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Music and God

I strongly believe in the religion of humanism. For me loving your neighbour, your friends, your colleagues is the true religion, says Santoor player Bhajan Sopori.

india Updated: Jun 18, 2003 13:47 IST

God is my inner self. I don’t think as others do that he stays somewhere up there. My religious goal is to realise my inner self, which means Him, through music. I have never believed that to realise God, I have to follow rituals. Neither have I visited religious places or observed puja. But strangely, right from childhood, I have always felt a deep relationship between music and spirituality.

My spiritual bent of mind comes from the fact that I have been born and brought up in a religious atmosphere. Back home in Kashmir, my father, Pandit S N Sopori, and grandfather, Pandit S C Sopori, musicians of the Sufiana Gharana of Kashmir, regularly visited Sufi saints. And I would accompany them. I guess that left an impression.

Though I believe in God, I do not believe in any particular religion. I strongly believe in the religion of humanism. For me loving your neighbour, your friends, your colleagues is the true religion.

Once I started performing on stage, I realised that there was really no difference between music, God and audience. They are one and the same. Music connects God with the human soul. And interacting with the audience through music is like interacting with God. Sometimes this strange connection with God happens to me while performing.

If everything is going fine, I get lost in my own music. I forget that I am performing in an auditorium. I forget that there are so many people listening to me. I become one with them. It is at such times that I feel the presence of God. Once the performance is over, I am not able to speak. I am there physically, but in mind and soul I am one with Him.

It happens once in a while that I feel a sense of unity with Him but it is a great experience. I strongly believe in Naada Brahma (music) is God, because I have experienced it personally. My santoor is like a clarion call to spiritual development.

Like my predecessors I’ve never regarded music as a mere art, as a mere system of pleasing the sensory part of man. To me, it is but an extension and a symbol of the Omnipresent.

First Published: Jun 16, 2003 12:32 IST