by Srikanth S.
I have some points for discussion regarding Tuesday’s class on “Mysticism of sound and music” and hopefully someone may get interested to drop in his/her views about these.
Swamiji presented that the sense of taste is more or less available in all, whereas the sense for music is not. I humbly disagree with this view. Over 99% of humanity listens to some kind of music but only the genres differ. So one who likes classical music will find it difficult to appreciate rock music and vice versa. Similarly not everyone likes a particular food item. Some foods can be appreciated only after taste has been acquired over repeated attempts. So the sense of appreciation of music and taste is prevalent amongst almost all, but only they are directed towards a particular kind in each human being. Swamiji supported his viewpoint, stating that the nuances of musical notes are lost on many untrained people. But the same can be said about taste also: many nuances of taste in the food are lost to the untrained people. Just like there are virtuosos in music, so there are in taste field too: the big bucks that restaurants pay to such trained minds in taste is a pointer.
In this context, I began to wonder why we glorify this sense perception of sound whereas the same is not accorded for taste, touch, smell or sight. There are terminologies like Nada-Brahma etc. but no such terminologies exist regarding other sense perceptions. Being a bit more detailed, if one is attached to music (again to only a particular genre called classical music and that too preferably Indian) he or she will be respected in spiritual field, whereas if one is attached to a good sight or taste or smell or touch of any particular object or place, it is called attachment and could be seen as a psychological problem. Why? One strong reason could be that most of the classical music composers in India were devotional and also the players borrowed lyrics written by saints. So the classical music and spirituality got intertwined. Such mechanism was absent for music in other parts of the world. Hence Indian classical music and spirituality are seen as synonymous by many. But does it mean there is no trance-like state achievable in other sense perceptions or genres of music similar to the one achieved through Indian classical music? I doubt it. To state only one particular type of sense perception originating only in one geographical place as superior to others in spiritual context is somewhat untenable. So can we reach God through rock music?