I have always liked music, but, alas! I could not sing. I was told to just move my lips at my junior high graduation choral performance, and I followed that advice ever after. After I became Sri Chinmoy’s full-time disciple, I discovered that music was very important on his spiritual path. Sri Chinmoy himself was an excellent singer, and composed thousands of spiritual songs. They were really beautiful, and I loved to listen to them, and, very gradually, I tried to learn a few. My success was limited.
But on Father’s Day, in the year 2002, I was attending a meditation meeting with Sri Chinmoy and about 200 of his students, and all of a sudden, Sri Chinmoy spoke to me over his microphone.
He said, “Bhadra, you're not in a singing group?”
I said, “No, Guru.”
Sri Chinmoy said, “Why not?”
I said, “I’m just learning to sing.”
Sri Chinmoy said, “You’re a scientist. Scientists can’t sing? There are so many singing groups; you should be in one of them.”
I thought to myself, “Yes, Guru, but what singing group would have me?”
Into the mike, Sri Chinmoy said, “You should be in Chandika’s group.”
So, when the meeting was over, I asked Chandika if I could be in her group. She said I could, and I attended her group practices, but at first I only moved my lips. Sri Chinmoy somehow let me understand that he expected me to actually sing, and so, after a while, I got Chandika’s practice tape, and when I took my daily walk I listened to the tape and tried to sing aloud along with it.
I will not go into the long and arduous details, but as time passed, my singing did, gradually, improve. I took informal singing lessons with a friend who had heard my unaided efforts; later on I took official singing classes with two different teachers. I bought a small keyboard, (I had learned to read music when I was a child), and I started to practice singing every day. Today I can, if the song is not too difficult, learn to sing a song correctly with a group. I’m afraid I’ll never be a good singer, but these days I do actually get joy from my singing. Sri Chinmoy says that the spiritual life involves self-transcendence, and in my life as his student, my ever-improving singing has made me understand that piece of his philosophy.
I sing for my heart.
My heart sings for my soul.
My soul sings for my Lord Supreme.
Sri Chinmoy 1