Sound Meditation in the Sacred Texts of the Great World Religions, Part One

No doubt, many of you saw the movie Contact, based upon the book with that same title authored by the late Dr. Carl Sagan. The story was about SETI — the search of extraterrestrial intelligence. In this film scientists intercepted radio signal emanating from another part of the galaxy. These broadcasts were being beamed directly at the earth by an alien civilization trying to get our attention. After many years they finally succeeded. Their message was eventually deciphered; it contained schematics for constructing a transportation device which would allow humans to travel to the distant world where the signals were coming from.

After viewing this very worthwhile and philosophical film, I couldn’t help comparing the parallels between this SETI scenario and one of the world’s oldest forms of yoga-meditation: Surat Shabd Meditation, the Yoga of the Sound Current. ‘Shabda’ is based on an ancient Sanskrit word for divine or cosmic Sound: heavenly music. For thousands of years, human beings around the world have been tuning into a Sound which comes from beyond the stars. For the practitioners of the Yoga of Sound, this heavenly music is also a means of transportation. By becoming one with the Holy Stream of Sound, souls during their meditation practice may find themselves ascending in spirit toward the place where the Sound emanates. This Sound connects all souls of the universe to the Timeless (akal) realm of the Great Spirit (Haq, Sat, Sach Khand).

Inner and Outer Sound in the World Religions

Being an initiate of Shabd Meditation and very much interested in comparative mysticism and religion, I would like to share with you some quotes from around the world on clairaudience, the ability to hear the mystic-Sound, the Song of the Creator, the Voice of the Great Life that brought all the bubble universes into existence.

SACRED MUSIC IN THE WORLD RELIGIONS ATTEMPTING TO IMITATE OR MIMIC THE MYSTIC-SOUND

The Sound of God’s Voice said, “Let there be…”

“In the Beginning was the Word, the Logos, the Tao, the Shabda, the Nada, the Saut-e Sarmad…”

Indigenous cultures support the belief that the universe was brought into existence through sound. The Australian Aborigines believe in “Songlines,” meaning the “Way of the Law,” which sang the world, and everything in it, into existence. Native American traditions speak of the “Song of the Creator” that created life and sustains the universe.

The Book of the Hopi (Native American spirituality), the first revelation of the Hopi’s historical and religious world-view of life, contains a beautiful story of creation. In this “genesis” account, the Song of Creation is the essential Force that brings to life the first humans, and the Earth itself is described as a musical instrument. “All the vibratory centers along the Earth’s axis from pole to pole resounded His Call; the Earth trembled; the universe quivered in tune. Thus He made the whole world an instrument of sound, and an instrument for carrying messages, resounding praise to the Creator of all.” In this account, it says that it is our duty, our sacred purpose as human beings to echo this song of creation back to the Creator again by “making a joyful sound throughout the land.”

Chant and sacred music of the world religions can also cause souls to yearn to hear the real Harmony of All Harmonies, to develop a desire to meditate upon the INNER Sound of the Creator that fills the heavens. According to the Masters of Sant Mat and those who practice Surat Shabd Yoga, this Current of Sound, Light, and Love will take us back to God again, will take us Home, if we become one with it. More later on this Yoga of the Audible Life Stream.

Sacred music is IMITATING, MIMICKING higher spiritual sounds, bringing some aspect of the Music of Heaven to the physical world. Tibetan bells and bowls do this very effectively. The inventor of the Sitar, the most well-known instrument of Indian classical music, said that it was his attempt to “capture the music of the Spirit in terms of the physical world.” (The Pilgrimage of James, George Arnsby Jones, Peacehaven Press) He considered his attempt “a failure.” As beautiful as the sitar is, the Real Sound is far more glorious than any sound or outer music of this world.

Harmonic overtone chanting (the singing of two or more notes at the same time!) is a vocal technique used in Mongolia, Tuva, Laos, and other Asian countries. The human voice is transformed into a sonic rainbow of tones and overtones making the voice resemble the Music of the Spheres. A few years back I learned how to do this wonderful practice.

In India, many have verbalized the Sound of the universe as “AAAAAUUUUUMMMMM,” the OM chant. In Tibet, Buddhist monks created an otherworldly form of chant — their attempt to reproduce audibly something of the inner sounds they heard during their meditations. The various Christian, Sethian (Jewish), Hermetic, and other Gnostic schools of Egypt also devised forms of chant that they perceived as verbally mimicking/expressing the Real Name of God that otherwise is hidden in the silence of the soul. They chanted various combinations of vowels and have included them in their prayers: “I praise You. I call your Name that is hidden within me: A O EE O EE OOOOOOOIIIII OOOOOO OOOOOOUUUUUU UUUUUUUUU UUUUUUUO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.” (“The Gospel of the Egyptians” in, The Nag Hammadi Library In English, James M. Robinson, HarperSanFrancisco)

The Gnostic Gospels are filled with many examples of chant and Names of God that were used by Egyptian mystics and monks during meditation practice to explore the Kingdom of the Heavens within, the Wonders of Inner Space. These ancient texts provide many examples of souls ascending in spirit through various heavenly realms on their way back to “The Eighth,” the heavenly state or realm of Ultimate Reality where the Nameless God resides, beyond all the veils of Light, Sound, and illusion.

Whether it’s drumming, Russian Orthodox or Coptic chant, or Gregorian plain-chant, an Indian classical raga or bagpipes, for millennia humans have been echoing various aspects of this Song of Creation. “For in the beginning of the times so did we all share in the Holy Stream of Sound that gave birth to all creation.” (Essene Gospel of Peace, authored by Edmond Bordeaux Szekely, Volume Four)

Across the many centuries and around the world, mystics, in the scriptures they left behind, recorded some of their experiences with inner Sound, the heavenly Music that comes from beyond the silence. Encountering the Sound Current might be as subtle as hearing a faint tone or hum in meditation, or as blissful as becoming one with a cosmic symphony on a higher plane of existence — an experience beyond what earthly language is capable of truly conveying.

James BeanJames Bean explores the world of spirituality, comparative religion, the Path of the Masters (India), Inner Light & Sound Meditation, books — sacred texts of the East & West, and the vegan diet, via Spiritual Awakening Radio on HealthyLife.net , Positive Talk Radio, as well as satsangs (spiritual gatherings or retreats). He has been involved with podcasting, public radio, Radio For Peace International, the community radio movement, the Wisdom Channel on satellite radio, is an independent producer currently creating programs for various stations.
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