Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

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Jun 9, 2013

TALKING POINT : Einstein and Tagore on Music - 19th August 1930

“The difficulty is that the really good music, whether of the East or of the West, cannot be analyzed.” Einstein

I have had posted Nobel Laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore’s meeting with Einstein earlier where he talked about Truth, Reality and Beauty. (Click here to read it) and the talk below is his second meeting with Einstein, on 19th August, 1930. 

In the first instance, the meeting has Einstein questioning Tagore on his belief on divine and whether God is isolated from the world, to which Tagore replied, “When our universe is in harmony with man, the eternal, we know it as truth, we feel it as beauty”. Where as the second, as excerpted below, mainly centered around Modern Physics and Music.

Einstein and Tagore Curtsy Mokta Mona

“In creation we follow the central law of existence, but if we do not cut ourselves adrift from it, we can have sufficient freedom within the limits of our personality for the fullest self-expression.” Tagore

Bertrand Russel said once for Tagore, “I regret I cannot agree with Tagore. His talk about the infinite is vague nonsense. The sort of language that is admired by many Indians unfortunately does not, in fact, mean anything at all.”

And I believe that people like him, are governed by the five senses for perception and when those sense perception fails in perceiving truthfully (Like a spoon in a glass of water seems to be broken) they go around finding the reason behind it and sometimes find it (As in case of broken spoon – Laws of refractions) but if they don’t, they refuse to acknowledge it the truth (That the spoon is actually not broken) till the time another person comes with another set of laws.

Scientists and logicians are handicapped by the limitations of sense perception. I am happy that someone like Einstein has the humility to accept it and some like Stephen Hawking (He went on to famously proclaim, “God Does Not Exist” click here to read… )feel that what they know, is absolute truth.

Divine is nothing but collective consciousness of the Universe, including mine. To know that Universal consciousness, one has to go within to up-link  that’s what I believe in, whether it means anything to people like Bertrand Russel, Stephen Hawking etc. or not.

Anyways, here is the part of the talk curtsy Mukto Mona… on Music.  To read the full talk, please click here…

Excerpted from "Three conversations: Tagore Talks with Einstein, with Rolland, and Wells"  (ASIA 3/1931, p.139-143,196 f.)
Einstein and Tagore Curtsy Ms. Sabina Choudhary

EINSTEIN: I believe that whatever we do or live for has its causality; it is good, however, that we cannot see through to it.

TAGORE: There is in human affairs an element of elasticity also, some freedom within a small range which is for the expression of our personality. It is like the musical system in India, which is not so rigidly fixed as western music. Our composers give a certain definite outline, a system of melody and rhythmic arrangement, and within a certain limit the player can improvise upon it. He must be one with the law of that particular melody, and then he can give spontaneous expression to his musical feeling within the prescribed regulation. We praise the composer for his genius in creating a foundation along with a superstructure of melodies, but we expect from the player his own skill in the creation of variations of melodic flourish and ornamentation. In creation we follow the central law of existence, but if we do not cut ourselves adrift from it, we can have sufficient freedom within the limits of our personality for the fullest self-expression.

EINSTEIN: It requires a very high standard of art to realize fully the great idea in the original music, so that one can make variations upon it. In our country, the variations are often prescribed.

TAGORE: If in our conduct we can follow the law of goodness, we can have real liberty of self-expression. The principle of conduct is there, but the character which makes it true and individual is our own creation. In our music there is a duality of freedom and prescribed order.

EINSTEIN: Are the words of a song also free? I mean to say, is the singer at liberty to add his own words to the song which he is singing?

TAGORE: Yes. In Bengal we have a kind of song-kirtan, we call it-which gives freedom to the singer to introduce parenthetical comments, phrases not in the original song. This occasions great enthusiasm, since the audience is constantly thrilled by some beautiful, spontaneous sentiment added by the singer.
EINSTEIN: Can the Indian music be sung without words? Can one understand a song without words?

TAGORE: Yes, we have songs with unmeaning words, sounds which just help to act as carriers of the notes. In North India, music is an independent art, not the interpretation of words and thoughts, as in Bengal. The music is very intricate and subtle and is a complete world of melody by itself.

TAGORE: Melody and harmony are like lines and colors in pictures. A simple linear picture may be completely beautiful; the introduction of color may make it vague and insignificant. Yet color may, by combination with lines, create great pictures, so long as it does not smother and destroy their value. 

EINSTEIN: It is a beautiful comparison; line is also much older than color. It seems that your melody is much richer in structure than ours. Japanese music also seems to be so.

EINSTEIN: The difficulty is that the really good music, whether of the East or of the West, cannot be analyzed.

TAGORE: Yes, and what deeply affects the hearer is beyond himself.

EINSTEIN: The same uncertainty will always be there about everything fundamental in our experience, in our reaction to art, whether in Europe or in Asia. Even the red flower I see before me on your table may not be the same to you and me.

TAGORE: And yet there is always going on the process of reconciliation between them, the individual taste conforming to the universal standard.

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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