On popular music and movie songs

This post is an addendum to the previous one on the influence of movies on our consciousness.  It discusses the phenomenon of “popular music”, by which we mean those shrill, raunchy, meretricious musical hits which gain instant appeal among the masses but fade away into obscurity soon after.

Artist : Priti Ghosh@Sri Aurobindo Ashram.  Click image for source

Artist : Priti Ghosh@Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Click image for source

All men are restless to some degree and this restlessness is reflected in their taste in music.  When this restlessness finally ceases, one begins to hear the Anahata (un-struck) sound which reverberates ceaselessly through the higher regions of the cosmos.  Those who have heard the Anahata sound lose all taste for man-made music.  But such instances are few and far in between.  The human personality by and large remains a mixture of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas and this mixture is reflected in the musical trends which gain favour amongst the masses.

Those who are tamasic by nature are drawn to loud, thumping music with heavy beats.  The Mother, while commenting on the noise being generated by some festival outside the Ashram in Pondicherry, said the reason people make so much noise was because they “like to deaden themselves. In silence they have to face their own difficulties, they are in front of themselves, and usually they don’t like that. In the noise they forget everything, they become stupefied.”[1].

Plato

The phenomenon of popular music was first recognized by Plato.  In this passage, we find him lamenting on the decline in musical taste:

In the first place, let us speak of the laws about music-that is to say, such music as then existed-in order that we may trace the growth of the excess of freedom from the beginning. Now music was early divided among us into certain kinds and manners. One sort consisted of prayers to the Gods, which were called hymns; and there was another and opposite sort called lamentations, and another termed paeans, and another, celebrating the birth of Dionysus, called, I believe, “dithyrambs.” And they used the actual word “laws” or nomoi, for another kind of song; and to this they added the term “citharoedic.” All these and others were duly distinguished, nor were the performers allowed to confuse one style of music with another. And the authority which determined and gave judgment, and punished the disobedient, was not expressed in a hiss, nor in the most unmusical shouts of the multitude, as in our days, nor in applause and clapping of hands. But the directors of public instruction insisted that the spectators should listen in silence to the end; and boys and their tutors, and the multitude in general, were kept quiet by a hint from a stick. Such was the good order which the multitude were willing to observe; they would never have dared to give judgment by noisy cries.

And then, as time went on, the poets themselves introduced the reign of vulgar and lawless innovation. They were men of genius, but they had no perception of what is just and lawful in music; raging like Bacchanals and possessed with inordinate delights-mingling lamentations with hymns, and paeans with dithyrambs; imitating the sounds of the flute on the lyre, and making one general confusion; ignorantly affirming that music has no truth, and, whether good or bad, can only be judged of rightly by the pleasure of the hearer. And by composing such licentious works, and adding to them words as licentious, they have inspired the multitude with lawlessness and boldness, and made them fancy that they can judge for themselves about melody and song. And in this way the theatres from being mute have become vocal, as though they had understanding of good and bad in music and poetry; and instead of an aristocracy, an evil sort of theatrocracy has grown up. For if the democracy which judged had only consisted of educated persons, no fatal harm would have been done; but in music there first arose the universal conceit of omniscience and general lawlessness; freedom came following afterwards, and men, fancying that they knew what they did not know, had no longer any fear, and the absence of fear begets shamelessness. For what is this shamelessness, which is so evil a thing, but the insolent refusal to regard the opinion of the better by reason of an over-daring sort of liberty? [2].

Theodor Adorno

The German musicologist and critical theorist Theodor Adorno(1903-1969) analyzed the reason why the masses are drawn to such meretricious music.  In his essay “On popular music”, he wrote:

The frame of mind to which popular music originally appealed, on which it feeds, and which it perpetually reinforces, is simultaneously one of distraction and inattention. Listeners are distracted from the demands of reality by entertainment which does not demand attention either.

…the way in which they must work on the assembly line, in the factory, or at office machines denies people any novelty. They seek novelty, but the strain and boredom associated with actual work leads to avoidance of effort in that leisure time which offers the only chance for really new experience. As a substitute, they crave a stimulant. Popular music comes to offer it. Its stimulations are met with the inability to vest effort in the ever-identical. This means boredom again. It is a circle which makes escape impossible [3].

Adorno and his colleague Max Horkheimer coined the term “culture industry” to denote the entertainment industry which mass-produces standardized cultural goods – movies, songs, magazines – that lull the masses into passivity and sink them into depravity.  Adorno’s essay “On popular music” can be read online.

The Mother

We shall end with some remarks by the Mother who reflected on the increasing vulgarity during a discussion with students at the Ashram school. Children are easily impressionable and naturally start humming music which is shrill and exciting.  Someone asked the Mother for her advice on this trend.  This dialogue was recorded in 1955.

Child: There is something else we would like to ask. There are many discussions on this subject: should we take any interest in those songs which have no meaning, usually cinema songs?

Mother: Take interest? How do you mean?

Child: There are many who listen to these songs and sing them also.

Mother: Yes, but I don’t understand “taking interest”. One may like these things because one has no taste, but I don’t see what is meant by “taking interest”. One takes interest in a study, one takes interest in a work, one takes interest in the progress to be made, but… One may indulge in an activity of idleness, but that doesn’t mean that one can take any interest in it.

Child: If one has to sing these songs?

Mother: Has to? Why? To earn your living? (Laughter)

Child: Isn’t it an obstacle to our progress?

Mother: But everything that brings down the consciousness is an obstacle in one’s progress. If you have a desire it creates an obstacle in your progress; if you have a bad thought or bad will, it creates an obstacle in your progress; if you welcome some kind of falsehood, it creates an obstacle in your progress; and if you cultivate vulgarity in yourself, it creates an obstacle in your progress; everything which is not in keeping with the Truth creates an obstacle to progress; and there are hundreds of these things every day.

For example, every movement of impatience, every movement of anger, every movement of violence, every tendency to dissimulation, every deformation of the truth, whether big or small, every bad will, every partial judgment, every preference, every encouragement to bad taste and to… yes, to vulgarity, all this is constantly in the way. All this, every one of these movements, big or small, passing or lasting, all are like so many stones to build the wall to prevent yourself from progressing. It is not one thing only, there are hundreds of them, thousands. It is enough to have a preference in oneself, it is enough to be impatient, enough to have a little desire to conceal something, enough to feel a disgust, a distaste for effort, it is enough… anything at all is enough, which has something to do with desires, repulsions, all that, for it to impede your progress. And then, from the point of view of the intellectual being, the artistic being, the side of inner and outer culture, every lack of taste, whatever it may be, is a terrible obstacle.

This world, I must say, is a world of extremes from the point of view of taste, artistic and literary culture; on one side, it makes a great effort to discover something that’s very high, very pure, very noble, and on the other, at the other end, it sinks into a vulgarity which certainly is infinitely greater than the vulgarity of the past two or three centuries. What is curious is that, going back two or three centuries, people who were uncultured were gross, but their grossness resembled that of animals, and there was not much perversion in it; there was a little, because as soon as the mind is there, perversion comes in, but there was not a great deal of perversion. But now, what does not rise to the mountain-peak, what remains on ground-level, is it absolutely perverted in its grossness, that is, it is not only ignorant and stupid, it is ugly, dirty and repugnant, it is deformed, it is wicked, it is very low. And it is indeed the wrong use of the mind which has produced this. Without the mind this perversion did not exist, but it’s the wrong use of the mind which produces this perversion. Well, it has become what is ugly from every point of view, now, what is vulgar and ugly.

There are things, things considered very pretty nowadays… I have seen photographs or reproductions which are considered very fine but they are frightfully vulgar in their perversion, and yet people go into ecstasies over them and find them pretty! It’s because there is something deformed, not only without culture, not only undeveloped, but deformed, something that’s much worse, because it is much more difficult to restore something perverted and deformed than to enlighten something ignorant and uneducated. Well, I think some things have been great instruments of perversion, and among these one may put the cinema. It could have been, and I hope it will become, an instrument of education and development; but for the moment it has been an instrument of perversion, and of a truly hideous perversion: perversion of taste, perversion of consciousness, and everything with a terrible moral and physical ugliness. Yet it is something which can be used for education, progress, culture and artistic development; and from this point of view it could be a means of spreading beauty and culture much more widely and making them much more accessible to all, than the former methods could do. But it is always like this for what can be better, if it is not better, it becomes worse. And as I said at the beginning, we are in a period of excesses Excess in every way.  Each thing tries excessively to perfect itself and falls into excesses of perversion which, relatively, are as great if not greater. And if one looks attentively at oneself, one becomes aware that naturally, as one lives in the world as it is at present, one shares in its vulgarity, and that unless one observes oneself closely and constantly puts the light of one’s highest consciousness upon oneself, one risks making mistakes in taste, from the spiritual point of view, rather frequently [4].

A Mechanical Singing bird made around 1890 in Paris

Here’s a bonus for reading thus far 🙂

It’s believed that the contraption seen below was built 120 years ago in Paris by Blaise Bontems, a well-known maker of bird automata and was recently refurbished by Michael Start over at The House of Automata(From the Colossal blog)

References

  1. Collected Works of the Mother, vol. 7, p 25.
  2. Plato. Laws III 700-701 (online).  I am indebted to Grout and Claude, History of western music, 5th ed, New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1996, p 6 for this reference.
  3. Theodore Adorno.  On popular music.  Studies in Philosophy and Social Science, New York: Institute of Social Research, 1941, IX, 17-48. (online)
  4. Collected Works of the Mother, vol. 7, p 297.

Related Posts

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  2. Art as an aid in Yoga
  3. Why are artists irregular in their conduct?
  4. The occult forces behind artistic movements
  5. The equipoise required for Yoga
  6. Mental awareness in comatose patients and sleeping newborn infants
  7. On spirit possession and mental imbalances
  8. Linguistic abilities of babies
  9. The Paradox of Life
  10. Messages are also exchanged on the subtle planes
  11. How does the Mind change with Yoga?
  12. Embodied cognition in Yoga psychology
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  14. Somnambulists who do creative work in their sleep
  15. Why spiritual experiences do not repeat?
  16. On Atheism and Agnosticism
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  19. The laissez-faire approach of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
  20. The History of Yoga
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19 thoughts on “On popular music and movie songs

  1. nizken

    I hope this reply is relevant to this post here and is under the right section. As a yogi does one have to live with daggers drawn against the general society and it’s norms of socializing? I know this question was asked to SA in the same way in one of his talks (A.B. Purani)

    If we follow these words rigidly, one would probably end up as a loner. I wonder if a compromise is even possible b/w the yogic path and the workplace and the outer world out there. The outer world is truly hideous and twisted, generally people are indeed unconscious in so many ways but I find it impossible to avoid it all unless I give up the job, socializing and most other things. Or does Integral Yoga indeed need such a break and sacrifice of most family relations and with the outer world of career and socializing etc?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Nizken: I know this question was asked to SA in the same way in one of his talks (A.B. Purani)

      I can’t recall where. Can you post it?

      It is not necessary to live with daggers drawn. One can achieve the same effect by changing one’s profession or social circle. Sometimes people go and join Auroville or the Ashram where they can live live a more meaningful life.

      You need some isolation if you experience a spiritual awakening, because then you need some time to stabilize the new consciousness.

      Reply
    2. RJ

      Yes, nizken, as a relative beginner on the IY path, this issue is something that I’m trying to figure out as well. I find it hard to find the right balance between maintaining a yogic disposition with people in the world(“old” friends, colleagues, etc) without being too aloof or reserved to meet the basic standards for social interaction in society. Often I don’t succeed at either! I do believe that one attracts the social circumstances that match the vibration one is emitting, I just am not sure how I need to change to get where I “should” be – or even what the “should” should consist of in this society. But I suppose the answer is, as always, , inward, onward, upward, slowly…

      Reply
      1. mike

        l’ve been a ‘loner’ most of my life, but l also have a family life [though l don’t get too involved]. No socializing has ever prevented me from having Spiritual experiences – that’s for sure. But, there are conditions like ‘celibacy’ ‘no alchohol or smoking’ – l’d say they were the most important, especially celibacy, because l don’t think there can be a permanent change without it [most likely it happens through an act of Grace]. Also, a very sincere aspiration for the Truth and a Complete Trust [surrender] in SA and M. ln my experience it’s their Power/Force working through our Psychic Being that does everything.
        l don’t think it matters where you are if you have a deep sincerity for Yoga – because that will take you through to the end.

      2. mike

        “No socializing has ever prevented me from having Spiritual experiences – that’s for sure”
        l should expand on that. By socializing l don’t mean that l go out ‘partying’ or down the local pub etc… Those things aren’t on my agenda, obviously…
        l remember the Mother didn’t approve of ppl socializing in the Ashram at one point – l think they used to gossip and discuss things that weren’t healthy – not sure, but talking a lot does expend a fair bit of energy anyway. lt’s difficult if you have a large circle of friends, l suppose. We just need to think before we speak – easier said than done lol.

      3. nizken

        To be far more specific, how do you interact with women in the workplace or among friends? I have always been extremely “insecure”, distant and tried to keep most women as far from me as possible (even before I came across SA&M), perhaps since I lack self-control over my body/feelings etc. This always leads to problems in the workplace and being called a sexist/misogynist etc. Just curious as to how you all, including all readers of this blog deal with such practical matters in workplace or otherwise…..I find it quite impossible to be follow the spiritual path in the USA unless one is a complete hermit of sorts.

      4. Sandeep Post author

        There are a variety of remedies
        1) Wear the blurry colored glasses recommended by Gandhi and now adopted by orthodox Jews in Israel.
        2) Work in a profession which doesn’t attract attractive women (civil construction, carpentry like Jesus, plumbing?).
        3) Work in Saudi Arabia, a drab lust-free heaven (with duty-free shopping).

        Jokes apart, there is no short-term solution to this problem which is probably universal. You should take up the practice of Yoga at some well-known school, which will improve your self-control as you become more conscious of your higher Self. By Yoga, I don’t mean Hatha Yoga which is practiced nowadays to improve sex appeal but more along the lines of Pranayama, Raja Yoga.

  2. Aaron Asphar

    What an interesting write, and I can’t believe you cite The Mother and Sri Aurobindo with none other than Theodor Adorno, my favourate and most inspirational Western philosopher! I feel the latter’s dicussions of suffering as ‘the essence of objectivity: it is objectivity that weights on the subject’ or something – his commitment to give a voice to the unconsciousness or ‘negativity’ of the social order is rather like a lamentation to Aurobindo/Mother’s ‘prayer to the gods’, to cite Plato! Many thanks – thought provoking stuff, as usual! (PS, Much as I appreciate your heard work, I hope you get plenty of meditation time too!!x!) Kind regards, Aaron

    Reply
  3. Aaron Asphar

    PS – sorry, also – I really feel Nietzsche was an accidental Yogi who couldn’t drop his egoic sense of separation and thus interpreted God Consciousness from the standpoint of an isolated individual. If I ever have time I’ll write up on this – before or after a correlative analysis of Aurobindo and Hegel’s dialectical philosophies? I’m not sure I’ll have time in this life but you never know!

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Thats interesting. I just browsed a book by Nicholas Gier on “Spiritual Titanism” in which he argues that Indian yogis suffer from this syndrome where they are unable to “drop [their] egoic sense of separation and [interpret God Consciousness from the standpoint of an isolated individual”.

      He claims Nietzsche’s Ubermensch is not a Titan but actually a child. There are three stages in Nietzsche’s metamorphosis : camel (who is weighed down by the burden of society), lion (the egoistic Titan) and child (transformed and re-integrated individual) .

      Reply
      1. Aaron Asphar

        Yes, that triad was much more my interpretation! The idea that Nietzsche’s madness came about owing to syphilis (forgive my spelling, I’m ‘dyslexic’ or whatever the real underlying spiritual cause is) contracted when having sex with some girl while in service: what beloney! This was all based on his words to the nurse as he entered the hospital once in a state of collapse. He was obviously terrified by some of the intuitions and visions he was receiving, having already decided once and for all ‘God is Dead’. It’d have been quite natural for him to want to protect the undeniable, yet at the time, unrecognized value and, as such, potential legacy of his work or name: he wanted to defend his reputation from the idea that he was mad all along, that his writing was a symptom of this madness. I wish I was a fly on the wall when he finally ascended back up to the higher realms and saw what he’d done, what he’d achieved, who he really was and so forth! (And some of his ‘psychotic’ ramblings are quite true: I am so in so historical figure, and so in so other historical figure’ – he’d got it in one!) Anyway I must leave you in peace and stop babbling! Many thanks and I look forward to yr posts! Regards, Aaron

      2. nizken

        I’m not sure if there is traditional dialectical thinking in SA & M’s Arya works? Please let me know if there is in any of SA’s books like The Life Divine. Nietzsche claims he had become God and forestalled the future of German peoples in his letters to Overbeck. I think these letters were before his famous collapse by a horse in Turin, but they are called the letters of madness. Hegel is of course the master of dialectics but almost impossible to read isn’t he?

      3. Aaron Asphar

        Trust me absolutely on this point: the divine life can be very usefully understood as a negative dialectic, akin to Hegel’s dialectic only starting from the ‘negative’ (the divine in both accounts) rather than the positive (the manifested for SA, or positivity for Hegel): yes he’s very difficult to read but not impossible. I read his Logic in the negative as a philoosophy of the becoming of desire – very much more in line with SA than when we compare Hegel positively to SA which, in Hegel’s eyes, would be reading things in the negative. If we understand the positive in Western philosophy as the manifested, and the negative (labour, love, force, feeling, life etc) as indicating the noumenal, manifesting force, we reconcile the various different philosophies and spiritualities to the one reality we all experience or no. Surely there’s no objection to marrying cross-conceptually: if we notice the structural correlations in their account of reality, and use bridging notions drawn equitably from each, we can show that SA and, e.g. Hegel, Spinoza, Edward Carpenter and others were describing in various ways the one reality – even Marx. You have to really intuit deeply and read not the concepts but the philosophical understandings of the whole to see it, and this is work I have done but not written up. I may do one day – perhaps you’ll help me out!!x!

  4. Aaron Asphar

    Hello – I hope you don’t post this comment as it’s just for you, but I wrote an article on Hegel, reading him negatively, showing how his ‘logic’ is actually a negative phenomenology of the realization of desire. This was written about two years ago, even less – and believe it or not, I’d never yet had a spiritual experiences – I was a total philosophical atheist and materialist (the spiritual sounding concepts like ‘negative soul’ and ‘non-womb’ were the crazy notions I was using to describe the mysterious forces I perceived) and before I had read any Sri Aurobindo: but as you might discern I’m thinking outside the concepts and with the fundamental reality that they were both addressing. I use the reality to reconcile the various philosophies etc and it is then that I exclaimed: Eurika! And realized something so vast and so profound that the idea of even trying to explain it, let alone write on it, is just to much – but perhaps you will begin to perceive what I perceive. I’ll link this for you just in case it interests you. I may well work on it in a year or two or more once the world has finally fully awakened – i.e. very soon I hope. Regards http://aaronasphar.com/2011/10/12/hegels-science-of-logic-as-a-negative-phenomenology-of-desire/

    Reply
  5. gopal

    hi sandeep,
    couldn’t stop myself recollecting this conversation from The Agenda i read sometime ago….. dated april 2 and april 16, 1969…. This balance of perception in both Aurobindo and Mother is what i feel is incredible, their vision of these from “the heights”, it brings a sort of perspective to even things that we consider obscure and drifting, and sometimes deviant. only that we must become aware and work on these…. In the following conversation we find Mother encouraging people like children, encouraging, stating that in order to go towards spiritual realizations first a few “Mental Barriers” have to be broken. The following conversation- A view from the “top” and how “it” looks and works itself out in the humanity and in the nature….Wish everyone a happy new year, pray for her blessings……

    April 2 1969
    ….SATPREM[s.p]- But yesterday I saw one of them, a Frenchman who works in Auroville and who’s been very much in touch with the people of this new “pop” music (you know, this new music movement that goes with the hippies). He’s the father of A., who was born in Auroville.
    Mother -.Yes, I am going to see him for his birthday
    S.P-He came to see me and have me hear this music.
    Mother-How is it?
    s.p- Odd … It’s barbarian.
    Mother-Barbarian
    s.p – Barbarian, but my impression was, “The barbarians of the new world.”
    (Mother laughs) – I’ll hear a little on the 16th when I see him.
    s.p- Those who make this music have millions of followers. They are people with a huge fortune, and with cinema, radio, television and everything at their disposal. And they are right in the middle of a revolution.
    Mother- How?
    s.p- Yes, as I told you, the barbarians of the new world. The entire old world is swept away. It’s really the beginning of something, which expresses itself in a very barbarian way, but which is something. So this boys idea is to try to get in touch with those people and turn them towards Auroville. Because, of course, they have millions and millions of followers –
    they have a tremendous power (power over the masses). And they have something, but it’s barbarian.
    Mother-I’d be interested to hear some once, so as to know … but I don’t need to hear a lot.
    s.p- That’s what I told him.
    Mother- I need a few minutes of it.
    Exactly. He wanted to have you hear it for an hour!
    (Mother laughs heartily, silence)
    ……..conversation continues..
    Mother- The people who play this music, are they the same who take drugs?
    S.P – Yes.
    Mother- Then it must be in the vital.
    s.p- Oh, it’s quite vital, no doubt. But they have the perception that the world is in the midst of a revolution, that we’re moving towards a new world, and all the old conventions have to be swept away. There’s no conformity of any sort.They’re open to everything.
    Mother- Open like that (horizontal gesture), not like this (vertical gesture).
    S.P- No, not like this, but with a certain goodwill nonetheless. They’re the ones – or a group of the same type, the Beatles – who went to see this Mahesh Rishi in the Himalayas.
    Mother-And what happened? ………..

    April 16, 1969

    (Mother listens to a few pieces of pop music brought to her by François B., an enthusiastic visitor)
    It’s very amusing! (Mother laughs)
    It’s the vital in full revolt against the mind, but it’s magnificent! They reject the whole mind. It’s interesting, very- interesting!
    You get the feeling that if they pushed a little farther on (gesture of piercing above), they would catch something.
    (François B.:) Mother, a few groups have pushed much farther on. This one [the Rolling Stones] is the most vital of all the groups. But there are others, more open, less rough. They are really ready to recognize you, but they don’t know.

    Mother-It’s clearly a complete rejection of all mental rules, and that’s the first step needed to go beyond. There are two or three minutes when suddenly – hop! (gesture of piercing through) you feel it contacts something above.
    Is there something else?
    (F.B.:) A lot more!
    Mother(Laughing) You can give me another piece or two!
    (“music”)
    (Mother laughs, greatly amused) It strikes me as a band of children freed from any mental yoke! Very amusing.
    It’s all right.
    F.B.:) I’d like to have you hear something else, another kind. But from the same generation. Something gentler.
    Mother- All right … But it’s very amusing! There is behind this a mental form that looks like the I-couldn’t- care-less of the perpetual Smile! It’s strange …. I mean, that which smiles at the whole life and all its forms, but as if seen and felt by children

    (“Music” of a sober kind)
    Mother – These are more anxious!
    (F.B.:) Another piece, if you like?
    Mother – I think it’ll do! (Mother laughs)
    (F.B.:) There’s a group which sings something rather humorous, and at the end they say, “0 Mother, tell me more, tell me more
    … … It’s fantastic! Because the inspiration is so pure, and they really ask, “0 Mother, tell me more … …
    (Mother laughs)
    And these are “Commercial” things, I mean they’re there in the public …. Do you think the time has come to contact them?
    (Mother has not heard the question)

    Mother- It’s an open door. They must step through the door and go into the future (gesture of piercing above), towards … what has not yet manifested.
    (F.B.:) Can we help them?
    Mother- It opens a lot of doors. All habits, the whole past civilization is as if walled in by mental rules; this music (gesture of breaking through) sends them flying! It strikes me as a band of children crying for something-and the open door.
    They must step through it, they must go farther – there are now possibilities that weren’t there before, and this [the pop music people] is precisely all that wants to open up so as to receive those possibilities. So a few in the front must be the first to go through and receive what’s on the other side.There.It’s good.
    (Satprem:) He would like to put them in touch with the Ashram …?
    Mother- All aren’t ready.
    (F.B.:) I don’t want to tell them to come here …
    No.
    … but I want to tell them that something is taking place here which is in relation with what they don’t have.
    Mother-Yes. (Laughing) They’ve broken the walls to go through to the other side! It’s true.
    (F.B.:) But, Mother, it’s the problem of this whole generation ….
    Yes.
    (F.B.:) And I think we can perhaps give them the information we have. At least show them, give them things to read …
    Mother- Reading is still too mental!
    But we could also, if you think it can be done, form a little group, or maybe just one individual, or two or three, to go and see them.
    Mother-That’s right.
    And speak their language, but to show them there is something else.
    Yes, that’s right.

    Mother, I am – I was – deep in this “Pop” world, and to come here, all I had to do was … to decide to come. And all I’ve been able to see or learn since I came here is great joys and confirmations of the aspiration I had before. But there are many like me, who go round in circles and rebel …
    Yes.
    And if they are told, “There’s this,” they’re ready to change their action completely ….
    Mother – Good.
    And to become very pure and devoted.
    Mother-It’s good. So you must take up that mission.
    (Mother lays her hand on FB.s head)
    It’s good.
    [F.B]I’ll do all I can.
    (Mother To Satprem:) Oh, you know, I asked this Consciousness what was needed to receive it without distorting it, and it answered me (Mother reads out a note):
    “One must be able to stand in the light of the Supreme Consciousness without casting a shadow.”
    (Satprem:) Without casting a shadow, yes.
    Mother – That’s what it replied.
    (F.B.:) That is, forgetting oneself completely?
    (Satprem:) Being totally transparent.

    Mother- But that’s all the way up! (Mother laughs)

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      thanks Gopal.

      These contrasting passages address two different aspects of human life :

      (a) Individuals who wish to evolve spiritually must undoubtedly forsake the anarchic popular music as the Mother points out in the first passage.

      (b) Then there is the civilization at large which gets stuck in orthodox ways from time to time. Music needs to be rewritten from time to time to inspire people and subvert convention, as the Mother appreciates in the second passage. Civilization continuously oscillates between mental rigidity and free-flowing vitality, as Sri Aurobindo points out in the chapter on “Aesthetic and Ethical Culture” in the The Human Cycle(CWSA vol 25, pp 92-101)

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