Shruti – The Sound of Manifestation
Thank you for listening to my podcast, the Vedic Worldview. I’m Thom Knoles.
[00:52] An Arcane Subject
Today I’d like to talk to you about a particularly arcane subject. Arcane is a word that means, for the initiated only, and it means for those who are practitioners of Vedic Meditation who may have noticed a particular thing.
When we learn Vedic Meditation, we learn a particular kind of mantra. We refer to these with the adjective of Bija. B-I-J-A. Bija means a seed.
A seed mantra is not like the mantras that you might learn in a yoga studio, Aum, and Om Namah Shivaya, and all of that. Those are all mantras too. But they’re mantras that have very specific meaning and they’re spoken and chanted.
In Vedic meditation, we learn a Bija mantra from a qualified Vedic Meditation Initiator, who teaches us according to the ancient tradition, how, not just what the mantra is for us, and there are different mantras that work best for different people, but how to use the mantra.
The method of using the mantra, which is at least 85% of the knowledge. Knowing what your mantra is, the mantra that will suit your individual bundle of vibrations best, that’s about 15% of the knowledge of Vedic Meditation. At least 85% is, what do I do with this mantra once I’ve learned it?
[02:20] It’s Not Tinnitus
So those of you who have been initiated into Vedic Meditation, and you’ve been practicing every day, sometimes you’ll report to us, teachers of Vedic Meditation, that a particular experience begins to occur.
And sometimes people report it in ways that are predictably a little humorous to us. People will say that, either during meditation or outside of meditation, they’ve begun to notice a shrill soft ringing sound in both ears. Sometimes it occurs only while meditating. Other times it’s there outside of meditation, and interestingly, it might amplify or appear to get louder when they are talking about or dealing with spiritual subjects or describing things to do with meditation. And it’s very curious. What is that?
And people will often say they’ve been to their ear doctor and had their ears checked for a condition that is known as tinnitus, or tinnitus if you’re American, which is an entirely different thing to what we’re describing.
This is not tinnitus or tinnitus. And doctors very often will send the patient away saying, “You don’t appear to have tinnitus or tinnitus. Go away and come back if it gets worse and we’ll look at it again.”
[03:49] Increasing Acuity of Perception
So what is that? And that sound is not a sound that blocks out other sounds. It’s not a sound that is associated with hearing loss.
In fact, if anything, it’s a sound, which when you start to notice it, the acuity of your perception on all five senses seems to be a greater degree of acuity. Acuity means acuteness.
That is to say, how subtle of a sensation can you feel? Tactile. How subtle or quiet, or what tone discrimination can you achieve auditorily, through your auditory capacity, your ears? What is your capability of vision, particularly night vision, or ability to detect light or reflective light, even in low light conditions or your ability to see into the subtle world using your eyes? And then smell and taste are there too. This is acuity of perception.
So during Vedic Meditation, the mind effortlessly follows the mantra, as the mantra spontaneously, with each internal repetition of it, becomes subtler, fainter, quieter, softer. This is what these Bija mantras are known to do. It’s one of their known qualities, and as the mantra gets subtler and quieter and fainter and softer, the mantra takes on an ever-increasing quality of charm.
[05:31] The Nectar of the Bliss Experience
It becomes charming as a phenomenon for the mind to experience the super subtle mantra. There comes a point where the mantra has reached its optimum subtlety, and then it just vanishes, and the mind is left in a state where there’s no mantra and no thought replacing it. This is that moment of Being, Pure Consciousness, sometimes called Transcendence.
But just prior to transcendence, when the mantra is super, super subtle, the mind is enjoying the nectar of experiencing something that’s that subtle, that charming, and the five senses, interestingly, are all connected in the following ways.
It is somehow akin to the way that you might get all legs of a table to follow you. If you take a table by one leg and begin to pull it across one direction on the floor, interestingly, not surprisingly, but interestingly, all the other legs follow.
When we’re experiencing something super subtle on the level of sound, which is our mantra during Vedic Meditation, and other thoughts as well, because when the mind hops off the mantra, which it is want to do during meditation, and this is a permissible and successful experience, mind hopping off the mantra…
Other thoughts, which are very close to the unmanifest, thoughts which are so subtle that they’re very close to the Unified Field, the unmanifest Unified Field, will also have the same effect of causing the mind to become riveted to the nectar of experiencing so close to the field of Absolute Bliss.
[07:29] The Sound of the Symmetry Breaking
And what this does is, on the level of sound, it causes all of the senses to sharpen. The senses become honed to, as if a razor sharp edge, so that they can continue experiencing the nectar of those super subtle states that are very close to the state of Being.
And this sharpening of sensory perception, and particularly on the level of hearing, gives us the ability to experience the noise that’s made when Being is becoming. When the unmanifest is breaking its symmetry, it’s a super symmetric state, and it breaks its symmetry in order to become a form or a phenomenon.
This manifestation process makes a sound, and the sound that it makes is that shrill soft ringing sound. This is the sound of Being becoming. This is the sound of the unmanifest manifesting. This is the sound of the symmetry breaking.
And when one can detect that either in meditation, or during meditation, or outside of meditation, not just at that deep state, it means that, at least on one of our senses, the sense of hearing we’ve developed the ability to remain in, our mind to remain in contact with that subtlest level of relativity. The subtlest layer of creation. And we give a name to that.
[09:18] Divine Which is Heard
We call it Shruti. Shruti is spelled S-H-R-U-T-I, and there’s a little dot under the R indicating that it has a one tap roll. One tap means Shruti. One tap. The tongue taps once, Rr. It’s not a multiple tap like, Rrrrrr. It’s not Shrrrrruti. No. Shruti. Shruti.
Shruti. And if you don’t feel you can do the one tap R and you can do it, you just haven’t learned it, if you don’t think you can. It’s fine if you pronounce it Shruti, Shruti.
But Shruti is, Shrut, in Sanskrit, it means, which is heard, Shrut. And then I, a short I sound, which means divine. Divine which is heard.
Divine which is heard. Divine is that layer of the celestial that sits on the surface of The Absolute. Beyond celestial is total silence, the absolute unmanifest field of Being. But when Being breaks its symmetry and Being begins to become, unmanifest begins manifesting right at that layer. We call that celestial.
Shruti, which is heard. I, the celestial. The celestial which is heard
[11:07] Bringing Your Consciousness State Forward
And as the weeks and months and years of practice go by, one begins to notice that that Shruti is there at all times. You can detect it 24 hours a day. Anytime that you wish to see if it’s there, you may have normalized it, so you kind of don’t know it’s there unless you consciously decide, “Hm, I wonder if it’s there now.” And then you have a little listen and sure enough, there’s that ringing sound in both ears.
Some people will say, “But I experienced that from the time, even when I was a child.” In which case we answer, “Yes, there are certain people who are born into heightened consciousness states.” It has to do with how much establishment in Being you attain to in your previous lifetime.
You bring your consciousness state forward, bring it with you into each new body life. And so it’s very possible that you were a meditator of sorts in a previous lifetime, and now here you are in this lifetime experiencing Shruti, even at an early age, prior to having learned Vedic Meditation, formally.
[12:21] Symphonic Sound
Irrespective, those who hear it are hearing the same thing. Your capacity to hear its range grows and grows and grows with time. As you grow in your capacity to have acuteness, or acuity is the proper word, of auditory discrimination, you’ll begin to realize that the Shruti actually is multi-toned. It is not just a shrill soft sound.
You know, if you hear an orchestra from very far away, you might only hear the base tones or the violins playing in their high tone. But then as you walk toward the orchestra, and instead of it being a hundred meters away or 300 meters away, it’s now only 20 meters away or 10 meters away, you begin to realize that there are many, many instruments playing, each of which is contributing to the orchestral sound that is emanating from that symphony. Symphonic sound.
The Shruti is orchestral and symphonic. Symphonic means a synthesis of many different sounds.
[13:40] The Sound of the Veda
And as you continue to grow in your awareness, another discovery will be made. It is the sound of the Veda. The sound of the body of knowledge that is embedded in Consciousness itself.
Shruti is the sound of the Veda humming away in the backdrop, always there, accessible to you and ready to be drawn upon by you.
And so Shruti, and its detection and all of that, it’s a great joy for every meditator to notice, when they notice. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when; at what stage of your practice you might notice that sound. Shruti.