Music – spiritual and commercial dimensions
“Music alone can take to the heights and Music is the highest art and,
to those who understand is the highest worship” Swami Vivekananda
I was reading few articles about Maa Annapurnaji (recently she passed away) and started thinking about the purpose of music. It differs from artiste to artiste. Becoming musician and practitioner of music takes lot of time and dedication. After so much of effort, dedication and good guidance from guru you emerge as musician. When we observe present music arena, we find so many varieties of artiste with different mind-set and approach. When I met famous musicologist and sitar artiste Sri Deepak Raja, he told about one artiste in Vrindavan, who only sings in Krishna temple and she never sings in public. I am wondering, though music is a performing art, is it only for public presentation. We have to learn to respect others decision about the public presentation. Maa Annapurnaji hardly performed in public but she was an extraordinary Guru. When disciples reached highest level in music we can presume the greatness of Guru. She remained as guru and spiritual practitioner throughout her life.
Is music presentation in public necessary, is it the only purpose of learning music. These questions are capturing my mind. Performance is artiste’s choice. I heard guruji saying ‘olden day’s artiste use to practice irrespective of concerts opportunity and practice was their inevitable part of life.’ so they use to think, sing and practice more than they sang on stage. Even today I came across many artistes like this. Practice is primary and performance is secondary and by product of practice.
Swami Vivekananda’s message about music is only relevant to spiritual seekers? Or even we as music professionals imbibe his idea about music. We have to classify usage of music in spiritual, commercial and as a bread earning tool. It is necessary to earn money to sustain. Every musician can’t afford Merced Benz but definitely he can earn and survive with decent basic needs through music. Once our basic need is fulfilled can we treat music in different manner, but it is very difficult to decide what and how much is basic needs. There are few artistes who dedicated their life to music and they never bothered about money, award or performing opportunity. They did music as ‘Sadhana’ and spiritual practice. It is possible to pursue music only as a tool to achieve commercial achievements also. No thoughts about spirituality or music sanctity. I feel it is personal and intentional decision to follow music in their life. Music has the power to provide you what you ask for; if you need only commercial entity you can get it. It is possible to achieve both commercial and spiritual objectives or If you feel to practice music as only spiritual path to achieve higher goals that also possible through music.