The Flute was asked: “What virtue do you possess that you are allowed to touch the lips of Krishna?”
The Flute replied: “I have one virtue. I have made myself void of all matter. I have emptied myself of non-self so that you may fill the void with divine breath.”
— Sri Krishna Chalisa (Hymn to Lord Krishna)
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Celebration of the annual Hindu/Sikh/Jain religious festival of Diwali has been happening bigtime throughout our part of Central Jersey this weekend.
The first day of the festival marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama (pictured below, post-vanquishing).
Krishna is almost always portrayed holding and playing a flute. And the flute is often used in Hindu devotional music, heightened perhaps by the belief that the instrument’s tonal vibrations produce a mental state that helps the listener move forward along the road to Pure Awareness. Which is a good thing.
Started wondering: is anybody using the whistle to play Irish Traditional-type Music to get deeply in touch with Higher Power-type feelings?
Would love to hear about it!
Not talking about feelings you get when you play or hear a slow air that gets you teary or spacey. I mean whistle music that you yourself strictly play to move your mind into a deep meditation zone.
Or some of the Native American religious ceremonies that used a variety of wind instruments.
About twelve years ago, I was very lucky to have gotten to play a bit with Dennis Sizemore, an amazing performer of all manner of Native American flutes and whistles. He has immense knowledge about wind instruments and the earliest music on the North American continent.
And it’s interesting that the mythic Kokopelli — nomadic, storytelling, trickster deity of the Anasazi people of the ancient Southwestern U.S. — is depicted as playing the flute or whistle of some type.
[Perhaps there was some sort of sacred wind music employed by the Druids in pre-Christian Ireland. Haven’t come across anything in the literature, but you figure some part of the crew must have had a fipple stuck in their belt and occasionally used it during a ceremony, maybe when the harper couldn’t make it. Guess we’ll never really know.]
Only contemporary I’ve heard consistently creating a Celtic spiritual music and using some flute is a fellow named Seamus Byrne, who’s assumed the contemplative life of a modern monk and lives near Wicklow.
About the closest I’ve come is a tune I composed last year called Salim Halak — en anglais, Give Yourself Up. . . meaning give up/surrender unnecessary attachment to the habits that are bugging you, holding you back, etc. Here’s a brief listen.
But if anyone reading this does play the whistle or flute in any sort of transcendental mode, I’d love to hear about it.
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One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate,
the Buddha called to him.
“Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?”
“I do not see myself as outside.
— “The Iron Flute” (Genro, 18th century)