A song can directly connect us to the experience and realisations of others, and reveal mirrored feelings and realities within us which otherwise might have remained hidden, or beyond our lived experience. When I hear a song about a particular flower I have never seen, as though by sympathetic resonance I nevertheless experience a profound appreciation of that flower. A patriotic song can evoke genuine love within me for a country I have never visited.

Similarly, a song composed by a spiritual seeker or spiritual Master can awaken within me the most rarefied spiritual emotion and realisation: the longing of aspiration, fervour of devotion and bliss of surrender. Singing or even just hearing such songs can be the catalyst for otherwise unattainable spiritual progress: like water to a plant, through songs we can grow both in sympathetic experience, and spiritual awareness.

As knowing a language opens to us the experience, wisdom and worldview embodied in its folklore, idiom and literature, so the songs of a particular culture, movement or religion open a wide doorway into its inner heart.

Songs themselves can be spiritual teachers and mentors. The expression “soul-stirring” refers to the magical means by which through the eloquence of words, beauty of melody, allure of rhythm and resonance of the voice, a song can arouse our emotions, nurture our sympathies and indeed stir the deepest aspirations of and for our soul.

A song is like a flame: from one flame many can be lit, forest fires can rage, cities consumed. Similarly, one song can enter into and inspire many hearts. One song can move a concert audience to tears, one hymn can inspire a congregation, one anthem can uplift a nation; so might one devotional song uplift the consciousness of humanity.