Singing Out of Tune

[Listen to Asha read this story]

(Told by an Ananda devotee)

In the 1980s I got involved in a small singing group within Ananda. It was a time when Swamiji’s music had just begun to take hold, and all the “official” groups concentrated exclusively on the music he had written.

This group’s stated purpose was to sing everything but Swamiji’s music. We were all classically trained and our evenings with Mozart, Haydn, Bach and others were musically blissful.

After we’d been meeting for several months, Swamiji invited me over to talk about the group.

“It would be better if you dropped out,” he said.

I was astonished. It seemed like a harmless hobby. I pressed Swamiji for an explanation, but he was reluctant to speak.

Finally he said, “It is a matter of attunement.” Then he made a few kind but frank remarks about the underlying attitudes of some of the key members. “Musically you may enjoy it, but spiritually I don’t think it will help you to be with them.”

I didn’t fully understand, but I trusted Swamiji. I knew it was important or he wouldn’t have taken the trouble to speak to me. The singing was fun, and was hard to give up. But that same week I dropped out.

Within three years, everyone in the group had left Ananda.

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