Music lovers received a rare treat recently when visiting European and local musicians offered a free peace concert in the Pioneers Women’s Memorial Hall in downtown Auckland. The full house performance featured meditative compositions inspired by the dream of world peace and drawn from the vast 22,000 song musical legacy of the late Indian spiritual master and musician/composer Sri Chinmoy.
Five performing groups offered flute and percussion arrangements; a women’s a cappella choir; a solo vocal/keyboard arrangement with the Dutch composer Vapustara Jongepier; local choral group Mukti Giti; and a grand all-performers finale that attracted enthusiastic applause. A banquet was served post-concert and the 100 and more guests stayed to talk and meet the performers.
A highlight was the interactive, audience participation kirtans – four mantric chants invoking the deities Shiva, Aparajita, Govinda and Analaya were introduced then sung by the concert-goers who were given the simple words and then quickly mastered the melodies. Initially self-conscious, the audience warmed to the songs and began accompanying the on-stage performers in singing the mantras with growing enthusiasm, highlighting Sri Chinmoy’s own belief that everyone has music inside them.
“Everybody on earth is a musician and a singer. A singer does not have to carry a note perfectly. Music is the language of God. God’s language, music, is not like mathematics or geometry. It is a language of love. If we love music, that is enough.
Music keeps us alive. The sweetness and the haunting quality of music teaches us how to behave properly. Our inner music does not allow us to create disharmony.
Music gives us the feeling of sweetness, tenderness and softness. The inner music always inspires us to do something good for humanity. Our inner music is a form of prayer and meditation.”
A highlight was Vapustara’s spontaneous keyboard accompanied songs – he sang five of Sri Chinmoy’s compositions with a wonderful depth of feeling, embodying the qualities that the composer himself had identified as essential in capturing the inner fragrance and consciousness of spiritual music – soulfulness, humility, inner poise, self-offering. Sri Chinmoy further comments:
“Music can transform our consciousness, provided it is soulful, devotional music and not the music that produces vital stimulation. There is a type of music that is all inner illumination and outer progress. This music is spiritual, devotional and self-giving. It can awaken us from deep ignorance-sleep”.
“God is the Supreme Musician. It is He who is playing with us, on us and in us. We cannot separate God from His music. The universal Consciousness is constantly being played by the Supreme Himself, and is constantly growing into the Supreme Music. God the Creator is the Supreme Musician and God the creation is the supreme Music. The musician and His Music can never be separated. The Musician Supreme is playing his Music Supreme here in the universe. His creation is being fulfilled. The Music Supreme feels its fulfilment only when it consciously becomes one with the Supreme, the Creator Himself.”