Musical Keys to the Interpretation of Reality
Essays by Marius Schneider, Rudolf Haase, Hans Erhard Lauer
Joscelyn Godwin, editor
Inner Traditions, One Park Street, Rochester, Vermont 05767
$16.95, paper, 255 pages, appendix, index
The idea that the universe is created out of sound or music (and therefore is music) is a very ancient one, being well-established in Vedic and Logos lore. In this book, Joscelyn Godwin brings together three contemporary German thinkers who epitomize this ancient tradition in its modern self-reflexive variants: Marius Schneider, Rudolf Haase, and Hans Erhard Lauer. The selected essays draw on ancient Indian sources and mythology; Kepler's Platonic vision of a musical, geometric universe; and the evolution of the tone systems of music. Unlike the New Age hucksters Summer complains about, these thinkers are well aware of the vibrational limits of music. They just choose to evaluate them within the framework of a general neoplatonizing approach to reality.
While every music lover senses the power and truth that resides in music, very few actually approach music as a path to cosmic knowledge. Godwin takes literally Beethoven's assertion that "Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom or philosophy." He writes: "... to penetrate the mysteries of music is to prepare for initiation into those fathomless mysteries of man and cosmos. One's discoveries will be pregnant with implications for every department of life... "
THE MYSTICISM OF SOUND AND MUSIC
The Sufi Teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan
Hazrat Inyat Khan
Shambhala, Dragon Edition
$18.00, paper; 322 pages, notes, bibliography, index
Inayat Khan says that music is the soul of the Beloved. His poetic vision of the pervasive nature of music has been an inspiration to musicians and artists. In these transcriptions of his public lectures delivered mostly in the 1920s, he demonstrates an authentic and inclusive spiritual and poetic message with a pervasive musical sensitivity. This volume is based upon volume two of his twelve volume collected works. According to Sufi teaching, music represents a remembrance of the divine origins of ourselves. This explains why music possesses such an amazing power to move us.
Khan pioneered Indian music in America during the early part of this century. He was such an extraordinary, charismatic person that he founded the Sufi Order in the West, a nonsectarian European and American based Sufi order based on his teachings.
His poetic explanations of music's divine nature is a modern classic, beloved not only by those interested in Sufism, but by musicians of all kinds. It contains a Sufi vision on music, sound, language and the power of words. After studying this work, and learning about the power and value of words and music in their repetition, one understands why Hazrat Inayat Khan used to give his pupils words and phrases to be repeated affirmatively. Such sentences, akin to mantras, are published at the end of this book. They may be useful for those who desire to enter more deeply into the reality of music, sound and vibrations. As Hazrat Inayat Khan said once in a lecture: "Another effect of this repetition is that the word is reflected upon the universal Spirit, and the universal mechanism then begins to repeat it automatically. In other words: what man repeats, God then begins to repeat, until it is materialized and has become a reality in all planes of existence. Though the Summers might take serious objection to these statements, a poetic view of the world does not necessarily preclude a rational appreciation of it.
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