Everything in the universe is created and sustained by vibrations — energy enlivening matter produces vibrations. Thoughts and feelings are vibrations, the wind rustling in the leaves is vibration, light reaching us from the sun and the stars is vibration. The whole of our life is vibration, everything that we perceive through our senses and everything we think feel and do.
Music is vibration – the emotional vibrations of a violinist’s inspiration, transmitted through the bow that enlivens the strings to vibrate and move an audience to tears, all this is vibration at every step. Understanding vibration is one way to grasp the essential unity that gives meaning to life.
The Law of Three determines the character and nature of a vibration and the Law of Seven determines how vibrations develop, interact and change. An octave is a repetitive motion. A succession of waves may be building up or dying away — forming an ascending or a descending octaave. Each wave is similar but different to the one before and the one after.
The Law of Seven also shows the points in the scale where the rate of increase or decrease of frequency of any vibration slows down. Between Mi-Fa and Si-Do are ‘intervals’, where a different, extra energy is required to maintain the original impetus. These ‘intervals’ are responsible for the frequent unpredictability of human aims and endeavours.
Different processes, according to the Law of Three, determine which intervals will be filled naturally, so that the progress continues uninterrupted to completion, and also reveal those that require an extra force to be given, without which the progress of the octave will halt or change direction.
We are most conscious of our failures when dealing with new situations, where often ‘things don’t work out’. But lots of things in human society do work out, at least usually. Houses, ships, cars get built; food gets produced and marketed; money gets earned and spent; laws get passed; babies get born. Many other things, new plans and initiatives, just peter out and fade away from lack of the right energy or turn into something quite different from the original conception. Understanding the law of seven is the key to learning how to finish what we start and what to expect along the way.
It is possible to see that the law of octaves develops directly from the law of three. The three forces combine in triads, each one a threefold relationship possessing its own unique quality as outlined in the ‘six activities’. As Ouspensky points out, three forces can give rise to only six different combinations and one more, ‘incomprehensible to the human mind’. This seventh combination means that all three forces somehow occupy all three places in the triad simultaneously. Taking this seventh combination as the Do of an octave, the six other triads represent the remaining six notes of the octave, each one defining a unique relationship with the Do so that a whole octave manifests all the dynamic relationships inherent in the law of three.
Depending on whether the octave is ascending or descending and knowing the time scale that applies to any particular example, the intervals can be expected and seen quite clearly. Waiting to cross a busy road it may seem that the stream of traffic will never ease up. Knowing that an ‘interval’ will always occur can avoid much impatience or even a nasty accident.
An ascending octave is like going uphill; it needs effort at every step. Descending octaves are like going downhill; the process is more automatic and goes on by itself after the first step is taken.
Every single note of an octave contains another whole octave on a different level and similarly every note of this new octave also contains another octave etc. Within vibrations there are ‘inner vibrations’, inner octaves’ that interpenetrate and affect each other in the same way that words convey factual information but the tone of voice conveys a more subtle level of information. The physical world is interpenetrated by the subtle world and the subtle world by the causal world as inner octaves of vibration.
The Shankaracharya describes the Law of Seven with the example of the quest for Self-realisation as an ascending octave that goes by the triad of refinement. The time scale of the whole progression may be a decade, a lifetime or a few moments:
|Do||Life at street-level.|
|Re||Good Intention, the Right Impulse, the arising of the right desire.|
|Mi||Decision: This is the stage where rationally the person makes up their mind and can go further. There is no doubt about the Way, intention and conviction are established.|
|Interval: filled by the grace of the teacher, or directly by the Absolute.|
|Fa||Effort: Certain particles of fine matters now form in the organism which cause the striving for sattva.|
|Sol||The Pull of the Way: where sattva predominates. Influences from the Way are pulling away from the outside world of sensory impressions and pleasures, so that these begin to lose some of their power.|
|La||Insight, which denotes that the person starts seeing themselves and other things as they really are. They get right values for everything, realising things as they are, how they are constituted and their actual properties.|
|Si||Abundance, which is the stage where the outward pull is nearly gone, and the person is filled with abundance of sattva, divine love and happiness.|
|Interval: filled directly by the Absolute.|
|Do||Turiya is the stage of the fully Realised man (or woman), when he knows himSelf; he knows all that can be known; he knows how to do, and whatever he does is just the right thing – right actions, right feeling, right thought – everything all combined.|