13,000 Rivulets of Consciousness
This is excerpted from an article I wrote after Sri Chinmoy completed his 13,000th Bengali song in July 2006. When Sri Chinmoy sings, his voice seems to fill the whole room, the whole building, the whole world. His song is like a boat that suddenly appears on a vast, empty sea – the boat of sound emerging from the stillness of eternity. As the boat surges ahead, it seems to be the only thing moving, the only sound in the entire universe. And we’re left with the feeling that if the song ever ended, if the boat ever halted, there would be nothing.
As the boat crashes through the surrounding silence, rising and falling according to its own internal rhythm, great waves splash across its bow – moments of time stirred up from the ocean stillness. His songs seem not to unfold in time, but rather, to create time – through their own forward motion; and when the music pauses, time does so as well.
We see this during some of his slow haunting pieces, especially when Sri Chinmoy holds a high note and the boat hangs suspended on the crest of a wave – as still and motionless as the ocean itself. For those of us inside the boat, lost in Sri Chinmoy’s music, it’s as though everything in the world has vanished or come to a halt, including time, and nothing exists except this exquisitely beautiful note, this fullness of sound that seems to go on forever. Then suddenly Sri Chinmoy moves on, the boat lurches forward, and we’re back in the function hall again, listening to his singing.
Sri Chinmoy’s songs take birth in the sublime stillness of his meditative consciousness. His meditation is like a great mystical mountain, whose snow-capped peak looms far above the earth. His songs are like the smallest trickle running down from that mountainous silence to the world below. At its height, the music is static, frozen, unchanging – part of the glacial splendor of God’s Mind. But as it breaks off into rivulets of consciousness and enters the earth plane, it takes on a certain fluidity, a subtlety of mood, a breadth of feeling and emotion associated with human life, and becomes music. These rivulets of music, of consciousness, imbued with the full range of the composer’s earthly experience, yet still resonating with the grandeur of their source, are the greatest treasures for humanity. By the time they descend to the ordinary world, they have become powerful rivers – like the Amazon or Ganges. Who can even imagine the impact these 13,000 rivers will have as they flow down from heavenly planes, bringing God’s own Sound-Consciousness to the aspiring humanity!
There will assuredly come a time in the near or distant future when Sri Chinmoy’s rivers of song will flow through every man’s lips, when this great Master’s immortal music-height and mankind’s soaring aspiration-flight will join together to transform this suffering world of ours into an oasis of supernal beauty, everlasting peace and crowning fulfillment.