The esraj: Sri Chinmoy’s favourite instrument

Last modified November 5, 2018

The esraj is a string instrument from India that is played with a bow; it produces a haunting, resonant sound that fills the room. Sri Chinmoy began playing the esraj in 1974, and it was very often the first instrument he played in his Peace Concerts around the world.

My most favourite instrument is the esraj. It is an Indian instrument and it originated over five hundred years ago during the time of the Moghul emperors. The greatest of all the emperors was Akbar. It was at his court that the musicians used to play this particular instrument, the esraj.

I pray, I meditate, I contemplate while I am playing. I try to be in close communion with my Inner Pilot, who is the Supreme Musician. And according to my capacity of receptivity, I try to offer His Light and Peace to the world through my music. So when I play, the esraj is not the real instrument; it is I who am the instrument.

Sri Chinmoy

The selection includes the entire album Esraj: My Inspiration-Aspiration Source – a 1999 recording – as well as various performances from the 1970s and 1980s. Included is an esraj excerpt from one of Sri Chinmoy’s first Peace Concerts, in Tokyo in 1984.

Sri Chinmoy’s quotes are taken from the books Conversations with Sri Chinmoy and The inner world and the outer world.


  1. Thank you so much for making these beautiful recordings available to everyone. This is very generous and I appreciate it.

  2. This is great music to have playing in the background, it really gives me a sense of peace


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