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A noisier route to salvation!

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Three Zen monks took abode on a Himalayan peak for doing penance. They selected a spot as close to the heavens as possible with nothing at all to disturb them at least for a hundred years! They closed their eyes and went into meditation. Time rolled by and at the end of the tenth year one of the monks opened his eyes, looked around and said," Nothing much has changed here." There was no response from the other two who kept their eyes tightly shut. Ten more years passed and the second monk opened his eyes, looked around and said, "You are right! Nothing much has really changed." Another ten years later, the third monk opened his eyes, gave a stern look to the other two and said, "If you people keep chattering incessantly, how do you expect me to meditate?” The Zen monks really like their existence to be extremely quiet as one of them expressed: “Dense bamboo shades my windows, thick moss covers the steps in front, desires die in the quiet, cares disappear-it’s so quiet!”


    In the same vein, I recall another incident that took place several years back when the famous Ustad Vilayat Khan gave a sitar recital at The Music Academy. It was a packed audience and quite a number of young men could be seen in a pyjama and kurta with a jolna bag hanging from their shoulders and sporting an unshaven face. The combined aroma of incense sticks and flowers filled the hall and created an ethereal atmosphere. The Ustad took an interminably long time to tune his sitar and finally started playing the evening raga of Puriyadhanashri. Just as he was warming up to the alap of the raga, a child wailed in the hall. The Ustad became as mad as a wet hen, stopped playing and left the hall in a huff. No amount of persuasion could bring him back to resume the concert until the wailing child and his mother were sent out of the auditorium for good.

    In the latest issue of a well known periodical, there is an interview of a young music director who has taken the music world by storm. Answering one of the questions, he says that the outside noise levels do not bother him as long as he is mentally relaxed and is at peace with himself. It is in this state of mind that he is able to conceive new melodies by the dozen. When I read this interview, I could not help thinking of our Vidwans singing at the wedding receptions unmindful of noise levels that usually exceeded Central Station's at peak hours. I once asked a young girl who was fast becoming a carnatic music sensation if she did not feel disturbed singing at wedding receptions. She answered me that once she became one with the songs she was rendering, she became oblivious of outside noises.

    Hinduism believes in noisy worship. For example, at the climax of the Deeparadhana in temples, the noise level reaches a crescendo and that noise level itself lifts us to a different plane altogether. The ecstasy and joy, not to talk of the tears of joy, that we feel are in no small measure due to that combined noise of the temple bells and an assortment of musical instruments. Noise has become an integral part of our divine worship.

    The Zen monks, despite choosing the quietest place on earth for meditation, could not succeed as a few words spoken once a decade went on causing such ripples in their minds that they could never settle down to serious meditation. The Ustad also proved no match to our "reception" Vidwans in the matter of looking for quietness inwardly. The moral is that when you turn inwards and experience the yogic attitude, no amount of outside din disturbs you. That's why I consider an average middle class Indian the best of Yogis. No one can go about his job better than him considering the all-round chaos in which he has to carry on his daily routine. He is at total peace with himself, at all times!
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2008
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  2. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniya,

    How true! The noise levels in the temples are really high, that it does lead to that feeling of ecstasy , that too at the time of the deepaaradhanai ....it is something to be experienced and cannot be explained. I think it is the same at the churches also...i hear the church bells sitting at home here and i know the church is very far away....and i am sure that such noise levels are created to help one reach the sublime levels.
    I still remember those days when i would study for my exams with music on....of course the music was more melodious and i guess not so disturbing as nowadays!
    I guess finally it is all in the mind. It is so quiet here all the time , but my mind is always Noisy! maybe that is my route to salvation...ha ha......bonk
     
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  3. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sudha
    That your mind is noisy needs no proof. I can hear it working furiously sitting here in faraway India!
    Islam believes in a quieter atmosphere. Many troubles in India arise when a noisy procession passes through a mosque!
    Studying for exams with some music playing in the background is a sure way to success. It helps in our attention getting focussed. I owe all my academic success to the Binaca Geet Mala and such other musical programmes on the Radio!
    Thankfully there was no TV those days!
    Sri
     
  4. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    Cheeniya Sir,
    This article of yours reminded me of a story where Naradha was told by Lord Vishnu that the person living on earth is more devoted to Him than Narada and proved that by giving him a small utensil full of oil and told Narada that not to be spilled and also to chant His name as usual, which Narada cannot make it and accepted that, in spite of all the chaos on earth and around him, the average person at least chanted His name once in a while.
    :hatsoff to people living on earth!

    sriniketan
     
  5. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniya Sir,
    Yes, if we are not at peace with ourselves, noise or no noise, life would be a hell. And you observation about middle class Indian is very true! One of our great leaders was also intolerant to noise during his lectures like the Ustad you had mentioned.
    Regards,
    Malathi
     
  6. Anandchitra

    Anandchitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Cheeniya Sir
    Hats off for another great thread:hatsoff.
    I think our environment and noise levels go hand in hand. It used to be that when I had exams the corner shop would have some event to celebrate and had all his speakers out to go through the night as loudly as they could play music. Needless to say it kep me company while "mugging" up for all the exams. Here there's scarcely any sound but my son sits inside his room to study for exams and my going up and down the stairs is noisy for him!!!:idontgetit: But on second thoughts imagine the noise such a heavyweight woman has to move going up and down stairs..so :iagree that is too much noise!?? So since being brought up with all those speakers blaring and all the horns honking :shhh: now I have to have music blaring to do regular household work and cooking!! BTW when I do cooking I have my dh sitting nearby and his chatter is good music too:wink:
    Looks like I too have made enough "visual" noise replying..Do I hear you saying Chillout! .. So theres hope for noisy people like me!!!:whistle.......
     
  7. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,
    I warn you, this is akin to my culture post !
    Sound energy is very auspicious in our culture and does occupy a unique place.
    A pregnant woman is supposed to listen to good soft music since it soothes the baby.
    We sing lullabies & do a lot of "baby-talking" even to the new born because we strongly believe the effect of the same on the baby.
    If somebody is sick at home, we believe in chanting mantras loudly. We always believe sound drives away negative energy (besides very often, our fear!).
    In temples mantras are chanted and very often we feel peaceful after a temple visit. There is a spiritual vibration, which we cannot see, but feel.
    We ring the bell in the morning and evening at home to invite virtuous and noble forces to enter our heart and homeand mark the departure of destructive and evil forces.

    This holds good for any music - be it Binaca Geetmala in which background you studied or Radio Ceylon with Mayilvahanan which was my favourite !

    Well, finally, can't help writing that having lived an entire life with a very, very quiet man, I love noise & crave for the same. That seems to inject life in me.
    Love,
    Chithra.
     
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  8. Anandchitra

    Anandchitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear CheensSir
    I only have ONE doubt!
    Did somebody drive somebody to become very, very quiet with their craving for noise?
     
  9. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear AC,
    Hint very well taken !
    Sandaikuruvi, how do you expect Sri to answer your query ?
    If at all, you know, whom he will defend, side etc! I know, how pleased you will be with his answer!
    Having fun at the expense of a "dig" at me? Showing your true Naradhi colours !!
    Love,
    Chithra.
     
  10. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,

    A thought provoking piece. I think we need a new definition for noise now...

    Noise is a curse sometimes and a boon at lot of times...

    Think of a new born baby sleeping and there goes a 1000 wala,then it is... and when there is a thief robbing you, you make a noise, that is a boon..same goes when there is noise when you are walking alone on a lonely street late night....

    I like silence, being a loner to an extent.....but veda loves noise(unless he is watching a movie or reading his favorite book).... I love soothing melodies...my kids like to hear all those new blaring also.. ..God knows what is the decibel that our ear can withstand in this new era of noise pollution...

    Noise is maddening when you are in for a mri and the hammer pounding like noise during the process..is a nightmare..at the same time, the noise of the heart beat of a fetus inside the womb during a ultrasound is so fascinating and dreamy...nothing in the world can compare with that experience....

    The simple trick i follow, when i am disturbed by the noise retreat into myself...it does not effect me.....unless it is blaring from a loud speaker into my ears...

    But, the rhythmic chanting of om does help in controlling your heart beat, as the acoustics work on your body...and it has been proved and is being proved....

    The new gen music is more on the lines..lots of noise lot of takers..add to it the confusion to decipher the lyrics....

    Lot of artists do get irritated when disturbed during a performance...i feel the moment it would be better if they start performing for themselves also instead of for the audience alone.........

    We used to have a lecturer who used to get irritated if somebody talked..I always wondered if he forgot...the lecture he had prepared...
     

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