I have always thought of music, as a sublime and sacred art, and I
never wished to use it as means of livelihood or financial profits.
For me, music was a wing to fly to other world, and whenever I
needed to be attentive and have silent prayer to Him, music was the
most moving tool for me.
World of abstracts is the world of delicacy and beauty, and soul
will not be able to understand that beauty, unless itís free of
earthly attachments. To me, music is the most appropriate art, by
which one can get in touch with that world.
My fondness to Persian traditional music goes back to my youth. Ever
since I perceived a particular quality in this form of music, which
is not observed in other forms of music. I was eighteen or nineteen
years old when I started my career in Ministry of Culture and Art.
During the five years of my activity ther I was merely concerned
with the superficial dimension of music, while I felt it does not
satisfy my inner needs. This philosophical and spiritual
bewilderment carried on until 1973.
In that year I started to work in Center of Preservation and
Dissemination of Music, upon Professor Safvatís invitation, and I
became acquainted with new thoughts, through his ideas about music,
as a bipartite phenomena. According to his viewpoint, music, like
human, has a physical and a metaphysical dimension. To reach the
depth, or the spiritual dimension of music, one should acquire an
acceptable awareness of his own physical and metaphysical
dimensions, and this can not be done unless one studies
self-cognition as well as music. This way one may polish his soul
from material dusts and moral weaknesses, and hence exalt it.
Naturally, the musician who feeds his soul in this manner will gain
access to some abilities which are not within the reach of others,
and the quality of his music will be completely different from
This way of thinking, abetted the idea of promotion through
self-cognition in me. This idea has always been in me. And it
encouraged me to maintain education in this connection, seriously,
with love and with enthusiasm.
ďTake one step toward love stage
There will be advantages for you if, you could make the journey
Thereís no veil on His face, but
First you have to sweep the dust of road, to be able to see Him
If you become aware of the light of guidance, by heart
Youíll joyfully offer your head in devotion, like candle
If you listen to this kingly advice, Hafiz
You will be able to pass the highway of truthĒ
Hence, under his guidance, I became acquainted with teachings of
Ostad Nourali Elahi, the contemporary mystic, thinker, jurist,
philosopher, and outstanding musician (1895-1974), and I started my
serious study of self-cognition and theism.
Since this stage of transformation had a basic impact on my way of
thinking and outlook, and consequently on my music, I feel obliged
to speak a little about the spiritual philosophy of Ostad Elahi. As
ďI didnít reach the destination of phoenix by myself
I passed the stage with the guidance of hoopoeĒ
Ostad Elahi spent his life on answering the essential questions of
human being. What is the real origin of human, what are his rights
and duties and where his final destination is. The outcome of Ostad
Elahiís research and experiences is a logical, coordinated, and
practical thinking system about spirituality, intending the
perfection of soul, which is called Natural Spirituality, the
spirituality which is compatible to the situation of contemporary
and future human being.
Theology, like any other science, is based on observations and
provable experiences, and has to become objective through lifetime.
Ostad Elahiís writings and teachings are the result of such
experiences. His teachings are the outcome of years of practice,
experience, thought and investigation, to provide us with a
practical method to achieve human duties, through combination of
morality and action. Hence, humanís first duty is to maintain
cognition and knowledge about true dimensions of his own existence
in practice, not theory. This self-cognition is the result of
harmony between our physical and spiritual dimensions.
The more one gets close to perfection and excellence, the richer
will be his awareness. It means that in addition to the plain
cognition that he may gain about his superficial self, gradually he
will begin to understand his inner circumstances. The more he
ponders inwardly, the deeper and more objective will be his external
Realizing that human is a bidimentional creature, having a positive
(divine soul) and negative (Basharic soul) dimensions, we will
understand how every single action of ours might be affected by each
or none of our dimensions. The more we strengthen our negative part
(Basharic soul) and our negative acts and thoughts, the further we
will get from excellence and the closer we will be to the low world
of dust and brutality. Vise versa, the one who acts entirely upon
his duties, and call of his conscience, with the intention of
getting close to his origin and the real truth, his acts will be
more impressive and sublime.
According to what was mentioned above, considering music, also as a
bidimentional phenomena, material and spiritual, or physical and
metaphysical, we can compare it with human. The physic of music is a
matrix or receptacle, including science, knowledge and techniques
used in its costruction. This way, itís an industry, like any other
industries. But it wonít become alive, unless you blow spirit in to
it. According to some mystic tradition, at the beginning manís body
was motionless, and there was no sign of life in it. Soul was not
ready to enter the mud made body of his. Hence, the archangels
entered the body upon His permission and played sacred music. Then
soul entered the body by ecstasy, when it heard that music. In this
manner humanís life and path of perfection started.
This beautiful tradition shows the value of music and its
constructive and elevating function in humanís life. God chose music
of all other arts, to make the soul enter the body, because music is
His language and soul, who is a part of Him, knows this language.
And itís for His love that soul leaves holy paradise and becomes the
prisoner of body.
ďIím the bird of holy garden, how can I tell you the pain of
How can I tell, how Iíve been caught in this trap of destiny
I was a king and I dwelled in paradise
Man brought me to this ruined monastery
Shadow of Tooba, caress of Hurries, and pond of Kovsar
Went out of my mind, for the sake of Your unionĒ
When the physic of music was prepared, then itís time to give life
to it. In fact the main action of musician begins right from here.
(Music is connected to soul and soul is connected to God)*. If
musician believes that, then he must be serious on promotion of
spirit of music, the same way as he has already learned and worked
hardly and eagerly on physic of the music. He must learn what causes
demotion in spirit, and what calamities to it are. What are the
differences between spiritual and carnal intentions, how one should
recognize them. How should he struggle with flaunting and showing
off, how to overcome the desire of being mooted, desire of fame,
popularity, and wealth. How he should control and train envy, and
stinginess. Because each of these rascality will gradually ruin the
spirit of musician and eventually transform itís natural essence,
that is willing to promote and return to its origin.
ďThere are thousands of delicate details here
Not that whoever shaves his hair, knows how to be a Calender
One should learn these details and practice them to be able to play
that spiritual music. Then the music will be impressive and will be
transferred. That music will come from Him, and it will contain
secrets which are hidden from superficial observers.
ďMy secret is not apart from my voice
But there are no lightened eyes and ears to percept it
Body and soul are not hidden from each other
But no one wants to see the essence (Him)Ē
ďIf we get rid of our impurities and our insides becomes pure like a
windpipe, then He will play the windpipe. Heís always ready. We must
get pure and ready to, for him to playĒ*
Unfortunately this is exactly the part of Persian traditional music,
which is forgotten, and music pupils either do not pay attention to
it, or do not believe in it.
By studying the biographies of great composers of Persian
traditional music, we observe that the immortal musical masterpieces
belong to those artists who usually were endowed with exalted
virtues, and strongly believed in spirituality and morality.
Persian traditional music is based on spiritual sensations and
Persian old musicians were mostly concerned about spiritual needs
and composed their music upon this priority. This part of the music
is so important that can entirely overshadow the physical part of
it. So: ďIf music is composed upon spiritual needs, both its
superficial quality and its inner quality will be improved.
Otherwise it will be an industry, like other industriesĒ*.
Anyhow, what I have understood from spiritual dimension of Persian
traditional music, which has roots in mysticism, is the outcome of
years of studying the science of self-cognition and theism. Because
inner concentration and acquaintance with philosophy and principals
of spirituality are the requisites for perception of this type of
music. Generally, perception of arts of this land, especially poetry
and music, that have roots in mysticism, is a complicated issue.
Best of our literature masterpieces belong to Gnostics whose
conceptions were far beyond the material dimensions of this earthly
world. Because our physical abilities are limited to our superficial
five senses, while our potential spiritual abilities are endless. If
these abilities are trained by proper tools and methods, and change
from potential to actual, then one will be capable of discovering,
observing and understanding problems, far beyond his physical
capabilities. That is why great artists like Ferdowsi, Attar, Sadi,
Hafiz, and Rumi have created masterpieces that have passed the
limits of time and place and became immortal.
Hence, the artist who considers only one dimension in his art, is
only concerned about power, science and techniques regarding his
work. He will complete the tools needed, but he only considers the
superficial of his art. He either does not have anything to say, or
he says nonsense. Neither he discusses a pain, nor he offers a
remedy. Palfrey is ready, but there is no destination and no journey
will take place. If his soul is also captured by material desires
and has retrograded, then there will be a vain journey.
I put an end to my words here, and sum them up in Hafizís words:
ďWhy donít you pass through the passage of love
You have all means, but you donít do anything
You have the will power, but you donít act
You have the chance, but you donít try
You donít spend the blood rippling in your heart
In painting His visage
The breath of creation is not scented
Because you do not pass through His path like zephyr
I am afraid that you would not take any bunch of flower from this
Because you do not endure any thorn of roses
You have a hundred of different musk in hand
But you do not sacrifice them for His sake
You have the delicate and fascinating chalice in hand, but you
throw it on dust
You do not worry of drowsiness to come.Ē
* Ostad Elahi