Faith

Bhakti through music

In India, music is seen as a way to reach God, said Suki Sivam. Many Gods are themselves seen holding musical instruments. Saraswati is depicted as playing the veena, Matangi is seen playing a similar instrument. Krishna's flute playing is said to have drawn humans and animals alike. Siva is said to like to listen to the Sama Veda, especially if it is accompanied by the playing of the musical instrument known as yazh. There are many ways to reach God, but reaching Him through music is the easiest. Saints have used music to express their bhakti. In temples, musical instruments are played, as a part of ritual worship. When it comes to music as a means of worship, what is important- the lyric or the music? The lyric is like the runway in an airport. Without a runway a plane cannot take off. But the music is what helps us soar.

Music steeped in bhakti moves us to tears. Even if we do not understand the lyric, music that is based on bhakti can bring tears to our eyes. The bhakti of Saint Tygaraja is evident in his compositions, which also help others realise God. Tyagaraja composed his songs as a means to reach the Lord's feet, and those who sing his compositions with bhakti can also acquire atma gnana. Saints are not content with merely seeking liberation for themselves. Such is their concern for humanity, that they hope that through their compositions others may also realise God.

In the past music was presented in temples. However, if one has bhakti and sings with devotion, one can convert the place where one sings into a temple, for music based on bhakti can transform even an ordinary place to a temple. Such is the power of devotional music. When we get together as a group and sing devotional songs, differences among us are forgotten and our ego takes a backseat.

To seek God needs courage, for when we move towards God, we move from the known to the unknown. To begin to realise God, we must shed our ego and all the other baggage of worldly life. In this quest for God, music helps. It helps us distance ourselves from worldly concerns and helps us to seek spiritual solace from God. Music comforts us when we are unhappy and disturbed, and leads us to God.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 7:54:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/bhakti-through-music/article2302711.ece

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