On Music & Dance

When the best dancer is dancing, a whole crowd can find themselves drawn into concentration. Music and dance are so integral to yoga that without them yoga is incomplete. I dance and sing constantly in my meditation room. This isn’t simply art, but a form of meditation.” — Swami Kripalu 

From the Writings of Swami Shri Kripalvanandaji

“To perform every action artfully is yoga.”

Music holds a very high place in the practice of yoga. I would even say that without music, it is impossible to attain to the Lord, for the Lord himself is music. In India we say, “Nada Brahma” which means “Sound is God”. It is just like the place in the Bible where it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.” If we live a musical life, we can say that we are living a life of sadhana, a spiritual life. Music is the greatest intoxicant in the world. When one is totally intoxicated by music he goes into samadhi.

There is another aspect of music, and that is dancing. Dance purifies the body, and music purifies the mind. If we use music for its purest purpose, it will not fail to bring us the highest results. In spiritual life in India, there are two main manifestations of God that are worshipped: that of Lord Shiva, and that of Lord Krishna. Both are great musicians and master dancers. My experience shows me that those who do not know how to sing and dance will never reach God, for in deep meditation when prana begins to effortlessly rise, music and dance are born from within. This is not the result of conscious intention; it is simply an expression of prana. So, dance is a part of meditation and does not disturb it.

Swami Kripalu Mudra, Music & Dance
Swami Kripalu
Music, Mudra & Dance

This spontaneous dance has two phases: external and internal. At first the dance has external movements. Gradually these movements cease until there is complete stillness, externally. Yet the dance continues inside.

The spontaneous dance that I went into outside my Rajeshvari meditation room was like what used to happen to me many years ago in the earlier stages of yoga. Then it stopped and I moved into another stage. On this occasion, behind Rajeshvari, I started by doing some hand mudras, and all of a sudden, after many years of absence, the dance started to come to me again spontaneously, automatically. There was a difference, however, between what happened in the past and this: before, the dance was very fast; this time it was very slow and rhythmic. When this dance happens, it stretches all the nerves so much that after five minutes you are ready to collapse. Yet I, at the age of 65, was able to dance constantly for over half an hour! This kind of music and dance is the very highest kind of sadhana; the very highest method of purification of mind and body.

— Swami Kripalu, “On Music and Dance”

Mudras (energy seals) occur when the awakened energy grows strong, expressing as the sustained holding of postures or repetitive motions that either build prana (life energy) or express it in free flowing dance-like movements and hand gestures. — Swami Kripalu

Please visit the Foundation for Natural Meditation for more of Swami Kripalu’s books and writings.

Durga Ma

Phoenix Metaphysical Institute
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