In Krishna’s avatar, the Lord fulfilled His love for music with a most melodious instrument — a flute. Every day little Krishna would set out from home with His flute tucked in at His waist.
Bhagavan’s love for His flute is legendary. Considered the most organic among musical instruments, how was the bamboo flute blessed and fortunate to be with Sri Krishna all the time? The Gopis were ever jealous of this lucky instrument. Always by His side, the Lord’s flute received the touch of the Lord’s nectarean lips. This is something devotees long for, over lifetimes together.
Someone once asked, “O flute, what meritorious deeds did you perform that the Lord always keeps you with Him and places you on His lips?” The Lord’s flute replied, “Before I became a flute, I was a bamboo rod, part of a tree rooted in the ground. As soon as I sprouted, I had to bear the heat, the sun, the rain and every other facet of nature. I practiced many other austerities. After much penance, I was uprooted and cut, and had to suffer more pain. Then, I was pierced — not once, but seven times. I bore all this silently.”
Hollow and empty, the flute does not produce any sound of her own. The Lord breathes life into her and in accordance with His wishes, the musical notes stream forth from her. Of her own accord, not a single new note does she produce. She surrenders herself completely. Such is her glory.
We too should make ourselves like the flute, completely hollow within, devoid of blockages and obstructions so that we are able to bear all of life’s adversities and austerities. We typically have a variety of likes, dislikes, desires, anger and such attributes. So, even if the Lord took us with Him, we would just continue to sing our own tunes, according to our own preferences and attachments. Just as unwanted notes sometimes originate on their own, when we sit to play the harmonium, so also, in life unwanted egocentric tunes sometimes come forth on their own. This is not good.
Bells and conches are the “sounds of joy” that resound and call us to the temple. Similarly, the sound of Bhagavan playing His flute, is His call to devotees to gather around Him. The sound of the sweet music from His flute was the signal for every resident of Vrindavan to immediately drop everything and run to Him, that very instant. This kept all the residents of Vrindavan in divine bliss. Even now, if we reduce our constant crying, just a bit, we too would hear the sound of music. After all, why does the Lord play the flute? Only and just to call us to Him!