Music and Images

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Music and Images

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:08 pm

In this thread

image_id: 7494

we discussed about creating mood using subtle tonal distributions similar to movement of different notes in ragas which stimulate different moods in music. I just thought sharing some of my perspectives. My formal knowledge in music is close to zero but I am an avid listener of Hindustani classical music. For long I have been trying to relate movement of notes ('chalan') to tonal distribution in B&W compositions. What are the characteristics of a raga which makes it suitable for listening in the morning/afternoon/evening/night ? Can we draw some parallel in tones and create similar 'movement' to simulate similar feelings ? I think it is possible. May be a long journey ..

Let me try to illustrate some of my understanding (may not be entirely accurate) of characteristics of ragas which makes it suitable for a time of the day and then try to use those attributes related to note and movement of notes to distribution of tonal ranges to evoke similar feeling. I am sure some of these illustrations may be subjective but here is an attempt. For all these illustrations let me use the same image posted by Arati (Thanks Arati for your permission to use the image! Please blame me if any of these processing does not match your taste buds or the context of the discussion). I felt this image is perfect to illustrate some of my thoughts. I wanted to use the same image throughout to drive home that fact that there is room for 'creation' of the mood irrespective of the physical visual in front of us.

First let us listen to a morning raga. What makes it a morning raga ? Close your eyes and carefully listen to the movement of notes in this recording below -







Isn't the notes seem to radiate from lower energy levels to higher energy levels like radiating golden rays of sun behind a distant mountain in the early morning ? Note gentle moves from lower frequencies to higher ones. Is there a parallel that we can draw here ? Here is an attempt at portraying dawn -


early_morning.jpg
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I tried to keep low contrast and very gentle movement towards higher tonal ranges to mimic the 'morning' feel like the movement of notes in a morning raga. Here is another, a little later but still a morning mood (you may need a finely calibrated display to decipher tonal variations) -


morning_2.jpg
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You see a little more contrast, radiating tones, but the 'movement' of tonal ranges is very gradual to keep the morning mood.

Now, let us listen to an afternoon raga, close your eyes and listen !







You might have noted very active movement of different notes quickly moving across the spectrum. It is more contrasty with far sharper defined 'edges' compared to morning notes that we listened above in the morning raga. Here is an attempt at presenting the same image in afternoon mood -

afternoon.jpg
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Now, let us listen to an evening Raga, close your eyes please !







Isn't it amazing ? If you notice carefully you see a contrasting movement of notes compared to the morning raga that you have listened to above. The movement of notes appears to be very slow and gradual again and seem to settle down at lower energy levels starting from a slightly higher notes. How beautifully it portrays the sun going down the horizon. Can't we hear temple bells in our villages in this backdrop ? Here is an attempt at matching those kinds of movements with the tonal ranges. Sorry I could not do justice to that beautiful melody, but here it goes -


evening_1.jpg
evening_1.jpg (395.41 KiB) Viewed 6894 times



I have attempted at making it more muted and less contrasty compared to the morning mood images above. I must admit, I am not totally satisfied here. I think we can better this.

Moving now onto a night raga -







Late at night after a stressful day when energy levels are very low we can't respond well to drastic variation of notes. Movement of notes in night ragas is very gradual and soothing. We don't get to hear neither radiating notes or very contrasty notes. We hear very soothing very gradual movement which can put us into deep sleep. Here is an attempt at mapping such gradual movement to tonal ranges in the above image (here again, an attempt, not completely satisfied) but I think you may be able to relate to what I am talking about here.




night_1.jpg
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In B&W processing I have seen focus on retaining everything from pure black to pure white and everything in between etc. but personally I don't believe in such treatment of tonal ranges. I think achieving emotional accuracy is what matters more than routinely treating tonal ranges. Some moods needs only mid tones. Making it contrasting just kills the mood. Seeing an image with closed eyes first and then realizing it may be an effective technique.

BTW, we get to see such translation of visuals into music. Here is one of my favorite if you are interested - Song of the River by Hari Prasad Chaurasia. Close your eyes and 'hear' the journey of a river !! An amazing composition indeed.



If any of you have formally learnt classical music please do share your thoughts on characterization of ragas as morning/evening/night etc in terms to movement of notes. The above views are my own, based on my untrained (however keen) hearing..

Thank you !
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Re: Music and Images

Postby Hrishikesh N » Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:51 am

Hi Ganesh,

I have'nt listened to a lot of Hindusthani Classical music so i just tried to feel if the music and its corresponding image (as a combination) share a connection. The Raga Pilu and the night_1.jpg really go well in my opinion. Not that others don't, but for me the bond seems to be strongest for this combination.

Amazing Discussion thread here Ganesh. It will need several revisits to have a deeper understanding.

Thank you.

Hrishikesh
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Re: Music and Images

Postby neelu » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:11 pm

Ganesh,
with all the recent references to tonalities.. being a novice entrant, to this world, one is grappling with understanding in depth and then comes the double whammy of associating musical ragas/raginis, with the mood of an image..
having some basic exposure in classical music, all my collections played over the weekend with different images,in the background, trying to make the connections..:)
it is very subective i guess..
am trying to veiw the images side by side comparatively on a mac. to see the subtle differences in the p.p, that make a huge impact on what mood it evokes.
thank you for opening up a new world(, ive actually lost my sleep.):):):)
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Re: Music and Images

Postby AratiRao » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:27 pm

HI Ganesh,
Came back to this post several times today ... and probably will come back several more times. Your take on this topic has intrigued me, and your illustrations juxtaposing the ragas and the tonal changes have been quite eloquent. I agree with you ... it is about the mood - and that bit about emotional accuracy is brilliant.
I think achieving emotional accuracy is what matters more than routinely treating tonal ranges.


that i am finding increasingly true for me, no matter the time of the day. recently, i encountered an aaney (elephant) bull which to me was all about twilight and night. he moved slowly, deliberately, non-threateningly, with eyes lowered, shaded with long eyelashes ... a dark bull. watching him and then processing that image for me was all about subtlety ... and soothingness. I dont know if i have achieved that in the treatment, if i have been able to convey that mood to you, you guys can judge that when i upload.

on the subject of ragas, they do induce moods. and i think there they draw parallel with images - images, treated in a certain way, can induce moods too. this is an intriguing subject. and i think personally, i am just beginning the journey - both in understanding and seeing tones and, now, in hearing them :)

It's lovely food for thought, and the stuff of dreams... as this topic, more than others, plays, speaks, dances, and tugs in my subconscious.

thanks Ganesh,
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Re: Music and Images

Postby nirlep » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:21 pm

Hi Ganesh,

Very interesting play of tones and contrasts here. i could follow the morning and afternoon part. The morning tones are lighter, afternoon is thicker and analogy looks good. But somehow I couldn't connect with the night part which to me looks like pre-dawn.
To my mind a night shot taken in the night might bring some surprise.
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Re: Music and Images

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:34 pm

Hey Nirlep, thanks for your views. Yes, as I noted, there is definitely some subjectivity here. That said, I think the mood is characterized more by *variation* in intensity levels than the average absolute intensity level. Yes, sure night can't be uniform full bright pixels at the same time not pitch dark pixels too (in my view). I kind of understand them in terms of spatial relation of one pixel with the adjoining ones (you may treat this as first order derivative function) than the absolute pitch of notes used or the absolute average pixel intensity of a frame. In both morning and night ragas we might see the same set of notes but how those notes move over time and difference in intensity of a given note to neighboring ones give them very different moods - as I understand.

Your thoughts ? :)
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Re: Music and Images

Postby Nilanjan Das » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:40 pm

Tonal range....be it visual or be it aural, their relationship is perhaps nothing new to be discovered. There are 3 aspects here. 1) One is the nature of the raga being played 2) The person who is performing and has carefully decided to execute the pitching of the notes. This is most important, with years and years of practice and meditation can a classical artist develop this idea of how the notes will be used for a particular expression, for example touching a Sa or Re or Ga is not as important but the beauty of the raga lies in how it is touched or for how long or may be the dynamics used for such execution. 3) Comparison of the music as delivered with the image and to feel if the latter can actually enhance the already perfect musical presentation or vice versa :-). Given the degree of difference in skill, definitely the music seems to dominate the mood for the image than the other way. The highest impact could have been enjoyed if both were pitched equally...am rather candid in my opinion and not taking away any credit from anyone, I simply felt pitching problem here. This is not about the creator of the image, perhaps just anyone of us would be in a very tough situation as balancing the pitch with the aural creations of the highest degree is extremely difficult. Just my thoughts...
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Re: Music and Images

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:28 am

Hey Nilanjan,

I guess I wasn't very clear. I was trying to draw parallels between structure of a raga in terms arrangement and movement of notes vs. arrangement of tonal ranges in an image and resulting mood in the both. Coming to your point 2, I don't agree completely (skill of an artist is a different topic). The raga Lalit for example will remain as 'morning raga' irrespective of who renders it. It will never portray the mood of 'night'. Now, what makes Lalit a 'morning raga' and a Pilu a 'night raga' ? How notes of those ragas move within a composition of them to make one suitable for listening in the morning and one suitable for listening at night ? Everyone knows Bhoopali is very effective in the evening. But why ? It is not about who renders it. Can we describe in two sentences why Bhoopali is more pleasing in the *evening* compared to morning ? What is *evening* has to do with Bhoopali ? Can we characterize the subtleties of tempos, movements of notes that make them apt for a given time and for different moods ? Can we relate those movement of notes in different 'ragas' to state of minds (fresh/tired/sad/happy etc) and explore applying them to our images to enhance different moods ? Can we create similar 'chalan' in our images ? Do we understand these characteristics well ?
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Re: Music and Images

Postby Nilanjan Das » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:16 am

Firstly let us take a look at how these ragas are constructed. Mostly in majority of the ragas the notes would remain same ( mostly ) with only changes of one or two or three notes ( like in Bhoopali or in Shivaranjani or Bageshree etc ). If you look at how the THAAT of Piloo is played, it is mostly same as the THAAT of Yaman Kalyan except that in Yaman the 4th note would be shifted. There would be subtle changes in the original thaat of the ragas but then how are they made to hear different so that they can be suitable for morning or evening or night ? Which ragas have moods close to each other ? How is all this done ? There is one theoretical aspect, the ascending and the descending patterns of playing the notes notes are often not played the same way in two ragas even when they share the same set of notes, these patterns of notes to be played have been decided keeping the mood of the time of the day in mind. Hence, we can say 1) the playing of the pattern of notes helps in generating the mood to certain extent ( this is exactly what you say that no matter what if these notes are played in their set pattern are supposed to create the mood of the respective time ) and 2) most important part....how these notes are played. There are many playing techniques,these playing techniques have evolved to enhance the mood much above the mood which is generated by just simply playing the pattern of notes of a particular raga. There are terms like Meer ( a way of playing a series of notes ), depending on instrument to instrument, several playing techniques have evolved to do maximum justice to the raga in terms of generating the mood. Bhoopali is a very popular raga for Sarod or santoor or even flute players, while Bageshree or Piloo is very popular among Sitar player ( not that other instrument players do not play these ragas ) but there is a trend of selection too. Like in Western Music, what the brass section plays, the string section does not exactly play it in the same way. Suppose if you watch a Sitar player, he can play two notes one after the other, say SA and then RE....but he can also stay at the note SA and gradually bend the string in such a way to reach RE in the same stroke or blow will add another dimension to the playing. You have to remember, the resonance time of one stroke is more or less fixed, with in this time one has to travel between notes, keeping dynamics intact and plan how and when the fading happens. It is very complex Ganesh and requires years and years of practice and learning and skill. Now on top of this there are many other factors :-), some ragas are constructed in such a way that they can be played or sung as Tarana, or Dhrupad etc. Some ragas suite khayals, in some ragas, alaps are very prolonged, in some Jors are played with emphasis etc. These methods of expressing the same notes make the difference, if I sing an alap of Behag, even though I would be touching the same notes like a well trained and thoughtful classical singer, the degree of emotional connection will vary like anything. In a scale of 1 to 10, I would be perhaps 3 ( keeping in mind my 16 years of training in classical music ) while a trained singer would be reaching 8 or 9 easily without effort. Now there are creative aspects of presentation in these ragas as well, depending on these aspects several Gharanas have come into being. Just imagine when all the notes are same, why would there be need for several gharanas who present the same raga which sound so different ? You must listen to the Dagarwani Gharana who have experimented for years after years on a night raga called Malkauns. They are perhaps the only one who have developed ways to sing Malkauns as Tarana which no other Gharana did. Why did they do it ? Why didn't the others do it ? All this makes it extremely interesting and very very complex. The mood that I wish to generate ( not what the mood a raga generates with set pattern of notes by default ) is why skill, thoughts and experiments are required. Otherwise all would sound the same. This can be related to our images Ganshi, a very misty morning with lovely surroundings will surely make the image look good just like playing the notes of the raga whose notes and playing pattern set a mood by default. Now in order to take both the image and the raga to the next level or the next requires control over many elements which we need to execute to either add complexities or reduce reduce complexities to make it simple. All forms of art be it music or image making need the same kind of journey, same kind of evolution of the mind. Why some people to listen to Sitar or some people like to listen to Sarod more ? I personally love the baritone of the Sarod much more than the Sitar, interestingly certain ragas sung by Shruti Sadolikar have touched me more than when the same raga was sung by Kishori Amonkar...it is not due difference of skill, both are exceptionally skilled, for my ears certain ragas generate more mood when a particular tonal quality syncs with the skills of that person. One day we will discuss this part as well...may be when we meet. The default mood generated by a raga due to its construction is the most elementary way of creating a mood. I hope I could explain but am so sorry that this being a nature photography forum I deviated so far away.
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Re: Music and Images

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:17 pm

Yes, Nilanajan, I understand there are subtleties about rendering of different ragas be it in different instruments or as vocal.

The default mood generated by a raga due to its construction is the most elementary way of creating a mood.

But the exact question I have is do we understand and characterize that elementary way of creating a mood ? I don't think it is just about the artist or style (gharana) of rendering. Yes, those skills and experiences may embellish a rendering but the skeleton will remain same. What is the nature of those fundamental constructs which enable different moods ? Can we draw some parallels and use them in our expressions ? in a completely different form of art ?

I think the idea is not to deviate from photography but to explore whether we can characterize some constructs by leveraging other forms of art, may be music today, may be poetry on some other day...

Sure, will have a long discussion at Bharatpur, in the back drop of different ragas... :)
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Re: Music and Images

Postby Nilanjan Das » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:01 pm

Ohh Sure Ganshi :-), I will carry a few GB of my collection of various voices and why I chose to listen to their presentation of a particular raga. I will try to explain how music is born and flows after the skeleton of the music is composed. How various factors like Taal, tone, etc help to determine the mood of the music which the artist presents. These factors have a lot of resemblance with any other art form, like poetry, images etc. It will be a good discussion :-). Beyond the physical factors which constitute the skeleton, they become philosophy. Music like painting is a genre of art practiced for thousands of years, understanding these philosophies will 200% help in understanding our images or even take them to a level which will speak a language beyond physical presence.
Frankly speaking, I do not know if our image creations can be influenced by such factors. For example, the flow of a raga in teental ( 16 beats ) or the same raga in Dhamar makes so much of difference, how do we bring such changes of mood in our images ? We have to create these factors Ganshi, Photography is so new, it needs understanding of the depth of other genres of art which have evolved so greatly over thousands of years of experimentation. I wish to be born again and do photography after a few hundred years to become a part of that philosophy which will evolve slowly and gradually and make this an art form as important as music or painting or poetry. :-).
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Re: Music and Images

Postby nirlep » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:46 pm

This thread has been a great learning experience for me. I see the point Nilanjan is making Ganesh..Some years ago Better Photography announced a photography contest. the theme of the contest was "Nau Rasas". The contest was stopped midway because of a very subjective approach taken by the photographers to the Rasas. The panel too realised that objective approach to the depiction of rasas through one picture was not possible barring some exceptions. What a photographer might hold to be the depiction of a rasa may not find favor with the judges. In most of the cases. But still I feel it is not beyond the realm of the possible. One would need in depth knowledge of ragas as well as photography someone like Nilanjan to pull it off. Rest we can mull over at Bharatpur...;) lemme know the dates I'll try and meet you guys there. Some issues are best settled in person.
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Re: Music and Images

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:34 am

I continued my search further and I kind of found answers to some of my questions in this research study by Parag Chordia - Scroll down to Music Perception and Cognition.

I found this web based survey which is designed to study the correlation between the structure of a raag and emotional response to that raag interesting. This research strengthens my belief that
there are some fundamental constructs in Raagas (irrespective of artists/renderings) that stimulates certain feelings. I also strongly feel understanding impact of such tonal intensity and distribution are relevant
to us as photographers probably more so in works of abstracts.

May be science and art runs parallel to each other and meets at infinity (which probably is God).

Two fine quotes - one from renowned scientist and another from a renowned artist -

After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are artists as well. - Albert Einstein

Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else. ― Leonardo da Vinci
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Re: Music and Images

Postby AratiRao » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:49 am

HI Ganesh,
my friend at NBRC in Delhi is heading the research on emotional response to Raagas. she has been in touch with parag.
the indian group is doing some very interesting stuff where they tie this later to neural imaging. if you would like to follow that research or be a part of it, please do see: this page on Research On Music And Emotion

I can connect you and Nandini Chatterjee any time. She is happy to collaborate with you, looking forward to good discussion and a further angle. (they have been talking with painters/ music/ emotion)

Best,
A
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Re: Music and Images

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:35 pm

Thanks Arati, I will explore. I did write to Parag other day..

PS : BTW, you may want to edit the BB Code for the above URL. I got it to work manually, but you may want to correct it.
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Re: Music and Images

Postby ghanshyamsavani » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:15 pm

Dear Sir

Thank you very much for such life-enriching discussion on music here on CNP. I am a passionate listener like you though I don’t know the ABC of it, but I get so much enchanted when I listen to classical music. I soon get transported to some unknown shore of some mysterious world. To me, music is my very being….! My flowering…..! My blissfulness….! My utter joy….! I sing it……! I dance it……..! I celebrate it……! Art creates in us space- we can call it silence just as music creates silence between two sounds. The very purpose of art is to create space in us- this space is the very ground of creativity for the artist. The more space or silence the artist can create in his/ her form of art, the more the art becomes sublime and objective taking us into the realm of sheer joy. This silence we can call the very fragrance of music or art. I found this thread of discussion the most poignant and fruitful for me.

I share herein wonderful insights on music by Osho and hope this thread become more enriched further and more objective making our journey more insightful.



Silence: The Fragrance of Music


Music is the only language that comes very close to silence, the only sound which is able to create the soundless. It has to be understood that music has no meaning. It is sheer joy, celebration. It is the only art that can somehow impart the inexpressible.

The ancientmost tradition of music is that it was born out of meditation. The people who meditated could not find any way to impart their experiences. They invented different instruments so that something can be said without creating a meaning in you but certainly a joy, a dance.

It must have been a tremendously valuable revelation for those who in the beginning discovered a language which is not a language. Sounds in themselves have no meaning. Meaning is man’s imposition on sounds. Sounds are natural. The wind blowing through the pine trees has a sound and a music of its own. Or a river, descending from the mountain through the rocks, has its own sound and its own music.

It is my assumption that meditators, listening to the inner silence, must have felt the tremendous difficulty of how to share it. It was in those beginning days that music was discovered. The discovery is simple: take away the meaning from the sounds and instead of meaning, give the sounds harmony, a rhythm which penetrates to the very heart. It says nothing, but it says the unsayable too.

The ordinary idea of music is that it consists of sounds, but that is only half the truth - and of lesser importance. As the music becomes deeper and deeper, it consists of silences between two sounds.

An ancient proverb in China is, “When the musician becomes perfect he throws away his instruments” because instruments can only create sound. The silence is created by the musician. But at the perfection, the same sounds that were creating small pieces of silence start becoming a disturbance. A strange idea, but perfectly meaningful, significant. It applies to every art. When the archer becomes perfect he throws away his bow and his arrows; just his eyes are enough to look at a flying bird and the bird will fall down. The bow and arrows were only a preparation.

The same applies to music, to painting, to all the arts which man has discovered. At the ultimate peak, you don’t need the steps, the ladder which has helped you to reach the peak. It becomes irrelevant.

The classical music was devoted to silence and to meditation. A beautiful story is told about a nabob of Lucknow. Lucknow remained for centuries the most cultured, sophisticated city in this country. Arts were respected, wisdom was highly prized.

The nabob, the king of Lucknow, was certainly a man of tremendous courage, insight. But these are the people who become misunderstood by the common man. Before I tell you the story about the musician, it will be good to know about the king who invited him to Lucknow, to his court. He was the last king of Lucknow, and when the British armies invaded Lucknow he was listening to music. He was informed that the British armies were coming closer and closer. He said, “Just welcome them. They are our guests.” Perhaps nowhere else in history has there been a king who accepted his enemies as guests. And he told his people, “Make every arrangement for their comfort, and tomorrow I will receive them in the court. If they want to remain here, they can remain. If they want the power, they can have it. There is no need for unnecessary violence. Things can be settled in a more cultured way. But as far as this moment is concerned, I will not disturb the musicians just because a few stupid people are attacking the city.”

This nabob was very much concerned that all the great musicians had played in his court except one. He inquired: “What are the reasons?”
His people said, “His conditions are absolutely insane. He says that while he is playing his music, nobody should move. If anybody starts moving or swaying with the music, his head has to be immediately removed from his body. He will come only if this condition is fulfilled.”

The nabob said, “You should have told me before! Invite him and tell him the condition is accepted. And declare to the whole beautiful city of Lucknow that those who want to hear the musician should know the condition; otherwise they should not come.”

But almost ten thousand people came to listen to the musician. And the nabob was not a man to go against his word: one thousand soldiers with naked swords were surrounding the listeners. The order was that they should note down whoever moved, because to remove his head in the middle would be a disturbance.
Only twelve heads moved. They were noted. In the middle of the night, the musician asked, “Has my condition been fulfilled?”

The king said, “Yes, these are the twelve people who moved and swayed and forgot the condition. Now it is up to you: what do you want? Should we behead them?”
To everyone’s surprise, the musician said, “These are the only people worthy to listen to me. Now let the whole crowd go. They were not listening to me, they were simply protecting themselves. Just an accidental movement could cause death, just a change of position could be dangerous. They were too concerned with their lives. Music is not for them; let them go. Now the real music I can play for you in the remaining night, and for these twelve people.” It took a strange turn! The nabob said, “But this is a strange way to find the right people.”

The musician said, “That is the only way to find the right people. These are the people for whom music means something more than life itself.”
And in fact they had simply forgotten all about the conditions. Music touched their hearts and they start swaying, a kind of dance entered into their beings. He played his music for those twelve people the remaining night. And he told the nabob that he did not need any reward. This was enough reward, to find the right people who could listen to music. “I would pray to you: reward these people, because these are the people to whom music is meditation.”

There are two possibilities, looking at this story: either meditators found music, or musicians found meditation. But they are so immensely and deeply connected with each other. My own experience is that because meditation is a far higher, far deeper experience, music must have been found by the meditators - as a language to bring something from their inner dance, inner silence, to the people they loved.

The ancient music in the East needs not only the training for the musician, it needs immense training for the listener. Everybody cannot understand the ancient classical music. You have to be capable of falling in tune with the harmony. In a certain way you have to disappear and let only the music remain.

It has been the experience of all great musicians, dancers, painters, sculptors, that while they are deepest in their creativity, they are no more. Their very creativity gives them the taste of disappearing into the universal. That becomes their first acquaintance with meditation. So both are possibilities: either music has led people to the point of meditation, or meditation has tried to find a means to express the inexpressible. But in any case, music is the highest creation that man is capable of.

Meditation happens.

Music is your creativity.

But we have lost contact with the authentic music. And slowly slowly, as humanity has become less and less interested in the inner world, its music has become lower and lower. The contemporary music is absolutely the lowest that has ever existed. It touches you, but it touches you at your lowest center of sexuality. The contemporary music is sexual, and the classical music was spiritual. I would like my people to create music on the path of meditation - or create music if you have found meditation, as a language to express the silence of it.

But one thing it indicates clearly – that the whole existence is full, throbbing with only one music, one dance, one godliness.

So if you can feel in my words the sound of silence, my purpose is fulfilled. Because my words are not being used in the same way they have been used by everybody. I am using words just as instruments of music. I am not a musician, but I can create the same situation with words and the silences in between. Those who cling to my words, miss me. Because they start interpreting. They start finding contradictions, they start an agreement or disagreement, but certainly a process of judgment starts in their being. That was not my purpose. My purpose was to start a silence, a music, a fragrance in you.

You have to change the gestalt. From words – which is the ordinary way humanity has used words forever, and nobody has insisted on changing the gestalt – listen to the silences. Read between the lines and you will find a tremendous explosion of silence, music, celebration. And flowers go on growing in your being.

Yes, whatever I am doing is closer to music than anything. It is not philosophy, it is not religion, it is not theology. What I am saying is not in my statements but just in those small spaces which remain utterly silent, empty.
But they are neither empty nor silent.

Once you have stumbled on those small pieces of silence and emptiness, you will be surprised that the silence is not silence; it is full of music, it is alive, it is a dance. And the emptiness is not emptiness; it is the only fullness that exists in the universe.

So there are two ways of listening: one is jumping from one word to another word and another is jumping from one silence to another silence. Those who are following the second way will be immensely rewarded by existence with great blissfulness, with tremendous ecstasy and with an immortality, an eternity. The treasures are incalculable. But if you are listening only to the words, you will end up at the most in a certain system of thought. This makes me sad, because I am not here to create systems of thought. Millions of people have done that and distracted people from their inwardness.

All thought systems exist in the mind, and all silences exist beyond the mind. My simple message to you is to transcend the mind, transcend the word.
Silence is the greatest spiritual experience.

And the universe consists only of silence. Silence can become expressive as sound if there is someone to listen to it, and the sound can become meaningful if someone is there to give meaning to it. But silence is absolutely and utterly pure, untouched by human hands.
Its purity is its godliness.

Its purity is what every meditator comes to know. Every meditator stands in the beginning of existence. It is not a question of time. Each moment can be transformed into the beginning of existence, if you can fall into silence. And silence does not divide people because it is not an ideology, it is an experience.

I want you not to belong to any belief, not to belong to any idea, but simply to relax into the universal silence. And you will taste the sweetness of music and you will come to know that existence is not a misery but a mystery – a mystery that can be lived, loved, but can never be made part of your knowledge. You can become part of it, but it cannot become part of you.

“Is this your secret?”

Yes, this is my secret.

This silence.

Osho
From the Book: Om Mani Padme Hum: The Sound of Silence, the Diamond in the Lotus
Ghanshyam Savani
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ghanshyamsavani/page1/?details=1
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