Sunday, April 17, 2005

The "Root" of Sound

I've been talking about music recently and it's caused me to start turning certain ideas over in my mind, shall we discuss them? Good, i'm glad we're in agreement.

In Tantra and more specific to my point in Mantra the idea of Root syllables or Root sounds are central. This is not something i've explored in great depth, but the idea seems to have a good bit of credence to it.

The idea states that all sound or thought (all of the All) come from more fundamental aspects or roots. Think of it like this as the universe unfolds from it's allness into the manyness it has to add on more and more layers to continue the process of differentiation. The implications of this being that these root forms are closer to the source and thus contain a certain amount of power, if you will.

In meditative practices such as tantra visualization or mantra one utilizes these roots to bring about an effect, primarily being transpersonal experience. I think this connection between reality and root forms might point to some more subtle implications. The sufis believe music to be of the most divine origins, for this very reason. The vibrations of the universe are embodied in the symbolic vibrations we create in music, and thus invoke to some extent the divine "presence".

Obviously a philosophy like this is esoteric, and probably not of much use in day to day life, but i do think it has implications that extend that far. It's safe to say that 99% of everyone listens to music, and the music has an impact on their moods and thoughts. Perhaps a musician who understands the nature of these root forms can bring that to the forefront in their presentation, and thus engineer a deeper experience for the listener.

I think one of the more valuable implications of this idea is the nature of the sacred. According to this both root thoughts (syllables) and root sounds are very close to the Source, and thus contain a large aspect of the divine. To an individual our thoughts don't really have a specific connotation overall. Meaning they are what they are, which ranges from sacred and deep to profane and trite. What we don't realize is that range of connotation is imposed by us, as our thoughts become more confined to the ego they become more convoluted and more confining. When we have a bad thought, it's bad because we make it so. Our thoughts are inherently sacred. Think about the first word, in that one, first, meaningful utterance the entire universe was crossed. We go from isolated to connected in the span of to be.

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