The Nirgunia sages were as much musicians as they were philosophers. They sang of the sprit or atma, and the trials and tribulations it faced in re-uniting with its lover, the parmatma; or all-spirit. The journey of the spirit was akin to a drop dripping into the ocean; but recognizing the essential unity with the ocean, eventually the drop shall merge to become indistinguishable from it.
“Then which gift can I offer in your presence? What shall my mouth say, that I may love you?” asked Nanak, in his poem the Japuji. He, like thousands of teachers through the world and time, stressed the importance of inner-seeking, and synchronizing with the reverberating ‘unheard-vibration’ latent in the universe since its creation. He taught that one would be able to use the power of focus, through the practice of meditation, to silence the mind. And thus he recommended the practice of focusing on a chant, or mantra.
Each teacher came with an invocation of their own, but each believed in the essential unity in all of their messages. In medieval India especially we see a beautiful intermingling and collaboration by thinkers and mystics from across traditions. Muslim Sufis, Sikh Gurus and Hindu Bhagats all broke bread side by side, and regarding one another as a family. To them, the universal truths of spirituality transcended religion, and as such saw humanity as belonging to a single path.
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