Ohm, Nada, Sadhana, the essence of sound 2
The sadhana from the musician is very much like the sadhana from the yogi, who concentrates on the mystical mantra OHM which, according to the Nadabindu Upanishad enables one the ability to hear the subtle sounds. The mantra OHM is the primeval vibration, the vibration of heaven and earth. Sufi Inayat Khan tells that the ancient singers used to experience the effect of their spiritual practices upon themselves first. They used to sing one note (the tonic) for about half an hour and study the effect of that same note upon all the different centres of their body; what life-current is produced, how it opened the intuitive faculties, how it created enthusiasm, how it gave added energy, how it soothed and healed. For them it was not a theory, it was an experience. As a musical exercise this practice will sharpen the ear and give a purity to the voice.
The best time to practice Mandra-Sadhana is in the early morning. One starts by tuning the well-maintained tanpura as good as possible, then after listening to it for a short time, sing the low tonic in one long, open breath, from the stomach (navel) with the mouth open. One can sing the syllable OHM, Sa, (the name of the note given to the tonic), or just "Aah". This will help to create a full open resonance throughout the body. Feel it, listen, and concentrate on the tonic. The tanpura gives a constant reference to help find the tonic. As the breath begins to fade, slowly feel the sound melt between the eyebrows into silence. In the beginning ones voice is mostly croaky, or squeaky, but with time and practice it will become pure and open. This process is repeated again and again. Usually time flies by and before you know, 2 an hour or even 1-hour has past. It's a simple meditation with fascinating results. By practising this meditation and concentrating on the low tonic, the tanpura, with its profound simplicity, (with correct tuning and playing technique), can help show us the possibilities of understanding the fundamental vibrational frequencies that are one of the essentials of universal existence.
Vibration as a creative force can be perceived through the practice of this meditation. It becomes more clear that sound itself is a direct path to the universal life‑force. Philosophically the Sanskrit term "Nada" which means sound, is the creative force behind all of creation. According to the tantristic texts from Bhartrhari (570‑650 AD);
" Nada being the essence of the alphabet, the words, sentences and language, life itself turns around language, therefore all manifestations are based on Nada".
Of course the Bible is agreeing with this concept when we read from the Gospel according to John, the word being God itself, the creative sound:
" In the beginning was the Word. The Word was God, and the Word was one"