Is listening to music sin/ tamsic behavior ?

In my opinion listening to music doesn't serve any life purpose. It is like drug , releases quick oxytocin (happiness harmones). It wastes one time. It can also cause addiction.

Is listening to music sin ? Is it tamsic behavior ? Does it lead to one's downfall ?

I think it is . As Kings who are fond of listening to music and dancing are not considered as good King.

What does scriptures say about music ?

As far as I know, playing of musical instruments is considered lowly activity and must be avoided.(Correct me if I am wrong)

  • I don’t think it is if listening to religious stuffs like bhajans and such 🕉 I agree w/ Swami Vishwananda’s comment on this post : hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/47903/… Dec 25, 2022 at 3:28
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    According to me, it's not tāmasika generally, but its usually rājasika. It can be sāttvika depending on the type of music, if it is devotional music and there is involvement in it, it's not rājasika then.
    – Bingming
    Dec 25, 2022 at 4:08
  • Also, tāmasika doesn't mean sin actually, that is just a western misinterpretation. The nature of action performed in listening to music depends on one's involvement and the type of music basically. But listening to music (normally) is for sensual pleasure, so it's usually not sāttvika.
    – Bingming
    Dec 25, 2022 at 4:41
  • You are speaking like a Muslim, you know.
    – অনু
    Dec 25, 2022 at 5:33
  • @Bingming the comment wasn't directed at you. Secondly, it was a sarcastic comment. Thirdly you are giving self-contradictory statements, like music is haram & not at the same time.
    – অনু
    Dec 25, 2022 at 8:14

1 Answer 1


The answer lies in the Devībhāgavatapurāṇa

Context : The ṛṣis Nārada & Parvata were once living at the residence of a king named Sañjaya during the Cāturmāsya period. His daughter Damayantī was made responsible for their care. Damayantī was enchanted by Nārada's melodious singing of Sāmagānas & fell in love with him, which was reflected in her preferential treatment of Nārada over Parvata. Nārada also fell in love with her (according to the Brahmavaivartapurāṇa, Damayantī in her previous life was the wife of Nārada, who at that time, had been born as the gandharva Upabarhaṇa due to Brahmā's curse), which incensed Parvata so much that he cursed Nārada that his face would become that of a monkey. Damayantī continued to love Nārada inspite of his monkey-face, but was dissuaded by her parents from marrying him. In reply, Damayantī stated

मूर्खेण सह संवासो मरणं तत्क्षणे क्षणे । रूपवान्धनवांस्त्याज्यो गुणहीनो नरः सदा ॥ धिङ्‌मैत्रीं मूर्खभूपाले वृथा गर्वसमन्विते । गुणज्ञे भिक्षुके श्रेष्ठा वचनात्सुखदायिनी ॥ स्वरज्ञो ग्रामवित्कामं मूर्च्छनाज्ञानभेदभाक् । दुर्लभः पुरुषश्चाष्टरसज्ञो दुर्बलोऽपि वै ॥ यथा नयति कैलासं गङ्गा चैव सरस्वती । तथा नयति कैलासं स्वरज्ञानविशारदः ।। स्वरमानं तु यो वेद स देवो मानुषोऽपि सन् । सप्तभेदं न यो वेद स पशुः सुरराडपि ॥ मूर्च्छनातानमार्गं तु श्रुत्वा मोदं न याति यः । स पशुः सर्वथा ज्ञेयो हरिणाः पशवो न हि ॥ वरं विषधरः सर्पः श्रुत्वा नादं मनोहरम् । अश्रोत्रोऽपि मुदं याति धिक्सकर्णांश्च मानवान् ॥ बालोऽपि सुस्वरं गेयं श्रुत्वा मुदितमानसः । जायते किन्तु ते वृद्धा न जानन्ति धिगस्तु तान् ॥ पिता मे किं न जानाति नारदस्य गुणान् बत । द्वितीयः सामगो नास्ति त्रिषु लोकेषु तत्समः ॥ तस्मादसौ मया नूनं वृतः पूर्वं समागमात् । पश्चाच्छापवशाज्जातो वानरास्यो गुणाकरः ॥ किन्नरा न प्रियाः कस्य भवन्ति तुरगाननाः । गानविद्यासमायुक्ताः किं मुखेन वरेण ह ॥

Transliteration : Living with a fool is like experiencing death at every moment. A talentless person should be always forsaken even if he is handsome & wealthy. Fie to friendship with a king who is foolish & harbours pride in vain ! Even a talented beggar is much better because his words cause delight. Rare is the man who is well acquainted with svara, grāma, mūrcchanā & all 8 forms of sentiments, even if he be weak. The person versed in music leads to Kailāsa similar to how Gaṅgā & Sarasvatī leads to Kailāsa. The man who knows svara is verily a deva. The person who doesn't knows the 7 types (of svara) is verily a beast, even if he happens to be Indra. He who doesn't gets delight from hearing the system of mūrcchanā & tāna is to be always considered on par with animals & not the animals like deer (who enjoy music). Fie to those humans with ears (who don't enjoy music) when even venomous snakes enjoy a good music inspite of being devoid of ears ! Fie to those ignorant elderly people (who don't know music) when even children close their eyes on hearing a melodious music ! Doesn't my father knows about the talents of Nārada ? In the 3 worlds, there is no other knower of Sāmagāna equal to him. So he was already chosen by me on his arrival, afterwards that great mine of talents was cursed to become monkey-faced. Who doesn't like the the horse-faced kinnaras endowed with the knowledge of music ? What will they do with good faces ? [Devībhāgavatapurāṇa:6:27:18-28]

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