From the Book: MUSIC AS YOGA By Swami Sivananda
The first manifestation of God is Ether or Sound. Sound is the Guna or Quality of Ether. Sounds are vibrations. They give rise to definite forms. Each sound produces a form in the invisible world and combinations of sound create complicated shapes.
The textbooks of science describe certain experiments which show that notes produced by certain instruments trace out on a bed of sand definite geometrical figures. It is thus demonstrated that rhythmical vibrations give rise to regular geometrical figures.
The Hindu books on music tell us that various musical tunes Ragas and Raginis have each particular shape which the books graphically describe. For instance the Megha Ragha is said to be a majestic figure seated on an elephant. The Basanta Raga is described as a beautiful youth decked with flowers. All this means that the particular Raga or Ragini, when accurately sung, produces aerial etheric vibrations which create certain characteristic shapes.
This view has recently received corroborations from the experiments carried on by Mrs. Watts Hughes, the gifted author of "Voice Figures". She recently delivered an illustrated lecture before a select audience in Lord Leighton's studio to demonstrate the beautiful scientific discoveries on which she has alighted as the result of many years of patient labour.
Mrs. Hughes sings into a simple instrument called an "Eidophone" which consists of a tube, a receiver and a flexible membrane, and she finds that each note assumes definite and constant shape, as revealed through a sensitive and mobile medium. At the outset of her lecture, she placed tiny seeds upon the flexible membrane and the air vibrations set up by the notes, she sounded, danced them into definite geometric patterns. Afterwards she used dusts of various kinds, lycopodium dust being found particularly suitable. A reporter describing the shapes of the notes, speaks of them as remarkable revelations of geometry, perspective and shading. "Stars, spirals, snakes, wonders in wheels and imagination rioting in a wealth of captivating methodical designs" such were what were shown first.
Once when Mrs. Hughes was singing a note, a daisy appeared and disappeared, and "I tried" she said, "to sing it back for weeks before, at last I succeeded." Now she knows the precise inflections of the particular note, that is a daisy, and it is made constant and definite by a strange method of coaxing and alteration of crescendo and diminuendo. After the audience had gazed enrapped, a series of daisies, some with succeeding rows of petals and some with petals delicately viewed, they were shown other notes, and these were pandies of great beauty. "How wonderful, how lovely" were the audible exclamations, that arose in the late Lord Leighton's studio, and exquisite form succeeded exquisite forms on the screen. The flowers were followed by sea- monsters, serpentine form of swelling rotundity, full of light and shade and detail, feeding in miles of perspective. After these notes came others and there were trees, trees with fruits falling, trees with a foreground of rocks, trees with sea behind, "Why" exclaimed people in the audience, they are just like Japanese landscapes.
Thus the repeated singing of the Name of the Lord gradually builds up the forms of the Devatas or the special manifestations of the deity, whom you seek to worship and this serves as a focus to concentrate the benign influence of the Being, which radiating from the centre, penetrates the worshipper of the singer or Sangeeta-Premi.
When one enters the state of meditation, the inner Vritti-flow is greatly intensified. The deeper one goes into meditation the more marked is effect. The concentration of the mind upwards sends a rush of this force through the top of the head and the response comes in a fine rain of soft magnetism. This feeling arising from the downward power sends a wonderful glow through the body, and one feels as though bathed in a soft kind of electricity.
The above experiments demonstrate the following facts:
1. Sounds produce shape.
2. Particular notes give rise to particular forms.
3. If you want to reproduce a particular form, you must recite a particular note in a particular pitch.
4. That, for that purpose no other note and no other pitch, chanting even the identical note will avail.
MUSIC AS YOGA
By Swami Sivananda
Published by: The Divine Life Society
P. O. Shivanandanagar,Uttaranchal, Himalayas.