Unit IV.  Vibration/Word/Logos

1.  Energy and the void
2.  Sabda-Brahman and creation through sound
3.  Mind is the structure created by sound
4.  Mantra protects the mind

Materials needed: Journal and drawing materials (see book below)

Books needed:

Drawing the light from within*
The spiritual universe (optional)

Exercises and practices:

Colors of Light
Quantum talk

* You may already have this book

“God created the heavens and the earth in the very beginning.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:1-2).  This is the passage that introduces and opens the Bible.   And this is the passage that introduces the Gospel according to St. John:  “The Word was in the beginning, and that very word was with God and God was that word” (St. John 1:1).  According to my Bible commentary (Neil, 1960, p. 211), the Godhead comprises the Father, the Logos or Word (Christ), and the Paraclete or (Holy) Spirit.  So Word as used here means the Logos.  Logos comes from a Greek word that means speech.  James Pryse (1910), who interpreted the book of Revelations as an initiation which employed the chakra system, uses logos to mean the world of true Being, Nous or the realm of divine ideas or archetypes which are the eternal patterns of all things in the universe.  God is the level above this as the abstract origin of everything.  According to Pryse, Archeus is the first element of objectivity which becomes matter through differentiation.  Logos subsists in Archeus and becomes the principle of life which irradiates as Light.  This Light is the Holy Spirit.  Logos would then be part of the first differentiation of the divine Reality.  However, St. John says that the Word is synonymous with God.  This is not contradictory if we remember that everything created exists within the body of God.  

Now why am I telling you all this?

Creation stories in every religious tradition use some reference to the “word” as critical to the process of creation.  Speech and/or articulation requires vibration of the vocal cords as well as vibration in the neurons of the brain that are associated with meaning and the thought that precedes speech.  And, if you look at modern physics, you will find that vibration is the basic element out of which everything comes.  So it is a short leap to think of the Word and logos as referring to this elemental vibration.  If  you can buy this, keep it in mind while I describe some different approaches to the beginnings of manifest reality.

We are studying vibration because it is the essence of sound which is what we hear.  And hearing is the sense of this chakra.  So we want to understand it better.

Exercise: Colors of Light

Read Chapter 2 in Drawing the light from within and do the exercises.   As you work, take a moment here and there to observe what is happening in your mind and how that interfaces with the work as it appears on your paper.  How does color harmony relate to your life?   Do you react to different colors emotionally?  Do you see this as a function of vibration?  After you create a piece of art, look at it and see if you can recognize the tone of it.  Could you “think light” as you worked?   How does color express your personality?  Do different colors bring out different personality aspects in you?  Were or are you aware of any vibration?  Make notes in your journal about your discoveries.  

Energy and the Void

Fred Alan Wolf is a physicist who interprets some of the physics research in language the lay person can understand.  In 1996, he wrote a book called The spiritual universe in which he makes a case for origins of the soul in the quantum soup.  This may or may not be true, but a lot of it makes sense given the ideas presented above.  We will be looking at how particles pop out of this soup to enjoy a brief independent existence, and then they return.

When physicists take all the energy and matter they can out of a container and reduce the temperature to absolute zero, they discover there is still energy left in the vacuum, that is, the space left between subatomic particles of matter.  This is called “zero-point energy,” and it continues to bubble and jiggle in random fluctuations (Wolf, 1996, p. 126-7).  This is called “The Dirac Sea” after the man who discovered it.  Wolf and I both think it can be construed as an analogy for the void out of which everything is born.  Here is what seems to happen, as well as I can understand it.

The “sea”/void/quantum soup seethes with energy ready to become manifest.  This vacuum contains negative energy electrons which are held as potential matter.  Each is a counterpart of an electron that is manifested as positive energy.  When one of these electrons pops out of the sea/void, it leaves behind it a hole in nothing called a real positron-electron made of antimatter but which has physical properties that can be measured.  So think of a vacuum as a sea of potential matter with negative energy and a real electron as a drop of that ocean with positive energy.  These complement each other and, as it turns out, maintain their connection even over vast spaces in the universe.  Electrons lose energy by emitting light if a lower energy state is available, and then they can fall back into the sea/void.

However, one of these free electrons (A) cannot fall back into the sea if that state already has another electron (B) in it unless B is spinning in the opposite direction.  If so, electrons A and B instantly vanish and release two times the energy of the single electron.  This is called electron-positron pair-annihilation.  The vacuum can create energy as long as electrons are eventually returned to it to balance the system.  You can probably guess where this is going.  Wolf quotes Rumi:

    Sea turns on itself and foams:
        with every foaming bit
        another body, another being takes form.
    And when the sea sends word,
        each foaming body
        melts immediately back to ocean breath.
                                                        - Rumi in “The Moon and Sea”

Wolf (1996) then goes on to describe how the particles mate and why the void could be called the “eternal self or. . the unreflected spirit” (p. 180).  It is emptiness - non-dual and eternal, he says.  This sounds like the unconscious and the dynamic ground as well as the void and quantum soup.  Wolf then talks about Spirit’s longing to become manifest and the soul as temporarily trapped Spirit.  Then he ties all this in with Buddhism and Judaic mysticism with bows to Yoga and Taoism.  Wolf quotes Carlos Suarez as saying the universe is Spirit projecting itself.  It emanates a cloud of consciousness upon which it can Self-reflect, like gazing into a mirror, and thus know Itself.  Here is the holographic model again, one that is very similar to the Yogic one.

Wolf (1996, p. 314) defines Spirit as “vibrations of nothing.”  You will remember that as also a definition of the quantum soup or Dirac sea.  It has the potential to become anything.  It is vibrations of the vacuum.  Realization of anything occurs as a reflection of these vibrations in the form of waves.  However, it needs some resistance to mirror back.  Hence the projected “cloud” of consciousness.  He suggests that the “cloud” consists of the soul which is a reflection of Spirit at the nodes of time. Matter then is a reflection of Spirit at the nodes of space.  Nodes, in this case, define the beginning and end of creation.  Self is a reflection of soul in matter, to complete the picture.

Exercise: Quantum Talk

Read “Walking the Quantum Talk” by Mike Denney in IONS Noetic Sciences Review, June/August, 2002, p. 19-23 and “Life Lessons from the Newest Science” by Raima Larter in IONS Noetic Sciences Review, March/May, 2002, pp. 22-27.  These will give you a review and perhaps slightly different perspective on the information given above.

Now all of this vibration is food for thought.  Let us consider the Yogic point of view on the same act of creation.

Sabda-brahman and Creation Through Sound

Fifth Chakra   The silver crescent in the chakra diagram is called nada.  And nada is “the first produced movement in the ideating cosmic-consciousness” (Woodroffe, 1973).  You could think of this as the first thought of God.

What follows is taken from The serpent power by Sir John Woodroffe (1973).  This book is a translation directly from the Sanskrit of a manuscript called Satcakra-nirupana that was authored by Swami Purnananda as the sixth chapter of his unpublished work entitled Sri-tattva-cintamani.  He copied a manuscript of the Visnupuranam,  one of the Puranas in 1526.  However, he  apparently did not write the present document until 1577.  It is unclear what the connection is.  However, we can see that this document goes pretty far back in history.  I might mention also that the chakra diagrams in this book do not resemble those of the popular media in very many respects.  The colors are very different in some cases.  I have tried to reproduce them more faithfully to the originals based on Woodroffe’s descriptions and the plates in his book.  I will italicize each new Sanskrit word the first time it appears and not thereafter.

As mentioned in earlier books, kundalini yoga is based on an analogy of the connection between Shiva who represents unmanifested reality and Shakti who represents manifested reality.  The relationship between the two of them is creation and all of its life.  Bindu is a
    state of active consciousness or Sakti [“s” in sanskrit is pronounced “sh”]  in which
    the “I” or illuminating aspect of consciousness identifies itself with the total “This.”  
    It subjectifies the “This;” thereby becoming a point (bindu) of consciousness with it. (Woodroffe, 1973,     p. 34)
Sunya, is the void in the empty space of the circle of bindu (p. 42). [You will recognize sunyata as the emptiness referred to in Buddhist literature.] “From Bindu originated the void which is empty of all things and is the Sound container, and from all these issued the twenty-five  tattvas ” (p. 416). [A tattva is the essence of something before it is manifested.]  From this, we can conclude that sunya or the void is analogous to the quantum soup or Dirac Sea.  And that this is all contained within the original state of active consciousness [God, Universal Reality or the One Creator].

Now, watch this.  Kundalini is Sabda-brahman or the “Word” (Vak) in bodies and is in Her own form Pure Consciousness and is all Powers.  “Kundalini is in fact the cosmic energy in bodies and as such the cause of all and though manifesting as, is not confined to, any of Her products” (p. 8 footnote).  When “the time for creation takes place, there is a stirring of the Gunas. . and an initial vibration. . known in the Mantra-Sastra as Cosmic Sound (Sabda-brahman)” (p.53).  This appears to be confirmation for some of Wolf’s ideas.

So we have the following abbreviated progression of involution (embodiment of Spirit):

1.  Nada - the first ideating movement in the void or the undifferentiated impulse to vibration.
2.  Sabda-brahman - eternal Logos (p. 86 footnote), the first vibration.
3.  Sabda - as a quality of ether, the creative “Word” - vibrations of cognition.  Not audible but that which precedes the audible.  Ideas and concepts in the mind. A related concept on the same level as Sabda is Artha which is the precursor of mental images and objects.  Think of it as meaning.
4.  Nama (speech or mantra) - audible sounds in the world, and Rupa (concepts or objects) - forms in the world.

Actual creation is preceded by Iksana which means “seeing.”  This is the first movement in actual creation.  It is like an image of what will be created.  It is a movement of Shakti so would appear to follow nada which is undifferentiated.  Keep in mind that it is Shakti who is the agent of creation.

Sabda as the precursor of speech and language has four states:

1.  Para-sabda - Supreme Speech differentiated but not manifested.  Belongs to causal, dreamless realm.  This is when Shakti “sees” (p. 101).
2.  Pasyanti - non-particularized movement (associated with manas).
3.  Madhyama - mental ideation and inner naming by the cognitive aspect of mental movement, the part of the mind that identifies and distinguishes names.  Subtle artha, image of a thing (associated with buddhi).  Belongs to the subtle body.
4.  Vaikhari - uttered speech and language (associated with gross body and waking consciousness).

You can see the parallelism between this and the processes discussed above.  The Sanskrit letters on the petals of the chakras are in subtle and causal forms, therefore, they represent ideating movements or their causes.  Manifestation, then, begins as soundless ideation and/or consciousness, proceeds to undifferentiated movement, thence to differentiated movement and from there to externalization.  This is a clear description of the creative process whether it is taking place in the Absolute Godhead or in a human mind.  It makes sense if we think of sound as vibration in this context.

Mind is the Structure Created by Sound

Now, if we equate consciousness with sound in the sense of vibration, we have a formula to create mind.  “Sabda-brahman is the consciousness (Caitanya) in all creatures” (Woodroffe, 1973, p. 100).  Let’s go back to our creation model in Samkhya Yoga (figure 3) with these new ideas in mind.

The Ultimate Reality is the void seething with unmanifested energy.  From it emerges vibration as consciousness and vibration as matter (potential form).  This is the first level of differentiation.  These two sets of vibrations, through an holographic process, create an interference pattern called Universal Mind or Akasha which is the second level of   differentiation that corresponds to Sabda-brahman, the word or logos.  Universal Mind further differentiates to form antahkarana or individual mind.  At each stage, we can assume, the frequencies of vibration become slower until something is dense enough to become manifest in the world of senses.  This includes the world itself which is brought into being by imposing form on vibration by way of the gunas (see the right hand declension of Figure 3).  If I am understanding the teachings correctly, this is what is meant by the mind and the world being created by sound.

Pryse (1910) runs through a similar involutionary process in The Apocalypse unsealed.  You might be interested to see how he explains the events in the Book of Revelations in terms of the kundalini yoga system.  It is analogous to what I have written above.

Mantra protects the mind

A year ago I was forced to put up a fence around my back yard because a neighbor would not restrain his dogs and I have a cat who needed to go outside.  I also have a garden that was being invaded by wild animals.  As the fence was going up, I was attacked by both sets of neighbors who were understandably angry.  At being attacked, I too became angry - to the point of tears.  This was coupled with extreme frustration because I had done everything I could think of to solve the problem with them before taking this action.  Knowing that I was out of control emotionally, I put a recording of the Hari Om mantra on the stereo and listened to it all day.  This eventually calmed my mind but, in the interim, I got a close look at how the mind gets perturbed by negative emotions.  What did the mantra do?  How did it correct the imbalance?

Woodroffe (1973) says that all mantras are in the body as forms of consciousness, and that, if we focus on the deity associated with the mantra when we chant, we might be able to develop the divine power of that deity.  However, it is necessary to “concentrate and vitalize thought and will power” (p. 98).  Doing so will enable us to tune in, so to speak, to the vibrations that we want to emulate.  In the case of Hari Om, it is the mantra of Hari, a form of Vishnu who is the deity of healing.  So chanting Hari Om put me in touch with healing energy.

And it is the chanting that does the work.  Just listening does help, but chanting creates resonance in the body itself through the vibrations of the vocal cords and the resonating qualities of the body cavities such as throat, sinuses and chest.  If you experiment with chanting at various pitches, you will see that some resonate in the chest, others in the throat and still others in the head.  So, it stands to reason, if you pick the right mantra, you can tune a part of your body, or a chakra, to it.

A tattva is the essence of something or a fundamental principle.  For example, the three parts of mind (antahkarana) are Buddhi, Ahamkara and Manas.  The five tanmatras (elements of sound, touch, sight, taste and smell) are subtle elements.  These are not manifest as such but are the basic structure upon which the physical functions rest.  So we are talking about differentiated movement that is not yet externalized.

Now, you will remember, each chakra has a bija or seed sound.  In the fifth chakra it is Ham.  This is the sound that will open the chakra when it is chanted.  Well, the bija is the seed of tattva and the relationship between the two is bi-directional.  The natural name of something is “the sound which is produced by the action of the moving forces which constitute it” (p. 96).  Therefore, mentally uttering the name with creative force will bring into being that which the name signifies.  This must take place in a worshipful frame of mind with a focus of concentration on the deity or Light-form that is related to it.   This process can be used to create something or to realign energies that have gotten out of whack.  Chanting is especially helpful at night before bedtime because it carries over into sleep and the causal body.

With extensive practice of the same mantra, it will eventually become self-generating.  That is, it will run by itself in the back of your mind replacing the chatter that is usually there.  This keeps you attuned to the deity of your choice or the vibrations that you choose to live in.  Compare this to the vibrations of rock music with its sexual overtones.  What kind of bodymind do you want to create for yourself?

Practice: AUM

1.  The ultimate mantra is OM which is articulated as a continuously-vocalized “ah...oo...mm” (A-U-M).  “A” represents manifestation, “U” represents maintenance and “M” represents dissolution, processes that are ongoing eternally in the universe (Mishra, 1987b, p. 141). It is “. . called nadam because it is the supreme music everywhere eternally. . . the universe is a concentrated form of nadam.  Nadam is the subtle form of the universe.  This is the secret doctrine of Samkhya Yoga” (p. 142).   If you open your mouth wide and make a sound, it comes out as “Ah”.  Then, if you gradually close your mouth while still articulating the sound, you will run the gamut of all the possible vowel sounds ending with “MM.”  Practicing this will tune you into the universe.  Consult Mishra (1987a  and/or 1987b) and Radha (1980) for more details and instructions for practice if you need them.

Try this first lying down so you can completely relax.  Experiment with various pitches until you find the one with which your whole body vibrates.  This will be your optimal pitch.  Notice where in your body it resonates most strongly.  Feel the frequency of it there and in other body cavities.   Continue chanting OM (A-U-M) until you notice a distinctive change in your bodymind.  Then stop and rest with it enjoying the vibrations that have been created.

2.  Secure, if you don’t have already, a tape or CD of a mantra.  Ideally, there will be only one mantra on the tape that is repeated over and over again.  Select one you like and that you feel drawn to intuitively.  Or choose one that calls to a particular deity if you have one to whom you are devoted.  They are available in all religious traditions though they may not be called mantras.  Make a careful distinction between a mantra which is specialized to entrain you and other music such as hymns or bhajans which do not have the necessary qualities to develop the vibrations you want.  If you cannot discriminate between them, ask someone in the store.  Mantras can be purchased at any ashram, many of which are online now.  Previous guidebooks have given you sources to obtain mantra tapes and discs.   Undoubtedly, they can be secured through the internet.  Try www.timeless.org or www.bookstore.siddhayoga.org for yogic mantras, www.taize.com or www.giamusic.com/taize for Christian ones.

When you have the tape, play it as you work around the house or as you are falling asleep.  You can chant with it to develop your vocal skills and drive it into your bodymind.  If you are new to this, you may have to work with several mantras to find the right one, so take the time to do this before settling in with it.  Sufis use dhikr the same way though it is not necessarily melodic.  If you can find a group near you to chant with, that will help your motivation in the beginning especially if you don’t like the sound of your own voice.  Try to practice at least some every day as it takes time to develop the self-generating mantra.

Everyone can sing though many of us don’t think we can as a result of being quashed as children usually.  I lived most of my life thinking I couldn’t sing because I was trying to sing soprano and I am a contralto.  Now I sing in a concert choir in the tenor section.

All of this is sacred work and should not be used to try to develop secular power.  There is a grave danger in desecrating sacred gifts to inflate ego.  The proper approach is one of humility and gratitude.  So be sure to offer your gratitude when practices begin to work for you.


_______.  The holy Bible.

Cornell, J.  (1990).  Drawing the light from within: Keys to awaken your creative power.  New York: Prentice Hall.

Denney, M. (2002).  “Walking the Quantum Talk.”  IONS Noetic Sciences Review, 60, June - August, pp. 18-23.

Larter, R.  (2002).  “Life Lessons from the Newest Science.”  IONS Noetic Sciences Review, 59, March - May.  PP. 22-27.

Mishra, R. (1987a).  Fundamentals of Yoga: A handbook of theory, practice and application.  New York: The Julian Press.

Mishra, R.  (1987b).  The textbook of Yoga psychology: The definitive translation and interpretation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  New York: The Julian Press.  

Neil, W.  (1960).  The Bible companion: A complete  pictorial and reference guide to the people, places, events, background, and faith of the Bible.  New York:       McGraw-Hill.

Pryse, J.  (1910).  The Apocalypse unsealed: being an esoteric interpretation of the initiation of Ionnes, commonly called the Revelation of St. John.  Belle Fourche, SD: Kessinger Publishers.

Radha, S.  (1980).  Mantras: Words of power.  Porthill, ID: Timeless Books.

Wolf, F.  (1996).  The spiritual universe: How quantum physics proves the existence of the soul.  New York: Simon & Schuster.

Woodroffe, Sir. J. (Tr.). (1973).  The serpent power: Being the Sat-cakra-nirupana and Paduka-Pancaka.  Madras, India: Ganesh & Co.

In this unit, we have seen how vibration is in the womb of creation.  It accompanies every stage of manifestation and activity of mind.  It also pervades all movement and communication as well as being the stuff of which things are made.  We can tune in to higher level vibrations by chanting mantras.  Mantras protect and heal the mind.  Unit V. Hearing will examine hearing as both communication and surrender.

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