This series of images is the result of experimenting with vibrating a Tibetan Singing Bowl partially filled with water. It was a cloudless day, near 11 am, in late June 2013, so the sun was bright, strong, and almost directly overhead.

I used the two standard techniques of generating the bowl's tone ... running the mallet around the outside rim of the bowl, and striking the bowl with the mallet.

Click on any image to view a 'lightbox' enlargement. Once the lightbox enlargement is open, you can scroll through all 8 images either by using the arrow keys, or by clicking the left or right arrow heads at the edges of the images.

Running the mallet around the edge of the bowl produces a very gentle tone that gradually increases in volume as long as the motion of the mallet and the pressure on the bowl is kept steady and even. The vibrations of the resulting tone created the gentle ripples along the bowl edges, as shown in the first three images. Unfortunately, although the tone continued for a while after lifting the mallet, as is normal, the volume was too low to sustain the ripples for more than a second once the mallet was lifted.

Striking the bowl with the mallet produces a louder, immediate tone, rather than the gentle build up of the first technique, and the sudden, stronger vibrations from the strike, and the louder tone, result in a correspondingly sudden turbulence in the water, which I expected, as well as an unexpected spray of very tiny droplets ejected from the agitated surface of the water, which I didn't expect.

In the 4th image, the camera captured an aspect of the droplet spray that wasn't visible to eye, which I was elated to discover on examining the images after the photo shoot — the droplets flung off from the surface of the water were prismatic, catching and refracting the sunlight into a variety of colors, and as they were moving faster than the shutter speed, they appear as short, colored lines, rather than as pinpoints of refracted color.

The 5th and 6th images were captured a week later, using water that had been standing in a garden hose rather than from the tap in the house, and I'm assuming that it must have contained something from the hose that increased the water surface tension a bit, because the little bubbles of water floating on the surface didn't appear in the other images with purer water in the bowl -- interesting.

In looking at the images, with the sound vibrations being visibily transferred to, and transmitted through, the water, and at the reflection/s of the sun in both the still and turbulent waters, I was reminded of the Creation stories from many of the world's spiritual tradtions ... the Spirit/Breath of the Infinite moving on the surface of the Primordial Waters of Space, bringing Light out of Darkness, and Creation/Forms out of the Matrix of Chaos, through the power of Sound/Vibration.

One of the ones I like the best, is from The Stanzas of Dzyan, purported by H.P. Blavatsky, in her seminal work The Secret Doctrine: Cosmogenesis, and Anthropogenesis, to be the original, ancient source from which all subsequent traditions have drawn their spiritual teachings.

The Stanzas of Dzyan
excerpted from The Secret Doctrine, Stanza III
H.P. Blavatsky, 1888
  1. … The last vibration of the Seventh Eternity thrills through Infinitude. The Mother swells, expanding from within without, like the bud of the lotus.
  2. The vibration sweeps along, touching with its swift wing the whole universe and the Germ that dwelleth in Darkness: the Darkness that breathes over the slumbering Waters of Life. …
  3. Darkness radiates Light, and Light drops one solitary Ray into the Mother-Deep. The Ray shoots through the Virgin Egg. The Ray causes the Eternal Egg to thrill, and drop the Non-Eternal Germ, which condenses into the World-Egg.
  4. Then the Three fall into the Four. The Radiant Essence becomes Seven inside, Seven outside. The Luminous Egg, which in Itself is Three, curdles and spreads in milk-white Curds (the seeds that will form the stars and galaxies of the physical universe) throughout the Depths of Mother (the vastness of Space), the Root that grows in the depths of the Ocean of Life.
  5. The Root remains, the Light remains, the Curds remain, and still Oeaohoo (Father-Mother of the Gods, the Seven-fold Root from which All proceeds) is One.
  6. The Root of Life was in every drop of the Ocean of Immortality, and the Ocean was Radiant Light, which was Fire, and Heat, and Motion. Darkness vanished and was no more; It disappeared in Its own Essence, the Body of Fire and Water, or Father and Mother.