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PART TWO - prelude

In lands that are veiled in the lure of distance and mystery, in Java, in Bali, men listen throughout deep tropical nights for the music of native orchestras; orchestras in which sets of gongs of all sizes, played in various manners, occupy the most conspicuous place. Throbbing with wondrous resonance, the big gongs scan the periods of the music as it flows evenly, flows like a deep river, releasing into the silence of towering forests myriads of tones. And the tones resound incessantly, fluid, alive. Quickly they drip from the hands of brown-skinned performers wrapped in batik "sarongs"; quickly, without break, yet also without haste, measured and solemnized by the soft throbs of the big gongs, which to these men are the very voices of their gods.

Unlike our highly individualistic and emotionally strained Western music, this music of gongs is the image of life itself, as it flows serenely, universally, rhythmically. It is music that is cosmic indeed, pure and full as the music which men of exalted realizations, like Pythagoras, named "the Music of the Spheres". Well may we compare the two; for to the awakened sense of those great dreamers, whose dreams at times interpret for us the meaning of celestial mysteries, the planets which circle majestically round the Sun can often be perceived as vast gongs, huge discs vibrant with hosts of energies centered round a core of flaming power, before which the seeing human soul fain would bow in awed reverence, calling it a god.

Modern minds, caught by the glamor of scientific analysis, may dismiss the vision as mere mythological fancy — even though science itself has come to describe in similar fashion our still mysterious Galaxy. Little does it matter; for whether the image be endowed with substantial reality or not, the pure significance nevertheless remains. And it is with this significance that we would deal, without being afraid to veil it in poetical symbolism, for after all, the deepest core of life is poetry and symbol.

Wherefore we shall attune our ears to the gong tones of the orchestra which our eyes see as the solar system. In this orchestra there are two solo performers, which ancient astrology called the "Lights" — Sun and Moon. Their performance is a twofold song — song of days and of nights; and the tones thereof are vibrations of light and of life. The bright Singers intone melodies throughout the earth, and as they sing, all beings are stirred, moved to become what they are. And in every living organism sympathetic resonances are aroused, a reflected song which to these organisms is light and life.

Through the greater heavens the solar song of light flows. It strikes the planetary hosts. Like huge gongs they resound to the impact. Their tones mount to a climax, boom forth through space. These tones are power. For they are words and they are commands. They circle through space. In appointed circuits of power, they revolve. Their revolutions stir — in every atom, every cell, every living whole — activities which, blending with the songs of light and life, of Sun and Moon, constitute the warp and woof of organic living.

The significance of this celestial orchestra resides in this, that in every living thing of the earth there is also, hidden behind the opaque veils of materiality, a cosmic orchestra. And for those who have retained the vision of poets and seers, these orchestras, the one in the skies and the myriads of those in all living wholes, are synchronous. Each organic entity is a little watch timed to the vast clock of the solar system. Life in the many microcosms can be interpreted in terms of the music of the orchestras they contain and which are their living souls — the breaths of Life. For Life is a moving harmony of functions. Organic activities are rhythmical and periodical. Their pulsations can be measured by the beating of invisible gongs; gongs which are hidden within the body, and cosmic ones also which man beholds in the sky.

Modern biologists are prone to refer all life-activities to endocrine glands, and to their infinitesimal secretions which hold such a magic power over the functional behavior of the organism — a power tremendous in relation to their size. Yet it may be that these glands are themselves but the concrete bases of operation for vibratory streams which emanate from more hidden or more deeply symbolic centers of force. These, in their totality, we would call the "life-gongs orchestra" within the body: the "Planets" within every living whole.

Each whole, insofar as it is a living whole, partakes in the activity of a few basic streams of energies which operate through the greater and more universal Whole of which it is a little part or cell. The essential functional structures of every whole, the smallest as well as the vastest, are analogical. Life performs in a few basic modes in every organic whole. These modes are set by the life-gongs which throb in all living things of the earth, as they boom forth through the vast spaces of the solar system.

We shall therefore attune our ears to the music of the planetary gongs, to the songs of the "Lights" whose circuits in our skies measure the reality of Time; Time that is Life creative and Life singing; Time that binds all gongs into a vast symphony of planetary voices; Time whose silence itself may become Tone — the small, childlike, pure, simple tone of our innermost self; a tone that vibrates through the whole of us, and is the wholeness of us; a tone so translucent, so clear, and so simple that no one may hear it save those who themselves have become silence.

That tone is the blending of all the overtones of life; yet in a curious, inexpressible way, the source of all that is "I". It is that which men of other times have named Tao; realizing which, great Sages and Saints and Poets have known God. Not the flaming triumphant divinity who sits on a throne of glory amid the paeans of celestial cohorts; but that mystic Presence which is humble and tender, radiant and pure — which is the song of Silence and of Love; which is nothing, yet without which there is nothing; which has gladdened the hearts of all mystics, and given to men the peace "that passeth understanding".

This edition copyright © 2008 Michael R. Meyer
All Rights Reserved.

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