5000 Musicians Perform Together at Naadha Vaibhavam

Perungalathur, Chennai
30 Jan 2011

Sangita gnanamu bhaktivina Sanmargamu galade manasa

The 18th century saint-composer, Thyagaraja asked - Can the mind find salvation without the knowledge of music and devotion?

Music nourishes every form of life - plant, animal and human. So said the saints of yore and today’s scientists couldn’t agree more. “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace,” declares Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. In addition to its educational and humanitarian activities, The Art of Living has always recognized music as sangita yoga, a profound, potent means of combating aggression and violence, promoting inner harmony and world peace.

The Art of Living has organized many events of music and dance, not as a soloist’s display, but as a congregational celebration of a community of artists coming together joyously and purposively. Since The Art of Living’s Silver Jubilee in 2006, the idea of music and dance has taken on a juggernaut scale:

  • 3,500 musicians performing together at its Silver Jubilee (Bangalore)
  • 1,200 dancers performing Mohiniyattam (Cochin), setting up a Guinness record
  • 1,094 sitar artists from across the country creating Brahm Naad (New Delhi)
  • 2,750 Hindustani classical vocalists in an enchanting spectacle in Antarnaad (Pune)
  • 500 Bharatanatyam dance artistes weaving traditional magic (Chennai)

“Music takes you from words to silence, from shabd to nishabd, thus helping to create a calm and meditative state of mind. Spirituality and music, together, can uplift people, get them out of depression and help them start a new life with enthusiasm. For a stress-free life, you have to embrace both these facets. The aim is to come together to uplift consciousness - through meditation, talks, togetherness, celebration, and through song and dance”- Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

In this tradition of celebrations by The Art of Living, Naadha Vaibhavam brought 5,000 Carnatic musicians to the stage, to create in unison a symphonic soundscape. This outreach program had a twofold thrust - to make classical music accessible to the masses, and to offer an experience that goes beyond entertainment and individual virtuosic display - to tap the spiritual reserves in performer and listener.

The multiple resonance of Carnatic music, devotion-steeped as it is, can achieve meditative transcendence, uniting the individual soul with the all-pervasive Oversoul. In this nadopasana, worship through sound, singer and listener perceive no difference between Antarnaad and Brahmnaad. At such moments of heightened consciousness, achieved by not just the individual sadhaka (spiritual seeker), but by the entire global community, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s vision of a violence-free, stress-free, service-minded society no longer remains a utopian dream, but a goal successfully achieved.