|Shiv-Shakti Odisha painting|
These principles were viewed as a "sacred science", sacred not because they connect to a particular religion, but because they involve matters of energetic mediation between human beings and elements of the planetary natural world as well as with other non-human beings.
There were generations of lineage ancestors who devoted every waking moment, from childhood to old age, to rigorous physical, mental, and psychological testing and self-examination in ways that are almost non-existent today. I say "almost" because there still remain a few rare examples living even in this century. But the point is that those pursuing such paths consider their approach to be a type of disciplined scientific study, though it is arguably not within the currently accepted definition of "science". And it would not be considered scientific by many today because it was based on different experimental protocols and other ways of perceiving and understanding human physiology, vibration and harmonics of the natural world and its elements, and the very purpose of the music/dance arts themselves - being a healing and balancing modality requiring the utmost sense of responsibility and self-discipline over a long period of apprenticeship.
The stories of 'miraculous' feats accomplished by our master-musician ancestors are passed down to us still to this day. Some were recorded by the scribes of the time in still-existing manuscripts.
But these scientific arts, practiced by yogic adepts of the past and present, make use of the knowledge of the human chakra system, of pranayama, of deep meditation practices, of knowledge of the natural overtone series of our earthly atmospheric environment, of the vibratory nature of all matter animate and inanimate, of the shruti-division of the octave, of the mathematics of time-cycle subdivision, of mantra, of mudra and archetypal human postures and magnetic directionality (in sacred dance), and many levels of other esoteric aspects which are not apparent to the casual listener or viewer (nor even the self-styled "aficionados"). All of these subjects are easily dismissed by contemporary 'authorities' of the scientific world as being a load of woo-woo new-age bullshit. Never mind the fact that most normal human beings with a degree of discipline would be able to be trained over time, by the traditional teaching process, to at least begin to perceive, understand and even demonstrate some of the basic principles of the arts, for example: with a tanpura and voice or unfretted instrument sitting one-on-one with a master for a few years. My own generation, and subsequent ones, of Westerners/non-Indians have demonstrated ample proof of this.
Maybe the problem is that there's nothing to measure. Sure, there is a slew of "sacred sound" scammers who even write books, sell DVDs, and give expensive "sound-healing" workshops, who might point to some heart-rate or biofeedback studies with various musics, but they're all based on Western tempered (castrated) scales (a melodically-challenged "classical" pseudo-art culture), and a vague misunderstanding of ancient Greek incomplete musical knowledge, and a load of pop new-age pulled-outta-the-ass weekend workshop fantasies. Some westerners and South Asians have done some research, but nobody's really interested, or the work gets buried in some obscure ethnomusicology journals. I think that this subject is another taboo that, if seriously examined, would pull the rug out, reveal the house of cards and the sand foundation of the entire edifice of modern "culture", possibly creating a cascading effect on too many universally accepted belief systems and world views, not to mention academic positions. So basically, no one is interested. It sounds too mental to the 'cool' poser people, and too flakey to the PhDs.
So what if the master singer of the royal court of Akbar created so much internal heat with the Fire Raga that he succumbed to his injuries, or that the master drummer calmed a herd of stampeding wild elephants with the 14-beat rhythm, or that musicians were (and are) creating rain on a regular basis with witnesses (like this writer)? Yeah, like, so what? This stuff all ends up relating to consciousness and the projection and interconnections thereof. People have different opinions on whether this consciousness business is even worthy of the attention of the scientific world in this day and age. There are more important matters, like restoration of things destroyed, slowing extinctions, millions of preventable deaths, new energy technologies, bringing down the pathocracy, etc. (Unfortunately, all these issues are unsolvable by the same "scientific"/intellectual consciousness level that created them, and would require a mass transformational shift of awareness.) So, maybe it's a matter of personal choice, or destiny. I don't know.
I am just not ready to slam or demonize everyone who, with a scientific background, feels drawn to explore these areas of inquiry. Sort of in the way that I have to refrain from judging MDs who are attempting to be open about alternative medical modalities. I've personally seen a fair number of changes and transformations in people on an individual level in my lifetime. Some of these are glacially slow and some overnight. But I can't live preoccupied with what others do with their precious human birth, because such obsession inevitably leads to one's own dis-ease, and I'd rather pass on, as long as I can, what has been so generously given to me by my mentors.
We have to pick our own battles. I see the ones dealing with our own egos and programming as being of primary importance. All other battles I would have to say I have lost. Most aware people live with this same discouraging reality, where the powers of mind-fuckery and violence appear so-far unassailable. [I remain strangely positive, though I can't explain why. It's neither optimistic nor pessimistic, just somewhere in the realm of the unknown. (Unknown unknowns?)]
Science today (and for a couple centuries) seems to be not so different from a religion. It doesn't result in any final 'answers', though some still cling to the idea it will. The concept of the scientific method also seems to have boundaries that prevent it from discovering anything definitive regarding what we term 'consciousness' and 'sentience' though some are attempting this. In the long view of history the very term 'science' (regarded as rigorous objective intellectual and practical inquiry/study of the world for the purpose of revealing knowledge) has clearly mutated through times, places, and cultures. Where would the cultural explanations of "plants revealing their properties to the herbalists" (but not by 'trial-and-error') fit into the current scientific view? Again, maybe someone could answer this, I don't know. I am just not particularly schooled in that world. I can only go on my own experiences and gut feelings as I have encountered various people's personal approaches to self-knowledge. I have known people who have absolute self-confidence in their own world-view, and who spend their days working in labs at Los Alamos and question nothing as regards the effects of their "contribution" to society as a whole - both foreigners and Americans. (I recall one of these 20 years ago claiming his atom-smasher was a search for "god") I can clearly see the "walls" that make reflections into different directions impossible. It's merely serving the demonic Cheney-esque dark side, but self-benefit always outweighs benefit-to-the-commons, as in every aspect of contemporary ponerized life. Not to discount the very same feature being at play in the "art" world too.
On a personal level, my recently-begun studies of the African-Cuban Orisha [Bata-]drumming-song-dance tradition has been revealing astonishing parallels with the similar aspects of the Odisha culture of Eastern India. Many of these parallels can only be perceived through the actual practice of the art-forms, and likely go un-noticed by the ethnomusicological world. These are in the subtleties passed in the oral transmissions between musicians, and from teacher to student. I am probably the only person in the world who has even swam in these two streams and realized that there's a hidden historical puzzle involved, going way back in time.
But I digress. Point is: I don't put much value on the whole "scientific free inquiry" bit. A fun playground for the pathologically hubristic. There are reasons why traditional societies tended to have various controls on this "free inquiry" business. Wisdom related to natural balance, walking softly, respect, doing no harm - took precedence over this imaginary "freedom". What the hell does our world look like today? The result of "freedom"? Not to mention our totally distorted, ideologically censored, and deeply hidden history under the control and propagated by narcissistic power freaks for centuries.
Yeah, I know, so what else is new? Nuthin. Same shit in every field of 'civilized' human endeavor, fields which have been tiresomely listed by others infinite times.
The first mystic I met when I was 22 told me "you have to kill your scientific mind". He was correct in the sense that the scientific mind, overall, has led less to life-enhancement and peace and liberation of all beings, and more to death, denial, and ignorance. That's how it looks from where I sit. Science has fed the death-culture as much as, if not more than, the monotheistic program. It's pretty much in service to the death culture across the board. Omnicide? Sixth extinction? Gaiacide? Any sane use of science today amounts to slinging pebbles at a army of mechanized doom and horror advancing everywhere over the horizon. We're at a place where there's not even the time nor energy to wonder how it all began, where will it end….
In the 80s and 90s I performed or lectured at over 30 major US universities. Every institution I entered I knew (some of) what evil shit their "science" departments were up to. I decided long ago I would not set foot again in those places. Hardly anyone I know feels there is any moral or ethical imperative to boycott or shun such places of higher ignorance, even though they are the key element in the mil-ind-edu-agro-pharm-med-media-entertain-arts-energy-transit-communication-trade-empire-complex. "Oh, but we want our children to get that piece of paper so they can get ahead in the world, and besides, THEY'RE not involved in the 'bad' stuff." Actually, bottom line, it's ALL 'mil'.
This is the sound of the scientific mind coming out of its ultimate orifice: "The possibilities of DDT are sufficient to stir the most sluggish imagination….In my opinion it is the War's greatest contribution to the future health of the world." - Brigadier General James Simmons, 1945
Wow, its only a short leap from there to the recent verbal excrement by the wolf-hater cult: "Wolves are wildlife terrorists….their [re-]introduction was a criminal conspiracy by a bunch of pot-smoking, wine-sucking, vegetarian lawyers to end blood sports...I want to see these people in prison for the rest of their lives." -- Montana gubernatorial candidate Bob.
Anyway, I was tempted to continue my rant on Veterans Today, and some of their recent vile spewings (whining about the sordid wartime conditions of the Vietnam grunts, vile slander of those who eschewed 'serving' because we had our wits about us to see the systemic cracks to slip through and serve life instead of death, etc. etc.), but I'll save that for another time.
I was also going to describe how the modern "health" system put me into bed sick last week for seven days, but again, for another time...
So, back to our subject. I don't know if I'm really making clear what I mean in regard to this matter of 'science'. I'll leave off with some more articulate quotes from a volume titled "WILD, An Elemental Journey" by Jay Griffiths:
"All of this land, everything in it, is medicine", says an old Shoshone woman of the Nevada desert. To Western eyes, medicine, law, land and song are entirely separate, but to many indigenous people they are aspects of a single ordered entity, call it harmony or health or law. They cocreate this deep order inherent in nature, through ritual, through song."
"People talk of the reciprocal relationship between themselves and land as if it is a resonant frequency, so the land sings, people resonate with it, and it makes them feel rung to a sung pitch. That sound is sung by humans, and is in turn picked up by the land, which "hears" human pitch and resonates to it in turn, in a round of song where each voice echoes the one before."
"And when the songlines are silenced, a conceptual wasteland is all that remains."
Sounds pretty much like what we got - a spiritual wasteland, an imitation 'knowledge' devoid of conscience, consciousness, spirit, and livity.
The other is what I perceive to be the real. There's no convincing me otherwise, in this universe or any other, see?
When I hear the word 'science', a few examples come to mind. I think of Galen of Pergamom - 2nd Cent. AD ["father of vivisection"], of Claude Bernard - 1800s ["father of modern physiology", wetiko monster], Harry Harlow - 1900s ["father of psychology", of "pit of despair"-fame], J. David Jentsch - 2000s [monkey-drug-addiction freak, pro-vivi fanatic spokeman], Tom Yin - 2014 [cat deafness freak, wetiko sub-human].
I guess I would have to agree with a former associate of Bernard's who wrote that Bernard's lab had made him "prepared to see not only science, but even mankind, perish rather than have recourse to such means of saving it."
WARNING - Disturbing Images
intellectual giants of the
last 2000 years of
Orwell forgot one thing:
War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength....and
DEATH IS LIFE