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Why is singing of great importance in spirituality

Question: Acharya Ji, how is music related to spirituality? What do Bhakti Saints sing of?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Sing with a Kabir, or sing Kabir with yourself. That’s the best thing.

The best thing is to sing.

The best thing is to – sing.

But you know, we have become very-very unmusical. Our instruments have lost their tuning. We have forgotten to sing. We have lost all verse. So the fallout of that is, that your Acharya Ji has to laboriously speak in prose. And therefore he has to speak so much. Otherwise, two lines of a Kabir Sahib, are much more than sufficient.

And even after speaking so much, do I even come close to what he said? I don’t.

Sing, there is no alternative to that.

Questioner: Without knowing the meaning?

Acharya Ji: Then know the meaning, and sing. He definitely wanted you to know the meaning and sing. That’s why he sang in the language of the people. Had he just wanted you to croon anything unintelligible, then why would he compose in the everyday language of the ordinary people.

Why did he do that? Because he wanted you to also know the literal meaning of his words. if I can help you know the literal meaning of his words, good. To that extent, use me. But do sing.

Man ko maruun patak ke, tuuk-tuuk hoyee jaye,

(Let me hit hard the mind and break it into pieces).

vish kee kyaree boye ke, ab kahe pachtaye.

(After performing bad deeds, why repent now?)

~ Guru Kabir Sahib

Question 2: Acharya Ji, why do saints curse the mind so much, even though the same mind brings me to the Guru?

Acharya Prashant Ji: Then Kabir Sahib has a different couplet for you.

Kabira man nirmal bhayaa, jaise Ganga neer,

(Kabir’s mind has become pure, as the water of Ganges).

Paache paache hari phire kahat Kabir, Kabir.

(Now God runs after him, speaking aloud, ‘Kabir’, ‘Kabir’).

Not all verses of mind are applicable to all states of the mind.

Pahle to man kaaga tha, karta aatm ghaat,

(This mind was once like a crow, causing self-harm).

Ab to man hansa bhaya, moti chug chug khaat.

(Now the mind has become like a swan, chooses and eats with discretion).

So, it’s not as if the Saints have just cursed the mind incessantly. They have also praised the mind – if the mind brings you to the Guru, glory to the mind.

If the mind takes you towards destruction then, “Man ko maruun patak ke, tuuk-tuuk hoyee jaye (Let me hit hard the mind and break it into pieces).”

Depends on the direction the mind is taking.

If you will go to the Upanishads, they will say, “There is no greater friend than the mind. And neither is there enemy bigger than the  mind.”

The mind is both – best friend, and biggest enemy.

Your friend and your enemy are at war with each other. Who will win? Who will win? You are the referee. You don’t even have to choose. You have to just declare. Keep declaring the right result.

Keep declaring the right result.

Question 3: Acharya Ji, when we face reality, we feel as if we have been badly bashed. So, how should one respond in such situations?

Acharya Prashant Ji: You have to remember what I just said.

Irrespective of how one behaves, or what one says, deeply and ultimately all want – the One. So, irrespective of what your impulsive reaction is, you must also remember that nobody does anything for self-harm.

Even when a person commits suicide, he is actually trying to minimize self-harm.

Doesn’t matter whether the world is ignorant or arrogant. It doesn’t matter what qualities and characteristics are being displayed. Are they being displayed so that the one displaying them gets harmed?

You might be ignorant and you are walking towards a hole. But is it self-harm that you want? You are just ignorant. And if you are ignorant, do I curse you, or do I help you? The prakritik instinct would be to curse. Wisdom would be to helpfully curse.

So when you curse, curse in a way that helps.

When Kabir Sahib is saying, “Man ko maruun patak ke,” obviously he is cursing the mind. But look at the love. What is he scolding the mind for? He is saying, “You are the one who sowed all the poisonous seeds.”

vish kee kyaree boye ke, ab kahe pachtaye.

(After performing bad deeds, why repent now?)

Now you are repenting.

He is actually teaching the mind something. What is he teaching the mind? Do not sow seeds of poison. Like the benevolent grandfather you know, who scolds you but nevertheless helps you. And he scolds you so that the need to be helped reduces.

Saints have scolded a lot. In fact, even Buddha who is commonly considered to be the epitome of poise and compassion, has been very-very harsh in his scoldings. He has used choicest words. Sometimes he has called you ‘an ass’, sometimes ‘a pig’.

It is for the sake of compassion.

And it is because those who run from the center of fear, sometimes require fear, even to be helped.

Suppose there is a patient,  diseased one in the spiritual sense. And what is his disease? His disease is that he works only through fear. His disease is, that he knows only fear. Nothing can make him move or work, except fear.

Now, you want to take this person to a doctor of spirituality. This fellow is a sick man in spiritual sense. And you want to take him to a doctor who would cure him. And this man knows only one motivation. What is that motivation?

Questioner: Fear.

Acharya Prashant Ji: How do you take this man to the doctor?

Questioner: By using fear.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Therefore the Saints scold.

Questioner 4: Acharya Ji, I think honesty is needed to be afraid.

Acharya Prashant Ji: No, honesty is not needed. Honesty is needed to be fearless. Honesty is not needed to be fearful, it is needed to be fearless.

The ones who live by the center of fear, always live in the imaginations of feared outcomes.

That’s why they live in fear.

So, all that the Teacher then needs is a certain worldly power, using which he should be able to induce fear in the other person.

The Teacher must have a certain worldly authority as well, using which he should be able to induce fear.

But when we are talking about the worldly authority, and the intent of the Teacher to induce fear in someone, let it not go too far.

We are only talking of as much fear, as is required to bring the patient to the doctor.

Nothing more than that.

We are not talking of fear becoming a way of life.

We are not talking of fear, as the preferred instrument of the Teacher.

We are not glorifying fear.

The aim is fearlessness.

But sometimes our love for fearlessness, can get so very shrouded beneath all kinds of rubbish, that we just lose that charm. The Teacher may come and say, “You know what, you live in fear. Come with me and I will take you to fearlessness.” And the fellow would say, “Fearlessness. I don’t want that.” He wants that, and yet does not know that he wants. That’s the situation of man.

So the Teacher has no option, but to temporarily use fear.

Getting it?

That power has to be very-very discreetly applied.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Why is singing of great importance in spirituality? || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Kabir (2018)

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