Free Jyotish Newsletter
Home | Credentials | Books | Yagyas | Karmic Remedies | Articles | Links | Contact

The Deep Meaning of Music

By Michael Laughrin,

Music is the language of the heart, of the soul. Music, at least to me, more accurately shows us how the Universe works than all the wordy studies - philosophy, religion, poetry, etc. - ever engaged in by the mind of Man. For me, music is largely polluted by words. Music is the perfect emotional language. Words just get in the way.

A poem may be given wings by music, but the words tend to keep music earthbound. One can say that a poem is a song for those who cannot sing, yet poetry is perhaps the finest of the "wordy arts."

Why, and how, does music portray reality more perfectly than "wordy studies?"

  1. Life is ephemeral. Music is ephemeral. For both of them, blink and the situation is changed. Art, architecture, and books give a false sense of solidity, of permanence that, ultimately, has no basis in reality.
  2. For those of us who have not yet permanently crossed the River of Enlightenment, life is Maya (illusion). Music gives us the true flavors of that wonderful illusion while yet touching the Soul with intimations of liberation, heaven, and/or enlightened reality.
  3. Just as the absolute, unchanging aspect of creation underlies all we perceive, so the notes accompanying the melody are often ignored. Yet, they form the structure of the wonderful flights of spirit by the melody.
  4. Everything is rhythm -- breathing, heartbeats, walking, talking, wars, marriage, birth, death, even the rise and fall of civilizations. Music is the king of rhythm. Therefore, we could say that all of life is a gigantic piece of music that, perhaps, only mystics, seers, (and spaced out musicians!) can perceive.
  5. Music can be infinitely complex -- just like life itself. For example, five part fugues by Bach, or Renaissance pieces for two choruses, organ and orchestra.
  6. Music is perfectly orderly and mathematical, yet it is the most perfect means of soul expression ever invented. One might say, "Aha! Then mathematics is the real ultimate reality." Perhaps, but you stick to your numbers and I'll keep my guitar and CD player, and we'll see who is more emotionally fulfilled.
  7. Sound is primordial, according to the ancient Hindus. The Universe was sung into being. All the other senses derive from sound. Even books and philosophy and religion are nothing but frozen sound.
  8. Name and form -- there is a word in Sanskrit: Namarupa. It means name and form. The idea is that the true name of an object (in Sanskrit) has the same vibrations as the object itself. That implies that just saying the name of a thing will give you the essential energy of the thing itself.
  9. Applying this to instrumental music, I have come up with the idea that each note creates a "thing" in the subtle worlds. Therefore, a well composed piece of music is actually a whole small universe unto itself. Perhaps this means that to create music, or even just to play good music, takes us closer the Creator than, perhaps, any other activity, as we become creators (or, if playing someone else's music, "re- creators") ourselves. Herein, perhaps, lies the profundity, the joy, and the uplifting quality that music brings.
Concerning music and astrology, both are mathematical and rhythmical. There are seven true planets in traditional astrology and there are seven notes to the scale. There are twelve signs of the zodiac and there are twelve notes to the chromatic scale. Each planet, and each note, has its own unique flavor, its own special color that musicians can taste and see. The laws of physics and the rules of musical composition seem to suggest each other to the wise.

To me, astrology is the music of the spheres -- but one must have the ears of spirit open to hear it.

Thanks to my spiritual teachers for inspiration. Thanks to music for a taste of reality.

(c) copyright 2007 Michael Laughrin.

(This article was published in the February/March 2007 issue of Michael Laughrin's North American Jyotish Newsletter. Click to subscribe to this free Jyotish newsletter. )

Read more articles by Michael Laughrin.

Yagyas offered by Michael Laughrin.

Learn about Michael Laughrin's credentials.