Sayings of a Paramahamsa

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Music is a natural expression of human beings. It is a natural expression of the universe. The birds sing, the trees sing and sometimes the wind sings so much it becomes a cyclone! When simple people sing, it touches the heart. When others sing, it touches the head, not the heart. So it is said that music is born out of a person's circumstances in life. In some people's lives there is suffering and their music expresses this suffering. In some music there is artistry, in other music there is frivolity.

People are not interested in the export of performing artists and talented people. They are only keen on exporting cars, shoes and other consumer goods, but they ought to realize that the real export material is literature, music and the arts. Good performing artists should go all over the country as well as abroad, presenting kirtans and bhajans. Teach music to everyone, exchange your music with the music of other cultures. Give something and take something. Life in this world is a short-lived affair, so let us make the best of it with a hearty give and take.

I have organized an unusual program for the people of Rikhia and surrounding areas. All the old folk who can neither work at home nor earn wages will be given remuneration in the form of money for chanting the Maha mantra. Needy men and women will come here at eight in the morning and do japa till four in the evening. At the end of the day they will be paid for their labour of love. The rate of payment will be the same as the government gives to daily wage earners.

This will be a novel plan of employment. Slowly people will extend their cooperation and support. There will be one hundred, then two hundred, then three hundred old people coming in the morning. They will be given malas and will start repeating the mantra Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare; Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare. In this way they will have a double advantage; they will earn wages and they will also benefit from the japa. I guarantee a rich reward from repeating the name of God.

Spiritual ecology

This is a divine idea; it comes from godly inspiration. The programs that man implements, like making roads, opening shops, building houses, founding schools and other such things, fetch daily wages of twenty or thirty rupees for the people working on the projects, but there is no spiritual gain. On the other hand, when elderly people start doing japa here, they will also receive a spiritual advantage. The biggest benefit will be purification of the atmosphere. Just as a house is constructed with bricks and cement, the atmosphere is created by chanting Rama's name.

The atmosphere has two aspects: physical and spiritual. The physical ecosystem depends on the spiritual ecosystem. If the spiritual ecosystem gets spoilt, then the physical ecosystem cannot improve either. When there is chanting of the Lord's name by hundreds of people every day, then there will be peace in all four directions.

Even a cow becomes engrossed in a bhajan. When we milk a cow, we play a tape of bhajans. The cow listens and gives us two extra litres of milk. People from the surrounding areas come here to learn how to look after the cow, but when they take her to their homes they don't play any music, so she reduces her milk yield. In England and America music is played while cows are being milked. Music is also played on poultry farms where hens lay eggs. In that way the yield of milk and eggs is increased.

All creatures – animals, demons, snakes, serpents, even sages and saints – go into a frenzy due to the power of music. Not only the living beings of this world, but even God is enthralled and crazy about music. In the villages people sing when they work in the fields. I have seen this in many states and countries. Sometimes a group of musicians sings to the accompaniment of music on the edge of the field. In this way the planting and harvesting goes on.

Influence of music

Music has two forms. One form has a positive influence on living beings, plants, trees, animals and harvests. Another form of music has a negative influence. We had a servant here who used to play a tape of film music while milking the cow. The cow suddenly reduced her milk yield and started giving much less than previously reported. When I got the report, I checked on her fodder and whether she was being properly cared for or not. Everything was being done correctly. Then one day I went to the cowshed while she was being milked and found that he was playing ordinary film songs. I gave him some of my Ramayana tapes, sung by Anup Jalota, and once again her udders became full of milk! In the Hindu religion the cow is highly respected. She is the mother, the goddess Lakshmi.

One of our cows was reportedly giving ten litres of milk a day when we bought her. We increased her milk yield gradually to two, three and four litres extra per day, not by feeding her more, but through music, by playing Om Namo Bhagavate and Rudra Path. When I put on Rudra Path in the early mornings, will my mother, the cow, reward me or punish me? It is a matter of common sense that she will reward me.

Nature's gifts

The point is that all creatures, not only humans but birds, animals, vegetation and trees, too, are receptive to music. Music is God-given. You try it out while working in your fields or in your vegetable patch. If you cannot sing, then put on good tape-recorded music or at least chant the name of God – Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama. Who doesn't know how to sing, how to cry, how to laugh? Laughing, crying and singing are all nature's gifts; these are natural, instinctive faculties. Thus, laughing, crying, singing, eating and sleeping are all given to us by God, without training. They come naturally and spontaneously.

I am saying this to bring out the glory and impact of music on all living beings. In life you will have to accept the power of music. Music is the easiest, quickest, cheapest, safest and surest path to reach the goal of life. All other means that man has to reach out to God, to entertain God, to please God, to get near to God and to attain God are subordinate to the power of music. Music is the best means of worshipping God. Pooja, flowers, arati and sweets are all subsidiary.

Try this out in the early morning and at night. Sit in a quiet place and sing to God. See how delightful it is. With the influence of spiritual music, cows will give extra milk, vegetable farms will yield extra produce, rice fields will yield extra paddy and perhaps your family will have more children.

Power of music

Those who can follow the words of this song can sing in the chorus and those who cannot follow the words can lose themselves in the bhava, the mood of devout surrender, which it expresses. The words of the song are:

Lord, let me see your face in every face I see,
Lord, let me feel your grace, feel your grace in me,
Lord, let me find the place where you want me to be,
And Lord, let me find the space that brings me
Nearer to Thee.

This song means that wherever I look, you and only you are there. Wherever I turn my eyes, I find you and you alone. Every flower has your fragrance. It is not necessary to direct a bee to honey; wherever there is honey a bee will always be attracted there. Wherever a bhajan is sung, the mind will be attracted and become engrossed in it.

—Extract from Bhakti Yoga Sagar, Volume Four