Healing Music for a Harmonious World
Participants applauded enthusiastically as the prayer leaders exited the stage, after which the names of the distinguished guests attending this year’s event were read aloud, and each guest stood briefly from his or her seat to greet the participants. This growing network of support from leaders in a variety of fields plays a vital role in the SOPP’s mission of shifting humanity’s consciousness toward peace. Previous SOPP guests who sent messages to this year’s event were also mentioned.
Next, this year’s musical guest, Mr. Setsuo Miyashita, was introduced on stage with a warm welcome. Mr. Miyashita is a Japanese musician and music therapist whose primary instrument is the santoor, a stringed instrument originally from India. Mr. Miyashita studied the santoor for many years, and today runs the Sarasoju Indian Classical Music and Dance Institute together with his wife. He has also released several albums of healing music.
Seated on stage, with the instrument on his lap, Mr. Miyashita addressed the participants briefly before beginning his performance.
Mr. Setsuo Miyashita, Santoor Player
Good morning everyone! It is my great honor to be able to play the santoor here at the Symphony of Peace Prayers today. Thank you very much for having me.
When I was in my twenties, a friend of mine showed me Masahisa Goi’s spiritual light photo and gave me several of his books to read, and I began praying for world peace as part of my daily practice. Recently, I have been re-reading Goi Sensei’s books, and I realized how greatly his message and guidance have influenced me. I am sincerely grateful to Goi Sensei.
The instrument I am playing today is called the santoor. It comes from the Kashmir region of India, and its history goes back 3,000 years. The santoor is a 100-stringed instrument played with a walnut stick, and is a forerunner of the modern-day piano. I studied for 25 years under the internationally renowned Indian santoor player Pandit Shivkumar Sharma.Today I will be playing Raga Bageshri, a song expressing love for a lotus flower. Thank you for listening, and please enjoy.
For the next eight minutes, Mr. Miyashita performedRaga Bageshri, filling the prayer field with the meditative and soothing yet emotionally stirring sounds of the santoor. The piece began at slower tempo, and gradually increased in speed and complexity, with uncommon melodies and harmonies that naturally penetrated deep into the minds and hearts of those listening. As the tempo slowed again and the piece came to a close, the audience responded with heartfelt applause for the moving performance.