Written words are pale and lifeless things when one has to express the feelings raised by superb music and seem hardly to mean anything—not being able to convey what is beyond word and mere mental form—that is, at least, what I have felt and why I always find it a little difficult to write anything about music.
20 March 1933
I have not seen the remarks in question. I don’t suppose all-round general culture has much to do with excelling in music. Music is a gift independent of any such thing and it can hardly be said that, given amusical gift in two people, the one with an all-round culture would go farther than the other in musical excellence.
That would not be true in any of the arts. But something else was meant, perhaps,—that there is a certain turn or element in the excellence which an all-round culture makes possible? It is only in that sense that it could be true. Shakespeare’s poetry for instance is that of aman with a vivid andmany-sided response to life; it gives the impression of a multifarious knowledge of things but it was a knowledge picked up from life as he went; Milton’s gets a certain colour from his studies and learning; in neither case is the genius or the excellence of the poetry due to culture,but there is a certain turn or colouring in Milton which would have not been there otherwise and is not there in Shakespeare.
It does not give any superiority in poetic excellence to one over the other.
12 November 1936
All extracts and quotations from the written works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the Photographs of
the Mother and Sri Aurobindo are copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry -605002 India.
The only way to come a little close to him is to love him sincerely and give oneself unreservedly to his work. Thus, each one does his best and contributes as much as he can to that transformation of the world which Sri Aurobindo has predicted.
(Vol. 12, pp. 398-99)