What is Ananda music? Is it simply beautiful music written by Swami Kriyananda that is pleasant to listen to, or does it have underlying power that can change our consciousness?
Upon first hearing, Ananda music seems slightly different from mainstream music. The melodies are gentle, yet deeply moving. The harmonies are richly satisfying, yet always uplifting. The rhythms are unagitated, yet energizing. Most striking, however, is the overall effect: this music is not meant to stir up one’s emotions, but to take the listener into states of calm feeling, where intuition and other soul qualities such as bliss, love, power, calmness, peace, and wisdom can blossom and grow.
If you want to get to know me, listen to my music.Swamiji has said, “If you want to get to know me, listen to my music.” Many admirers of Ananda music can attest to its power to take one into deep states of awareness, touching the hem of Swamiji’s consciousness.
How is this transformation of consciousness possible? How can some melodies lead us to joy, and others to grief? Music, in itself, is only a collection of sound frequencies – there are no “best notes” to use. We find the answer to this mystery in the unquantifiable, yet tangible inspiration that lies behind each piece. Great masters, as the composer Johannes Brahms explains in Talks With Great Composers, are able to enter into a superconscious state of inspiration, contacting the Divine. George Frideric Handel, while composing the Halleluiah Chorus, was found with tears of ecstasy streaming down his face, exclaiming “I do believe I have seen all of Heaven before me, and the great God Himself.” We as listeners are able to feel a portion of the composer’s inspiration.
Swami Kriyananda’s music consciously channels divine inspiration with the sole purpose of uplifting human consciousness. To sing and listen to Kriyananda’s music with divine attunement puts one in touch with the divine source that inspired the music. In The Art and Science of Raja Yoga he explains:
One cannot listen to music sensitively without soon becoming aware that it conveys more than sounds, that it is a vehicle for moods, for states of consciousness… As strings on a piano vibrate sympathetically to notes that are struck on another nearby instrument, so also all things affect one another – mostly on levels far outside the range of human hearing – by the subtle law of vibratory exchange. Because vibrations react on many levels – like piano strings, many of which may respond sympathetically even though only one note is struck on another instrument – normally inaudible vibrations, even of thought and of feeling, can be captured sympathetically through music.
As performers, our greatest responsibility, and our greatest joy, is to consciously tune in to the inspiration from which this music came and to channel that same inspiration to the audience.
How to best perceive the power behind the music? We’ve been trained to listen so much with our minds that we’ve forgotten how to listen with the heart. Open your heart, invite the music in, and engage yourself fully with the transformative power instilled in every melody.