Music of Life
The Inner Nature and Effects of Sound
by Hazrat Inayat Khan
The Music of Life is the definitive collection of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s teachings on sound, presenting the Sufi master’s vision of the harmony that underlies and infuses every aspect of our lives. With deep insight and wisdom, Inayat Khan explores the science of breath, the law of rhythm, the creative process, and both the healing power and psychological influence of music and sound.
“What makes us feel drawn to music is that our whole being is music: our mind and our body, the nature in which we live, the nature that has made us, all that is beneath and around us, it is all music. We are close to all this music, and live and move and have our being in music.”
“The meditations to which this book leads are particularly recommended to musicians who are seeking a bridge linking them with their source of inspiration. Some of its themes, based upon the mysterious science of the mantram (in Sufi terminology the wazifa), have indeed been introduced into present-day musical compositions, capturing the undertones and harmonic overtones of the symphony of the spheres and thus opening untold vistas for the music of the future.”
—From the foreword by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan
Read an excerpt from The Music of Life:
“The life absolute from which has sprung all that is felt, seen and perceived, and into which all again emerges in time, is a silent, motionless, and eternal life, which, among the Sufis is called zat. Every motion that springs forth from this silent life is a vibration and a creator of vibrations. Within one vibration are created many vibrations. As motion causes motion, so the silent life becomes active in a certain part and creates every moment more and more activity, losing thereby the peace of the original silent life. It is the grade of activity of these vibrations that accounts for the various planes of existence. These planes are imagined to differ from one another, but in reality they cannot be entirely detached and made separate from one another. The activity of vibrations makes them grosser, and thus the earth is born of the heavens.
The mineral, vegetable, animal, and human kingdoms are the gradual changes of vibrations, and the vibrations of each plane differ from one another in their weight, breadth, length, color, effect, sound, and rhythm, Man is not only formed of vibrations, but he lives and moves in them; they surround him as the fish is surrounded by water, and he contains them within him as the tank contains water. His different moods, inclinations, affairs, successes and failures, and all conditions of life depend upon a certain activity of vibrations, whether these be thoughts, emotions, or feelings. It is the direction of the activity of vibrations that accounts for the variety of things and beings. This vibratory activity is the basis of sensation and the source of all pleasure and pain; its cessation is the opposite of sensation. All sensations are caused by a certain grade of activity of vibration.
There are two aspects of vibration, fine and gross, both containing varied degrees; some are perceived by the soul, some by the mind, and some by the eyes. What the soul perceives are the vibrations of the feelings; what the mind conceives are the vibrations solidified from their ethereal state and turned into atoms, which appear in the physical world, constituting the elements ether, air, fire, water, and earth. The finest vibrations are imperceptible even to the soul. The soul itself is formed of these vibrations; it is their activity which makes it conscious.”