Hazrat Inayat Khan: The Music of Life

Hazrat Inayat Khan was a Sufi master and master of Indian classical music who lived from 1882 to 1927. The book The Music of Life (Omega Press, 1983) collects some of his writings, including this passage:

"Music has a mission not only with the multitudes but with individuals, and its mission with individuals is as necessary and great as its mission with multitudes. All the trouble in the world and all the disastrous results arising out of it all come from lack of harmony. This shows that the world needs harmony now more than ever before. So if the musician understands this, his customer is the whole world. When a person learns music, he need not necessarily learn to be a musician or to become a source of pleasure and joy to his fellow man; no, but by playing, loving, and hearing music, he must develop music in his personality. The true use of music is to become musical in one's thoughts, words, and actions. We must be able to give the harmony for which the soul yearns and longs every moment. All the tragedy in the world, in the individual and in the multitude, comes from lack of harmony. And harmony is best given by producing harmony in one's own life.

"During my travels throughout the world, I have heard the music of many different places, and have always felt that intimate friendship and brotherhood existing in music. I have always had a great respect for music and for the devotee of music. One thing I believe (and when in India convinced of it time after time after meeting those who have touched some perfection in music) that not only in their music but in their life one can feel the harmony that is the real test of perfection. If the principle of music were followed there would be no need for external religion. And someday music will be the means of expressing universal religion. Time is wanted for this, but there will come a day when music and its philosophy will become the religion of humanity."


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