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June 2009

This issue of Yoga focuses on Swami Sivananda’s teachings on mantra and music.

High on Waves

Music Yoga

May I Answer That?

The Flame of Divine Name

Rama Smarana

The Science of Mantra

Practising Japa

Gayatri Japa Day

Faith and Mantra

Sankirtan for the Soul

Stages of Sound

Nada Upasana

Nritya: Divine Dance

Krishna’s Flute



Krishna’s Flute

Krishna’s flute is the symbol of freedom or pranava. He has preached prema, love, through his flute. He has created this world out of the sound of Omkara that emanates from his flute.

Once the gopis asked Murali, Krishna’s flute: “O Murali, tell us the truth. What merits does our Lord see in you that he holds you so lovingly and tenderly day and night that you might drink deep the nectar of his lovely lips and installs you as the most beloved queen among us all? Where lies the charm, the beauty, the grace and attractiveness in you? Will you not reveal that secret to us, the constant beggars of Krishna’s love? Though black and born of a wild bamboo family, you have bewitched our lord. When he plays upon you, the peacock madly dances to your tunes, and other birds stand dumb on the summit of the hills. Even the most dreadful cobra is humbled and becomes spellbound. We the gopis lose our normal consciousness and hurriedly wear our nose rings in the ears and earrings in the nose to meet him. The cows give up their grazing and the calves their sucking and stand like statues with ears erect and rapt attention. Ah! How alluring is the melody of your music! It seems you are not a flute, but a magic wand. Your music is like spiritual bliss materialized. It attracts and holds the jivas and their roaming vrittis in supreme and solemn peace of Brahman. Lulled by your melodies, they are lost in the supreme self devoid of all personality. It is as if anahata nada, the inner unceasing sound of yogis, is externalized. So tell us your secret.”

Murali replied: “My dear friends, I know neither magic nor any arts of attraction. I do not possess any merits also. Dead ignorant of them all, I am simply a forest reed, all hollow within and bereft of any beauty. Krishna, my lord, lover and bearer, calls this attitude of mine the greatest virtue and is extremely pleased with it. He over and over whispers into my ear-hole this excellent teaching: ‘Empty yourself and I will fill you.’ I have realized its truth, and I obey it to the very letter. This is magic, if magic you will call it. This is my strength. It is he who sings through me and enchants you all. My dear friends, if you too empty yourselves of all the arrogant airs of your beauty, excellence, family pride and possessions, he will fill every nerve and atom of your body with his love and life. Does the pervading air not fill a jar when it is emptied of other stuff? He will not leave you even for a moment, and will sing through you the sweet melodies of harmony and peace to the whole world.

As I understand, every creature here is his flute, the instrument of expressing his divine voice. You too are his Murali. He sings sweet melodies through your tongue, beauties through your eyes and fragrance through your nose. Every heart is madhuban, the seat of all his lilas, the rendezvous of all the gopis, the centre of all the vrittis. There the only Purusha is Krishna. All others have to make a passive surrender to him.”

This body is the flute of Krishna in the microcosm. If you can destroy your egoism and have total self-surrender, unreserved atma-nivedan to the Lord, he will play on the body flute and bring out melodious tunes. You will become merged in his will. He will work unhampered through your instruments – body, mind and senses. You can rest very peacefully then without care, worry or anxiety. You can watch the play of the universe as a sakshi, witness. Then your sadhana will go forward by leaps and bounds because the divine will and grace will work through you. In fact, you need not do any sadhana at all, only practise self-surrender from the very core of your heart, with all your being. Learn the lesson from the flute and follow its ways. If you have offered yourself at the feet of Krishna, you have already reached the goal, you have already attained the realm of peace, the kingdom of immortality. You have found the joy that never fades, a life that never dies. You have reached the other shore of fearlessness, which is beyond darkness, despair, doubt, grief, sorrow, pain and delusion.

Purify your mind. Destroy your negative tendencies and egoism. Hear once more the flute of the flute-bearer of Vrindavan, his immortal song of Bhagavad Gita and allow him to play in this body flute of yours.

All the sounds are his voice. Let his will be done. Be completely resigned to him, so that he may shine through your eyes, speak through your tongue and smell through your nostrils. Merge your little self into the Supreme Self. Give up all ideas of agency. Do not say, “I am the doer and enjoyer.” Say once more along with me, “O Lord, I am your flute, blow me as you will; a puppet in your hands, simply to act as you will.” Call him fervently with single-minded devotion. Sing this song of welcome and he will surely appear before you:

He Krishna aajaa bansi bajaa jaa.
He Krishna aajaa geeta sunaajaa.
He Krishna aajaa maakhan khaajaa.
He Krishna ajaa lilaa dikhaajaa.

O Krishna, come and play your flute.
O Krishna, come and sing your song.
O Krishna, come and taste the butter.
O Krishna, come and play before us.

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