With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
-- Pete Seeger, If I Had a Hammer
|Pete Seeger 1919-2014|
With a simple accompaniment on his 12 stringer, in a voice clear and true, the spirit and heart of his delivery was as pure as the life of service he led. His life, and his death at age 94 this week, touched countless millions of us.
If I was the Grand Dude in Charge, I'd immediately canonize this humble and courageous man. I'd then have him replace that other guy at the Pearly Gates. They wouldn't even have to change the name plate at the Gatehouse, right? With harp in hand and a song on his lips, I'm sure that this Saint Peter, like all Bodhisattvas, wouldn't be satisfied until everyone had entered and was singing in the Heavenly Choir. Tyrants, plutocrats, bigots and hypocrites, of course, might have to work a lot harder at it, but I'm sure Saint Pete ultimately would have them singing in harmony with the rest of us. Buddhanature is Universal, after all.
Although some strains of fundamentalism have consigned "singing and dancing" to the hell realms, Sacred Sound in the form of chanting, music and song has always played an important role in the world's religions throughout the ages. As anyone who has entoned the Sacred Syllable AUM knows, certain sounds resonate with certain chakras. That AHHHH goes right to the Heart. It's pretty Universal as a Sacred Sound. (to wit: Allah, Krishna, Rama, Jahweh, Wakan Tanka, Dao, Buddha, Alleluia, etc. -- Amen.)
Over the years, whether listening to the soul stirring call to prayer of a Muslim Muezzin or dancing