Mozart's Spiritual Life
“Amadeus” means ‘the one loved by God’. Undoubtedly, one of the most prolific and creative composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s genius was unparalleled. On the one hand, Mozart created the most beautiful music and, on the other hand, he was known to be of a vulgar nature. And with this existing paradox, he also exhibited a side that shows he was spiritually attuned with the Absolute. In many of his letters, he shows a subtle side that strongly highlights his tryst with the higher Self.
In the play Amadeus based on Mozart’s life, the character Salieri says: “Music is God’s art because a note can be absolutely right or wrong.” It’s the idea of an absolute art issuing from an equally absolute divine instance. Mozart’s passionate speech to the audience hangs heavily on a similar notion: “I bet you that’s how God hears the world. Millions of sound ascending at once and mixing in His ear to become unending music, unimaginable to us. That’s our job to combine the inner minds of him and him and her and her and turn the audience into God.”
Mozart’s music is proof and witness to this thought. In the diary of Schubert, another musical giant, he writes: “O, immortal Mozart, how many inspired suggestions of a better life have you left in your souls.”
The Ultimate Truth
The ultimate goal in all spiritual life is the merging of the individual soul with the Absolute. And the last step to that goal is self-surrender. Like his music, Mozart in all probabilities had stepped on this last pebble. In one of his letters after his mother’s death, he writes that though his grief was great he didn’t doubt the event. For one who gives can take. Such an acceptance comes only from divine knowledge. His words are resonant of Job’s words in the Bible: “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, Glory be the name of God.”
Perhaps one of the most important and mysterious events in Mozart’s life is the composition and the commissioning of his last composition, the Requiem. Einstein said: “No other work of Mozart has caused so much ink to be spilled.” The mystery of the Requiem has always enticed people’s imagination. But this episode, even if it’s reconstructed and altered through generations, brings forth the dynamic spiritual life of Mozart. And it echoes the final crescendo of this genius’ spiritual evolution.
Shortly before Mozart’s death, an unknown messenger had arrived at his doorstop and ordered him to write the Requiem. Many of the elements had been placed in the biography written in 1808 when Franz Niemetschek published this biography. Mozart never undertook work without consulting his wife and it was she who suggested he take up writing this requiem. Mozart was already suffering and was sick at this time. Yet he keenly worked on this piece of work. But his illness visibly increased and he grew more and more sad. His wife Constanze saw this. One day as they were driving in a carriage, this sensitive man had tears in his eyes and said: “I am only too conscious that my end will not be long in coming.” Hearing this, his wife removed the transcript of the Requiem from him. On the day of his death he asked for the Requiem to be brought to him. “Did I not say that I was writing this Requiem for myself?” And carefully looked at the whole score with moist eyes. It was a last glance at his immortal art.
One can easily mistake Mozart’s disposition to be of an ordinary man who fears death. But it was far from that. His was acceptance of the inevitable. The quiet calmness of a man who had come to accept in equanimity — death. This is not ordinary and only a man who has reached a certain degree of spiritual height can speak that way. He had said: “As death when we come to consider it closely is the true goal of our existence, I have formed during the last few years such close relations with this best and truest friend of mankind, that his image is no longer terrifying to me, but is indeed very soothing and consoling. And I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity … of learning that death is the key that unlocks the door to our true happiness.”
Mozart’s words are almost an echo of the words of the spiritual giant Swami Vivekananda, who said once while rubbing two stones against each other: “I fear death no more, I am as strong as this.”
It is said that the Absolute is nothing but Truth and Truth is nothing but pure Love. True Knowledge and Truth and Love are all but the same thing. This Absolute is nothing but Pure Love. The soul of a genius is nothing but this divine power that flows incessantly through it. If there remains any doubt of Mozart’s tryst with the Absolute, it resolves itself with one quote of his: “Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of a genius. Love, love, love that is the soul of a genius.”
With this one confession, Mozart reveals the power of both his music and his soul.