Of Sounds, Colours & Wheels of Chakras
In Hindi there goes a saying.. “Aam kaane se matlab, yaa peD ginne se?” Well, Sounds and Visuals are to be relished and enjoyed in any land. A follower of a linguist group once commented. “I cannot even think straight without language, and here go people talking about Sounds and Languages.” Alright, If you happen to be curious about the realm of Sounds and What our ancient folks had to tell, welcome to this post.
Let's imagine.. A little seed roots itself firmly to the ground. As it awakens, sprouts and grows tall.. One by one the leaves erupt as if meditating with open palms.. And one day the vibrant flowers break open ready to kiss the Sun.
The mystic poet Kabir in his simple language extolls the formless Supreme. It was a surprise to see so much chakra diction all over his works.
As I root myself and lock into padmasana. As my left and right airs ida-pingala churn my sushumna spine, I let go of all my desires.. In Sahasrara of my head is the holy meeting with triveni sangam. In the peaks of silence, I shall sing the unheard notes of bliss.
shunya shikar par anahad baje
And Saint Tyagaraja in his Shobillu Sapthaswara sings on the 7 musical notes.. The notes shine through the centers of nabhi-hrd-kanta-rasana-naasa navel-heart-throat-tongue-nose.
Have you anytime listened to loud music and felt the vibrations in your heart region? Check it out next time. Our ancients thought of this body and sounds as a divine instrument.
What are these Chakras and Beeja mantras?
Let’s come to the topic. Think of energy spiraling upwards from the ‘base of the spine’ towards the ‘head’ going through different organ systems. The 7 chakras correspond to the 7 major energy confluence centers. And the short Beeja Mantras are a way to sense and activate the points.
Muladhara is in perenium area, Swadhisthana is a bit above, Manipura is in navel region, Anhata in the heart region, Visuddhi is in the throat region, Ajna is in the middle of the eyebrow region and Sahasrara is on top of the head.
And this is not just theory. One can feel the location while making these longish sounds. Just like a musical instrument, sounds are puckered at different points along the spine causing different frequencies to be resonated.
Be it Vishnu Sahasranamam, Om Namah Shivaaya, or other mantras, I guess there is a lot of hidden neuro science. In a thread on this topic says RL.
Beeja Mantras are deeper sounds which activate the energetics of the “body” and hence the Chakras, which, in turn, are akin to motors for the various organs of the body.
Each Beeja Mantra carries its own frequency of vibration which associates it with certain Chakras (and so, organs). Notice at the mantras and shlokas, is the bell like “mmmm” sound, which causes the resonance to be transmitted; the sounds prior to the hum set the frequency of the vibration.
The hum is transmitted via the tongues contact to the palette, which connects to the Cerebrum, which in turn communicates with the nerves. Theres a lot more to this fascinating system and how mantras work.
Aksharas: The building blocks: 3 ways of arrangement
In high school days, when the Hindi teacher told us about alphabets as a function of vocal anatomy, it seemed so wonderfully structured.
Later, I was trying to get a hang of Sandhi while doing Gita, I felt the Maheshwara Sutras were acting like digital audio filters. For instance, the vowels are spread across the first 4 sets. The later sets correspond to semi vowels, nasals sounds, consonants arranged by properties. And Panini’s style is very handy for purpose of Sandhi of sounds at various joints.
And later when I saw pictures of chakra with alphabets around, I realised it was another representation. And kind of we can feel it.. Vowels in the throat the next level of consonants in the heart chakra, and the next set in the navel chakra and so on. Place your hand and feel the excitation for some of these.
sahasrAra chakra all the 50 alphabets
ajna chakra 2 petals ह क्ष
throat chakra: 16 अ आ इ ई उ ऊ ऋ ॠ ऌ ॡ ए ऐ ओ औ अं अः
heart chakra: 12 क ख ग घ ङ च छ ज झ ञ ट ठ
navel chakra: 10 ड ढ ण त थ द ध न प फ
swAdhishthana chakra: 6 ब भ म य र ल
root chakra: 4 व श स ष
“In a highly simplified description, it may be said that the fifty letters or sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet are on the petals of the sahasrara, and that each alphabetical vibration in turn is connected with a specific petal on the lotuses in the spinal centers (which have a total of fifty corresponding petals…) “Petals” means “ray” or “vibrations”. These vibrations, … are responsible for various psychological and physiological activities in the physical and astral bodies of man.” Paramahansa Yogananda — God Talks With Arjuna, The Bhagavad Gita.
“Each of the fifty letters in the Sanskrit alphabet corresponds to one of the fifty petals on chakras one through six, from the base of the spine to the brow. The sacred Vedic text known as the Upanishads describe the ability of advanced spiritual adepts to actually ‘see’ the letters on the petals of the chakras. When a Sanskrit mantra is uttered, the petals corresponding to the letters in the words of the mantra vibrate in spiritual resonance” Author — Thomas Ashley Farrand
And yet, sounds are in the domain of the physical realms and have a language and structure. Hence called Vaikhari. The ideation that happens is madhyama. pashyanti and paraa are beyond these. Perhaps our intuition and the mystical powers of the siddhis to see through falls in the higher realms.
Light travels faster than sound externally, but sounds are perceived faster due to low latency in processing I guess. And great seers could “see” sounds in colour domain.
And again a word of caution. A little bit of knowledge and curiosity is fine. Any kind of deep practice could literally change the inner configuration. And hence do not go deep into it without the guidance of an able teacher. Take it slowly and enjoy experiencing the colours and sounds meanwhile.
I have tagged the ones which I have not authored.
REFERENCES ON SOUNDS & CHAKRAS
More on Sounds
What does the Dog Say?
Why does the Crow Kaw? The First Sounds.. The Kyon Question?
Alchemy of Sounds — Sandhi in Gita
Encoding the Language Rules.. Ode to Pāṇini
Cushioning the Seed-Dhatu Vikarana
Are the A B C Ds meaningless??
Meters in Shankaracharya Stotrams