Nad Dhyana (Yoga of Sound) - Swami Achyutanand Ji Maharaj
nAdA Dhyan (Yoga of sound)
-Translated excerpts from the book "Vindu Nada Dhyan" authored by the octogenarian sant Revd. Swami Achyutanand Ji Maharaj, one of the eldest living disciples of Maharshi Mehi Paramhans, as well as an eminent scholar in the tradition of Santmat founded by Sant Tulsi Sahab of Hathras. Swami Ji has had the rare fortune of very prolonged close serving association of more than three decades with Maharshi Mehi who appointed him as the founder editor of the spiritual monthly "Shanti Sandesh" (message of Peace) published by Maharshi Mehi Ashram, Kuppaghat, Bhagalpur, Bihar, India. Swami Achyutanand Ji even at this ripe age has dedicated his life to propagating the ideals of Santmat by widely travelling across the length & breadth of India, his mother country. He has a number of books to his credit like, "Vindu Nada Dhyan", "Santmate Ki Baten", "Navadha Bhakti", "Bandaun Guru Pad Kanj", "Maharshi Mehi Ke Ashirwachan Aur Upadesh", "Sukti Sudha Sagar" etc. He also is the current editor of the quarterly "Adhyatma Prakash" (Light of Spirituality) published from Maharshi Santsewi Dhyan Yogashram, Agarpara, Kolkata, India.
- Translated into English by Pravesh K. Singh
Nada dhyAn is also called nAdAnusandhAna, surat shabda yoga, or shabda dhyAn. `Nada' means sound or word. Nada or shabda has great attraction. Suppose a person is deeply involved in reflecting or thinking over, or listening attentively to something very interesting. However, if a loud jarring or melodious sound is suddenly produced, his attention would be forcibly removed from the earlier topic and drawn towards this sound. It is said that even cows grazing grass and calves feeding on their mother cows would lose their attention when Lord Shri Krishna played his flute. As the story goes, once Lord Brahma was in a state of deep meditation, and people wouldn't succeed in breaking his concentration. Then it was decided to call for the services of ragas and raginis. The ragas (musical modes or sequences their personifications) and raginis (modifications of main musical modes feminine personifications) began to play such melodious tunes that the state of trance of Lord Brahma was disrupted.
There was a sage named Baba Haridas. He was the contemporary of Akbar, the renowned Mughal emperor. He was an accomplished musician. Tansen, Akbar's court musician, was his disciple. Once, Akbar expressed his desire to listen to the vocal rendition of His Guru Haridas. Tansen said, "My Guru does never sing at any one's bidding. He sings only when he is in his own mood to do so. However, I will try one thing. I will sing a composition in his front and deliberately commit some mistake. Then, may be to correct me, he might sing and you may get an opportunity." Akbar agreed, and both went into the forest where Haridas Ji lived. When Tansen began to sing out of tune, Haridas ji snatched the sitar (a stringed musical instrument) from him and began to sing. Akbar fell unconscious on listening to him.
If an accomplished singer would impeccably render the `Ter' raga, herds of deer came as if attracted forcibly. Singing `malhara' raga brought in hovering clouds. When a top is spun, it sets off a vibration. If something is brought within the sphere of this vibration, it gets pulled towards the top. So much of attraction is inherent in a sound or word.
No amount of information obtained from any other object of the world can match the quantum of information that can be harnessed from a word. We get to know all the subjects of knowledge through light and sound only. However, the information yielded by a word is even greater or more than that obtainable from light. Suppose, there are some people present in a room; and it is night time. Now if the power supply goes off, the persons present in the room can not be recognized, even if they are of our acquaintance. But if they start talking, by listening to their voice we can identify who all are present in the room. There are many things that can't be identified even in light for lack of word. It is said that Barbarik, the grandson of Bhima (a powerful Pandav prince in the epic of Mahabharata), picked up Bhima like a ball and was about to drown him in deep sea, just because he didn't know him. Coincidentally, Lord Krishna appeared on the scene and exclaimed, "Barbarik, what are you doing? Don't you know he is Bhima, your own grandfather?" No sooner than Barbarik had listened to these words, he freed Bhima and fell at his feet apologetically. Here Barbarik could be introduced to his grandpa only through the words of Lord Shri Krishna. Had Shri Krishna not spoken anything, the result would surely not have been pleasant.
A newly born babe is entirely ignorant of any object or language. He learns his mother tongue in the company of his parents. Though through his eyes he sees all the objects and sceneries around him, he gets to know them through the words of his parents and teachers only. Students are imparted the knowledge of various languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, English etc. at schools, high schools, colleges and universities through words only. Through words alone different nations of the world establish mutual political and trade relationships. So much about the benefits that accrue from physical words! Sages and sants have described the spiritual word or the inner sound to be much more significant.
When God came to have the `mauj' (playful mood) to make this creation, a vibration was produced in the beginning along with its companion sound. This sound itself was termed `Adi nAm' (`Adi' means the original, the first or the primeval, and `nAda' means name, word or sound). This word is present in each & every, even the minutest, particle of the creation. That is why, it is also called the `sarvavyApinI dhvani' (`sarvavyApinI' => all pervading; `dhvani' => sound). This very sound has been variously referred to by rishis (sages) as Om, SfoT, Udgeeth etc. Subsequently, sants called it Ram nAm, satanAm (sattanAm), sArashabda, satashabda as well. This sound is perceived by the spiritual seeker in inner meditation to attain to the Supreme Sovereign, the God. The way to meditate upon this word has to be learnt from a true adept, Sadguru. That is why, Sant Kabir has said,
"sAdho shabda sAdhanA kIjai |
jehi shabda se pragaT bhaye sab, soI shabda gahi lIjai ||
shabdahi Guru shabda suni sisha bhe, shabda so biralA bUjhe |
soI shishya soi Guru mahatma, jehi antar gati sUjhe ||
shabdai Veda purAn kahat hain, shabdai sab ThaharAvai|
shabdai sur muni sant kahat hain, shabda bhed nahin pAvai ||
shabdai suni suni bhesh dharat hain, shabda kahai anurAgi |
shaT darashan sab shabda kahat hain, shabda kahai bairAgI ||
shabdai mAyA jag utapAnI, shabdai keri pasArA |
kahai Kabir jahan shabda hot hai, tavan bhed hai nyArA ||"
In this verse Kabir Sahab says, "O noble people, meditate upon the Word because the whole creation has been formed of the word only. Guru teaches his shisyas (disciples) through words only, and disciples as well become so by listening to words only. The significance of the Guru shishya relationship becomes known, only when the skill to make inner journey has been learnt. Holy Scriptures like Vedas & Puranas also offer words only, that is, the knowledge contained therein can be internalized through words only. Deities, hermits and sants also impart knowledge through words only. But alas, people know not the secret of this word! It is precisely by listening to word that some of us adopt the life & garb of a sage/ ascetic or, conversely, a worldly person. The six schools of philosophy also talk of words only. This illusory world and its vast expanse have also come into being through word only. Unique is that place from where this word originates."
Most venerable Sadguru Maharshi Mehi Paramhans Ji Maharaj articulates it thus: "The Supreme Lord is beyond the grasp or perception of our organs, is ineffable, is without either a beginning or an end, and is unborn and the Source of all creation. The very Word that first sprang out of Him came to be variously called `soft', `udgeeth', `brahma nAda', `shabda brahma', `praNava dhvani', `sAr shabda', `Om', `dhvanyAtmak nAm' etc. That sound is beyond all vowels and consonants, not pronounceable, free of all defects, inexpressible and `nirguN' (attribute-less)". He writes:
"avyakta anAdi anant ajay, aja Adi mUl paramAtam jo |
dhvani pratham sfuTit parA dhArA, jinase kahiye sfoT hai so ||
hai sfoT wahI, udgeeth wahI, brahma nAda shabda brahma wahI |
ati madhur praNava dhvani dhAr wahI, hai paramAtam paratIk wahI ||
prabhu kA dhvanyAtmak nAm wahI, hai sAra shabda sata shabd wahi |
hai sata chetan avyakta wahI, vyaton mein vyApak nAm wahI ||
hai sarvavyApini dhvani Ram wahI, sarvakarshaka Hari Krishna nAm wahI |
hai param prachanDini Shakti wahI, hai Shiva Shankar Hara nAm wahI ||
puni Ram nAm hai agun wahI, hai akath agam pUrNakAm wahI |
swara vyanjan rahit aghosh wahI, chetan dhvani sindhu adosh wahI ||
hai ek Om sattanAm wahI, rishi sevit prabhu kA nAm wahi,
muni sevit Guru kA nAm wahI |
bhajo Om Om prabhu nAm yahI, bhajo Om Om Mehi nAm wahI ||"
[God is Non-manifest, Beginning-less, Endless, Invincible, Unborn, the First One, Root or Cause (of everything). |
The first sound, the conscious current that emanated from Him is called sfoTa ||
That sound itself which is sfoTa, is also the udgeeth; that is brahma nAda, shabda brahma, Om as well. |
That praNava is extremely melodious current of sound (possessing extraordinary magnetism), that is symbol (representative) of God. ||
That only is the phonetic name of God, that itself is the essential word, true word. |
That is true, conscious, un-manifest itself, and that again is pervading all that is manifest. ||
That is the all-pervading Ram nAm (name of God), and that is the extremely magnetic name of Krishna. |
That itself is the most ferocious power; that is the name of Shiva/Shankar/Har also. ||
That again is the attribute-less name of Ram, indescribable, unintelligible, and fulfiller of all wishes. |
That is devoid of vowels & consonants, not pronounceable, ocean of conscious sound, without any fault, weakness or blemish. ||
That is the one & only Om, sattanAm, the name of Lord worshipped by the sages, the name of Guru worshipped by mendicants. |
Meditate on (worship) that very name of God, Om; meditate on Om, the very name of God, implores (Maharshi) Mehi. ||]
Goswami Tulsidas ji has called this word as Ram nAm paid and obeisance to this very Adi nAd:
"Bandaun Ram nAm Raghubar ko | Hetu krishAnu bhAnu himakar ko ||"
[I bow down to the Ram nAm, the name of God | The name (word/ sound) which is the cause of fire, moon and sun. ||]
Singing praises of this Ram nAm i.e., all-pervading word, he states this to be the cause of fire, moon and sun. Now, sun, moon and fire are within the ambit of creation. When the whole creation has formed of Adi nAm, why wouldn't this nAm be the cause of sun, moon as well as fire? Further, Goswami Tulsidas Ji has described this name to be the true form of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the soul of Vedas, without a simile, both the treasure trove of all attributes as well as attribute-less at the same time, as in the following quartet:
"vidhi hariharamaya ved prANa so | agun anUpam gun-nidhAn so ||"
This phonetic Ram nAm is the base on which all that exist rest. This is the precursor to the creation with the three attributes; therefore, it has also been called nirguNa (without any qualities or attributes). There is nothing in this world that can be said to resemble this Ram nAm. Hence, it is also called anupam (incomparable). Adi Shankaracharya has sung the glory of, and bowed to, this Adi nAm:
"nAdAnusandhAn namostu tubhyam tvAm manmahe tattvapadam layAnAm |
bhavatprasAdAt pavanen sAkam vilIyate Vishnupade mano me ||"
[I bow to thee, O nAda! Thou establisheth me on the highest pedestal. It is only with your grace that my prAna vAyu (life force) and mind get dissolved in the highest domain of the Supreme Lord.]
The Bible also talks high of this word,
"In the beginning was the word, the word was with the God, and the word was God; all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made."
(The Holy Bible; New Testament, John 1.1-3)