“What the soul knows is often unknown to the man who has a soul. We are infinitely more than we think…” – Kahlil Gibran
In this day and age, it is rather imprudent to hide from the fact that the world is at war. The keen mind will also comprehend that there are many kinds of wars that are ravaging the world at large, including battles whose roots can be traced back to incompatible views on ideologies, religions, beliefs, moralities and politics. In fact, history tells us that conflicts, especially those that are based on ideologies, get progressively complex with time. As a result of this, peace processes are difficult to establish and solutions to confrontations tend to be rare commodities.
It is now time to look outside the square. The world desperately needs a universal language that promotes peace, love and compassion and underlines the beauty of humanity and life itself. It needs a language that has no words in its dictionary that define caste, creed, politics and religion. It needs a language so powerful as to be able to divert minds from mortal hostilities and towards the splendor of creativity.
Aldous Huxley once wrote “After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is MUSIC”.
On a personal front, music has been my faith and within music I have found that elusive divinity with much greater ease than through numerous gospels of religion.
“Which God have you found?” some may ask. Is this the Hindu Ishwar, the Islamic Allah or the Christian Holy Trinity? The discerning scholar might even ask me if this God is the Greek Deus, the Zorastrian Ahura Mazda or the Ngai of the Masai tribe in Africa.
My answer is simple…. none of the above.
Since I have never looked for a ubiquitous God, I have therefore never yearned for a stern creator of a chaotic universe and never will I ever search for an unyielding God who brings compliance through fear. My search has long been for a simple God who knows not the virtues of worship but one who simply spreads the gospel of peace, love and compassion through a unanimous medium. Such a simple God has not yet surfaced in my life but the medium has.
The faith of music does not preach intolerance, does not spread hatred, does not ask for the sacrificial cow and in no way encourages atonement or abstinence. It simply provides the listener with a window that looks into human emotions. When listening to music, one can experience a myriad of sentiments like happiness, sadness, elation, dejection, depression and fear and as one empathizes with human emotions one then starts to objectively think about religion and faith. And therein is the key to truly comprehending “God” in the context of today’s world and in fact, I suspect that, driven into throes of sadness by a poignant tune, one might be even forced to reflect upon the ultimate question: Did man create God or did he create Him?
Music does not demand anything from the practitioner or the listener. It just gives. And I suppose that mankind will one day understand that behind that elusive Nirvana stands one “God” who gives and expects nothing in return – no sacrifices, no veneration, no homage, no fasting, no rituals and no holy war. John Lennon once remarked that “God is a concept by which we measure our pain.” I would like to add to this remarkable definition to state that possibly “God is a concept by which we measure not just pain but every human emotion”. Once we have gauged human sentiment, we shall be in a position then to understand humanity itself.
A few days ago I came across an interesting statement in an article: “Creativity is the capacity to invent solutions that did not exist before, and it is also the ability to see potentials in situations and people instead of just obstacles and enemies.” Music (and every other form of creativity) provides us with this unique opportunity to strip away the differences and hostilities and realize that human beings have much more in common that what we have previously assumed.
Creativity – a derivative of music (and other arts) – therefore has this unique ability to bring people together and bind them with the thread of love.
Scholars tell us that music and religion have been tightly coupled since centuries. True – but this tight coupling of music to religion has only been supplemental. My personal opinion is that any form of music that is attached to a particular religion is forced to comply with the rules of that religion. This concept in itself is flawed simply because the power of creativity is severely diluted when confined within the walls of social and theosophical rules.
Why can music not be a faith unto itself? Can music be that faith which binds humanity as one, and yet does not destroy the individuality of each being? I think it can.
When the God-Men go begging for new opinions, music will provide the imagination. When politicians fail in their aspirations, music will lead the way forward. The day is not far when music redefines compassion while humans hang their heads in shame for their heinous crimes. And when humanity looks towards the heavens for salvation from an elusive and complex God, some poor musician will play a tune so divine as to prove that God is here on Earth as always.
Lest we forget, let the pen of Kahlil Gibran direct us: