Recording the Sanskrit choral piece for the film Matrix Revolutions
One of my blog visitors, after reading ‘Would the Pope ever speak Sanskrit’ wrote to tell me that the choral music in the final battle scene in The Matrix Revolutions is in Sanskrit.
I’m quite happy to hear that because Sanskrit, of course, is the lingua franca of Vaishnavism and there are many words and expressions in that language which will help people in general to understand the philosophical basis of our life.
I thought that Crispian Mills, the singer from Kulashaker, was very brave to incorporate Sanskrit into his songs. Who could imagine that he would find popularity from a song entitled “Acintya Bheda Bheda Tattva?” I saw Crispian at a function recently. He is back on the road with Kulashaker with a song about the mind called “Second Sight”
As far as films go, previously I had only noticed Sanskrit in the beautiful score to “A Little Princess” a rather nice film with many visual links to The Ramayana. Very popular with my two daughters when they were younger. The choral score features om namo bhagavate vasudevaya interwoven with the poetry of William Blake.
On the Matrix Revolutions film, the final fight scene between Neo and Agent Smith is scored with a Germanic opera piece called Neodammerung except its not in German, its Sanskrit. And very philosophical Sanskrit too. All from the Upanishads.
The Upanishads are corollary literature to the four Vedas and deal with helping the reader distinguish between matter and spirit, between the true self and the vehicle of the self – the body. Don Davis and his directors, Larry and Andy Machowski, felt that the ideas expressed in the Upanishads perfectly expressed the themes within the Matrix trilogy.
Their first selection from the Upanishads was from the Brihad Aranyaka (1.3.28) and is a very common prayer uttered at religious ceremonies: “From delusion lead me to Truth, from darkness lead me to Light, from death lead me to Immortality”
The other quotes, sung with full Wagnerian force by a choir accompanied by a large brass section, were from the Isha, Mundaka, and Katha Upanishads.
All these books are well worth a read. However, for an Upanishad with a commentary that you will understand and find very helpful, may I suggest Sri Isopanisad by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada? He translated this book very early on in his mission to bring the Vedas to the English-speaking world and as his followers we used to regularly recite the verses from this book – and still do – at important ceremonies.