Sacred Texts

Keeping The Company of Sound

We live in the universe of continuous vibration, yet how many of us are aware of our own underlying energy or even the value in understanding it. With the rise of the global energy crisis, societies are slowly turning their attention to an awareness of the following questions:  What is energy? What is the value of energy? How do I relate with it?
 
The rise of continuous natural disasters all over the globe, as well as global warming, makes it clear that our world demands a more conscious conversation with the subject of energy.  Since times immemorial, the yoginis studied prana, energy.  They studied prana means that they followed it to its subtlest wave.  Coming in contact with the essence of energy they come to experience what is supporting that energy, i.e. the true Self beyond form and thought.
 
Vibration Quiets The Mind:
 
The Sanskrit language connects us to energy. By nature, mantras themselves are highly resonant. The Sanskrit alphabet is predominantly formed from sounds that are produced by rubbing the vocal chords together. This sound friction from the rubbing of the vocal chords together eventually turns into a kind of sound heat, and this friction and heat produce a lasting echo that follows these sounds. It is precisely this outer continuance or echo, after the sound is expressed, which lends Sanskrit the moniker of being called thelanguage of vibration.  What that means is that Sanskrit makes us aware of vibration. And if we sit with pulsation, we gain access to what underlies that, which is silence and the eternal.
 
The Company You Keep:
 
So how does it work? Well, you say a sound and then sit and feel how much energy gets conjured. With mantras the effect is your skin pulsates, there is a deeper connection with what you hear, your mind becomes clearer and quieter and you feel tranquil and refreshed at the same time. 
 
Since Sanskrit mantras emanate from Source, they can link us with Source.  In effect, they model the process for us, all that we have to do is pay attention and follow along for the ride. When we hang out with the lasting continuance of energy found in the mantras, we get to feel ourselves as lasting and eternal.  Moreover, all mantras evolve and dissolve from or into the OM sound.  So immersion in resonant sounds creates a link between our every day self, our mind, and the sound of OM, nadam and God. 
 
Lord Patanjali recognizes the importance of chanting OM and connecting with nadam, when he says in Chapter 1, Sutra 27 & 28: Tasya Vacakah Pranavah (1.27), and Taj Japas Tad Artha- Bhavanam (1.28). These sutras say that OM is the name of God as well as nadam or vibration.
 
These sutras suggest the aspirant first focus attention on the outer expression of OM, as this will lead her eventually to the inner vibrational OM. The inner OM is the inner experience of God. If all mantras emanate from OM then they have the potential, through the chanting of them, to resolve us back to the divine. What happens is that by chanting the manifest sound, the student organically and naturally connects with eternal energy and the divine.
 
What Is Beyond Thought?:
 
Yogis advise that you go beyond thought to feel what you are. Many students try this practice and eventually find themselves asking, “What is beyond thought?”  Guru ji, Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, would reply, “You, real You, is beyond thought.” He was referring to the limitless Self. We all want access to the real us. But how do we get there?
 
Through Sanskrit chanting we have the opportunity to cultivate connection with pure vibration and that takes us beyond the level of the thinking mind. It works like this, we focus on the mantra, that sound merges into pulsation, pulsation draws us inward and once we are in eventually we feel inner stillness where the mind in silent. The experience of inner silence is a primary focus for the yogini. In such silent connection, a yogini realizes her Self.  Therefore, Sanskrit chanting is an intentional yogic practice that develops freedom from thoughts. This doesn’t mean we won’t ever go to work, see our family and friends, use language in a common every day sense or think again. No, of course we will. It does however mean that through Sanskrit and the awakening of inner nadam, we have the opportunity to explore what we are beyond thought. And beyond thought is where we are.
 
By Manorama
 
Copyright Luminous Shabda/Sanskrit Studies, Manorama 2012

Sanskritbhavana

13 February, 2013 - 23:49

There is certainly a fascinating connection between language and consciousness. And given the long history of thinking on and mythology surrounding creative sound in Sanskrit, there is a lot to recommend Sanskrit as a vehicle to explore that nexus. But this article is based on flawed reasoning in need of correction. The reasoning is this: Sanskrit makes us aware of vibration because it is the language of vibration, because of the echoes from its sound heat/friction, which are due to its being "predominantly formed from sounds that are produced by rubbing the vocal chords together." By this reasoning, English is the better language of vibration because it is formed more than Sanskrit is from sounds "produced by rubbing the vocal chords together." There is much more to Sanskrit's claim to sound-fame than is hinted at by this flawed reasoning. Readers who have no background in this area should be filled in on at least the broad outlines. शुभमस्तु ।