From Music as Yoga by Swami Sivananda Saraswati

In Vrindavan, the gopis are pleading with Murali, the flute of Lord Krishna, to give away the secret which makes him the beloved of the Lord. Here is Murali’s reply to their plea.


I know neither magic nor the art of attraction; neither do I possess any merits. Dead ignorant, I am a simple forest reed, hollow within and bereft of any beauty. Lord Krishna calls this attitude of mine the greatest virtue, and is extremely pleased with it.

Over and over, he whispers into my ear the excellent upadesha, or instruction, “Empty yourself and I will fill you.” I have realized its truth, and I obey it to the very letter. It is magic, if magic you will call it. It 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 possession, He will fill every nerve and atom of your body with His life and love. Does not the air fill a jar once it is emptied of other impeding objects? He will not leave you even for a moment, but will sing through you the sweetest, soothing melodies of harmony and peace to the whole world.

As I understand, every creature here is His flute or bansi, the instrument of expressing His divine voice. You too are His murali. The seats of organs in the body, such as eyes, ears, and so on, are his blow-holes. To speak poetically, he sings sweet melodies through your tongue, beauties through your eyes and fragrance through your nose.

Descent of His voice

All sounds are His voice. Para, pashyanti, madhyama, and vaikhari are the various gradations of the one sound, the gradual and materialized expressions of His voice. Vaikhari is the physical sound well-known to us, while madhyama is the intermediate, unexpressed state of sound.

Clairvoyants say that sound is associated with colour and form and, accordingly, the pashyanti, or mental state of a word, is an object of internal vision. The more we trace the inner origin of different languages, the closer we come to discovering the vibratory homogeneity of sound behind them. Birds, beasts, Indians, Africans, Americans – all, in the pashyanti state of His voice, experience the same bhavana shakti, power of imagination. Just as one and the same shakti working through the ears becomes hearing, through the eyes becomes seeing, and so forth, so also the same pashyanti bhavana assumes different forms of sound when materialized. A gesture is a sort of mute subtle language and the same for all people. Any individual of any country when thirsty makes the same gesture of holding his hand to his mouth in a specific manner.


On the physical plane, His divine voice is known as vaikhari, physical speech. This is Lord Krishna blowing the flute. The most inward-minded can hear that inner voice and feel His divine being. Close your eyes, withdraw the indriyas, senses, and concentrate. After long and constant practice, the voice will become audible to you.

First, retire into perfect seclusion and silence. Try to hear it alone on the beach of the roaring sea, on the high peak of a mountain, in the dead silence of dark, starry nights, in a dense forest or a lonely cave, and then try to hear it within yourself when you command good concentration. Retain this experience and try to hear the voice in the busy hours of your daily life as well.

A pure heart

The heart is naturally pure. It is made up of the sattwic portion of the five elements but, like the pure waters of a lake, its purity and transparency are ruffled and muddled by crude and earthly attractions and repulsions and other pairs of opposites. Therefore, the free passage through which the vibrations of His voice are constantly streaming forth is blocked, as it were, and like the clogged and roughly handled harmonium begins to emit discordant notes of envy and anger, hatred and censure, and so forth. At that time we do not allow the inner Lord Krishna to blow uninterrupted the bansi of our hearts.

So, keep your heart ever pure and the Lord within will be highly pleased to manifest His voice through you. Your talk will mesmerize and magnetize the people with its modesty, respect and love. Their woes and sorrows will be washed away. Your word will not go unheard. Nobody will have the strength to contradict your opinion. Your speech will be a Murali to them. Your words will soothe thousands of wounded hearts and radiate joy and peace. The purity of your heart will express the divinity of His voice.