By Rudra Shivananda
When a spiritual practitioner’s subtle body becomes purified and there is a withdrawal of the senses from the external environment towards the internal center, she will experience various inner sounds. These should not be confused with the physical sounds of the body resulting from the rushing of blood or contraction of various organs. These inner sounds can lead to higher consciousness.
Many seekers have mistakenly been bothered by hearing a persistent “noise” in their ears and have sought medical help to get rid of this nuisance! The medical profession cannot explain what it is but gives it a name – tinnitus, without even being able to provide any real meaningful treatment. It is claimed to have multiple causes and a variety of helpful suppression devices are prescribed. A whole industry has grown up around helping those afflicted with this mysterious illness. However, in the majority of instances, it is neither a physical or psychological ailment but the expression of the cosmic sound vibration within our consciousness. There may be rare instances where it is really an illness, but it is rare indeed.
Those who are suffering from this malady would do well to consider refining their body-mind complex to attune to the sounds instead of partaking of harmful drugs. The sounds may be a clarion call to take up meditation.
The true inner sounds are called anahata or “unstruck” or uncaused to differentiate them from normal sounds or even higher vibrations which are caused by the effect of one physical object striking against another physical object. That inner sound that the yogis listen to is called nada or the divine flow. We can experience this nada as a flute sound, a roaring river or thunder, sound of crickets or electricity as well as other variations such as spontaneous sounds that can be interpreted in human language. Nada can have many degrees of manifestation depending on the level that is accessed.
At the cosmic level, nada is called para [that is, para-nada] and it is to this level that aspiring seekers hope to reach. This plane of existence is called the causal plane. At the next lower level nada is called pashyanti it is a mental vibration that corresponds to the mental plane. This is followed by the nada of the madhyama, that is a whispering or mental recitation, vibrating from the astral worlds. Finally, nada takes on the gross form of the spoken word in the physical world.
As the yogis followed this nada to its ultimate point or bindu, they experienced the state of Shiva-Shakti or pure consciousness vibrating with energy, a state that transcended time and space. From their shared experience, these yogis formulated their evolutionary model in which nada is the first evolute to emerge from Shiva-Shakti and bindu is the nucleus that holds this vibration.
Nada Yoga is the system of concentration which increases awareness to the subtle manifestation of this divine vibration which can be “heard” internally without our intentional making of a sound whether aloud, in a whisper of even mentally. The aim of Nada Yoga is to reach the para-nada and achieve the highest consciousness expressed as sound called Shabdabrahman – the Divine Sound.