spiritual progress the Sattva component within an individual increases, changing even his likes and dislikes is what one can learn from the article written by Mr. Snehal Raut. His journey of turning from the extrovert Western music, to introvert Bharatiya classical music, is a depiction of his progress in spiritual practice.’ – Compiler) 

Differences noticed in the present day
(modern) music and the old Bharatiya classical music

After comparing new songs and music with old songs and music the following points were noticed

A.     Classical music is full of meaning while modern songs are meaningless

1. When listening to the present-day western music and famous film songs I could not understand the words or meaning in it. Till now I had been listening to more Tama predominant songs.  I realised that these songs are meaningless and take the listener into the Great Illusion (Maya).

2. Now I have learnt what true music is, the beautiful meaning in it and the importance it has in life. As I listened to these meaningful songs, I began liking them and did not feel bored listening to them.

B. Effects of music

1. When listening to modern music worldly thoughts in the mind increase. So, one does not experience Bliss from it, on the contrary one gets engulfed with a covering of the Great Illusion and remains trapped in the cycle of happiness and unhappiness.

2. On the other hand listening to old songs and music evokes spiritual emotion for God-realisation in the self and keeps the mind happy. In fact, these old songs explain the true essence of life – how our life should be, how ideal it should be, what an important role God plays in life etc.

C. Power of artists

1. In the olden times for artists music was ‘spiritual practice’ and a ‘medium for God-realisation’. Hence using the power of music as spiritual practice they would light lamps and induce rain.

2. The musicians of today cannot even dream of doing this! What a vast difference between the artists of two generations – then, doing it as worship and now, in the name of modernity, destroying ideal things !

D. Ego in artists

1. In recent times there are hardly any artists with a low ego. Due to the high ego most artists use the art gifted to them by God only to become famous.

2. As in Bharatiya classical music artists learn bowing with humility at the Holy feet of the Guru, they remain humble.

E. Recognition

1. The main objective of today’s musicians is to get recognition and wealth.

2. Bharatiya classical music singers look at this art as ‘a tool to realise God’ because of which they offer it to the Holy feet of God.

F. Benefits and losses occurring from music

1. Today due to the craze of modernity ‘remix’ songs are loved by the young generation. This craze in growing in villages too, day-by-day causing drifting of the young generation from values (sanskars). In fact, this craze is making us forget our Bharatiya legacy of traditions, culture and great musical instruments.

2. As against this our great Bharatiya music has brought about a positive transformation in the lives of many. This has been researched extensively and many examples in this regard can be cited. Even though we have a treasure of Divine knowledge , we still prefer to borrow the knowledge from others and are content with tit.

A  high-level spiritual experience obtained with singing of
‘Vande Mataram’ which is based on Bharatiya classical music

With respect to ‘Vande Mataram (meaning I salute the Deity of my motherland)’ Sadguru (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil says,“No sooner do you sing the first two stanzas of Vande Mataram than you get a vision of the Deity of the nation, first the right side of Her body that is the sun channel (suryanadi) gets activated fortifying the nation and then the left side of Her body that is the moon channel (chandranadi) gets activated. One gets a vision of Her from foot to the head. First the outline of weapons and then the weapons become visible, that is She appears to be manifesting from the nirgun (non-materialised) state.”