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The Mysticism of Sound and Music

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  399 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Music, according to Sufi teaching, is really a small expression of the overwhelming and perfect harmony of the whole universe—and that is the secret of its amazing power to move us. The Indian Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927), the first teacher to bring the Islamic mystical tradition to the West, was an accomplished musician himself. His lucid exposition of music ...more
Paperback, 322 pages
Published September 3rd 1996 by Shambhala (first published 1911)
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Laura Hartmark
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I sometimes watch suspense movies for the hidden love story, or comedies for the political satire. Likewise, it's not so much the insight into music but the hidden stories, the side stories that make this book transforming. I am quite taken by any writer who attempts to access a theory via intuition. It is a nearly impossible task. It is, as Andre Breton wrote, "reaching for the impossible while standing on the possible ground." Khan does this, and the journey is quite wonderful. It's like being ...more
Gabriel Monticello
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It has very little to do with music as we think of it. This is a book about spirituality. It draws from all religions and shows how they are similar. I would recommend this book to anyone. It was (for me)and a slow read, as I would stop reading to ponder and think about the concepts.
Breinholt Dorrough
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Khan peremptorily casts aside jazz music as having no value, and speaks of how cheap church organ music sounds. Countless musicians praise the organ for its sheer range and tonal diversity. I have had many spiritual experiences listening to and playing Bach organ pieces, and I consider the organ one of the finest instruments. As far as jazz, other modern Nada Brahma proponents see great value therein: Joachim-Ernst Berendt perhaps epitomizes such a thinker.

Although his taste in music appears to
Josh  Giunta
Feb 22, 2010 rated it liked it
heavy stuff...
music is the closest representation of the wholeness of the universe that humans have.

"The further we advance, the more difficult and the more important becomes our part in the symphony of life; and the more conscious we are of this responsibility, the more efficient we become at accomplishing the task."

The ideas are really profound, but the writing style can be pretty poor...seems like it was poorly translated from oral lectures. The structure detracts from the beauty of the conc
Pedro Alcantara
Aug 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'm a musician myself, and this book helped me understand and sense music as a potential divine healing force. ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it

I read this book slowly over a year or so, it is...a lot.
There are some insightful and thought provoking bits buried in here - I found it very hard to read overall. The writing is overly ornamented and I wonder if it also suffers from its translation. Big ideas and sweeping statements are made with little explanation, let alone evidence or background (not that "hard evidence" is really to be expected in this type of book).

The book is split into two main sections, "Music", and "Aphorisms".
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Best Book i ever read in my life up to this point!
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, meta
A beautiful compilation of the lectures and teachings of Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan. Topics include the origins and significance of sound and language, the power of thought, music, words and names, the relationship between sound and light. Khan does a wonderful job explaining the basic teachings on Sound which have been shared and practiced throughout time and which can be found at the heart of each of the major world religions. Although, he reminds us, a complete understanding of Sound is
Ken Hastings
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"This book is a revised and enlarged edition of the second volume in the series of 'The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan'. It contains a Sufi vision on music, sound, language and the power of words.... Almost all chapters of this book - 'The Mystery of Sound' excepted - were originally lectures and addresses, delivered in various circumstances. Some were addressed to pupils and students who were already acquainted with the Sufi teachings; others were public lectures, and some reports show that ...more
Brooke Brown
Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
This is certainly a book that you read over several years. It is meant to be studied, not sped-read.

That being said, it's a beautiful book for those who have a deep, meaningful relationship with music and the power of sound (you know who you are). The author's insights are accurate in a way that can't be described as scientific, but rather heart- (and soul) felt.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, asian-lit
Interesting to anyone who is interested in Sufism, mysticism, or the spiritual aspect of music.

The book is compiled from the author's lectures and articles. Consequently, he often restates the same points, which makes for a repetitious read. After the first section, you may find yourself skimming.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: music
Don't enjoy this one as much as The Music of Life. Author skips around a great deal and here and there. Antagonists toward mysticism in general might have a field day with his theories, although those (like myself) who approach music esoterically will probably find it deep enough in spots. But not as well written as the former, I feel. ...more
Russell Eric Dobda
May 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy, buddhism
This book took me about 3 years to finish reading becuase it is very dense. Each individual sentence opens pandoras boxes of enlightenment, and it can be hard to fully digest it, but it's definitely a classic,.. especially if you are a musician. ...more
Daria Kutuzova
Интересные идеи про резонанс, разум, волю, выбор - и, само собой, звук и музыку - с суфийской точки зрения. Заставляет задуматься и многое проясняет.
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
5 Track
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wow ... Sufi insight applied to my area of obsession ... very nearly blinding
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Despite its title, this book reaches far beyond sound and music. Really a compilation based on a variety of writings and transcripts of lectures delivered during the 1910s and 1920s, Hazrat Inayat Khan shows how sound and music are a pathway to a broader enlightenment. Granted, "enlightenment" is a charged word with more than one definition, and some will scoff at its use altogether. This book is not for them. But for those open to an honest exploration of human spirituality, this book contains ...more
Andrew Nelson
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The timing of this read and introduction to Khan and the mysticism within makes synchronicity feel at play... Ancient, awesome wisdom from a HARMONIOUS Human. I am indebted, humbled, and focused on the birth of my own soul now and ever more. I might have just unknowingly, Truly, begun down the spiritual path... Seems pertinent in lieu of current events.
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very profound thoughts expressed simply for a lay person. However, as these chapters appear to have been collated from talks delivered over a period of time, there is repetition and I had to literally skim through the last hundred or so pages to avoid boredom.
Rob O'Hearn
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and inspiring
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
The author has a great deal of love for life and music and it shines through.
It wasn't quite dense enough to hold my interest.
Josh Eustis
Sep 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is another book that changed my perspective on music and how the world is really shit without it. It also showed me some very important ideas about how music is not really created by the people who 'write' it... ...more
Oct 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Full of truth and beauty.
Wahyudinata Denny
jika anda suka dg psikologi, sastra, puisi, mistisisme, tasawuf, esoterisme, agama, dan lainnya....maka anda harus baca buku ini, untuk menangkap sisi esoterisme segala sesuatu dlm hidup manusia..
Jennifer Tolliver
Jan 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Some memorable moments. Really great for a music or physics lover.
Jul 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
i only read the first 3 chapters. it was that good.
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautiful in its expanse. The first section is my favorite. Spiritual, insightful, and sound.
Ruta Juzulenaite
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
true gem for each music lover
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating blend of metaphors and taken-for-granted arcane knowledge. Cool beans!
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Hazrat Inayat Khan (Urdu: عنایت خان ) (July 5, 1882 – February 5, 1927) was an exemplar of Universal Sufism and founder of the "Sufi Order in the West" in 1914 (London). Later, in 1923, the Sufi Order of the London period was dissolved into a new organization formed under Swiss law and called the "International Sufi Movement". He initially came to the West as a representative of classical Indian m ...more

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170 likes · 44 comments
“The true use of music is to become musical in one's thoughts, words and actions. One should be able to give the harmony for which the soul yearns and longs every moment. All the tragedy in the world, in the individual and in the multitude, comes from lack of harmony, and harmony is best given by producing it in one's own life.” 9 likes
“Some day music will be the means of expressing universal religion. Time is wanted for this, but there will come a day when music and its philosophy will become the religion of humanity.” 8 likes
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