Which Genre of Music is Spiritually Helpful? What about Classical Music and Pop?


I remember I read an answer on music genres by Tyagi Jayadev & their effect on chakras and body. So I would like to know which genre is safest to learn, and to listen to? He did not mention anything about classical music. I am most interested in pop, but recently I have developed a keen interest for classical music (both Indian and Western) & I can’t get enough of it. So, do Indian classical vocal and instrumental and western music (vocal & piano like Beethoven & Mozart) disturb our chakras or soul? Thanks!

—SP, India


Dear SP,

In general classical music is, spiritually speaking, better than pop music. But this isn’t always the case. There are classical pieces that are extremely emotional, martial, or quite unharmonious, while there are pop songs and singers which transmit very lofty and noble energy and consciousness.

Always think while listening: music is a language that speaks with vibration, expressing a state of consciousness. What kind of consciousness am I perceiving? Is it uplifting in some way? Does it express the soul in some way? Is it calm? Calmness must always be the base in the yogic context. Higher consciousness is born from calmness. At the same time, good music is never sleepy but has energy.

At any rate, with Mozart you are definitively on the safe side. Swami Kriyananda loved his music and even went to Salzburg, Austria, to attend a musical event: a multi-course dinner was served, and between each course, a small orchestra played pieces by Mozart, not as background for conversation but as a concert.

About Beethoven he wrote: “One of the profound satisfactions in listening to a Beethoven symphony is the sense of fitness it conveys. It isn’t that Beethoven takes the opposite tack of being predictable; but, predictable or not, what he does is always right. It is what you would have wanted to do, had you possessed his genius.”

In one of his Ask Me About Truth videos, speaking about music, Swami Kriyananda says that Bach is the deepest of them all. At any rate, Yogananda praised Bach in his Autobiography of a Yogi: “Bach, among Western composers, had an understanding of the charm and power of repetitious sound slightly differentiated in a hundred complex ways.”

With Indian Classical music, it will be the same as with Western Classical music: there will be truly inspired pieces and others that are less elevated. Listen and feel.

When it comes to pop music, much of it is rajasic, emotional, but not all of it. It also depends also on who sings it. Andrea Bocelli, for example, also interprets pop music, and I heard Swami Kriyananda say: “He sings with the soul.”

You may enjoy this talk about music.

All the best on your musical-spiritual journey,