Music Lessons from a Maestro
Someone sent a band to my house,
And it started playing
At five in the morning.
I took this as a sign
God wanted me to sing!
Then the moon joined in
And a few of the tenor-voiced stars,
And the earth offered its lovely belly
As a drum.
Before I knew it,
All human beings could be happy
If they just had a few music lessons
From a Sweet Old Maestro
I Heard God Laughing, Renderings of Hafiz, by Daniel Ladinsky
This poem captures the imagination and perhaps makes us smile at the thought of our own Master as a music maestro. It is a perfect description of what is happening in our lives and in our hearts. As with many of the poems of saints and mystics, this poem takes the abstract and makes it concrete. It translates the sublime into common everyday language and creates this beautiful metaphor of our relationship to God and to Shabd, a concept that might be otherwise incomprehensible to us.
Maybe we can’t understand the concept of God, but if we’ve been initiated onto the path of Sant Mat, we are beginning to grow accustomed to the concept of a living Master. We have met him, been in his presence, talked with and listened to him, become infatuated and maybe even experienced pangs of love for him. We’ve definitely felt pangs of separation when he has not been with us physically. And we have all experienced the joyous anticipation of seeing him again.
Nor do we understand the concept of the Shabd or divine melody, or the music of the spheres or the sound current. We probably haven’t got a clue what Shabd is, but we can relate to the idea of music lessons by a maestro. We often get clarity on our beliefs and our concepts through the simple stories and poems of God-realized mystics.
Perhaps many human beings could be happy if they had a few lessons from a maestro like Hafiz. What a rare boon to be offered such lessons, and what a waste it would be to not follow the directions of the maestro and practice diligently. We can study and study these music lessons and perhaps eventually grasp the meaning they contain and make the meaning part of our lives; but if the true meaning is not grasped by constant practice, the music lessons have been studied in vain. Sant Mat is a path of practice and not just words.
When we follow this path of love and practice the music lessons given to us by our Master, can we expect to be great musicians automatically? Maharaj Charan Singh tells us in Light on Sant Mat: “It is hard work in the beginning, but by practice everything comes easy.”
We all know we have to follow all the instructions given to us by our maestro. To follow the vows and do our meditation takes constant effort, but it is the practice that makes us great musicians. Maharaj Jagat Singh says in Science of the Soul: “The secret of success in this path is practice, practice and still more practice.” If we want to become great musicians like our Master, we must follow his instructions and practice our lessons unceasingly.
A famous eighteenth century pianist and composer said:
If I miss one day of practice, I notice it.
If I miss two days, the critics notice it.
If I miss three days, the audience notices it.
Ignacio Jan Paderewski
We should be serious about following Sant Mat, but that doesn’t mean that we should disregard the cheerful side of life altogether. Rather, we should feel more relaxed because we are following the path.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Legacy of Love