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NADA YOGA THE SCIENCE OF SOUND

Nada Yoga is the classical term for the Yoga of Sound in the Hindu tradition. It is a stream of sacred sound that embraces Hatha Yoga, the occult linguistics of Tantra, and the spirituality of classical Indian music. By including the nonlinguistic element of music, Nada Brahman augments the Shabda Brahman of the edic tradition, as !ell as the differentiation of energy in the cha"ras disco#ered by the Tantrics. $hile Bha#a Yoga chooses only those fre%uencies that !e classify as music in our earthly appreciation of sound, Nada yogis incorporate the full spectrum of fre%uencies & both those that are audible to the human ear and those that are inaudible & !ithin the field of their yoga practice. This means that all forms of earthly music, the sounds of space, and e#en the entire electromagnetic spectrum of fre%uencies are included !ithin this range of perception. Human hearing lies in the range of bet!een si'teen and t!enty thousand hert(. )re%uency refers to the number of !a#e cycles that occur in one second, gi#ing rise to the e'perience of high and lo! tones. $a#elength gets longer as the fre%uency *or pitch+ decreases. ,lthough !e may not hear all the fre%uencies that e'ist in our uni#erse, !e are affected by these !a#es at e#ery moment, and !e in turn affect these fre%uencies by our o!n sounds and acti#ities. $hat are the sounds of space- Throughout space, !e find sounds emitted by such phenomena as the hum of planets, the gaseous states of the sun, and pulsating rhythms from the stars. .ften, these sounds are similar to our earthly music. /hil 0ttley and Ian 1cHardy of the 0ni#ersity of Southampton, !ho ha#e been studying the music of blac" holes in space, state2 If you !ere to transcribe the 34ray output of these blac" holes as a series of musical notes, it !ould not sound %uite li"e any 5particular6 sort of music. . . but the 7tune8 5!ould6 still ha#e a musical %uality about it. The general pattern of note changes & the relati#e si(e of the changes in pitch from one note to the ne't, or from one bar to the ne't & are the same as one hears in all "inds of music. 0ttley also claims that the music of a blac" hole could be called impro#isational. The study further re#ealed that, at any gi#en moment, #arious blac" holes are playing different styles of music & and e#ery fe! !ee"s, a stellar blac" hole s!itches musical styles, undergoing a distinct transition from one pattern of #ariability to another.9 ,s mentioned earlier, the tradition of Nada Yoga does not speciali(e in the mantra shastras of the other streams. )or instance, it doesn8t deal !ith rituals go#erning mantras or their pronunciation, mystical meanings, or embodiment of energy. Ho!e#er, Nada Yoga does bring together all the "ey elements and cosmogonies of sacred sound that are e'plored in those streams, including the de#otional element of Bha#a, represented in Nada Yoga by the tradition of Indian classical music. In the first millennium B.:., Nada yogis focused e'tensi#ely on the mantra Om, !hich /atan;ali8s classic Yoga Sutras teach is the sound that e'presses the <i#ine ,bsolute, !hich should be repeatedly intoned !hile absorbing its meaning Since the 1iddle ,ges, Nada yogis proficient in music ha#e combined India8s rapidly e#ol#ing musical system !ith the sonic cosmology and philosophy of Tantra and the edas. But it is only in the past fe! centuries that the strongest connections bet!een music and Nada Yoga ha#e been established. Interestingly, despite the fact that Nada Yoga is the classical term for the Yoga of Sound, and despite many contemporary Indian musicians using the term Nada Yoga to describe the profound spiritual significance of their musical disciplines, Nada Yoga as a !ell4defined practice is perhaps the least documented of all the streams of sacred sound. There are references to Nada Yoga practices in a number of scriptures, !hich I address soon, but the approach is not as organi(ed or synthesi(ed as that of Hatha Yoga. 1any musicians and yogis in the $est casually refer to sacred sound in yoga as Nada Yoga !ithout reali(ing that the term does not deal effecti#ely !ith the phonetic subtleties of mantra. It is precisely for this reason that I prefer to use the term Yoga of Sound to refer to the full scope of sacred sound and its e#olution in yoga. $hat is specific to Nada Yoga, and !here !e !ill find its uni%ue benefits, is its understanding of the process of meditation using sound as its essential medium. TH= S:I=N:= .) S.0N< The cosmology of Nada Yoga embraces the notion that the primary stuff of the uni#erse is #ibratory, and therefore sonic in nature. 1odern physics supports this understanding, especially #ia

infinitesimally small subatomic strands of energy #ibrating at different fre%uencies. These cosmologies all recogni(e that the shapes !e see in nature are constructed of #ibrating entities, each !ith a different fre%uency and !a#elength. The speed at !hich an ob;ect #ibrates *as !ell as its si(e, ho!e#er infinitesimal+ contributes to its particular sound. I mentioned earlier that solid ob;ects #ibrate relati#ely slo!ly, !hile gaseous substances #ibrate more rapidly. Thus, the tones and fre%uencies that comprise the "no!n uni#erse become the sub;ect of meditation in Nada Yoga. This science of Nada Yoga, !hich also ta"es into consideration the musical inter#als used in music and in the musical recitation of mantras, is brought together !ith meditation techni%ues and certain Hatha Yoga practices that are conduci#e to sonic e'ploration. Nada Yoga in#ol#es a deep listening to the body, to its inner sounds and acoustics. Nada Yoga also includes listening deeply to the music of the natural !orld. $e can percei#e a lot of sound4based creati#e acti#ity in nature, such as the mating calls of birds and the ama(ingly comple' and sonorous !hale song. Such listening re#eals the #ast spectrum of consciousness, !hich manifests in a !ide range of distinct fre%uencies during meditation. .ur musical systems across the globe & the #aried senses of harmony, melody, and rhythm & are all selections from this #ast range of fre%uencies. But to choose only a portion of these fre%uencies narro!s us to restricted cultural boundaries. >ean Houston e'plains, =#ery person has a different tonality and is made up of different sonar fre%uencies. That is !hy !e prefer different things and are so radically different from and to each other.$e must not impose, as let8s say a $agnerian deri#ed music, a limitation of mind through a sonar imprisonment of people. This politici(ing of brain function through #arious "inds of sounds and forms is not only !hat happened in ?ermany, but also occurs !hene#er and !here#er totalitarian states and dictators pre#ail. 99 The practice of Nada Yoga can therefore help broaden the consciousness of an audience. $estern music, since the time of Bach, mo#ed to a tempered set of inter#als that di#ided the octa#e into t!el#e e%ual subdi#isions. /rior to this, =uropean musicians used an une#en set of inter#als, as did other cultures around the !orld, !hich ha#e their o!n irregular, organic di#isions of the octa#e. The $estern ear, trained and conditioned by tempered inter#als, came to percei#e other music as inferior or out of tune. .nly in recent years, !ith the rapid surge of !orld music, ha#e ethnic sounds, non4$estern musical inter#als, #ariable instrument tunings, and di#erse musical scales enlarged the $estern ear. The po!er of culti#ating a larger ear has ne#er been more necessary than it is no!@ it !ill result in a proportionately larger heart, facilitating an authentic acceptance of other cultures and their #ibrations. 9 http2AA!!!.space.comAscienceastronomyAastronomyAblac"holeBmusicBCDCECF4G.html 99 <on :ampbell, Sound and the 1iraculous2 an inter#ie! !ith >ean Houston in Music and Miraclescompiled by <on :ampbell, F4GH *$heaton, II2 Juest Boo"s, GFFD+