("Ashram" by Nicholas Roerich)
« Into The Ashram » is the first chapter of the « Entering The Stream » trilogy, which also comprises « The Chrome Lake » and « Leaving The Ashram. »
The composition is intended to depict the progress of an individual getting fed up with their day to day life to the point of taking an extended time off for reflection and introspection.
The piece is an instrumental which counts the following four movements :
In the cosmology of Buddhism, Jambudvipa is the name of the continent of the terrestrial world where ordinary human beings live, and this is also where one may receive the gift of Dharma and come to understand the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path and ultimately realize the liberation from the cycle of life and death.
In a way, both the ordinary and Jambudvipa can be taken to be coextensive, or sharing the same spatial extension if you prefer, as it is the mindset or attitude of the individual that determines in which they abide. In other words, the ashram that is referred to isn't necessarily a physical location, for instance some building located in India, but can also mean a mental construct, or a way of approaching things. In that sense, the piece depicts an inner journey beginning from over-activity and ending in temporary seclusion, where reflection and healing can take place.
In an effort to convey more clearly the intent that gave rise to the piece, I've written the following verses, even though at the moment I have no plans of upgrading the music with vocal melodies :
Always on the verge of spinning out of control
Going through the motions better than down the hole
Today I will not scream I am unsatisfied
Isn't this the mantra to become ossified
The things I bowed down to have me under their weight
I'm not sure I recall how it feels to stand straight
So many things I crave I think I'll never get
I may be warm and fed but my needs are not met
There must be something else I have been here before
But this time I'm fed up I won't take anymore
Others have stopped stooping and even learned to dance
When will it be my turn if I don't take the chance
I dream of India and of sabbatical
Simplifying my life to the canonical
Shed the superficial and leave it all behind
So I may figure out how I messed up my mind
I can't keep silencing that impulse forever
And let aspiration fade away to wither
That's no way to progress I need to introspect
And away from it all on my life to reflect
It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.” – Buddha
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