Ohm, Nada, Sadhana, the essence of sound
"Real music is not for wealth, not for honours or even the joys of the mind, but as a path for realization and salvation"
Ustad Ali Akbar Khan
Present-day science is at the point of proving that there is indeed truth in the fact that creation is made up of vibrations. There is a theory that describes how the basic behaviour of particles and rays are in fact vibrations of abstract "superstrings" in a multi-dimensional space. At this moment in time, the "Superstring" theory is probably the best candidate for the scientific "Theory of Everything". The discoverer of the "Superstring" theory, Edward Witten from Princeton University, who has won the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for mathematics, the Fields Medal, is recognised as an unfathomable genius. In the summer of 1995, Witten laid down the basic theory that brings all other theories together and brings us scientifically closer than ever in understanding the essential creative principles of existence.
In India, the essential creative vibration is known as the syllable OHM or AUM and has played a major role in the Holy Scriptures and philosophies for the past 3000 years or more. Deep concentration on this fundamental, primordial vibration can prove to be musically, and spiritually very rewarding. Accompanied by the tanpura, the participant sings the low tonic with as much resonance as possible. This special type of meditation is also recognised as a form of yoga and is known under the names of Karaj (lowest tuned string), Sur-Sadhana (The concentration on the tuning) or Mandra-Sadhana (concentration on the lower octave).
P.B. Mukharji says in writing the introduction to the book "Japasutram", by Swami Pratyagatmananda Saraswati, that the syllable OHM is in fact a mantra, an animated or charged word, and its sound resembles as nearly as possible that all-enveloping harmony of all the dissonances and the differences of the disjointed and discordant sounds of the universe, and that it can also be heard. He goes on to explain:
“The metaphysics of sound, technically known in India as Mantram and the Japam is the use of the technique and the basic principles of sound, to liberate the mind to a total awareness of all times, all spaces, and the timeless and spaceless status which is the eternal matrix to which all Creation returns in dissolution".
In fact, as a yogic practice, this spiritual sadhana, or Japa, involves a very precise and scientific way of producing the sounds, namely the rising pitch and the falling pitch. The rising pitch should be pronounced loudly and resonantly from the navel and is the rousing factor. The falling pitch should be mellowed down gradually into the silence between the eyebrows and is the soothing factor. These two basic principles should be strictly balanced and adhered to. If done incorrectly one may find oneself becoming too imbalanced, i.e. too much "fire" from the rising pitch, or too much "sedation" from the falling pitch. To rebalance oneself just concentrate more on the opposite pitch. If done correctly, one can expect full value from this dynamic spiritual practice.