Suhrawardi - Hikmat al-ishriq - The Music of the Spheres
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Shihabuddin Yahya Suhrawardi – Hikmat al-ishriq [translated by Henry Corbin and Nancy Pearson]
The celestial sphere give out sounds which are not caused by anything existing in our sublunar world…. The most that can be said on this point is that here below sound is conditioned by the undulation of the air. But if a thing is the condition of another in a certain place, it does not follow that it remains a condition for its analogue.
Just as anything in general can have multiple interchangeable causes, so also its conditions can change. Just as the colours of the stars are not conditioned by that which conditions the colours in our terrestrial world, so it is as regards the sounds emitted by the celestial spheres.
We cannot say that the tremendous terrifying sounds heard by the visionary mystics are caused by an undulation of air in the brain.
For an air wave of such force due to some disturbance in the brain is inconceivable.
No, what we have here is the archetypal image of the sound, and this autonomous form is itself a sound. Thus it is conceivable that there are sounds and melodies in the celestial spheres which are not conditioned by the air nor by a vibratory disturbance. And one cannot imagine that there could be melodies more delightful than theirs, …