Internal sound attunes the mind to create space for Divine energy and makes tremendous growth of the mind possible, says NAVDEEP JOSHI
Nada Yoga, a philosophical and practical form of yoga, is an ancient Indic system of meditation. Nada philosophy states that the entire universe, including living or nonliving things, such as our terrain, flora, fauna and human beings, consist of sound vibrations called nada. Many yogis believe that nada is more than just the sensory enjoyment and acknowledgment of the sources of sensual feeling; it is also presumed to play the role of the hidden energy that connects the outer and the inner cosmos.
There are two forms of Nada Yoga: anahata — the internal sound; and ahata — the external sound. To reproduce the ahata sound, clap your hands together forcefully and listen to the sound or blow air into a flute and listen to the sound. If you do this in a rhythmic way, you will enjoy it. When we shape our lips and tongue in different ways, we can emit different sounds. These sounds form words, which form languages. This variation of sounds is the basis of different languages that has created different ways to communicate the same thoughts and ideas. We are so attuned to these languages that we are now removed from the basic universal sounds. We have limited ourselves to the sounds that we are familiar with.
Silence is a basic state in nature. It is by staying in this state that we are able to listen to the nada sound. However, this basic sound is drowned in artificial and disturbing sounds such as those made by electronic and mechanical devices. When we are distanced from this basic nada, we lose our ability to concentrate and also our immunity and become weak. The youth are becoming sad, fearful, violent and despondent. Children are restless and rude and unable to concentrate on their studies. Nada, yoga, and dhyana are three elements that can restore harmony and balance in society.
External sound is perceived by our sensory organs or ears that convert mechanical energy to electrochemical energy. This electromechanical energy is then transformed in the brain to sensations of sound.
With meditation practice, we can train ourselves to hear internal sound. Our sensory organs have no role in this type of hearing. Nada meditation attunes the mind to create space for divine sounds, which forms the basis of creation. The practice of simple Nada meditation makes tremendous growth of the mind possible. However, the anahata nada is the sound of Aum.
Therefore, this subtle sound, the primordial cosmic vibration, creates and sustains life. You are able to hear this sound and experience Divine energy when you are in silence and away from restless disturbances. When you blend with Divine energy, evil and anarchy dissipates.
Nada yoga uses music therapy and sound therapy for boosting immunity, for treating stress and chronic diseases, dealing with psychological conditions, and changing mental conditions of pain to pleasure.
Nada yoga impacts the energy centres, chakras, which in turn aid physical, mental, and psychic growth.
Nada meditation has seven levels for practice. While it takes three to six months to learn all seven levels, getting the basics right takes only two days’ practice.
The best way to practise Nada meditation is lying on a flat surface without a pillow, feet straight and apart, arms on the side, and palms facing upwards. Advanced practitioners may also do this sitting down. It is very important to be in a dark, quiet place so that the body can relax. The best time to practise Nada meditation is between midnight and before 5 am, which is when the world is at its most peaceful.
Close your eyes, ears, and mouth and turn all your attention to the inner workings of your body — your inner cosmos. Concentrate on the right side of the head, near your inner ear. You may hear the chirping of crickets or a light ringing sound. As you listen closer, you may hear newer, more distinct sounds reverberating through your body such as the sound of the sea, the clouds, a waterfall, the mridangam, a bell, a nagara, a flute, the veena, or the humming of a bee.
You will find that these sounds will grow louder, and you should focus your attention on just one sound, as if you were deliberately trying to drown out all other sounds but one. Concentrate until you feel your whole being echoing through your body. Sometimes, the sound may transform into something else that is more distinct. Allow your mind to follow the new sound and stay focused on it. If your attention begins to wander, the sound will fade.
Regular practise of this meditation will immerse you in the music of the universe to an extent that you may feel at one with its many vibrations and your higher senses may be awakened. As you become unified with the sound, you may experience many other levels of awareness and change your entire perspective on life.