Biography of Edward Salim Michael 1921 – 2006
Of Anglo-Indian descent, Edward Salim Michael spent his entire childhood in various countries of the Middle East. He never had the opportunity of attending school and did not have a mother tongue.
Parental peregrinations brought him back to London just before the storm of the Second World War. So, without knowing how to read or write and only understanding a few words of English he found himself drafted into the Royal Air Force as a simple airman on the ground staff. It was there that providentially he made the acquaintance of an Anglican Chaplain who taught him the basics of reading and writing.
The Chaplain’s wife taught him music which he assimilated at a stunning speed. His first orchestral piece, composed after only two years of study, won a competition and was played at the Albert Hall in London.
After the War, from which he emerged terribly bruised, he pursued his musical studies with passion and in addition to composition, became a solo violinist. He gave his first concerts after only three years of study. In 1949, another providential meeting awoke within him a mysterious silent memory.
It was in London at the house of Mr. Adie who was part of the Gurdjieff groups in England, that he saw a statue of Buddha for the first time in his life. He remained transfixed in front of it and, when he returned to his home, he immediately put himself into the same posture as the statue with no difficulties, closed his eyes and began to concentrate on an inner sound that he heard within his ears and head, without even knowing that what he was doing was called meditation and the sound on which he was concentrating was known as the Nada in India and comprises a concentration aid known to both Hindus and Buddhists.
In parallel to his career as a musician, he then embarked on his spiritual practice with all the passion and exactingness of a great artist. Through the exceptional concentration skills he had developed as a composer, he swiftly began to have profound spiritual experiences.
The Nada was a very important support for him. He tried to hear this inner sound in his meditation as well as throughout the day. He observed the extreme difficulty there was in remaining vigilant and conscious of himself over the long term. So, he invented for his own use all sorts of concentration exercises which he would subsequently pass on to his students and in his books.