Cascading Organ Delight, part 3
- "Cascading Organ Delight" is in 3 parts. The first part (Message
#758) recounted events leading up to Sri Chinmoy's performance on the
Grand Organ at the Sydney Opera House on Monday, 30th November, 1987.
Part 2 (Message #810) presented a personal account of the performance
itself, from an unusual perspective.
Part 3 consists of an interview Sri Chinmoy gave immediately
following the performance.
Don't forget you can hear this all-time historic performance on Radio
Sri Chinmoy, at http://www.radiosrichinmoy.org
Right after Sri Chinmoy had finished his immortal performance -
lasting 36 minutes and 14 seconds and taking a monumental physical,
not to mention spiritual effort - while still in the organ loft, he
was interviewed by one of Australia's foremost organists for ABC
(Australian national) FM Radio.
Following is a full transcript of that interview...
INTERVIEWER: Thank you very much, Sri Chinmoy, for coming to the
Sydney Opera House this evening and playing for us. You have a very
unique style of playing the organ. As many other musicians have
said, you combine a kind of Eastern as well as a Western style. Your
own style is, perhaps we might say, Eastern; whereas, the organ
itself is very Western. For many centuries, the organ has served the
Christian church as a spiritual kind of musical instrument. Do you
also find spirituality in the organ?
SRI CHINMOY: Yes, I find spirituality in the organ, more than I find
it in any other instrument. Here I see that the organ is not only
the King of all the musical instruments but it is also the Queen of
all the instruments. It has a very subtle, delicate touch at the
same time. When you think of a king, you think of somebody who is
very powerful, like a sovereign and, when you think of a queen, there
is softness and sweetness, a delicate touch. So the organ combines
both God the Man and God the Woman.
INTERVIEWER: So, in your music, you are finding an expression of God
which comes from within you and is expressed by the organ, sometimes
as king, sometimes as queen?
SRI CHINMOY: Yes.
INTERVIEWER: They are very beautiful sentiments. I've seen you on
video tape talking about soulful music. Do you find the organ is,
what we might call, a "soulful" instrument?
SRI CHINMOY: It is soulful and, at the same time, powerful.
Sometimes the soul does not express power. But I see that the soul
of the organ expresses power as well. In the case of an individual,
he can express his inner capacities through power, or through love or
other divine aspects. But the organ has the capacity to express many
divine qualities at the same time.
INTERVIEWER: Do you find that, through the organ and the sounds that
it makes, there is a kind of awakening of spirituality, an expression
SRI CHINMOY: Not only the awakening, but also the expression and the
revelation of the inner being.
INTERVIEWER: Since you are a poet as well as a musician, I find it
very interesting to compare the inner spirituality of poetry with the
inner spirituality of music. In the Western tradition, for example,
they have gone almost separate paths for the last two or three
hundred years. Maybe four hundred years ago, music and poetry were
rather more similar and, when we go back to the ancient Greeks, music
and poetry were almost one thing. Now, in your poetry and your
music, do you find a similar kind of spirituality?
SRI CHINMOY: Yes. In my case, I find poetry and music go together.
Poetry has the vision and this vision is expressed through music. We
have the vision, let us say, of tomorrow's dawn. But, although we
have the vision, there is no way to reveal and manifest that vision.
So here comes the music! Music expresses the vision that poetry
embodies. First we have the vision of reality deep within us and
then music brings that vision to the fore.
INTERVIEWER: Regarding the improvisation which you just played, did
it have a particular title or any particular ideas?
SRI CHINMOY: No, there was no particular idea. I don't use my mind.
I see myself as a child playing in my own heart-garden. In the
garden, there are many beautiful plants and I play hide-and-seek. I
move around, I play with the leaves and plants and flowers. I enter
into my heart-garden and I enjoy Nature's beauty deep within me. So,
I do not use my mind. A child does not use his mind. He just plays
with the flowers, with toys and dolls. In my case, also, I play with
the flowers, leaves and fruits.
INTERVIEWER: It is just creativity, just being creative...
SRI CHINMOY: Creation for creation's sake. There is no set method,
there is no hard and fast rule that I have to do this, I have to do
that. A child uses his heart, he does everything spontaneously. So,
in my case also, I try to do everything spontaneously, like a child.
INTERVIEWER: Your spontaneity comes through very clearly in your
music. You have also been quoted as saying that, alongside
meditation, music is the next thing for a spiritual person, or words
to that effect.
SRI CHINMOY: Music and spirituality must go side by side. A Truth-
seeker and God-lover pays more attention to God the Creator. Twenty-
four hours a day he is ready to pray and meditate. He wants to
embody God's infinite Light. A seeker is more conscious of God,
fortunately or unfortunately, than a musician. A musician has the
universal language deep within him but he does not know that the
source of the universal language is silence. Language is not the
source. Silence is the source. Sound is not the source. The source
is silence. Meditation helps us dive deep within. Silence is the
source and sound is an expression. It is the outer form.
When we enter into a temple, we see the shrine inside it. For me,
meditation is the shrine inside the temple. Music is the temple.
Without the temple, there can be no shrine and, again, without the
shrine, there can be no temple. So, music and spirituality have to
go together. Spirituality reminds us of God the Creator and music
reminds us of God the creation. Universal Beauty we get through
music but Silence, transcendental Silence, we get from meditation.
They are like the obverse and reverse of the same coin. But we have
to know which one has to be brought forward - the inner divinity or
the outer reality. Inner divinity has to come forward to express the
INTERVIEWER: Over the last two or three thousand years, there have
been periods of Western civilisation - such as the times of the
ancient Greeks and the Renaissance - where it has been considered
important to look at all the things that make up a completely rounded
person, a whole man: intellectual life, sport, music and so on. Many
people have spoken of you, with all your interests, as a kind of
SRI CHINMOY: I am jack of all trades, master of none!
INTERVIEWER: I think it's not just a question of being a jack of all
trades, though. It's something that you have been able to use, in a
sense, to transcend yourself. You set yourself a certain goal and
you move in a certain direction - just as, in music, you've taken up
the organ only relatively recently. Previously, you've played the
Indian esraj, the bamboo flute and many, many other instruments.
SRI CHINMOY: Tomorrow I will be playing about thirty instruments in
INTERVIEWER: Do you find that the organ, then, is a kind of
transcendence in your own life?
SRI CHINMOY: In my case, the organ seems to be the highest peak. I
have been playing quite a few instruments for the last ten years.
Sometimes I go up to one hundred instruments. Usually I play thirty
instruments in my concerts. But the organ is like the highest
pinnacle, it is the culmination.
When I play organ, I feel myself complete. It is something deep
within me. It is like the blossoming of the tree, a fully blossomed
tree. Whereas, when I play other instruments - flute or cello or
violin or viola - there I see a few beautiful flowers on a particular
branch, a few most beautiful flowers. But when I play the organ, I
feel that the whole tree has blossomed fully and gloriously to my
satisfaction. Here I feel my hunger, musical hunger, is satisfied
INTERVIEWER: Well, Sri Chinmoy, thank you very much for granting us
this interview. You have been very gracious and thank you very much
SRI CHINMOY: You have been extremely kind to me. My heart is all
gratitude to you. I have heard so much about you and I am extremely,
extremely grateful to have been allowed to play here and to be here
with you. My heart is all gratitude to you.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Sri Chinmoy, thank you very much.
The Chief Producer for the ABC FM Radio program that included both
the performance and the interview, is himself an organist of some
distinction. He made the following observations a few days after the
"I was in an unusual position during Sri Chinmoy's performance, in
that after setting up the recording booth I then had to prepare the
mikes and so on for the interview afterwards. So I was actually
behind the organ area. However, I was quite amazed by Sri Chinmoy's
facility on the organ and the ideas that he was conveying. His music
has quite a sophisticated form, which is all the more amazing when
one considers that he has come to the organ only relatively
recently. Tell Sri Chinmoy that I consider there was a very deep
message in his iomprovisation.
"After I had set up the interview, I was waiting behind the organ
area. When it had finished, Sri Chinmoy went by me and, as he
passed, he nodded at me and said goodbye. I felt a wave of
spirituality coming from him, it was liike a kind of magnetism, and
my immediate thought was: there is tremendous good in this man. I
was very, very glad to have met him."
Immediately following the interview, upon leaving the building Sri
Chinmoy drove ten minutes to the Sydney Town Hall, where he gave
another immortal performance on the famous organ there. Both
performances are presented on the CD "Heart-Power-Victory."