If you were stuck on an islands , with only one song or album to listen to, what would it be? Now, how long would it take for you to go insane after listening to it over and over again?
Not very long.
It’s like our favorite song as a kid; might be Barney’s “I Love You, You Love Me”, or “Row Row Your Boat”, or that children’s album you got for Christmas…but a few years down the road when you become a teenager, you gag at the sound of that music which you were once head-over-heels for. And then as adults, the music we loved as teenagers becomes boring too, and on it goes. That is the nature of music, and pretty much everything else in this world.
From a young age we acquire different tastes and establish our “likes” and “dislikes” as we go along living, but these are constantly changing, because we can never land that one thing that makes us happy day in and day out. One week we hate zucchinis, and the next week we’re eating them raw every meal. Or we might just be the kind of person that does the same thing, eat the same thing, and listen to the same thing for our whole lives, but still, inside we’re not truly fulfilled
If we examine what the cause of this dilemma is though, we find it has everything to do with matter. What?
Yes material energy, or matter, is temporary and constantly changing , and we know that. We experience it daily. A seed grows into a tree, which then produces flowers, which then become fruit, which are then picked, until they finally get to your breakfast table as your morning oranges and bananas.
A beautiful monumental building in 1000 years won’t be what it is today. Our favorite toy, car, shirt, or whatever it might be gets replaced by the next favorite thing. We go along life with the “What’s Next?” syndrome, yet we can’t help it. It is the nature of matter, and we just don’t seem to jive with it so much.
“For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.” BG Chapter 2, Text 20
The soul here is us; we are not our material bodies, but we are spirit souls. So that’s why matter can’t satisfy us fully. No matter how many songs we have on our iPods, we always need more added. We get external hard-drives on our computers to store more music, more movies. But still, never satisfied. It’s normal.
We’re like stranded people on an island, with only sand to eat and salt water to drink; what we need is food and fresh water. We want something that will last. We hanker for a spiritual food.
We know the nature of matter is that of constant change and reformation, whereas we are eternal and constant spiritual beings. That is why material energy, whether it’s tangible or subtle like music, doesn’t make us happy. That’s why when matter is not in the presence of life, it is dead.
So the kind of music we actually need is not simply a new song or beat , but actually a transcendental spiritual sound. Something that goes beyond this world, and actually makes us feel alive and fully happy inside. This transcendental music is called kirtan. Kirtan is the singing and chanting of mantras, with or without instruments. Mantras are spiritual sound vibrations, different from regular vibrations in this world, and what they do is they take the mind away from the things of this world, and place it on a platform of spiritual fulfillment.