In the 1970s, some years before a growing interest in meditation changed the course of my life, I worked for some time in the North West of Australia in an iron-ore mine.
Every few weeks a tropical storm would banish the sweltering heat and endless days of sunshine and for a few wonderful hours heavy rain would drench the parched earth. Overnight the red plains would explode with flowers and all night long the breeze out of the dark would carry the fragrance of red earth, eucalyptus and the essence of desert.
When I hear Sri Chinmoy playing the piano I am somehow reminded of this. Just as the occasional fragrance of eucalyptus still evokes memories of those outback years, so do Sri Chinmoy's wonderful piano improvisations evoke the fragrance of a meditative, inner world, the musical downpour nourishing the beautiful, wide open spaces of the soul. Amidst the sweetness, playfulness, power and freedom of the music you can unmistakably feel something extraordinary – for me it is a glimpse of the human soul, a fragrance of God.
Many people some day will come to recognise that Sri Chinmoy's vast pantheon of creative outpourings – his musical, literary , artistic legacy – forms one of the most remarkable accomplishments of all time. One of the secrets of this stunning legacy is that the artist has saturated all of his creation with his own profoundly spiritual consciousness, a fragrance that permeates everything that he has done. Among these many jewels, like so many bright stars in the dark sky of human life, you will be able to find some aspect, a star that will be your personal doorway into the life divine.
Someone will look at Sri Chinmoy's bird sketches and feel their purity and freedom and delight – another may read a poem that deeply touches the heart. A third may pick up one of Sri Chinmoy's books and in between the knowledge conveyed by language, by words, there it is again, the fragrance of an illumined soul, the beckoning open doorway that takes you out among the bright stars.
Sri Chinmoy's piano improvisations are one of my favourite doorways. Often at the end of the day, I light a little incense, put the phone on no rings and sink back into my old armchair in my meditation space. The volume needs to be loud – this is the powerful face of meditation, the swift brushstrokes of the artist portraying a cosmic canvas.
Perhaps at first nothing much seems to be happening. But if you persist a little, listen with a widening heart, still mind, you'll start to feel something – as though glimpsing through a small clear window another inner, higher world. If you practice meditation a little, this window will gradually open wider. Some days you're overwhelmed by a feeling of indescribable beauty and peace, your eyes fill with tears at this engulfing joy and you're having the best meditation of your life.
Beethoven once said that whoever truly understands his music will forever be freed from sadness – I do believe that anyone who really understands Sri Chinmoy's piano improvisations, indeed his music as a whole, can become liberated from everything. Free of all constraint and limitation, free from mind, thought, ego, these rapturous performances are a celestial music of heart-melting sweetness, a glorious sound born out of the artist's absolute oneness with the Highest.
I feel so grateful to this traveller from the bright stars who lives among us for a while, scattering his music, songs, poetry – this stardust from the Heavens – and lifting our eyes and hearts upward, playing the piano and pointing with his music to our home high above.
- The Oneness With The Unknown – Sri Chinmoy's piano improvisation
- The Melodies Of My Soul – piano performance by Sri Chinmoy
- Sri Chinmoy's 19th Piano Anniversary – a recording from February 20, 2006
- God the Supreme Musician – a book by Sri Chinmoy
- The Source of Music – a book by Sri Chinmoy
- Sri Chinmoy Music – celebrating music as a secret signature of the Divine