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The Inner Soundscape of Nada-Yoga: Sonic Path of Union

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Vassar College

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  1. Introduction
  2. Nada and the esoteric schools
  3. Nada yoga and the non practicing scholar
  4. The nature of mystical paths
  5. The soundscape project
  6. Conclusion
  7. Works cited

The Himalayan religious traditions (Saivite Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism, Tibetan Bon-po) are related by a common heritage of esoteric practices intended to unify the religious aspirant with the ultimate reality (as defined by the particular tradition). This gnosis is defined variously as dzogchen (?great perfection?), samadhi (contemplative absorption), and yoga (union) by the Himalayan religions. According to the mythological history of the Bon-po (the indigenous shamanic religion of Tibet), the meditation master Lord Tonpa Shenrab existed in the hidden realm of Shambhala 18,000 years ago. During his lifetime he is said to have taught the techniques of Dzogchen Meditation, the first such teacher to exist in this world-age. In this mythic history, the Bon-po seek soteriological superiority over the Hindu and Buddhist traditions which practice similar trance-states, by ascribing to Lord Shenrab two students whose later incarnations became Lord Siva and Shakyamuni Buddha, the progenitors of Hindu Yoga and the Buddha Dharma, respectively.

[...] In the last stage, when the Rudra granthi between the eyes is pierced by yogic attention, perfect sound like that of flute is produced The text claims that he who has mastered this concentration will be beyond the reach of negative incantations (the soundscape ends with a passing group of itinerant shamans attempting to curse the nada-yogin, who is out of reach of such external charms.) Finally, the anahata-nada, first heard only in the right ear of the practitioner, is unified in both channels and the contemplation (which is written to last over a period of fifteen days of secluded practice) is complete. [...]

[...] of this cosmogenic principle.[1] Deemed the ?unstruck sound? (anahata nada) by the Vedic sources, this unborn vibration is the sonic first-mover of Indian cosmogeny. Within the Hindu mythos, is the primordial sound origin of the universe,?[2] the bija syllable?) of creation. From this primordial nature of sound we find in the Himalayan practices of gnosis a reliance on syllables of discrete sound to manifest the spiritual essence of deities into the physical realm. The recitation of mantra, a practice found in the three Himalayan traditions, is the articulation of syllables whose sonic vibration expresses the quality of a divinity. [...]

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