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Chanting the Holy Names an article in Light of Consciousness Magazine
 
By Patrick Bernard

*An article in light of Consciousness Magazine
According to the ancient Vedas, sound is carried by ether and ether pervades everything. Sound can therefore directly act on the body and mind, thus having a beneficial or harmful effect according to the nature of its vibrations.

When saturated with heavy negative emotions and affirmations, sound has a destructive power. When bathed with altruistic emanations and real spiritual intentions, sound vibration is the supreme powerful healer. By freeing the subconscious from the toxic influence of pettiness, anger, resentment, fear, worries, anxiety and reductionism, by freeing the mind from the blockages born of poisonous apprehension and doubt, sound has the power to heal. The spiritual sound vibrations of the Names of God restore human being's dignity. The Holy Names release the human mind from restrictive weakness and envy. Toxic shame, jealousy, lack of self-esteem and greed in particular are real problems which are at the root of so many psychic conflicts and cellular disorders.

After more than 30 years of practice, chanting on beads, participating to congressional kirtan, doing bhajan, recording and giving Concerts of Holy Names around the world, I experienced everywhere more or less the same positive effects. The sound frequencies of the Divine Names enter the layers of the mind and replace the wrong belief that make us mortal and limited beings by the right scheme and psychic design, vibrant with divine potential. The resulting feeling of independence and autonomy can hardly be described herein.

It's a feeling parallel to serenity that surpasses all the pleasures I know. As far as I am concerned, it doesn't matter really whether scientific circles recognize this fact or not. Anyone may check out for him or herself these altered states of consciousness which show that human beings are absolutely “made in the image of God” and can therefore enjoy full independence.

Mantric assertion of the Holy Names
A mantra is a vibratory tool used to free the mind. In ancient Sanskrit, “mana” means the mind and “tatra” means liberation. Each mantra is linked by a specific correspondence to the potentialities buried deep within our consciousness. A mantra enables us to live and experience a psychic state that would otherwise be extremely difficult to create.

For the priest of ancient Egypt , to assert one's divinity was to name it, that is “vibrating” our own divine nature through a nominative or a nominal call. Furthermore, the Vedanta Sutra of antique India defines the living entity as being simultaneously qualitatively One and quantitatively different from God. We can conclude that to name the Absolute means to name one's own divine nature, one's own divine part. When we utter, or simply listen to the particular vibratory energies of the divine nominatives (the Holy Names), we link up with the Infinite and simultaneously awaken our own divine qualities.

Does God have a name? Experts in mysticism agree that the Absolute possesses billions of different names. At the same time, God is materially nameless and materially formless. God has infinite spiritual Names and infinite spiritual Forms and is realized according to our own God consciousness. Personal, impersonal, masculine, feminine, every aspect is transcendentally real for the human soul. Those Names and Forms are not an artificial imposition on the mind as psychologists may think. His or Her names are therefore never concerned by restrictive interferences. The Supreme Soul of the Universe is omniscient by definition and understands all human as well as non-human languages.

The initiation

Love, intention, motivation and compassion matter more than the definition of words. This is why there are no hard and fast rules in chanting the Holy Names. This is why Christ or Krishna , or Adonaï, or Radha (the Feminine and Compassionate Aspect of the Absolute), the name is the same. However, if we chant “bablula bablula” or anything created by our own phantasmagoria, nothing transcendental will happens. The Holy Names are a sound manifestation coming from the Spiritual Dimension. If we manufacture the sound ourselves, we will not be able to experience any wonderful spiritual emotions or any real change of heart.

We must also have some discrimination between the Names of God and the names of different demigods like Shiva, Tara, Laksmi, Saraswati etc. If we want to get money, we may turn to mother Laksmi, and if we want to be healthy, we may invoke the sun-god, Surya, or if we desire some name and fame, we can turn to some other demigods. That's all right. The results will certainly be there but it will last only for few years. Eventually everything we asked for will be washed away by the waves of time.

The result of chanting the Holy Names of God is quite different. The only effect is pure, unconditional, immortal divine love… This is why, traditionally, the prayer of the Names is linked to a genuine disciplic succession and is given through the process of initiation to the disciple by a pure devotee of the Lord, man or woman, who has no material desire whatsoever. This is not a cheap process. We must think about it when we sing some sacred mantra live on stage or when we record it on CD.

We have to know the real target in the secret of our heart because the particular intention of the performer will deeply affect the listeners and in the long run the singer will be responsible for that related influence. If we keep some self-promoting mundane desires while chanting the Holy Names we must realize that our chanting is offensive. Sooner or later the severe consequences will manifest.

On the other hand, demigods are angels and great archangels and they are in the divine service, so we can chant their beautiful names in order to receive help from them. They are always ready to give us some help as long as our activities are in complete harmony with the divine plan. These things are part of our inner and private conversation with the Divine Mother.

A world of transcendence

The chanting of the Holy Names isn't a kind of ritualistic ceremony or an act of religiosity. It's the awakening of our divine soul in union with the Supreme Living Being. It's the song and dance of the soul and, as we said before, there are no rigid rules to follow to engage in this eternal pastime.

When one is initiated into traditional Vedic mantra, for example, there are certain rules that must be respected. One must, among other things, respect the exact pronunciation of letters and observed the accuracy of specific musical notes, know the length and strength of the pronounced sound, honor the musical quality and know how to use pauses. The posture of the chanter and the speed of the chanting is also of capital importance, the right breathing is fundamental etc. The chanting of traditional Vedic mantra must be correctly applied and the precise metric form of each sound formula should be respected so that the energy of the mantra is released. It's impossible to transpose or translate a Vedic mantra. If some unscrupulous singer does so, the sound structure ceases to be a mantra. Moreover, if the mantra is somehow chanted imperfectly, the sound waves can even bring the opposite effect of that which it's supposed to produce…

Fortunately enough, none of these precautions are required when one takes to the Holy Names. The Names of God may be chanted in any languages, whispered, hummed, silently repeated in one's heart, loudly shouted or recited in any possible fashion. The Holy Names are One with God. The Name and the Named are not different. The Names are even more merciful than the Named! They transcend everything and satisfy all the secret wishes of our eternal spirit soul.


Happiness, as the stage of realization of one's faith
 

Today we have a strong tendency to convert happiness to nothing but a state of pleasure. We have forgotten that old Greek and Judeo-Christian concept that happiness is associated to a project of life and peace of consciousness, a peace that was achieved with the certainty of having worked on that very project. Therefore, that happiness could very well live with suffering and even with collective detachment, which are often the opposite of what you are looking for in pleasure. (Thomas Mattos)

The world in its dynamic permanence and being pursues at any cost, in an unconscious manner, a state of sensory pleasure, which is indiscriminately and erroneously called happiness. However such a state if followed refrains from anything that involves a real state happiness. What we could define for the present circumstances involves a highly developed state of faith.

Today's society is the result of multiple historical, political and economic factors that have led man to build philosophical touchstones that bypass the need to look inward, depriving them of all the benefits it actually entails. Thus, they have focused their attention on supposedly efficient and practical ways to mitigate any disease or ill-feeling, with acceptable methods and procedures to numb the consciousness of truth and the responsibility we have with her.

It is ample the offering of fast economical solutions (in terms of personal resources) that the market of globalization offers from multi-diverse industrialized foods that are packaged attractively, and the standard of technology which distracts and takes all the availability of our time. Drugs and substances that induce the loss of reality, freedom without limits, the theoretical constructs, that seek to boldly explain "reality" and give a sense of control of the external world and invitations to experience the "full peace" through some pseudo-meditative process are all of these kinds of solutions. Thus, the consumer society has fostered a mercantilist mindset and exploiting even the religious processes and culture of faith, showing the as valid criterion of gaining money and the pleasure it gives. As a result, humans have misrepresented through indifference of our selves the deeper meaning of the word happiness.

To address a more illustrative concept of the happiness we want to expose, we will break down the word happiness in three parts: "Fe" "lici" and the suffix "idad" (Felicidad is the Spanish translation of happiness and will be used to address the concept), giving each it’s corresponding meaning, and then a general meaning. The suffix "idad" refers to who possesses determinative characteristic, or whom contains it, "lici" means that it is legal, it is approved, accepted. So we can say that "happiness" is the existential condition of a person who has realized his faith in an appropriate manner. And what is faith? While faith cannot be explained or theorized as a universal law because the approach cannot be done through empirical or experimental methods, we can take a phenomenological approach of the experience that allows us to describe it in relation to the invaluable benefits.

First, to talk about faith is to speak of a human phenomenon that transcends the concept of the material, of the tangible and perceptible to the sense organs. Faith is manifested through psychic processes however, without meaning that it can be looked at through this medium. The ontogeny of faith does not belong in the material field, so no a priori can be studied through empirical-analytical methods of today, but a posteriori of the experience, because talking about faith is to speak of the human, it is to talk about the very self, it is to reveal the original nature of each person.

Trying to conceptualize and form into operational methods the concept of faith is a fanciful work, since an object of study must have a specific method and a language such that the existing academic methods fall short when trying to board a superhuman phenomenon.

We can say then that faith is a condition subject to the spiritual nature of being, whose function is to serve as an internal guide in that search of real and genuine well-being and the wellness of people. When faith permits one to discover the essential features of human nature and its true position in the world, you begin to experience confidence in the future and act accordingly to it. Faith is the path that leads us to discover ourselves as spiritual beings with potentially pure intentions such as gratefulness and compassion.

According to the idea expressed in the beginning, happiness is the state that a person experiences in standing in his spiritual being discovered as being eternal, all subordinate to a controller and whose tendency is to live in terms of goodness and service to others. A faith healer is one that allows us to make sense of our lives and give positive responses to situations presented to us, whether or not enjoyable. It is also the faith that drives us to act for ourselves, others and the universe without expecting any reward, and the faith which enables us to live and taste sweet sacrifice, dedication and pain, as only a healthy faith is that which allows us to experience real love.

The sensory pleasure and the idea of apparent control is apparent is what we falsely identify as happiness. It's like wanting to wear that which looks like gold, but is only cheap jewelry that will fade promptly. When you accept the sensory pleasure of happiness, frustration inevitably appears and this in turn, in the absence of such a faith even if you have faith in its infancy, will further cloud our willingness to encounter our spiritual essence. But if instead you cultivate a healthy faith, it will enable us to a greater extent when facing adverse circumstances, for at that point we will be trained in the ability to perceive the difference between happiness and frustration, making it possible to recognize and discriminate the real value of our faith. By understanding this process in its amplitude which is permanent and changeable in human existence, the person will gradually be coming into contact with the plane of transcendence, that space where one gives themselves to something or someone, surrendering the best of himself, while experiencing life in goodness and harmony.

When our process of faith allows us to observe the perfection of the situations around us, even in suffering and sacrifice, and when our process of faith reveals that the real pleasure is experienced in surrendering everything and giving their best for others to progress also in that process of faith, we say that we are experiencing the deep levels of happiness.

Viviana Briñez
Psychologist and specialist in Logotherapy
Member of research and development of OIDA Therapy
www.oidaterapia.org


How important are we
 
By Swami Paramadvaiti

This question is only answerable in connection with the cause and purpose of our existence.

So, first we have to verify what the purpose of our existence is. We need to have a clear understanding of the values of life.

Someone may be very knowledgeable; others may be very expert in music; others may have good memory, and some may be very skillful athletes. It is the same thing with beauty, wealth or any other attribute. Whatever we may have and whoever we may be, there is always somebody who has something more than us. So what is the actual value? How to determine, who has the best predisposition to find fulfillment in life?

Once I knew a boy, who had such a capacity of memory, that he had memorized entire telephone books of several cities. Of what value was that for him? I wouldn’t be able to tell. Of course, sometimes he would show off his incredible memory. Anybody could pick a book and ask him a name and a city. The boy would tell him the phone number. In cases like this, people can exhibit an extreme talent of one kind or the other.

But what is the value of this? From where does the concept of value arise? What is good? What is bad? How does a combination of sounds convey meanings? When and where are you supposed to take up responsibility and to behave according to a certain pattern of prescribed expectations? Where is the law? Who are you, to begin with, so that we can study this topic?

All this leads us to the greatest of all needs: Self-realization. Are we doing anything about this, or are we wasting our time buying pants, shirts, jewelry, entertaining ourselves with different things here in this world? We do not spend much time on self-realization. Thus our life is floating by fast, and we have not yet asked ourselves the most essential of all questions: Who am I and what makes my existence so valuable?

I must feel that my existence is very important. Otherwise, why would I work my entire life, only to sustain my existence? Of course sometimes, we are so lost and hopeless, that we are not able to see any value in our life. Then we may even sometimes conclude that the best choice of action would be to finish with our life. To finish with the many tasks, temptations, frustrations, which sometimes arrive at the point of seeming to be unbearable.

Then again our mood changes - when we associate with positive minded people, and we again regain the previous appreciation towards our own life. This appreciation of your own life is the appreciation of the value of your existence. You cannot define it clearly; you don’t know what to do about it. You do not know how to develop it. And thus you do not have a strong standing. When we put all these questions to the transcendental tradition of Vedic wisdom, we find that we are positively surprised and we are freed from uncertainty at once.

The existence is defined by desire. Because I exist, I desire. It is said, because I think, therefore I am. Because you desire, it is proof, that you have a standing, a reality in this temporary existence and that you are unique - an individual conscious unit. Individuality is to a certain extent characterized by independence. The capacity of considering options, moving ourselves about and making decisions, all these are characteristics of our individuality.

As individuals we are independent to do whatever we want, but at the same time we have to take responsibility for whatever we do.

This is a simple fact about existence.


Living Nutrition Interview Divining the music of the soul
 
An interview with Patrick Bernard by David Klein

INSET:
Spiritual Nutrition As we have seen, virtuous nutrition can facilitate clear hearing.
The Vedic text of the Bhagavad-Gita goes even further, stipulating that a spiritual nutrition has the power to purify the sensory organs, to produce finer cerebral tissues and to clarify thoughts. Chapter 9 verse 26 goes beyond simple vegetarianism and lays claim to the purifying power of love:
SRI BHAGAVAN SAYS;" If, with love and devotion, I am offered a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water, I will accept it."

From The Secret Music of the Soul
by Patrick Bernard (nee Bernhardt)

DK: Patrick, listening to your musical recordings and reading your Secret Music of the Soul book have [specially moving spiritual effects on me ] been deeply moving spiritual experiences for me-- [they are they are] they are magically vibrant and soothing. When did you first notice that music stirs your soul and your passion?

PB: It was quite obvious toward the end of the 1960s and at the beginning of the 1970s that music was changing something in the behavior of human beings and society as a whole. Interestingly, at that time, music was not thought to be simply entertainment. We had protest songs and counterculture music, which was a big thing back then, and it was the first time I became aware of just how much music can affect our inner beings.

DK: Did you already have a musical background or know that you were headed toward becoming a musician?

PB: Well basically, I'm a very simple musician. I'm just a natural musician, although I took some classical courses in piano, guitar, and composition. Actually I have to admit that I had to forget everything I was taught, and this was not easy. I made an effort, especially in the beginning of the 1980s, to try to forget what I knew about the normal classical approach to music, because I'm on a quest. I'm looking for something, and I'm always trying to use music in a certain way. Even though I had little classical knowledge of music, I'm always trying to find new arrangements to better express the energy of the SPIRITUAL SOUND VIBRATIONS. According to the usual classical approach in music, you're not supposed to use CERTAIN HARMANIC PROGRESSIONS, but really I don't mind, I just want to get rid of this academic musical approach and find my own way.

DK: It seems evident to me that each of your CDs does have a different purpose and that there is a constant evolution and exploration. Is it true that each has a different purpose?

PB: Yes, my CDs are quite different from one another, and this has been a big problem in my career because when you're accepted for a SPECIFIC kind of music and the public identifies you with that, they don't NECESSARILY FOLLOW YOU when you take a different approach. For example, at the end of the 1980s, my first two albums including Atlantis Angelis were dedicated to relaxation and meditation, the awakening of the emotional divine love in the human consciousness and the opening of the heart through relaxing, low-key music. After that, I just wanted to do something different and I used some special sound invocations from different areas of the world, with the intention of giving and sharing SHAMANIC energies. So, this was not just simple relaxation, but active meditation. That was 10 years ago. It was a big SHOCK for my followers, and at the time, they REJECTED IT. They did not support me. Now, everybody is doing the active, dancing meditation, and it's well known and it's well accepted, but 10 years ago, it was A THANKLESS TASK to do this kind of music in the alternative market.

DK: Are you referring to THE MANTRA ROCK PROJECT ALBUM?

PB: Yes, MIXING RHYTHM AND MANTRA. Ten years ago, everybody was expecting some sort of relaxing, ETHEREAL music and when I introduced percussion from Africa, it was a big surprise in this field.

DK: I think most people assume that the art of song writing starts from a feeling and working it out in the head. In your book, you talk about the universe of profound listening, of listening to yourself where we perceive the finest form of music: the music of the soul. It seems that your music is originating from a deep place within and that you're consciously bringing that forth in your craft. Could you talk about the music of the soul?

PB: Yes, I believe and I know that it is not necessarily good to try to control music. There are ways to exploit music; alternatively, we can be dedicated to music for higher purposes. If we try to compose music according to intellect and logic, we can create ESTHETICALLY PLEASING music, but it won't affect the heart. If we want to transform the consciousness in the heart we need to listen to music coming from the heart. Life comes from life and this is what I'm trying to do when I produce music. I meditate, I try to contact and unite with my soul--the universal aspect of myself that survives the death of the body. I'm trying to find that part in me. This part is beautiful. This part is QUALITATIVELY one with God, one with the divine spirit, and one with the source of beauty and the source of life. This part is conscious, BLISSFUL and eternal. By contacting this part directly we are able to detect this beauty and inject this HARMONY. Really, it's a self manifestation. I don't compose music, I am composed by music. It's a service. If you are looking for name and fame and having many followers through this work, you won't be able to feel anything TRANSCENDENTAL. It's a yoga and it's a service; you put yourself into this beauty, and that manifests itself through yoga OR ACTUAL COMMUNION WITH THE SUPREME HARMONY. This way of creating music is not something that can be done at will. I'm feeling insecure and helpless, meaning that in this work I cannot rely on my musical abilities. It's a prayer. I don't hope anything, I don't ask for anything, so this is why it's a little insecure because you go to the unknown and this is why it's always fresh. It's always new. The more you feel helpless, the more this beauty manifests in you. Just let it go, let it flow and you become an instrument. IN THIS WAY THE FALSE MOTIVATIONS GRADUALY DISAPPEAR AND YOU JUST CREATE MUSIC IN ORDER TO PLEASE GOD IN YOU AND EVERYWHERE.

DK: In your book, you talk about the vegetarian diet and how it enhances our ability to listen and to bring forth more beautiful music. When did you first make that connection, who influenced you, and how did that change your life and musical creativity?

PB: During the EARLY 1970s I was strongly guided to become a vegetarian for many reasons. At the same time, having come from a meat-eating family, I was concerned about getting enough protein, and even thought I might die if I didn't eat meat. So, I started to gather some information on the whole idea. I saw this book in France from Louis Kuhne titled New SCIENCE of Healing. This book really changed my life. This German naturalist doctor showed me that what you eat can create morbid substances in the body. After a while this accumulation of substances goes into your head and your ears. The first year when I followed this new way of eating, I ate no meat, only fruit and vegetables. So after a few months my ears opened. It was a really incredible experience. I remember I was walking on the road and my ears just opened. I realized that previously, I had been almost deaf. I couldn't hear the simple sounds of the mountains. Since I was outside, I could hear the sounds of many birds. I was conscious of so many sounds. There are so many sounds that I couldn't hear before, like the SUBBTLE VIBATIONS OF THE stars. Do you know that stars have some sounds? If you listen carefully, there is a special movement in the air and you can listen to that. By eating meat, gradually both our physical and psychic hearing, or consciousness, becomes blocked, BECAUSE WE ALSO EAT AT THE SAME TIME THE AGONY OF THE ANIMALS AND AS THE RESULT WE LIVE IN A SEVERE STATE OF UNCONSCIOUS ANXIETY.

DK: Did your music improve dramatically as soon as you changed your diet?

PB: Yes, especially in the stillness. Before, I didn't know the meaning of the word stillness. I was always nervous, or anxious. There is a direct connection between what people eat and the state of society. I read something from Paul CARTON PHD, "When men slaughter animals, then they will begin to kill each other." It's a very important issue right now because we are at war and this war is simply a reflection of what we do to nature and living things. It's a very important issue to understand that those disasters in society, diseases and wars, don't happen by chance. They are only reflections of our own actions. SLAUGHTERHOUSE AND COMPASSION DO NOT GO TOGETHER.

DK: In your book you wrote that a lack of well being can be healed by profound listening to all that is related to absolute truth, and in order to listen we have to be still. This is so true!

PB: Indeed, to listen is an act of love. To listen is a gift, you give yourself and you become the listener. We don't take the time to listen. It's obvious that if you eat in a state of agony and fear, you will become fearful and you will know agony, because we are what we eat and we are what we listen to. If we eat animals that were slaughtered and listen to fearful sounds, we become fearful. LISTEN TO NATURE. EVERYTHING IS THERE. TO LISTEN IS A WONDERFUL MEANS OF MEDITATION.

DK: In your book you talk about imagination as our primary human faculty. You write that this power has always existed and will always exist, and we have the right and the duty to develop it and to use it in a beneficial sense. Could you talk about this power?

PB: Imagination is different from will. For example, if you have insomnia, willpower won't help you to sleep. If you just relax yourself and imagine that you are in the sleeping state, then it will be easy for you to sleep. So imagination is a more powerful tool than will in this sense. Everything you imagine will gradually become true in your life. Imagination is a gradual process. Imagination is related to the physiological activity, not of the brain, but of the mind. The mind is different from the brain. The mind creates imagination and the mind will survive the death of the body. The brain will die, but the mind will carry on. In this life what we do and what we think is just the preparation for the continuation of life. In this sense, imagination will become a reality in due course of time. When you imagine something, it's like sowing the seeds. IMAGINE PEACE. IMAGINE HEALTH, HARMONY.

DK: When you see something beautiful, does your imagination start working, sometimes leading you to go home and write a composition and try to develop something?

PB: I don't know really because INSPIRATION is a mystery. It's a source of divine power. It's a grace really. But of course, free will is important in determining what kind of INSPIRATION you want to receive. There are three different energies, GOODNESS, PASSION AND IGNORANCE.. These energies control everything, MUSIC AS WELL AS FOOD. Because I want to create music IN THE MODE OF GOODNESS, , I eat food IN THE MODE OF GOODNESS, and I read and listen to good books and music. Thus, my intuition is influenced by reading, listening and eating leading to good results, but you can eat passionate food, or ignorant food and it will also create some RESULT ACCORDINGLY. Everyday you have to think about it and discipline yourself.

DK: You wrote that "healing is the goal, sincerity is the force, universal vibration is the tool and second birth is the fruit.² You certainly use the fruit metaphor and imagery a lot. Do you believe that fruit is the best source of food for the soul?

PB: Yes, for the soul, the body and the mind. We must keep in mind the reality that humans are naturally fruit-eaters. We have the teeth of the fruit eaters--we don't have the teeth of the meat eaters. We also have the instincts of the fruit eaters. It's very difficult for us to digest meat. This is why almost everybody is sick right now. WE don't know what to eat. So this is the physical reality. But you also have the spiritual reality. In the Bhagavad-Gita, SRI BHAGAVAN says: "If with love and devotion, I am offered a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water, I will accept it.² it’s A WAY TO DIVINITY, the ultimate health. The ultimate beauty is becoming the food itself. The REVEALED SCRIPTURES DO NOT say if you offer me a cow, a steak, a bloody piece of meat that GOD WILL accept that. So naturally on the physical side and on the spiritual side too, fruit is the perfect food.

DK: Please tell us about any new projects that you're working on.

PB: I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON MY FIRST COMPILATION “SUPREME MOMENT” A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY THROUGH SOUND. ALL MY BEST COMPOSITIONS IN ONE ALBUM. SUPREME MOMENT WILL BE AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 2003. ALSO I am working with Gabrielle Young ON A CD of Rumi poetry. I am also doing the musical background for a mystical poetry project. . It's interesting because I had to do some research on the poetry itself. I ALSO COMPOSE QUIET A LOT FOR DIFFERENT SPOKEN-WORD RECORDING ARTISTS AS THEY APPROACH ME TO CREATE THE MUSICAL BACKGROUND OF THEIR POETRY AND GUIDED MEDITATIONS. I AM ALSO FINISHING THE PRODUCTION OF A DVD WHICH INCLUDES BEAUTIFUL IMAGES OF NATURE.

DK: By the time this magazine comes out, I think Rawstock will already be over with, but I thought I'd just ask you anyway. I'm ecstatically grateful that you will be performing for us in such a beautiful setting and it should be such a joyous festival. I just wanted to know your thoughts about Rawstock .

PB: The way we act is the way we think and this kind of celebration, to my thinking, is very important because it's a question of finding peace, in us first, but also between the nations. Showing the right way to eat is also showing people the way to harmony and peace. If we don't have peace, then we cannot be happy. In my vision, this kind of celebration is important, especially in a time like this.


Nutrition for Hearing the Harmony of Life
 
By Patrick Bernard

Adapted from Patrick's new book, Music as Yoga - Discover the healing power of sound
From Living Nutrition Magazine, Vol. 17

Eating a diet of fruit, vegetables and sprouts elevates the body and mind and enables us to listen to the great universal vibrations which are all around us, but which we cannot hear when our ears are obstructed with fermentations resulting from the digestion of animal flesh. Carnivorous humanity becomes powerless to perceive the higher truths of the self and is prevented from gaining access to the influence of miraculous celestial vibrations. "Gastronomic" dishes, laden with pain, make the human being deaf to the subtle call of the soul's music.

By following a nutritional regimen that is in harmony with the laws of the universe and respectful of life, we open ourselves to the highest sensory perceptions and experiences. We penetrate the infinite world of virtue. Our eyes no longer see the same colors. Our ears detect nature?s most subtle sounds. The wind in the clouds, the breeze murmuring among the leaves, and the rhythm of the fountain become the most wonderful of symphonies.

The doors of contemplation and meditation are opened to us and we discover the astonishing music of the inner self. Not only does our food intake affect our digestion and in turn our listening, but what we listen to while we eat can also influence our digestion.

In his book The Doctor Prescribes Music, physicist Edward Podolsky considers the value of listening to music during meals. In his opinion, beautiful music played during a meal. In his opinion, beautiful music played during a meal is of great help in facilitating the digestive process. In his work he describes a scientific discovery: the principal nerve of the eardrum (middle ear) ends at the center of the tongue; it is linked to the brain, and reacts to both taste and sound impulse. Commenting on the scientific report, Hal A. Lingerman, in The Healing Energies of Music , states that it is no longer possible to ignore the close relationship between healthy food and appropriate music. It is not pure chance that in ancient cultures, expert musicians were invited to play soft and pleasant melodies during meals and feasts.

When unpleasant emotions are felt, the pylorus, a muscular structure situated at the base of the stomach, closes. The contents of the stomach can no longer reach the bowel. There follows a bloated sensation, a heaviness that occurs while digestive acids stop working. The result is drowsiness and irritability.

Professor Pldolsky notes, "Music is the best antidote for unpleasantness at the dinner table. When there is music to be heard, there is an outpouring of gastric juices. Food is properly digested and it passes from the stomach into the duodenum through a wide-open pylorus."

During meals, music should be simple and joyful, with neither great contrast nor intellectual or emotional complexities. Hal Lingerman particularly recommends the flute and the harp for this. Personally, I have observed that the music of the Versailles School , which includes the work of Lully, Couperin and Delalande (Symphonies for the King's Dinners), creates an atmosphere of peace, joy and majesty that is well-fitted to accompany the sacred act of nourishment.

The Vedic scriptures proclaim, "Spiritual awakening begins with the tongue." By transforming the otherwise banal act of eating into a conscious offering to the Divine, the more sordid impulses of the senses can be sublimated. Through the nature of our nutrition and the attitude with which we feed ourselves, we can either open or close the crystalline doors of the music of the soul. Virtuous nutrition can facilitate the refinement of hearing and listening. The Bhagavad Gita stipulates that spiritual nutrition has the power to purify the sensory organs, to produce fine cerebral tissues and to clarify thoughts. Spiritual nutrition goes beyond simple vegetarianism and lays claims to the purifying power of love: "If, with love and devotion, I am offered a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water, I will accept it."

Here, the ultimate devotional aspect of the God force, Krishna , the mystical poet of the Bhagavad Gita , reveals that the sanctification of food opens the doors to the inner sound. The main factor, the principal ingredient in the preparation of such a selfless gesture, is in our thirst for absolute Love.


Relations with others
 
By Swami Paramadvaiti

We are aware of so many circumstances of life, but it is very difficult to know how we can relate in a positive way to others. The reason for this is that we do not know who the others are. We do not even know who we are, and how all of us came into existence. Nevertheless, there is one thing we can understand or we can feel. We know that we have to establish relationships with others. And of course, the more these relationships are loving and sweet, that more we are likely to feel happy and fulfilled. On the contrary, everyone knows the suffering and problems that are a result of disturbed relationships.

In order to establish loving relationships, we have to find a common denominator. What is common and acceptable to all of us? There may be some group of relative interests and people may find themselves fully satisfied with these interests, but practically seen and understood by the Vedic wisdom, all these interests are temporary.

They can change at any moment and we may find ourselves again in a problematic situation. So our common denominator, if we are ready or not to accept it, is the Creator of the whole existence.
He is father and mother at the same time and by that fact we are all brothers and sisters in a very special way. It is really breathtaking to imagine that we are all brothers and sisters. This is the truth. We can even see it with our own eyes.
Let us look at Mother Nature. Mother Nature is everybody’s mother and nobody can deny and say I came out of myself, I supplied my own ingredients and I do not have to say thank you to anybody. No. We are all standing in front of Mother Nature with reverence and have to submit to Her laws, whether we like it or not. So if we consider nature, the material nature, as our mother, then we have to understand that there must be a father also. Mother Nature, has been impregnated by the supreme power of all the powers. And that is the sweet will of God.


Taking Science on Faith
 
By Paul Davies

24.11. 07 (New York Times) Tempe, Ariz.

SCIENCE, we are repeatedly told, is the most reliable form of knowledge about the world because it is based on testable hypotheses. Religion, by contrast, is based on faith. The term “doubting Thomas” well illustrates the difference. In science, a healthy skepticism is a professional necessity, whereas in religion, having belief without evidence is regarded as a virtue.

The problem with this neat separation into “non-overlapping magisteria,” as Stephen Jay Gould described science and religion, is that science has its own faith-based belief system. All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed. When physicists probe to a deeper level of subatomic structure, or astronomers extend the reach of their instruments, they expect to encounter additional elegant mathematical order. And so far this faith has been justified.

The most refined expression of the rational intelligibility of the cosmos is found in the laws of physics, the fundamental rules on which nature runs. The laws of gravitation and electromagnetism, the laws that regulate the world within the atom, the laws of motion — all are expressed as tidy mathematical relationships. But where do these laws come from? And why do they have the form that they do? When I was a student, the laws of physics were regarded as completely off limits.

The job of the scientist, we were told, is to discover the laws and apply them, not inquire into their provenance. The laws were treated as “given” — imprinted on the universe like a maker’s mark at the moment of cosmic birth — and fixed forevermore. Therefore, to be a scientist, you had to have faith that the universe is governed by dependable, immutable, absolute, universal, mathematical laws of an unspecified origin. You’ve got to believe that these laws won’t fail, that we won’t wake up tomorrow to find heat flowing from cold to hot, or the speed of light changing by the hour.

Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are. The answers vary from “that’s not a scientific question” to “nobody knows.” The favorite reply is, “There is no reason they are what they are — they just are.” The idea that the laws exist reasonlessly is deeply anti-rational. After all, the very essence of a scientific explanation of some phenomenon is that the world is ordered logically and that there are reasons things are as they are. If one traces these reasons all the way down to the bedrock of reality — the laws of physics — only to find that reason then deserts us, it makes a mockery of science.

Can the mighty edifice of physical order we perceive in the world about us ultimately be rooted in reasonless absurdity? If so, then nature is a fiendishly clever bit of trickery: meaninglessness and absurdity somehow masquerading as ingenious order and rationality.

Although scientists have long had an inclination to shrug aside such questions concerning the source of the laws of physics, the mood has now shifted considerably. Part of the reason is the growing acceptance that the emergence of life in the universe, and hence the existence of observers like ourselves, depends rather sensitively on the form of the laws. If the laws of physics were just any old ragbag of rules, life would almost certainly not exist.

A second reason that the laws of physics have now been brought within the scope of scientific inquiry is the realization that what we long regarded as absolute and universal laws might not be truly fundamental at all, but more like local bylaws. They could vary from place to place on a mega-cosmic scale. A God’s-eye view might reveal a vast patchwork quilt of universes, each with its own distinctive set of bylaws. In this “multiverse,” life will arise only in those patches with bio-friendly bylaws, so it is no surprise that we find ourselves in a Goldilocks universe — one that is just right for life. We have selected it by our very existence.

The multiverse theory is increasingly popular, but it doesn’t so much explain the laws of physics as dodge the whole issue. There has to be a physical mechanism to make all those universes and bestow bylaws on them. This process will require its own laws, or meta-laws. Where do they come from? The problem has simply been shifted up a level from the laws of the universe to the meta-laws of the multiverse.

Clearly, then, both religion and science are founded on faith — namely, on belief in the existence of something outside the universe, like an unexplained God or an unexplained set of physical laws, maybe even a huge ensemble of unseen universes, too. For that reason, both monotheistic religion and orthodox science fail to provide a complete account of physical existence. This shared failing is no surprise, because the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, while physicists think of their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships.

And just as Christians claim that the world depends utterly on God for its existence, while the converse is not the case, so physicists declare a similar asymmetry: the universe is governed by eternal laws (or meta-laws), but the laws are completely impervious to what happens in the universe. It seems to me there is no hope of ever explaining why the physical universe is as it is so long as we are fixated on immutable laws or meta-laws that exist reasonlessly or are imposed by divine providence. The alternative is to regard the laws of physics and the universe they govern as part and parcel of a unitary system, and to be incorporated together within a common explanatory scheme.

In other words, the laws should have an explanation from within the universe and not involve appealing to an external agency. The specifics of that explanation are a matter for future research. But until science comes up with a testable theory of the laws of the universe, its claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus.

(Paul Davies is the director of Beyond, a research center at Arizona State University, and the author of “Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is Just Right for Life.”)