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Adi & Praja 115

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Adi and Praja

Chapter 9

Issue 115: Music

There is a strong relation between the harmony of music and the harmony of the human soul. Shano hoped that one day he would have opportunity to travel to that far west.



Music of other cultures had discovered other miracles of nature – for example, Indian music had a more refined scale, a finer subdivision than the western scale. Others wanted to make music so soft and subtle, that they used silk strings to play on. They understood that softness touches the heart deeper than loudness. Such softness respects silence without disturbing it. Again other types of music imitated the rhythms of the forest, insects or birds or the wideness and dryness of the desert, or the greatness of the high mountains. Many forms of music were meant to raise religious feelings, sentiments of devotion and awe for true greatness, and still higher types of music where used to help one to transcend one’s mind and create an atmosphere for calm and austere consciousness, or meditation. Again others expressed the silence and subtleties of nature, of birds, insects, the elements. Shano was most intrigued with the simplest instruments possible. For example there were flutes without a mouthpiece, just the edge of the bamboo to split one’s breathe on, and a few holes in the side. It was extremely difficult to play, but it seemed to bring forth the soul of the bamboo itself, and the number of possibilities of the instrument was most astounding. It could only be played by great musicians. Every culture developed its own summit of accomplishment in beauty and expression of subtle emotion or intellectuality, and these combined. But, Shano knew that in the present world such complex harmonies and symphonies as described above and the full understanding, mathematically and esthetically, was only accomplished by cultures derived from the ancient Greek culture. The new culture of Shano’s days sought for combinations of music types which would become a new music type itself. Not just fusion music, but music completely giving expression to the best and holiest of all and a new harmony through which each of them was blending into one, and mutually supporting – it was now, step by step, becoming a new type of music – often called global classical music – not some kind of mixture, but a highly sophisticated new basis for centuries to come which would gave full satisfaction to the listeners heart and esthetic feelings. It involved infinite challenges and elaborations. The matrix idea was elaborated in many different ways, depending on the feelings and the cultural history of many locations. The common denominator was that it should touch the subtlest of the soul and elevate the listener, emotionally and/or mentally to Beauty and transcendental understanding. But the old musics continued as well, developed to new heights on themselves, and thus the world’s music became a unity as well as infinite variety. In this way Americans learned, inwardly, to understand the emotions of the Chinese, the Chinese of the Africans, the Indians of the Japanese, the Indonesian of the Europeans – just to mention a few examples. World culture was greatly enriched, and Shano’s friends, and Shano himself, were greatly supportive of it. Shano thought he had found the destination of his life in this town – beautiful in many other respects also, and his boss thought he had found a life-long companion and inspirer.

The road to the east however was a never traveled – almost never – beyond some villages and towns which stretched over a few hundred miles from the town were Shano was now. There, at the foot of some hills, was the end of the road and the last town. But, as it goes, about what one doesn’t know, the most stories went around. The country beyond the hills, were nobody dared to go, was known by the name ‘Scary Land’ or ‘Sacred Land,’ both these words having only one letter in difference in the local language. It was said that some people had ventured beyond the hills, but that nobody had ever come out alive. That is, almost nobody. But the few that had returned had become crazy, had completely lost their wits and were talking confused language, sometimes with a hint of spirituality, sometimes words that could only be expected from ghosts, but always useless. We know Shano’s nature by now, and it cannot be denied that he felt some attraction to that land. But he was so forcefully advised never to go there, especially by his newly acquired family members, and that the stories were no mere fancies, but realities that had to be taken serious. After all, everyone was well informed about whatever happened in the modern world and also about the superstitions of the ancient days, so that when they said one should not go there, they knew where they were talking about. But it was no real practical problem for Shano and the family. He stayed a long time with the family of instrument makers. He learned a lot.

The reason why his ‘brother’ – because so he felt his teacher was, had chosen that place to live and build instruments had a good reason. Not far from there were forests of special character. When one went into these forests one always felt quiet harmonious, and it was a good place to be, to think and to feel inspired. When it was very silent it was as if you could hear music, natural sounds like flutes and string instruments – that is, people who were sensitive to it, like the instrument builder, could hear these things. The forest seemed to have a musical soul of its own. When the instrument builder or his assistant Shano had received a new assignment of a master musician, they would try to feel the man or woman’s soul, and then go to the forest, walk around, meditate, and then select a tree. They had to cut the tree for that purpose, but they never did without the ‘permission’ of that tree. Trees can not talk, but if you watch the feelings around your heart closely, you may feel whether it agrees or not. It happened sometimes that the tree ‘told’ that there was another tree at some distance still better fit for their purpose. And finally, after a period of silent sitting at the tree, and after reciting some ancient ritual songs, the words and tones of which contained both thanks, apologies and respect to the tree and to the spirit of the forest, the tree would be cut by hand. The axe they used was hundreds of years old, and as it were familiar to the trees. Carrying the wood home, and after investigating the properties of the sections of the wood as to technical fitness, they would start making the instrument, which could be a flute, or a hobo or clarinet-like instrument, or a string instrument or drums of various types. It could take months before a good instrument was ready, but then the musician would always be most happy and even amazed about his own music once he played on it. No wonder that their place became famous in all directions.

Shano made many friends, no wonder, everyone liked his skills as well as his altruistic character. But, against your expectation perhaps, he had enemies as well. Not out of envy, as you might expect, but out of self-confrontation. During his wanderings and being alone for years in mountains, valleys and plains, in cities and over rivers, and being among people of all different make, good and evil, rationalists and magicians, he had changed. I had already told you that he had come to the conclusion that being altruistic is better that just enjoying nature and culture for himself alone. He had often meditated, and had concluded that ‘there was no duty, no knowledge, no wisdom higher than Truth.’ … because Truth is the only thing that really is, forever, despite its infinite variety in forms. Everything that lived and was conscious would adjust to Truth, but the human mind could fancifully deviate from truth and play ugly games with it, and as a result entirely entangle the possessor of that mind, i.e. the man, the woman, or humanity. So Shano had decided and vowed to himself to speak only truth, in whatever form it might present itself. So it came to be that he made enemies especially among religious teachers, officials, priests, even judges – strange enough they were fiercer enemies than some criminals who were purposely lying and hiding their real face. At least they admitted that they were lying. But adherents to a religion – there were many religions in those days – and preachers whose name and fame depended on their followers, claimed, and often had come to believe themselves, that they were speaking truth, and they subsisted on that, financially as well as psychologically. Once Shano had calmly and clearly explained in full public, after a preacher had told the people about ethical behavior on earth which would be praised by the gods in heaven, that the preacher was a hypocrite, mentioned some of his secret habits, and moreover explained that there was no heaven and hell such as the preacher proposed anywhere in the whole universe, because if people had no body after death, they could impossibly physically tortured or enjoying. The only existing thing after death would be emotion mixed with impure mind (at least in the beginning), and pure mind, and that those who would use their mind in the highest way they could and follow their deepest conscience, even if it would lead to the oddest and socially despicable behavior, would go to a heavenly state of consciousness rather than to a hot or cold or torturous hell – which simply could not exist for someone who had no body, and that the only possible physical hell could exist on earth, now or in future life. Of course the preacher, who was of some, though not very great, intelligence, disagreed firmly with Shano’s inherent idea of reincarnation, even though he understood that Shano was right and invincible in his ethical and logical arguments. From that time on he did, out of revenge, everything possible to make Shano’s life in town unpleasant, speaking ill about him to his (potential) clients, telling them, among other things, that Shano was a vile atheist. That didn’t bother Shano though, because truth was truth, whatever one thinks or says, and can not be influenced by judgments or beliefs. But what worried him was that this incident (and others like that) divided the citizens of the town, and they fought each other in ways which Shano had never intended – he had only spoken truth – and he even felt guilty about it. Shano became more adult, and learned to be careful with what he said, but he never left the truth. Rather he said nothing, or things that he felt had to be said, he said in private.

But Shano had another destiny than his teacher, and it happened that he started feeling the urge to go traveling again. His mind could not explain why.

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