Song of creation: first words recorded
The gramophone (aka record player) was invented by Thomas Alva Edison in the United States in the 19th century. For the first recording, and to demonstrate the new machine, Edison asked Professor Max Muller, an eminent scholar of Sanskrit in England, to speak in front of an audience.
After recording Muller’s voice on a disk in the morning, Edison played it back to the audience on the gramophone in the afternoon. The audience was thrilled to hear the voice of Max Muller coming from the instrument. After several rounds of applause and congratulations to Thomas Edison, Muller came to the stage and addressed the audience and said, “You heard my original voice in the morning. Then you heard the same voice coming out from this instrument in the afternoon. Do you understand what I said in the morning or what you heard in the afternoon?”
The audience fell silent because they could not understand the language in which Muller had spoken. Muller explained it was Sanskrit and the words he recorded was the first sloka of the Rig Veda: agni meele purohitam. The Rig Veda is comprised of hymns, or songs, of creation.
Max Muller explained his choice to the audience. He said, “Vedas are the oldest text of the human race and agni meele purohitam is the first verse of Rig Veda. In the most primordial time, when the people did not know how even to cover their bodies and lived by hunting and housed in caves, Indians had attained high civilization and they gave the world universal philosophies in the form of the Vedas.”
When agni meele purohitam was replayed the entire audience stood up in silence as a mark of respect for the ancient Indian Sages.
Thanks to Krista for sending me this tale.
If you enjoyed this post, you can….
Get updates and read additional stories on the Breathedreamgo Facebook page.
Buy Song of India, a collection of 10 feature stories about my travels in India. E-book version is now only $1.99.
Subscribe to the free — and inspiring! — e-newsletter, Travel That Changes You.