Infinite Bliss from Music: The Nada-Brahman Principle
We can use music as a means to reach God by forgetting ourselves as we sing hymns, mantras, and the names of our favorite form of the Lord. In devotional music, including bhajans and kirtans, this spiritual connection remains the objective. But what about the non-emotional musicians who solely worship music? They too can obtain the highest levels of ecstasy that comes not from the mood of the raga, nor from the proper application of notes, and nor from the rhythm, but comes from considering musical sound as God according to the notion of Nada-Brahman.
When the musician recognizes this oneness, which occurs after all early levels of perfection in technique and expression have been transcended, music becomes joy, not the means for joy. At this point, the sound of a melody from a string instrument no longer appears sweeter than the stroke of a percussion instrument, for both are musical sounds and accordingly forms of the Divine. Similarly, devotional lyrics are no longer needed for the connection. They are useful only until a duality in musical notes and God is present. When musical notes become Brahman and represent His sound, there is no other God to connect to.
At this stage in music, which appears plainly theoretical to most of us, one can say that perfection in music has been achieved. Just like the devotee musician who forgets oneself in the memory of the Lord while performing, the advaitist worshipper of music forgets oneself in music to remember nothing but music. While one at this spiritual or musical plane may no longer be fit for entertaining fellow beings on a big podium, it fulfills what the Indian tradition anticipates from a ‘seeker of music’ as opposed to a ‘learner’ or ‘creator’ of music: finding God while finding music.