Every culture and religion throughout human history has not only has produced its own music, but has also placed very high value on music as an art. Music is such a universal part of the human experience that many religions use music as a metaphor for the beauty and unity of humankind—a rich symphony of diverse individuals who each serve a vital and indispensable purpose in the overall order of the universe. Viewed this way, music is not only enjoyable but conducive to healing on both an individual and deeply collective level. This universal language breaks down barriers of all kinds: race, religion, culture, history, etc. If we are to learn to love and understand each other more than we currently do, music will undoubtedly play a role in this process.
One Universal God
“Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.”
"The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
'The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
and he will reign for ever and ever.'”
“It is the music which assists us to affect the human spirit; it is an important means which helps us to communicate with the soul.”
“Music, as one of the arts, is a natural cultural development, and the Guardian does not feel that there should be any cultivation of ‘Bahá’í Music’ any more than we are trying to develop a Bahá’í school of painting or writing[…]The further away the friends keep from any set forms, the better, for they must realize that the Cause is absolutely universal, and what might seem a beautiful addition to their mode of celebrating a Feast, etc., would perhaps fall on the ears of people of another country as unpleasant sounds—and vice versa. As long as they have music for its own sake it is all right, but they should not consider it Bahá’í music."
“With whatever purpose you listen to music, that purpose will be increased. For instance: there will be a concert given for the poor and unfortunate, and if you go there thinking of the aim, the music will increase your compassion and generosity. This is the reason why music is used in war. And so it is with all the things that cause the excitation of the nerves."
"Po-ya and Chung Tzu-ch’i were not only good friends but kindred spirits. They could reach into each other’s minds not just because one of them was a good player and the other an intuitive listener. It was because they had dissolved the barriers that separated them from each other and the music was simply a bridge that allowed them to communicate their hearts and minds."
“How can I make this clear? Different religions have different customs; singing and crying are not done the same. If we mix them up and use them, some hear crying and are pleased; others listen to singing and become sad. But their feelings of grief and joy are the same[...]How could you know, further, that ‘it blows differently through the ten thousand things but causes each to be itself?’”
“Rasa’s use as a technical aesthetic term derives from the Indian tradition of dance-drama in Bharata’s Natya Sastra, where it denotes emotional states savored by spectators of the drama."
“Communication, entertainment, and psychological healing of the community occur through aesthetic means, at the deeply embodied level of rhythm and movement."
“Therefore, it is necessary for men to understand, and be able to see, that through various symbols the same redemption is revealed. ‘Truth is one,’ we read in the Vedas;‘ the sages call it by many names.’ A single song is being inflected through all the colorations of the human choir. General propaganda for one or another of the local solutions, therefore, is superfluous—or much rather, a menace. The way to become human is to learn to recognize the lineaments of God in all of the wonderful modulations of the face of man.”
“It was all one, it was all interwoven and knotted together, interconnected in a thousand ways. And all of this together, all the voices, all the goals, all the longing, all the suffering, all the pleasure, all the good and evil, all of this together was the world. All of this together was the river of events, the music of life. And whenever Siddhartha listened attentively to that river, that song of a thousand voices, when he listened neither to the sorrow nor the laughter, when he tied his soul not to any individual voice, entering into it with his self, but instead hearing them all, perceiving the totality, the oneness, then the great song of a thousand voices consisted of a single word, which was om, the absolute.”
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
“Music is the universal language of mankind.”
“The composer reveals the innermost nature of the world, and expresses the profoundest wisdom in a language that his reasoning faculty does not understand."
“Music, then, creates a sensory universe. By controlling the flow of stimuli to the mind, music structures experiences of ambiguity, uncertainty, and suspense. Musical compositions typically set a norm, deviate from that norm, then return to it. In this way music creates expectations in the listener.”
“[H]umans are predisposed to detect, produce, remember and enjoy music. This is a human universal. There is no human society without some musical tradition. Although the traditions are very different, some principles can be found everywhere. For instance, musical sounds are always closer to pure sound than to noise."
"There are many ways to the Divine. I have chosen the ways of song, dance, and laughter."
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
“Music comes closest to meditation. Music is a way towards meditation and the most beautiful way. Meditation is the art of hearing the soundless sound, the art of hearing the music of silence—what Zen people call the sound of one hand clapping. And silence has a music of its own, it is not dead, it is very much alive, it is tremendously alive. In fact, nothing is more alive than silence.”
"Music gives a soul to the universe,
wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination,
and life to everything."
“Be stimulated by the Odes, take your stand on the rites and be perfected by music.” (8:8)
“Whoever says that all music is prohibited, let him also claim that the songs of the birds are prohibited.”
“Drama and music are by themselves religion; any song, love song or any song, never mind; if one’s whole soul is in that song, he attains salvation, just by that.”
“Birds' songs express joy, beauty, and purity, and evoke in us vitality and love. So many beings in the universe love us unconditionally. The trees, the water, and the air don't ask anything of us; they just love us.”
“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:19)