Music Comes Closest

Music helps you from the outside to fall in tune with the inner. Music is a device; it was invented by the buddhas. All that is beautiful in the world, all that is valuable in the world has always been discovered by the buddhas. Only they can discover because they have traveled the inner country, the inner, immeasurable universe. Whatsoever they have found in the inner world, whatsoever they have experienced in the inner world, they have tried to make something similar on the outside for those who can only understand that which is objective, who are not yet able to enter the interiority of their own being, who are not yet even aware that there is an inner world. Devices can be created on the outside which can help.

Listening to great music you suddenly become silent – with no effort. Falling in tune with the music you lose your ego with no effort. You become relaxed, you fall into a deep rest. You are alert, awake, and yet in a subtle way drunk.

Once it happened:

A great musician came to the court of a king. The musician must have been an awakened master, must have been a buddha. He said to the king, “I will play on my instruments, but you will have to fulfill one of my conditions. Unless this condition is fulfilled I cannot play.”

The king said, “Whatsoever the condition is, it will be fulfilled. You say it.” He had never thought what the condition could be: “Maybe he will ask for much money – that can be given easily – or for some other favor which can be given easily.” The king had been waiting a long time for this man.

But the condition was very eccentric. The condition was: “While I am playing nobody should move his head. If anybody moves his head, his head has to be cut off. So the audience has to be informed beforehand that people should come knowing that they are playing with fire. If they start moving their heads in tune with the music, then they will lose their heads – make it clear to everyone who comes. And surrounding the audience let at least one thousand soldiers stand with naked swords so everybody remains aware and never forgets.”

The king was so interested in hearing the musician – he had heard about him for years and he was not ready to lose this opportunity even at this cost. Of course, whatsoever he was demanding was simply insane, but the king had to agree. He said, “Okay, your condition will be fulfilled.”

The whole capital was informed. Thousands of people would have come, but now they were afraid – only one thousand people came to listen to the musician. Even seeing one thousand people come, the king was surprised: “So many lovers who are risking their lives!” And one thousand soldiers were standing with naked swords. Again it was declared, “You have to remember and go on looking at the swords – they are standing for you. Nobody can escape.” And there were people standing who would take notes – whoever shook his head, moved his head, would not reach home alive.

The musician started playing, and he was such a master! After only a few minutes, a few heads started moving in tune with the master’s music. The king was very much afraid. He saw heads moving, swaying – people were getting drunk. He himself was afraid for his own head! But a tremendous desire arose in him too, he could not resist it. He himself started moving his head, he forgot all about it. What to say about the audience? The people who were standing with naked swords, many of them started moving their heads and their swords were swaying!

The queen was very much worried. She saw that there were going to be hundreds of people unnecessarily murdered. But sooner or later almost everybody was drunk with his music.

When he finished in the middle of the night, the people who had to report, they reported that “Not a single soul has remained without swaying, and we are sorry to say that we are also on the list!”

The king said, “Now, master, what do you want? – all these people butchered, murdered? I am also on the list, my wife is also on the list, my whole court is on the list!”

The master laughed and he said, “I was waiting for these people. These are the right people for whom I can play. Forget all about the condition! It was just a strategy to prevent those who were not ready to risk their lives, it was to prevent the cowards. These are the people for whom I will play. And not only today – I am going to stay in this town for months together because these are my people. They have forgotten about their lives, or even if they had remembered they could not resist. The joy was so tremendous that they were ready to go, even with the risk; they were perfectly aware. These are the people for whom I exist because these are the people who can be turned inwards. They were fully aware and yet drunk.”

And that is the whole secret of meditation. The paradox disappears – the paradox between drunkenness and awareness. And its first experience can happen in music more easily than in any other place, than in anything else. Music, dance…all these are devices, discovered by great awakened masters. They have fallen into wrong hands.

To be a teacher of music is one thing – he can teach you the technique. I am not a teacher of music – I cannot teach you the technique – but I can help you to listen to the inner music, and that is real music.

In China they have the saying: “When the musician becomes perfect he throws away his instruments” – because they are no more needed. He can close his eyes, he can turn himself inwards and he can listen to the music that is already there and always there. And when the archer becomes perfect he throws away his bow and his arrows; there is no need for them.

Whenever any art is perfect it ends in meditation – it has to end in meditation. If it is not leading you towards meditation then something has gone wrong.

That’s why much of the modern art is not art, it is insanity. Much modern music is not music; it simply makes you sexually excited. It is just the opposite of real music. Real music helps you to transcend your biology, your physiology, your psychology. Real music takes you to the world of the beyond – what Buddha calls the farther shore, even beyond the beyond.

Gurdjieff used to call real art “objective art.” Modern art is not, in that sense, objective art. In the past the awakened masters have used all kinds of devices: painting, sculpture, music, dance, drama. Every kind of device has been used to help you, because there are different types of people who can be helped in different ways: somebody through music, somebody through painting, somebody through poetry.

And that’s my function here: to create a buddhafield, a commune where all kinds of devices are used. But the purpose is one, the purpose is single, one-pointed. All these paths are leading you to the same goal – to your own inner being.

You have come to the right place. I am not a teacher of music because I don’t teach you the technique of music, but I am certainly the master of the inner music. I have heard it and I can help you to hear it – not only to hear it but to be it.

And to be it is to be for the first time. To be it is to be reborn. To be it is to know what bliss is and benediction is.


from: "The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 12"

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