Sound sense

Radha Prathi

Melody has taken a beating in the melee of modern living where dissonance is the inevitable byproduct of a technologically advanced era, coupled with human insensitivity.
If you are under the impression that being boisterous is a modern trend erase the idea. Making sounds has been as old as mankind itself. The difference lies in the fact that, in the past, loud noises were made to silence people and help them concentrate.

Harmonious and coherent sounds were made at high decibels for a practical purpose.
The art of being loud in order to mute the senses was perfected in the beating drums, blowing into wind instruments like oboes, trumpets, vuvuzelas and conches, ringing bells and carillons which were used to attract man’s attention. They were used during prayer sessions, religious rites and rituals and cultural fetes and social functions. The deafening metrical sounds invariably preceded important public announcements which were made in open spaces, market squares and temple grounds. Once the people were silenced by the overwhelming sound, the organisers and announcers found it easy to communicate and proceed with their agendas. Today, technology has chipped in to magnify man’s voice with microphones and sound boxes. All the same, the realms of culture and spirituality has not let go of the ancient method to garner the attention of the community.

Places of worship and significant occasions in man’s life are pragmatically punctuated with thunderous music. The voluble cadence of percussion instruments accompanied by ringing bells and blowing conches are used to benumb man’s brain. At such times, the person is distracted from his normal train of thoughts till he eventually stops talking, listening to the others around him or even thinking. In other words the acoustics of the atmosphere blanks out his mind. This elaborate exercise is carried out to negate his negative thoughts and to prevent the individual from listening or mouthing inanities. The cadence disciplines the mind which in turn attenuates the senses and helps one to relax.

The overwhelming din eventually helps people to cleanse their minds and helps them to make new beginnings without a sense of vengeance or malice. If one understands the underlying principle of silencing with sound, and reinforces the idea in daily life, it will certainly help one evolve spiritually. Over a period of time, the wandering mind will be trained to concentrate without silencers. Once we gain the discretion to evaluate “sound sense”, we will learn to appreciate and practice silence sans silencers – ancient or otherwise!

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