Three weeks ago, I visited Rishikesh – a spiritual village at the footstep of the Himalayas. My Indian friend and me walked through little passages, crossed the river Ganges and visited many temples full of mythological paintings and statues. A long street nearby the river bank was leading to our final destination – the abandoned Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ashram where the Beatles wrote the White Album. Vegetarian restaurants, jewellery shops, fruit stalls, ayurveda centers, craft shops… the street was full of places to attract tourists. On every corner, a taxi driver or a yoga teacher was waiting for us. Ready to take us to our hotel or to enlighten our souls. Homeless people called us and young rishis asked for food.
Suddenly, we saw two old people sitting on the ground. Their white hair was shimmering in the sun. The old lady was wearing a dark red shawl around her body. She was playing tablas, a pair of two Indian drums. Every time, her hands were beating the drum, her golden bracelets made sounds as well. The man closed his eyes and hummed a sweet melody. He was wearing white cotton clothes and sandals.
My friend and me stopped and listened to them. The music created a magical atmosphere. The river Ganges was flowing in the background, the bells of a hindu temple started to ring. The old man took a flute out of his bag and started to play a spiritual song. He and the lady did not notice their audience. The rhythm was running through them. It took their minds far away. At the end of the song, we thanked them and I was looking for a small bowl where they would collect donations. But I couldn’t find one. Surprised did I ask my friend about it. He smiled and explained to me that the musicians did not play to receive money, they played to make the world more beautiful. To thank god.
This experience made me think about creating art. Being an artist is not only a big challenge, it is also associated with fame and money-making. Selfish interests are shaping the art industry. In former times, art was enriching cultures. It was a way to get in touch with a higher spirit. All ancient cultures created art to connect. Today, many artists are only trying to tell their personal stories and to be celebrated as individuals, god-like heroes.
Through writing and singing, I became more spiritual. I always feel like an instrument that is being played by a higher power. I can let go, distance myself from the world.
Creating art became a big business but we should not forget that it is a way to celebrate and to appreciate life. It should not only fill bank accounts, it should make us feel connected with each other and the universe.