Why are Music and Melody spiritual tools?

The songs our Mothers sang to us, and the ones we sing to our children, are vessels where our basic values are inherited from. I really believe this.

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By Jagdesh Singh | OPINION |

At my age, hazy memories of my first handful of years on this earth are as rare as an honest politician. A couple of nights ago, a song from ‘The Sound of Music’ was playing in the car radio. A gush of emotions enveloped over me unexpectedly. A big portion of it was of happiness that can only stem from childlike feelings.

“When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad”

And then the vision appeared in my imagination’s periphery.

My mother, slimmer and much younger, was singing to me and my sister of that song, her voice doing justice its melodious chorus, the grass we sat on seemed greener from the freshness of a light rain drizzle. I was barely 5, if my memory hopefully serves me well, we were at the fringe of the home garden before our family had moved on when I was 6. Mom’s smile as she effortlessly sang the lyrics, the coolness of the air thinly played with our skin.

And then life caught up before I could saviour the memory. But the emotions I had lingered on to the night, however. Before it rubbed off from the boisterous noise of my own family at dinner time, these emotions reminded me of how my wife used to sing songs of pop culture to her daughters at their age that was the same as mine in that memory. Not as classical as ‘The Sound of Music’, but equally melodious and soothing.

The songs our Mothers sang to us, and the ones we sing to our children, are vessels where our basic values are inherited from. I really believe this. I do really believe this because of the holding power memories of these songs have on me even 4 decades later. When we can remember that feeling from the memories, we will also remember our loved ones of yesteryears, what they meant to us, and ultimately their influence they’ve had on us. These memories are inscriptions of the values we’ve since imbibed in our psyche from all those years before. Whether we still hold on to these values or we have matured on to different values, these values of our early years make the foundation to what we have today.

This power of music, an ensemble of melodic signatures, is also why singing and the listening of songs have been the cornerstone of many a spiritual teachings. Sikhism isn’t unique in this sense, but we’ve always been more pronounced in employing song and melody, our keertans in almost all our religious customs has been a necessity, not implored upon but rather looked forward to by us all.

Guru Nanak, when inspired by the invincible Grace of God, would summon his compatriot and keen follower, Bhai Mardana, to pick up the Rebab as His Words flow to whomever the message was meant for. And we’re told, His rendering of His Message would spiritually pierce deeply into one’s soul, the vibrations from the melody of the Rebab transforming into the vessel for the intended message.

I now understand why.

If a simple song can perform miraculous time-travel for me back to 40 years ago, it is no wonder why the great sages, the saints and the Gurus hold firmly to employing music, melody and sounds to perform spiritual awakenings, which I construe to be miracles in their own sense as well.

The power of song and music can transport you to other worlds your imagination can conjure. Whether it’s some deeply hidden memory within the confines of your mind, or some purely new planes of existence, our souls can’t get enough of it.

Go ahead. Crank up some media player, search for a familiar tune from your childhood, close your eyes and fully immerse yourself in being there again, even for a couple of seconds.

Jagdesh Singh, a Kuala Lumpur-based executive with a US multinational company, is a father of three girls who are as opinionated as their mother

* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.

 

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