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Thursday, 31 July 2008

Sense and SenseAbility – 4: Hearing

Sense and SenseAbility – 4: Hearing
-- Remigius de Souza

Hearing: It is a second sense, though some musicians may claim it’s a first sense. Never mind. Now modern science says listening to music while in the womb improves the child’s mathematical power.

We have heard stories from Itihasa – Epics and Puranas. Abhimanyu, while in the womb, learnt about how to enter the Chakravyuha – a strategic circular maze formation of army in war – while his father Arjuna was telling his mother. He, however, did not hear about how to come out. During the great civil war of epic Mahabharata took place, Young Abhimanyu was defeated and killed. Perhaps he did not use his senses…

Another story is of sage Ashtavakra (bent in eight places in body). His father while reciting Vedas made some errors. Ashtavakra, from his mother’s womb, pointed out the errors. The father was offended and cursed that he will be deformed in eight places in his body, and thus he was born with eight deformations. Later in his youth he preached a king on spirituality, which is known as “Ashtavakra Gita” or “Ashtavakra Samhita”.

We may have heard these stories several times. What we understand and how we interpret them is another matter. Sri Krishna and many saints have preached “Sahaja Dharma” – natural dharma or inherent nature. Accordingly one may deduce there could be seven billions of dharma – religions.

What do the foetuses in modern urban environment hear? Isn’t it ring tones on cell phones, 24x7 noises on TV sets, household electronic gadgets including their electromagnetic radiation, noises in the city…? No wonder some children are born with deformation. Viva!

Hearing with attention (not concentration, said J. Krishnamurti) becomes listening. So also, seeing with attention becomes noticing. Listening and noticing reveals many facets of an event, even an ordinary one.

Silence, it is said, is the heart of music. Listening to silence is supreme. The silent spaces in between words and sentences, and the silence before the storm…

Woefully we are so much used to the noise (and hurry) that silence unnerves us; we are irritated by silence, particularly in urban environment. We want 24x7 excitements.

Our governments, too, have lost the capacity to listen notice the reality. Unless people take to the streets, burn the public and private properties, a few people are dead by police-and-or-public violence, they can’t take notice of the malady. Of course, of course, we all know the government is a faceless entity.

Hence, hearing loss is a common phenomenon. Loud noise with impact, for example, a gunshot close by, could cause deafness. However, on such an event, if we observe, mouth opens instantly to counter the impact on the eardrum from inside. We call it reflex action; perhaps that’s homeostasis.

An extreme example of hearing loss

I know at least one person who became permanently deaf because of noisy work environment in an industry. Mr. Lobo was working at one of the oldest cement plant at Savalia in Gujarat State. That was a few decades ago. I don’t know how many were affected like him?

© Remigius de Souza. all rights reserved.

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