Thursday, October 27, 2011

How much time do you spend chanting praises?

In this previous post, we considered the teachings of the Hopi elders who consented to pass on their sacred traditions in the 1950s for the benefit of others, which Frank Waters and Oswald White Bear Fredericks recorded in The Book of the Hopi (1963). We saw that, according to the oral tradition, the world had been destroyed three times in the past, and that at the commencement of each new age after each successive cataclysm, the Creator gave to his people the same two commands:
First, respect me and one another. And second, sing in harmony from the tops of the hills. When I do not hear you singing praises to your Creator I will know you have gone back to evil again. 16.
What is it that is so important about singing praises to the Creator in harmony from the tops of the hills that this would be one of two strict commands, the neglect of which would bring as a consequence another world-ending catastrophe? If this command is so important, should we perhaps be paying more attention to it?

It turns out that singing praises in harmony to the Creator is held to be extremely important in other places where very ancient teachings are remembered as well. Above, we see a video of the late Swami Buaji (whom we met in this previous post). In it, he begins a very interesting chant, which contains words which can certainly be described as "singing praises to your Creator," to wit:
Relax your body!
Relax your mind!
Mentally massage your body.
Give a mental massage!
Pray to God, Almighty.
The Creator of the universe.
Pray to him to give you your long life
Your healthy life
Your disease-free body
Health and strength
Strength and stamina
Vigor and white energy (?)
Peace and prosperity
He is the doctor of doctors
He is the father of fathers
He is the architect of this human being (?)
He is the engineer of this human machine
He alone can give you whatever good you require
Therefore, pray to him
Surrender to him
Take shelter under him
Seek perfection under him
Seek asylum under him
He is the Creator
He is the protector
He is the (?)
He is the survivor
He is the sustainer
He is the preserver
He is the designer
He is the (?)
He is the requirer of all wisdom (?)
He alone can give you whatever good (?) you require
Therefore, remember him always
Forget him not
[. . .]
Not only are these words themselves noteworthy, but the tone in which they are sung or chanted is extremely noteworthy as well. They are not simply spoken, but rather intoned. The sing-song pattern of this "singing" or "chanting" appears to be important, because it is found in other ancient sacred chanting as well. Compare the pattern to the singing or chanting in the following videos.

And again here:

And here:

It appears that some people are remembering the importance of chanting (and specifically, "singing in harmony" and "singing praises to your Creator," as expressed by the Hopi elders), while many of us have forgotten it.

Without rushing to any conclusions presumptuously, it is at least possible to say that in light of all of the above, it might be wise to consider the possibility of the ongoing importance of chanting. It might also be possible to conclude that the actual language one uses is not as important as other aspects of this kind of singing -- the video of Swami Buaji indicates that it can even be done in English!

It is certainly possible that these similar patterns of expression sprang up independently around the world. On the other hand, it is also possible that they preserve some common heritage of mankind that is very ancient (we have seen previously, such as here and here, that John Anthony West provides extensive evidence that "harmonies" -- including audible harmonies -- were considered to be of great importance by the ancient Egyptians as well).

This seems to be a subject worthy of further exploration.