Sunday, November 8, 2015

Absolute Harmony: JS Bach's Air and Srila Sridhar Maharaj from the veranda (Repost from 2012)

I don't remember what came first, if JS Bach's Air reminded me of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's talk about Absolute Harmony or the other way around. But in either case, here is Bach's Air, a piece of music that most people would think of as the epitome of harmony, but which is actually full of dissonances, all the time. And below, an excerpt from Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Absolute Harmony, where there is talk of how in the Absolute even discord is harmonized.
In this clip the disharmonies can be visually seen in graphics. Every time the white rectangles touch, that is disharmony – friction, two notes of two incompatible movements meeting and creating dissonance (like in 2.36–2.50). But you won't really notice, because as listener you are following the greater movement of the piece, and you will anticipate the greater harmony that the piece itself is both promising and delivering, and in that way harmonize the discord. At 2:47 and 4:19 the discord is extra pronounced (and can be given more stress by the conductor than in this version).


Excerpt from Absolute Harmony (transcription)

Devotee: How practically to understand the principle of harmony?

SSM: What is the meaning of harmony? What is harmony?

Devotee: Strictly speaking it is a musical term and it refers to different musical tones that are in balance and they sound [nice]...

SSM: So different sounds are tuned to one that is harmony. Different instruments, different tones, from different men many, plural, which is connected with one, and on the whole giving some sweet and soothing feeling or sentiment that is harmony. There must be different things, different kinds of sounds from different kinds of instruments, and different kinds of voices. That is harmony.

The Earth and the planets, they are moving in their own way, and again, they are connected with another movement, another force. The moon is moving around the Earth. There are so many sub-planets that are moving around another planet. They are moving in their own way. And with all those movements, the Earth is moving around the sun. In this way, in one year the Earth is circumambulating the sun. Again, there is a time when everyone can complete his one-year movement.

LCN mathematics. To find the Lowest Common Nominator. A common. So many figures will meet their common divided. Some five times, some hundred times they will meet at one point. 

In this way, in variety, variety meets at one point. It represents in One. All meet in One. That is harmony. Variety, meeting, unity. In different planes. In the plane of sound, in the plane of colour, in the plane of movement. It may be of different phases, but many meets one, in one point. That is harmony. 

Just as there are so many branches of the tree they meet in the trunk. The trunk harmonizes so many branches. The tree harmonizes so many leaves. In this way.

The beauty, the harmony, the unity, and many similar words that can represent. The Master, the Guardian, the Controller, the Well-wisher in different phases it may be applied. And many in one. Many represented in one point. An interest of the many, represented in one place.

Devotee: So in the Absolute, even discord brings harmony?

SSM: Yes. In the Highest Absolute there is room for the accomodation of anything and everything. Otherwise it can not be absolute. If something is outside, it is not absolute. Absolute One. One accomodates everything. The enemy is no enemy to Him. All is relative. Absolute means absolute good. Everything will have got its fullest representation. Still, the Absolute Whole is so great that It can accomodate them.

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