We often chant the “Primordial Sound” – AUM (OM) when meditating. The most ancient scripture of India (possibly, the world), Rigveda states “First the Absolute (Brahma), then follows Waak (Sound) – the vibrating energy – which becomes the universe”. Sound (nada) is believed to be at the heart of the process of creation. In Hinduism, the sacred syllable OM embodies the essence of the universe and Sound, in general, represents the primal energy that holds the material world together. Nada Brahma is a primal word in Indian spirituality that also refers to India’s great classical music. The Bible also states “In the beginning there was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word and God were one”.
Sound is the last of our five senses that is lost before a person passes on.
Following this introduction, I am merely reproducing below a piece forwarded by my son. It is a moving letter penned by a gentleman, Peter Munro to the celebrated folk-rock duo, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. Music is a salve that is calming and comforting – almost therapeutic.
Dear Mr. Simon and Mr. Garfunkel,
Your music brought my father back to life. I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you.
For the past six years, my Dad has fought through cancer in his prostate, kidneys, back, stomach, lungs, even the retina behind his left eye. He’s a retired Toronto paramedic, and with his free time has been helping to build organizations like Global Medic, and has travelled to places like Iran and Angola to help train the local personnel responsible for removing land mines buried in the earth of their countries. He’s a great man, a loving husband, and a phenomenal father. My whole life, if I’ve ever needed anything, he’s been there for me, and if there was ever anything that I wanted, he’d tell me to go out there and get it. No matter where I was or what I was doing, I always knew that my Dad had my back.
On December 2nd, my father had a seizure. Scans revealed at least eleven tumors growing on the left side of his brain. He lost his ability to stand up and his right arm was paralyzed. His cognitive abilities were diminishing, and the prognosis from the doctors was very grim. The first night I stayed with him overnight at the hospital, I was feeding him and he’d lose consciousness between bites. I had to hold his head up so he could manage to drink his water through a straw. He wasn’t capable of saying much of anything at all, but as I held him, he looked at me with the one good eye he had left and said, “You’re doing a good job, buddy.” Of all the things a man in his position could have said, he went with words of encouragement for his son…
I sat down next to him, and decided to fill the silence in the room. I pulled out my phone and started streaming “The Essential Simon and Garfunkel”. You guys are his favourite. As the music started to play, and familiar songs reached his ears, I saw his toes start to dance from under the bed sheets. He started moving his head back and forth to the rhythm, which was amazing as moments before he lacked the strength to lift it for a drink of water. His lips moved and feeble as it was, he was singing along and he started to cry. Earlier I’d witnessed the doctor ask him what year it was, and he couldn’t remember. He knew every word to your songs, and I saw 33 tracks on a “best of” album bring my father back to life.
Today is December the 26th. Yesterday, despite the terrible odds and even worse fears, my whole family spent Christmas together in the warmth and comfort of our home. I attribute much to the treatment my father received from the amazing staff at the Peterborough hospital, and to the love and support he’s had from his many friends and family who visited him, thought about him, and prayed for him throughout all of this. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to everyone who’s shown him how much they care. In addition to all of this, I will be forever grateful to you and your beautiful genius, everything and everyone who’s ever inspired you to create and share your music, and whatever inspired me to play it for him. I believe your music saved his life.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
Having experienced something very similar, I understand the power of music. A few years ago someone very dear to me was in hospice care, unresponsive to all stimulation. I would sit by his bedside and often play a particular Sufi music composition that he had always enjoyed listening to, earlier. Just like Mr. Munro’s father, my comatose friend would wiggle his toes each time I asked if he was enjoying the music and wanted me to play his favourite song again!
Enjoy “Bridge Over Troubled Water” from Simon and Garfunkel’s amazing repertoire, a personal all-time favourite since the early 1970s: