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March 1993

O Singer

Sayings of a Paramahamsa

Three Aspects of Yoga
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Universal Philosophy
Swami Hrishikeshananda Saraswati

The Flight of the Swan
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Fear & Attachment
Swami Sivananda Saraswati

The Earth-Tone & the Orange Robe of the Sannyasi

Looking Back
Mrs. Geeta Sahay

Yoga Therapy & Asthma
Dr. Swami Shankardevananda Saraswati


Flying West
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

The Song
Swami Devananda Saraswati

print this page  glossary

The Earth-Tone and The Orange Robe of the Sannyasi

Shivepremananda (Belgium)

Everything in Nature and in the universe is vibrating, all living creatures and "solid" matter as well. This vibration can be measured, calculated and expressed in Hertz, the standard unit for vibration, such as sound vibration. Higher levels of frequency may be expressed in Nanometers, the standard for expressing colours and light, but this still expresses a level of vibrational frequency.

Even planets have their own vibrational frequency, and therefore their own sound. This has been proved by the Swiss scientist Hans Cousto*. Physics teaches us that time and frequency are inversely related to each other. The earth turns around its axis once every 23 hours 56 minutes 4 seconds, which is 86,164 seconds. This is the time. To find the vibrational frequency (sound frequency) of the earth, we must divide 1 by 86,164 from which we get 0.000 0001 160 576 Hertz. This vibration is, of course, far below human perception, which lies between 1G Hertz and 30/30,000 Hertz.

However, we can convert this vibration to the equivalent vibration which is audible to the human ear by "octaving" it. What is "octaving" a note? If we ask a man to sing for example the note "C" or "Do" in French, Dutch, Italian etc. we hear that particular note. Now if we ask a child or a woman to sing the same "C" we will not hear exactly the same sound. The note will be "octaved", that is, it will be emitted one or two octaves higher, but it still remains "G", though it will be written down differently on music manuscript.

In order to find the earth note, we octave the earth frequency by 24 and we find the "G" (Sol), This note "G" is important because it is the dominant note (fifth) of the scale "C" major which occupies a special place in Western music.

Now this earth note "G" is also visible. That is, just as "G" is the vibrational note of the earth-day on an audible level (24 octaves), we can find the corresponding frequency on a visible level by octaving the audible frequency by another 40 times. We arrive in the range of electromagnetic waves and find 428 billion Hz. or 702 Nanometers, (the standard for measuring electromagnetic waves such as light). It is very interesting to discover that this frequency is exactly that which gives us the colour orange, the colour of the robes which many spiritual seekers (sannyasins, bikkhus, etc.) in India have worn for thousands of years.

And this is not all. So far we have octaved the earth-day note 64 times (24 + 40). If we octave this frequency one more time (to give us the 65th octave of the earth note) we arrive at the exact resonance of the DNA molecule, the molecule of life. So people wearing orange are resonating only one octave from the frequency of their own DNA molecule.

This interval of one octave is the most harmonious relationship in music and nature. Pythagoras discovered this 2000 years ago.

Up to now we have discussed the earth-day note, (that is, the vibration expressed by the rotation of the planet earth around its axis in one day). In the same way, we can also calculate the earth-year note or vibration. It is calculated from the tropic's year of 365.2432 days, or 525,948 minutes and 46 seconds, which in total is 31,556,926 seconds. This is a very important frequency for life on this planet, as well as for the frequencies of the day and month. If we octave this time for the earth-year, we arrive 32 octaves later, at the note of 136.133 Hz, which is a frequency slightly below "C" sharp.

In the case of the earth-day note, we found an important relationship with "G", which has an important place in Western music. In the case of the earth-year note, we cannot find such a relationship in our musical system, but if we look at Indian music we do find something interesting.

The earth-year note corresponds exactly with "Sa" or "Sadja" the basic note, in Indian music Since thousands of years, the frequency of foetal note has never changed in Indian music. The Indian music guru teaches his disciples the note of 136 Hz, ("C" sharp). The aspiring young musician plays and sings this note, this vibration, over many years, so that it becomes a central element, and central vibration, of his or her whole being. She/he will never forget this note or play it wrongly. Anyone who has worked with Indian musicians will know how seriously they consider this fundamental aspect of their practice.

This note "Sa", the year note, is the basis for all Indian instruments. It has been known since time immemorial as the father of all notes. We may also call this earth-year note the sun-note due to the earth-sun relationship. Now this sun-note is not only the basic note in Indian music, it is also used as the base for tuning all temple bells, clocks and gongs in India, Tibet and Indonesia. Furthermore, the note "Sa" has been used for thousands of years to chant the sacred mantra "Om".

The American biologist Dorothy Retallek played different types of music to plants in her institute at Denver, Colorado. She discovered that all the plants preferred above all Indian music, followed by music by Bach. The plants nearly grew horizontal around the loudspeakers in order to "hear" the music better. Conversely, when rock music was played they tried to escape, and grew in the opposite direction; if this music was played for a long time, the plants died.

Using the same system of octaving, and using the synodic month of 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds (which corresponds to 2,551,441.8 seconds), we can calculate the earth month note, or the "moon note". This gives a frequency of 3.919,351 x 10-7 Hz. In order to make this frequency audible for us, we octave it 30 times and we get 420.837 Hz. This corresponds with "G" sharp, which does not have such an important place in modern music compared to "G" and "C". But in Baroque music it was a very important note. For example, Mozart's tuning was based on 421.6 Hz. Handel's on 422.5 Hz. and Bach's on 415.5 Hz. Therefore, Baroque music was tuned to the moon!

It was after 1820 that "A", the reference note in Western music, was made higher. This was done to make the sound of the music more "brilliant", more polished. And so Western music departed from the resonance of the moon; and remember, the moon has always been associated with art, poetry, music and inspiration.

It is interesting to note that if we octave the moon note another 40 times, we arrive once again at a frequency of 648 Nanometers, which lies in the range of the colour orange, the colour of sannyasins, So the sannyasins who wear their orange robes resonate with both the earth and the moon-note, and they resonate within one octave of their own DNA.

Though all these sounds can he produced electronically, the best way is on natural instruments which also produce harmonic notes, practically inaudible to the untrained ear. These "over tones" can deeply influence the character of the sound and music, as well as profoundly affect the listener. Listening to high frequency notes has a therapeutic influence on the body and mind and can open up the spiritual dimensions of man.


* Hans Causto 'Die Kosmische Octave' Synthesis, Essen 1984

For further reading.

Berendt, Joachim-Ernst: - 'Nada Brahma', Insel, Frankfurt am Main 1983
'Das dritte Ohr' Rowahit Varlag, Reinbsk 1985
Adorn, Theodor - Philosophy of Modern Music, Seabury Press, New York 1973
Khan, Hazrat Inayat - Music, International Headquarter of Sufi Movement, Geneva 1959
Stienbach Ingo - Sound Therapy, Martin, Sudergesllen, 1990
Tomatis, Alfred - L'oreille et la Via L'oreille et la Voix - Laffont, Paris 1977/1987



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