Dhun – Sound Current
In the science of Spirituality there are different theories regarding Simran (Repetition or Remembrance) and Dhyan (Contemplation). Emphasis is laid on the Simran which is imparted to the disciple by a Master. Contemplation on the form of the Master is conducive to the greatest good.
Successful Simran leads to Dhyan and successful Dhyan to Bhajan or listening to Shabd (the Sound Current). This stage is also termed Bhajan in the language of the Saints. It is heard by the soul. It is also called Shabd Yoga or the method of Surat Shabd Yoga.
People are attracted by two things, namely, form and sound. Sound, even on the physical plane, has a greater power of attraction. A deer places its head on the drum, because it finds the melody irresistible. This melody has an even greater fascination for the human mind. Men begin to sway in rhythm when they listen to music.
Every religion has laid emphasis on music or 'kirtan' (singing of hymns with the accompaniment of instruments). Kirtan was prevalent in India during the Vedic period. Even today, the Hindus sing hymns in praise of God to the accompaniment of bells, the conch, etc. . The Sikhs also lay great emphasis on this. Christians ring bells and sing sweet and melodious hymns. The Buddhists have their temple bells. The Sufis also are greatly attached to music.
Bhai Gur Das says:
So long as your mind is drawn by outer sounds, the soul cannot be attracted by the real sound within. By listening to the outer sounds, a man is waylaid in the quagmire of ignorance, in the same way as a deer is waylaid by the sound of the drum.
Therefore, the Sikh scriptures emphatically declare that
(…) so long as a man does not withdraw his attention from the outer music, he cannot find rest in the Court of the Lord.
Adi Granth, Var. Moh. 4.8 :49-7
The real Sound within is produced without the aid of hands or feet, and is different from the seven notes on the musical scale. In fact, it lies beyond these notes. Because of the paucity of highly spiritualized men, and because of the lack of adherence of their teachings, people generally remain satisfied with the outer sounds. The outside music doubtless helps in achieving concentration to a certain extent. But it is helpless in taking one to the finer regions within. The result is that one still remains within the four walls of the three gunas (qualities) and thus misses the real aim of life. It is only the inner music that can take one beyond the sphere of the three gunas and grant true bliss.
The Scriptures tell us that the Sound Current is constantly resounding within all human beings. That is why it has been called the unceasing 'Kirtan' (singing of hymns within, which really means listening to the Shabd or Sound Current within). It is for this reason that Saints do not approve of the outer or physical singing of hymns or playing of musical instruments.
Muslim Fakirs have also emphasized listening to the Sound within, and have said:
It is unfortunate that you are fettered by the pleasures of the senses and do not listen, to the pure Voice of the Merciful Lord.
Listening to and merging in the Sound of Naam or Shabd is the only means of attaining Godhood, and this Sound is constantly reverberating within the forehead. It can be heard only through the company of Saints and by following their instructions. That alone can give us peace of mind and eternal happiness. The Key to the treasure of Naam with all its attendant benefits has been placed in the hands of the Saints. Whoever abides by their instructions and accepts their guidance as the Way of Truth, discovers this Treasure.
Although the Sound reverberates in every human being, it cannot be heard by everyone. In order to be able to hear it, one has first to be initiated by a Master and then has to practise listening within, according to the Master's instructions. The real Sound within is the monopoly of Gurumukhs (those who follow the Guru's instructions) alone, and it bestows many benefits on them.
While the outer music soothes the mind, it dulls the soul. In other words, it awakens the mind but puts the soul to sleep. But by listening to the Inner Sound, the soul, which was in deep slumber for many ages, is awakened and the mind is put to sleep. There is no better method of subduing the mind than by listening to the Sound. It is only then that it becomes calm and tranquil.
By far the best and the highest form of spiritual practice is to do Simran with the tongue of the soul, to contemplate on the form of the Master with the eye of the soul (single eye), and to listen to the Sound Current with the ear of the soul (inner ear). This is the easiest, quickest and surest way of achieving permanent results. A child, a young or an old person can do it without any difficulty.
These three steps of the practice can be accomplished by withdrawing one's attention from the nine outlets of the body and fixing it in the Tenth Door or Daswan Dwar the eye centre, which is the headquarters of the soul in the body.
The yogis have described Ashtang Yoga (the yoga of eight parts) as a prelude to spiritual practice. The eight parts consist of Neti, Dhoti, Vasti, Neoli, etc. and then Purak, Kumbhak and Rechak (inhaling, holding the breath, and slowly exhaling). They concentrate thereafter at the rectal centre and achieve certain supernatural powers. Then they fix their attention at the generative centre, achieving still greater powers; then at the heart center and after that at the throat center. Finally they reach their goal, viz., the Kanj Kamal, or the centre between the two eyebrows. There they catch hold of the Anahad Shabd and reach the first spiritual region, Sahansdal Kamal or Kanwal. The five lower centres derive their power from the sixth centre, which is situated in the forehead.
In the waking state, the human body is controlled by the energy at the eye centre, so the Saints have not recommended the above methods, because these methods are difficult as well as dangerous to practise. Moreover, they bring the attention down from its already higher headquarters.
The Saints, therefore, teach us to rise from the eye centre upward rather than first drag the attention down to the lower centres.
Shamas-i-Tabriz has termed these five lower centres or chakras the tomb of the body.
How wonderful it would be if at nightfall we were to withdraw our life from the tomb of the body and take it upwards!
The Saints therefore knowingly forbid us from practising at the lower centres, for that would be like descending first to the ground floor from the second or higher floor in order to reach an upper story. The method taught by the Saints enables us to commence our journey from the sixth centres, which is also known as Tisra Til or the Third Eye. And it is for this reason that they lay emphasis on controlling the three main senses which drag our attention down, namely, the tongue, the eyes, and the ears.
The result of spiritual practice is that the soul is concentrated at the centre between the two eyes and catches the Anahad Shabd. In other words, it unites the currents emanating from the two points of the eyes and takes the attention upwards to the stars, the sun and the moon. Then, by listening to the Sound of the Bell and the Conch, the soul reaches Sahansdal Kanwal. It then rises up to Trikuti, Daswan Dwar and Bhanwar Gupha, enjoying the various sights and lights of these regions. From here it goes to Sat Lok (Sach Khand) and thence to Alakh, Agam and finally to Anami, which is the highest region of spirituality.