Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately two thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children.. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.  (See original article here, quite fascinating,) The questions raised: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made….. How many other things are we missing?

(end article)

” In that land all speech is song, and all walking is dancing, and one’s constant companion is the flute. Everything is self-luminous, just like the sun in this material world. The human form of life is meant for understanding this transcendental land of Vrndavana, and one who is fortunate should cultivate knowledge of Vrndavana and its residents. In that supreme abode are surabhi cows that overflood the land with milk. Since not even a moment there is misused, there is no past, present or future.

“An expansion of this Vrndavana, which is the supreme abode of Krsna, is also present on this earth, and superior devotees worship it as the supreme abode. However, no one can appreciate Vrndavana without being highly elevated in spiritual knowledge, Krsna consciousness. According to ordinary experience, Vrndavana appears to be just like an ordinary village, but in the eyes of a highly elevated devotee, it is as good as the original Vrndavana. A great saintly acarya has sung: ‘When will my mind be cleared of all contamination so I will be able to see Vrndavana as it is? And when will I be able to understand the literatures left by the Gosvamis so that I will be able to know of the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krsna?’ ”

Teachings Of Lord Chaitanya 31: The Supreme Perfection

Do you hear the flute?

Advertisements