Why Is Rock, Pop, and Jazz Not Advisable For Yogis?


Hello and a happy New Year to everyone at the Ananda family,

I would like to know the reason why spirituality advises not to listen to rock/metal/pop/jazz music or songs. I am on a spiritual path and would like to ban anything which affects my journey. Currently, I listen to rock and metal songs which keep me motivated to do my best in whatever I do. They are positive in their nature and are devoid of profanity.

Thank you for receiving my question

Joy to you all.

—Rajat , India


Dear Rajat,

Happy New Year to you too!

Have you heard of the law of resonance? It’s fascinating: if you place a sitar next to another, or a piano close to a guitar, and then play a note on only one instrument, the other, though not being touched, too begins to sound, with the very same note. This is true; it’s a law of physics.

We all are like a musical instrument, and a certain “string” within us resounds with whatever vibration we allow to enter into us. A guru has a certain vibration, and awakens that same vibration in us. An inspired book has a frequency, and makes that high frequency resonate inside of us. A piece of music, written by an elevated soul, awakens that same consciousness within our own being.

Music is most powerful, more than any other art form. It makes us resonate instantly, and strongly. Sound or vibration is the most powerful force in the universe. This is why Swami Kriyananda said: “Music is treated, all too often, as though it were a minor aspect of what we do. It is, however, in fact, central to everything we do.”

This is just to tell you how important music is. Music is a direct vehicle for states of consciousness.

The thing is, every note is hidden within us, from the darkest and lowest to the highest and most luminous. We literally have the beast inside of us, and the saint, and everything in between. The whole spectrum of vibration is present in us, ready to resonate with outer stimuli.

Rock, and especially metal, with its heavy downbeat, makes our first chakra resonate, usually in a quite crude way. OM! This doesn’t help our yogic journey, Rajat, which is a journey to ever higher and purer frequencies, until we vibrate with the saints and angels.

Pop makes our heart chakra vibrate, but unfortunately it usually evokes emotional feeling. That is the very opposite of yoga, which by definition is “yogas chitta vritti nirodha“: calming the vortexes of the heart, and also of the mind. All yoga wants to achieve calmness, stillness, and as a result divine receptivity.

Jazz is restless, which is not good either for us yogis, because what resonates in us then is restless energy.

Usually our desire to listen to pop, rock, etc. is a memory of our “old self,” of our past, which I think most devotees have to deal with. Our “new self” knows and loves higher music. That “new self” we should try to nourish, getting rid of old habits.

There are moments — really bad moments — when we are depressed or stuck in dark tamas, when rock or pop or jazz might help us to pull us upward into rajas. But otherwise our habit as yogis should become to listen to sattwic music. Swami Kriyananda has spent many years writing such uplifting luminous music. His music, certainly, is one of the primary tools for our Ananda family to resonate together on the same high frequency, in harmony, and to make our consciousness resonate with Swami and Master.

Right now you listen to rock, to keep yourself motivated. Try to find new creative ways to stimulate that motivation in other ways. However be wise in shifting your musical habits: it might be better not to do so brusquely, but step by step, song by song, changing your frequency gradually.

May you finally resonate with the Highest, becoming an instrument of light,