13 Sep Nada Brahma: The Ancient Science of Sound
Nowhere in the world has the science of Sound and Music been studied so deeply and exhaustively as in ancient India. Panini, Patanjali, Bhartruhari, Nandikeswara, Anjaneya and Bharata are outstanding among those who have contributed to the unraveling of the mystery of sound, music and creation.
Hindu metaphysics and cosmologies speak of the primordial creative sound AUM (OM) as the power that gives birth to the many worlds of existence.
In ancient times sound itself, the very basis of all music was thought to be intimately related in some way to non-physical and sacred dimensions or planes of existence. Why was this? Because the audible sound was considered to be but an earthly reflection of a vibratory activity taking place beyond the physical world. This vibration was more fundamental and nearer to the heart of the meaning of things than any audible sound. Inaudible to the human ear, this Cosmic Vibration was the origin and basis of all matter and energy in the universe. In its purest, least differentiated form, this Cosmic Sound was known to the Hindus as OM…
The ‘Sabda’ itself is classified into Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari.
Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Section CLXXXIV says there are different kinds of sound. They are the seven original notes called Shadja, Rishabha, Gandhara, Mahdhyama, Panchama, Dhaivata and Nishada. these are the seven kinds of the property that appertain to space.
Sound inheres like the Supreme Being in all space though attached especially to drums and other instruments.
Whatever sound is heard from drums small and large, and conchs, and clouds, and cars, and animate and inanimate creatures are all included in these seven kinds of sound already enumerated.
Thus, sound, which is the property of space, is of various kinds. The learned have said sound to be born of space. When raised by the different kinds of touch, which is the property of the wind, it may be heard.
It cannot, however, be heard, when the different kinds of touch are inceptive. The elements, mingling with their counterparts in the body, increase and grow. Water, fire, wind are always awake in the bodies of living creatures.
They are the roots of the body. Pervading the five life-breaths (already mentioned) they reside in the body.
The notion that the power of music, especially the intoned word, can influence the course of human destiny and even the order of the Universe, goes back to the very oldest surviving form of Indian music, namely, the music of the Vedas.
The intoned formula is the pivot point of the whole elaborate structure of the Vedic offerings and sacrifices. It is the power of the words enunciated with the correct intonation, that determines the efficiency of the rites: a mistake may destroy everything.
The priests claim that by their activity they not only uphold the order of human society but maintain the stability of the universe.
By Prachodayat Team