Transcendental SoundSounds, Sounds, Sounds

Swami B. R.Sridhar

The name of God cannot be uttered by a material tongue, nor can a material ear hear the sound of the name. God is adhokshaja, one who has reserved the right of not being exposed to organic senses. All of our experience, knowledge, and memories  have been gleaned with the help of mundane senses. Our tongue is comprised mostly of earth and water elements. The nerve endings extending to all parts of the body carry charges of electricity (also a material element). If an object is too far away, it is not touchable, seeable, tasteable, etc. If an object is too close, it is also imperceptible. We can't see our own tilaka mark or eye make-up. When the senses are extended by microscopes and telescopes, they have a greater range, but we are still limited to the material sphere. The telescope cannot penetrate the outermost cover of the universe and the microscope lens is composed of atoms and therefore cannot see the atom or anything smaller than the atom. Likewise, the system of mental speculation is also insufficient to perceive the spiritual element. Mind is a material element whose density is very slight, yet it's speculations are no more spiritual than hard rocks.

There is a common belief that by extending the potency of the mind we can conceive the infinite, but this process is defective. If the infinite can be confined within a limited mind, it is not infinite. I don't even know how many hairs are on my own head. Mental speculators grind their brains over abstract aphorisms of Zen and the Upanishads and think that by their own power they can achieve something like infinity. The result is that the mind explodes and dies of exhaustion. And the reaction is deplorable: total forgetfulness of the self and the infinite.

There are channels by which the infinite descends. He has all power, glory, beauty, knowledge, wealth, and renunciation. He is dominant, all-extending, free, and autocratic. The infinite cannot be contained in a limited sphere, but if he is really infinite then he has the power of making himself known in all his fullness to the finite mind. When, out of His own prerogative, he takes the initiative and reveals himself to the devotee, there is actual perception of Godhead, self-realization, transcendental revelation. He comes by the channel of transcendental sound, he comes by vibrating the spiritual tongue of the pure devotees representing him to the world. The spiritual element vibrates the tongues of the sat-guru's audience, which have hitherto never been vibrated.

It must be noted that if the guru is bogus, then that name will not touch the spiritual spark within the coverings of the mind and body. It may sound the same, but it is not, just as milk and whitewash look the same but are altogether different. Now many such artificial gurus are about, camouflaging, as it were, the genuine devotees. If someone finds a treasure beneath a tree and marks the tree with his initials and then comes back to find every tree marked with the same initials, he is unable to recall the original tree.

Sat-gurudeva utters the holy name. Our material ears hear some sound that resembles the transcendental name of God. Our eardrum moves the liquid of the inner ear, half water and half air, which vibrates the ethereal element and touches our mind. At this point, the soul has still been untouched, and there has been no genuine spiritual experience. By hearing with the mind's impressions, we can enjoy the sound of the cymbals, the beat of the chant, the pleasant company and effect of listening and hearing. But it doesn't stop there. Piercing the mind, the original sound uttered by guru moves our intellect, and we consider the transcendental philosophy. For millions of years, sages chanted the sound recieved from Sri guru on the banks of many holy rivers. Ideas flood everywhere about the possible effects of the mantra. While being quite blissful, this is not spiritual revelation in the true sense. Beyond the intelligence is the spiritual element, the soul. That sound, having cut through all my senses including the mind and intellect, now vibrates the finest sentiments of my own real existence. This is the perception of the holy name on the spiritual plane with my spiritual ear. Then the soul, inspired, recapitulates, sending the vibration back into the intelligence, mind, etc., out to my external tongue and we say, 'Krishna'. And  dance in ecstasy.

Sounds, sounds, sounds catch hold of the sounds. Seize the waves traveling within the ether, and your happiness is assured in spiritual life. One sage has explained in his sutra that massive epidemics are due to contamination of the ether by impure sound. When the lawyers and pleaders in the court begin to tell lies in the name of justice, these sound vibrations contaminate the ether. This in turn contaminates the air and water which people breathe and drink, and epidemic is the result. When four-headed Brahma creates the universe, the seed ingredient is sound, Om. And from that Om the gayatri-mantra is born. In this sound, the fourteen planetary galaxies sprout like whorls of spiraling stars and planets, with the sun situated in the very center of the universe. Each planetary system is composed of a different sound uttered by Brahma. Each galaxy provides the infinites jivas, the living entities, with their particular spheres of karma (action), dharma (religious functions), artha (economic development), kama (sensual enjoyment and suffering), and moksha (facility for liberation). It is the function of Brahma to provide these different galaxies and planets according to the sinful and meritorious deeds of the innumerable living beings. Brahma utters a different sound for each planetary system and his engineer, Vishvakarma, creates the planets according to those sounds. The subtle elements and gross elements are distributed in this way. In our planet, the predominating elements are earth and water. In other worlds, only water is found. On the sun, fire is the prominent element. If a spiritual individual, under the effects of illusion, or maya, wishes to end his gross existence, he may enter a planet of air, ether, mind, or intelligence and live as a ghost.

The individual jiva is also endowed with a particle of creative power, and he creates his tiny sphere of influence by sound. Some jiva's  spheres of influence are no bigger than their own craniums, and some jivas have influence over a community, a nation, or even a whole planet. The beauty and harmony of their particular spheres of influence depends on the quality of sounds they produce.

When one nation tries to conquer another nation, the first points to capture are the radio stations, the newspapers, the journals, the lines of communication. By sending out its manifesto by sound, the government can move the former leaders from their posts and capture the country. Then, also by sound, the new government becomes established. If there should be any defect in that sound, then the whole thing is ruined. That is why there is so much alteration in the world situation. The sound of all these jivas is, to quote the Bible, babbel. Nonsensical sounds are entering and contaminating the ether, the air, the water, and the very molecular structure of each and every person, place, and thing.

A person's mind is composed of two functions, technically termed sankalpa and vikalpa. Sankalpa means the mind's desire to join thought into concepts, theories, and tableaus of theories. Vikalpa is the mind's function of rejecting thoughts, simplifying and limiting experiences which are gathered through the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Both functions are controlled by sound. Here is an experiment: close your eyes. When I repeat a number you will see the number flash before your mind like a cash register. One – three – seven – four – The processes of sankalpa and vikalpa respectively make the thoughts come and go. This is a very simple form of the mindÔs process. On a more complicated scale, there is the very risky business of intentionally invading the sound waves with defective sound. The lines of communication are filled with impure sound from the most elementary schoolbooks to the most advanced so-called philosophy. The congressional filibusters are another excellent example of intentional pollution of sound channels. But if we were to infuse spiritual sound into the ether, saturate the ether with the transcendental sound vibration of the name of God, the mantra would purify, enlighten, and saturate every being with its potencies.

The spiritual sound of the maha-mantra first wipes the material dust from the mirror of our mind. Cheto-darpana-marjanam. The mind is like the intermediate connecting medium between the spirit and that material external covering called the body. The soul has no material activity. When covered by maya, or illusion, the soul remains dormant in a state of suspended animation. The magnitude of the soul is so great, however, that it infuses consciousness on all sides. Through the medium of the mind, the senses act and we 'know' things. If this lens, the mind, is put out of focus by the external nature, we suffer confusion, pain, disease, and death. Yes, death is a state of mind only, as the soul has no death. By the mind we mistakenly think, 'Oh, I'm dying!' 'I'm drowning!' 'I'm giving birth!' 'I'm sick!' etc. When the mind is cleansed by the maha-mantra, the mind is forcibly purified. All the material concoctions, which are the cause of our suffering, are forcibly murdered, starved to death. They thrive on material sense pleasures. Flooding the mind with transcendental sound is just like stepping on a bomb: all those misconceptions of material suffering and enjoyment are shattered, murdered, and the material mind is conquered wholly, leaving no enemies behind. The mind then reflects the spiritual knowledge, quality, and energy of the soul self.

Next, bhava-maha-davagni-nirva-panam. The fire of conditional life is thus extinguished. Nirvana, which most people are trying to understand from Buddhist texts, means extinguishing the fire of material existence. This body has been burning from the very beginning of time by the process of digestion. Biologists all declare that the body is a burning organism, giving off heat, water vapor, and carbon dioxide. After seventy or more years, our body is completely consumed by that smoldering digestive fire, and we move into another body, only to burn up that one too. It is like chain-smoking, with the lit end of the cigarette you light up a fresh cigarette, and on and on. By the potency of the transcendental sound, the cause of that fire is extinguished.

Then, shreyah-kairava-chan-drika-vitaranam-vidya-vadhu-jivanam. The transcendental sound spreads the light of benedictions, peaceful suggestions and fearlessness, and no more anxieties invade the mind. We approach the world after coming out of the womb with many deep-rooted fears: Is there safety? Is there happiness? Is there peace? The answer is the basic seed. Om, in this sense, means one big spiritual yes. Om yes, a positive answer. Simply by negating the mind, the questions of the soul are not satisfied; something positive must be given. The maha-mantra floods the minds with suggestions of truth. And anandam-budhi-vardha-nam-pratipadam-purnamritasva-danam. A full draught of the ocean of blissful nectar is served to the soul, who has been thirsty from time immemorial.

Sarvatma-snapanam-param-vijayate-sri-krishna-san kirtanam. This point has a two fold meaning, one external and one internal. Sarvatman means all jivas. The holy name bathes all souls with spiritual bliss, knowledge, and love. The transcendental sound completely overcomes the soul with his sublime potencies. But atman has many meanings, as given by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Atman means the Supreme Absolute Truth, the body, the mind, the intelligence, endeavor, conviction, and nature. By uttering the pure sound of the maha-mantra, one invades the very cause of everything that exists. The mind, body, and soul, and even nature itself, can be changed into transcendental nature by one exclamation of the pure name. Capture the sound waves which are the cause of every item of existence and saturate them with the name of God. The result will be the total transformation of energy. An ashrama, temple, and the paraphernalia in it are all divine. The environment in which we live in the ashrama is not the same as the one in which we were born. It is 'there;' it is the spiritual world. The more we progress in our sadhana (spiritual practice) the more God will reveal himself to us.

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Transcendental Sound — B R Sridhar Swami — The Age of Information