A Symphony of Sound
There is only the One – that is all that there is. Is this a misleading statement? Each one of us appears to be different from the other – and within our world there are numerous other life forms and inanimate things. And further afield, suns and moons and planets, solar systems and galaxies – a seemingly endless variety! But, it all flows in a never-ending stream from the One. Therefore everything – including ourselves – is a part of the One.
The million-dollar question is: can we know the One from which all diversity flows? And then, is it possible to become one with the One? This is our objective in life: not only to know the One, but to actually transfer from individuality to oneness, by merging back into that originating source.
Words can neither describe nor explain the One, and our thinking is too limited to comprehend this creative force. The mind expresses itself through the medium of the brain and is bound by the brain’s physical limitations. This does not affect our understanding and acceptance of the diversity in the physical creation. However, our understanding of the One is constrained by these limitations.
How then can we give form to these thoughts and concepts of the One? Well, we can try to do this by using an analogy with music. Many of us are not very musically inclined and know little about it. If we sit in front of a piano, randomly pressing the keys, we would just produce sounds – discordant, jarring sounds. However, if we have been trained to play the piano it would be very different. The sound coming from the piano would make sense – there would be harmony and melody. All the different notes would flow into one coherent composition.
When the piano is joined by a variety of other instruments, an orchestra is created that produces musical magic – a symphony of harmonious sound. Individual notes merge to become music. The musicians become one with their instruments, and under the guidance of the conductor the instruments and the music flowing from them become as one – a symphony.
In many ways we can apply this analogy to our own lives. Individually we have a mind with a jumble of thoughts. The mind uses the instruments of the brain and the body to express itself and to gather impressions of the world around us. Because we do not understand the subtleties of these impressions, what we see, hear or feel is simply a process of gathering information. An untrained piano player cannot read the music score; similarly, although the notes of life are playing all around us, we are unable to read them. We look at life and take it in, but it doesn’t make sense to us because we are untrained life musicians.
We try and express ourselves in life as though we were trying to play the piano or the cello in an orchestra. Every day, every moment, we all do exactly that: we play the music of life as if we know what we are doing. But with what result? Many of us do enjoy some harmony, some pleasure and some satisfaction from life, but because of our human failings there’s plenty on the negative side: strife, war, poverty, discontent, pain, anger, greed, attachment and lust – the list is endless. Everyone says there must be something better, but how does one find it? Perhaps we have moments when we manage to play a few harmonious notes, and then, we touch that something, but all too often we experience just a harsh discordance of sound.
This happens both on a personal scale with one instrument and on the grand scale of an orchestra. One may have heard an orchestra tuning their instruments before a performance and it is simply a jumble of sound. Imagine that scenario on the scale of a planet or a galaxy – it’s scary!
To understand the music of life we have to train as individuals to become harmonious, which needs focus, attention and meditation. It may take years or even lifetimes to become proficient in this performance – there are so many variables and distractions that we can easily get lost or side-tracked. Because the mind is untrained, unfocused and scattered,it appears to be our enemy. But that is erroneous thinking – it is simply untrained. It can be compared to a person who, randomly pressing the keys of a piano, is just making a noise. However, if that person is trained to play the piano, in time he or she may become an accomplished musician. It is the same with our minds. The mind is one of the greatest instruments we have, but it has to be trained and focused – fine-tuned until the mind and soul play in harmony. As Maharaj Charan Singh says:
Unless there is love and devotion in the mind, the soul will never be able to go back to the Father. The mind is an enemy as long as it pulls you downward towards the senses. But the mind is your best friend when it is at the eye centre and is in touch with the Shabd and is being pulled towards the second stage, Trikuti. Without winning the friendship of the mind, the soul can never go back to the Father.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I
Taking this analogy of harmonious music a bit further, we can say that each sentient being, every living thing, even every inanimate bit of rock, each drop of water and each breath of air in the entire creation, is part of one huge orchestra. This includes all realms – physical, mental, causal – everything!
There are so many elements making up this whole grand creation, each seeming to exist separately from all others. But there’s a subtle musical theme running through that links them all, making them wonderfully interdependent. That theme is the Shabd, without which none could even exist, let alone separately – the power that pulls all together into one glorious creation, a symphony incomparably greater and more magnificent than any that could ever be composed by man.
Through our meditation – under the guiding baton of the Master – we are striving to become aware of, and listen to, this underlying Sound that brings all the separate lesser sounds together to make a beautiful whole. The more we can focus on the Shabd, the more our minds will become attuned to harmony instead of discord, and the more we ourselves will be in harmony with the One.
An orchestra actually seems to be just one instrument playing a variety of notes. Every note is necessary – it plays its part in the music of life, the music of creation. It loses its individuality and merges into the sound of the one great rapturous melody reverberating throughout creation – majestically thunderous or infinitely gentle – all sounding together, as one note, One Being.
The scale and subtlety and nature of ultimate reality are beyond all concepts, thought, and words! Though immanent within every being, the reality of that One is beyond the scope of the mind, beyond symbols, beyond intellectual understanding.
Incomprehensible and indescribable, it is the eternal powerhouse of creation. It is realized through experiencing the transcendent Shabd and Nam within oneself.… As the unchanging source of pure energy, giving life to every form, its positive power pre-empts all subsequent realities by being pre-existent to all.
The Spiritual Guide, Vol. II