Many in the world take music as a source of amusement or a pastime, and to many music is an art and a musician an entertainer. Yet no one has lived in this world who has thought and felt and has not considered music as the most sacred of all arts. For the fact is that what the art of painting cannot clearly suggest, poetry explains in words, but that which even a poet finds difficult to express in poetry is expressed in music. But by this I do not only say that music is superior to painting and poetry, but in fact music excels religion, for music raises the soul of man even higher than the so-called external form of religion. But by this it must not be understood that music can take the place of religion.

          For, every soul is not necessarily tuned to that pitch that it can really benefit by music, nor is every music necessarily so high that it will exalt a person who hears it more than the effect that religion will have upon him. However, those who follow the path of the inner cult, for them music is most essential for their spiritual development. The reason is that the soul who is seeking for truth is in search of the formless God. Art, no doubt, is most elevating, but at the same time contains form, poetry has words, names, suggestive of forms, it is music only which has beauty, which has power, charm, and at the same time can raise the soul beyond form. It is therefore that in the ancient times the greatest of the prophets have been great musicians.

          For instance, in the lives of the Hindu prophets one finds Narada, the great prophet of the Hindus, a great musician at the same time, and Shiva, a Godlike prophet of the Hindus, who was the inventor of the sacred Vina. Krishna is always pictured with a flute. There is a well-known legend of the life of Moses, a legend which tells how Moses heard a divine command on Mount Sinai, in the words "Musa ke", "Moses, hear" or "Moses, ponder", and on this the revelation that came to him was of tone and rhythm, and he called it by the same name "Musake". And the words such as "Music" or "Musiki" have come from that word.

          David, whose song and whose voice have been known for ages, his message was given to the world in the form of music. Orpheus, of the Greek legends, the knower of the mystery of tune and rhythm had by the knowledge of time and rhythm power over the hidden forces of nature. The Goddess of learning, of knowledge among Hindus, whose name is Saraswati, is always pictured with the Vina, and what does it suggest? That all learning has its essence in music. And besides the natural charm that music has, music has a magic power, a power which can be experienced even now. It seems that the human race has lost a great deal of the ancient science of magic, but if there remains any magic, it is music.

          Music, besides power, is intoxication. When it intoxicates those who hear, how much more it must intoxicate those who play or sing themselves! And how much more it must intoxicate those who have touched perfection in it and those who have contemplated upon it for years and years! It gives them a great joy and exaltation even than a king feels when sitting on his throne. According to the thinkers of the East there are four different intoxications: the intoxication of beauty and youth and of strength; then the intoxication of wealth and the third is of power, command, the power of ruling; and there is the fourth intoxication which is the intoxication of learning, of knowledge.

          But all these four intoxications fade away just like stars before the sun in the presence of the intoxication of music. The reason is that it touches the deepest part of man's being. Music reaches further than any other impression one gets from the external world. And then the beauty about music is that music is the source of creation and the means of absorbing it. In other words, by music the world was created and it is again music with which it is withdrawn in the source which has created it.

          In support of this argument you will read in the Bible that first was the word and the word was God. That "word" means sound, and from sound you can grasp the idea of music. Then there is an Eastern legend that has come from centuries ago, the legend that when God made man out of clay and asked the soul to enter, the soul refused to enter in this prison house and then God commanded the angels to sing. And as the angels sang the soul entered, being intoxicated by the song.

          But now in this scientific and material world also we see an example of this kind. Before a machine, a mechanism will run, it must first make a noise. It first becomes audible and then shows its life. We can see this in a ship, in an aeroplane, in an automobile. This idea belongs to the mysticism of sound. Before an infant is capable of admiring a colour or form, it enjoys sound. If there is any art that can please the aged most, it is music. If there is any art which can charge youth to life and to enthusiasm, to emotion and to passion, it is music. If there is any art in which a person can fully express his feeling, his emotion, it is music which is best fitted for it. At the same time it is something that gives man that force and that power of activity which make the soldiers march with the beats of the drum and the sound of the trumpet.

          In the traditions of the past, it was said that on the Last Day there will be the sound of the trumpets before the end of the world. This shows that music is connected with the beginning of creation, with its continuity and with its end. The mystics of all ages have loved music most. In almost all the circles of the inner cult, whatever part of the world they are, music seems to be the centre of their cult or their ceremony or ritual. And with those who attain to that perfect peace which is called Nirvana, or in the language of the Hindus it is called Samadhi, it is more easily done by music.

          Therefore the Sufis, especially those of the Chishtia school of the ancient times, have taken music as a source of their meditation, and by so meditating they derive much more benefit than those who meditate without the help of music. The effect that they experience is the unfoldment of the soul, the opening of the intuitive faculties, and their heart, so to speak, opens to all the beauty which is within and without, uplifting them, and at the same time bringing them that perfection for which every soul yearns.