Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 1.djvu/122

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Rik is Sâman, and therefore when a man utters a Sâman verse he neither breathes up nor down. Sâman is udgîtha, and therefore when a man sings (the udgîtha, Om) he neither breathes up nor down.

5. And other works also which require strength, such as the production of fire by rubbing, running a race, stringing a strong bow, are performed without breathing up or down. Therefore let a man meditate on the udgîtha (Om) as vyâna.

6. Let a man meditate on the syllables of the udgîtha, i. e. of the word udgîtha. Ut is breath (prâna), for by means of breath a man rises (uttishthati). Gî is speech, for speeches are called girah. Tha is food, for by means of food all subsists (sthita).

7. Ut is heaven, gî the sky, tha the earth. Ut is the sun, gî the air, tha the fire. Ut is the Sâma-veda, gî the Yagur-veda, tha the Rig-veda[1].

  1. The commentator supplies explanations to all these fanciful etymologies. The heaven is ut, because it is high ; the sky is gî, because it gives out all the worlds (giranât); earth is tha, because it is the place (sthâna) of living beings. The sun is ut, because it is high. The wind is gî, because it gives out fire, &c. (giranât); fire is tha, because it is the place (sthâna) of the sacrifice. The Sâma-veda is ut, because it is praised as svarga; the Yagur-veda is gî, because the gods take the oblation offered with a Yagus; the Rig-veda is tha, because the Sâma verses stand in it. All this is very childish, and worse than childish, but it is interesting as a phase of human folly which is not restricted to the Brahmans of India. I take the following passage from an interesting article, "On the Ogam Beithluisnin and on Scythian Letters," by Dr. Charles Graves, Bishop of Limerick. "An Irish antiquary," he says, "writing several hundred years ago, proposes to give an account of the origin of the names of the notes in the musical scale.
    "It is asked here, according to Saint Augustine, What is chanting, or why is it so called? Answer. From this word cantalena; and cantalena is the same thing as lenis cantus, i. e. a soft, sweet chant to God, and to the Virgin Mary, and to all the Saints. And the reason why the word puincc (puncta) is so called is because the points (or musical notes) ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, hurt the devil and puncture him. And it is thus that these points are to be understood: viz. When Moses the son of Amram with his people in their Exodus was crossing the Red Sea, and Pharaoh and his host were following him, this was the chant which Moses had to protect him from Pharaoh and his host—these six points in praise of the Lord:—
    "The first point of these, i.e. ut: and ut in the Greek is the same as liberat in the Latin; and that is the same as saer in the Gaelic; i.e. O God, said Moses, deliver us from the harm of the devil.
    "The second point of them, i.e. re; and re is the same as saer; i.e. O God, deliver us from everything, hurtful and malignant.
    "The third point, i. e. mi: and mi in the Greek is the same as militum in the Latin; and that is the same as ridere (a knight) in the Gaelic; i. e. O God, said Moses, deliver us from those knights who are pursuing us.
    "The fourth point, i.e. fa: and fa in the Greek is the same as famulus in the Latin; and that is the same as mug (slave) in the Gaelic; i. e. O God, said Moses, deliver us from those slaves who are pursuing us.
    "The fifth point, i.e. sol: and sol is the same as grian (sun); and that is the same as righteousness ; because righteousness and Christ are not different ; i.e. O Christ, said Moses, deliver us.
    "The sixth point, i.e. la, is the same as lav; and that is the same as indail (wash); i.e. O God, said Moses, wash away our sins from us.
    "And on the singing of that laud Pharaoh and his host were drowned.
    "Understand, O man, that in whatever place this laud, i.e. this chant, is sung, the devil is bound by it, and his power is extirpated thence, and the power of God is called in."
    "We have been taught that the names of the first six notes in the gamut were suggested by the initial syllables of the first six hemistichs in one of the stanzas of a hymn to St. John:
    Ut queant laxis
    Resonare fibris
    Mira gestorum
    Famuli tuorum,
    Solve polluti
    Labii reatum,
    Sancte Ioannes"