Chapter 22: This Is My Secret: This Silence
The other night you were like a master musician playing a beautiful melody on the strings of my heart. Beloved Osho, is this your secret in letting me sing my song more and more?
Music is the only language that comes very close to silence, the only sound which is able to create the soundless. It has to be understood that music has no meaning. It is sheer joy, celebration. It is the only art that can somehow impart the inexpressible.
The ancientmost tradition of music is that it was born out of meditation. The people who meditated could not find any way to impart their experiences. They invented different instruments so that something can be said without creating a meaning in you but certainly a joy, a dance.
It must have been a tremendously valuable revelation for those who in the beginning discovered a language which is not a language. Sounds in themselves have no meaning. Meaning is man’s imposition on sounds. Sounds are natural. The wind blowing through the pine trees has a sound and a music of its own. Or a river, descending from the mountain through the rocks, has its own sound and its own music.
It is my assumption that meditators, listening to the inner silence, must have felt the tremendous difficulty of how to share it. It was in those beginning days that music was discovered. The discovery is simple: take away the meaning from the sounds and instead of meaning, give the sounds harmony, a rhythm which penetrates to the very heart. It says nothing, but it says the unsayable too.
The ordinary idea of music is that it consists of sounds, but that is only half the truth - and of lesser importance. As the music becomes deeper and deeper, it consists of silences between two sounds.
An ancient proverb in China is, “When the musician becomes perfect he throws away his instruments” because instruments can only create sound. The silence is created by the musician. But at the perfection, the same sounds that were creating small pieces of silence start becoming a disturbance. A strange idea, but perfectly meaningful, significant. It applies to every art. When the archer becomes perfect he throws away his bow and his arrows; just his eyes are enough to look at a flying bird and the bird will fall down. The bow and arrows were only a preparation.
The same applies to music, to painting, to all the arts which man has discovered. At the ultimate peak, you don’t need the steps, the ladder which has helped you to reach the peak. It becomes irrelevant.
The classical music was devoted to silence and to meditation. A beautiful story is told about a nabob of Lucknow. Lucknow remained for centuries the most cultured, sophisticated city in this country. Arts were respected, wisdom was highly prized.