Nadanusandhana is the door to the pathway that leads to the famed śambhavi mudra. The key to success on this path, according to Goraknath and the Yoga Upanishads lies in utilising the correct practices in the correct sequence.
First one must gain complete control over the physical organism; then mental steadiness must be established. The flow of mental activity must then be reversed until the mind dissolves into the highest self and the yogin gains the experience of non-duality. This reversal is termed nadanusandhana and leads the yogin through four stages of experience by which he or she gains the subtle power to hear the un- struck sound of the heart that is the source point (bindu) of the mind.
The nature of this process of reversal is hidden within the meanings of the constituent parts of the term nadanusandhana. Na refers to prana (life wind) and da refers to agni (fire). Nada is the sound caused by the union of prana and agni. When this union is achieved regularly in practice and this sound triggered repeatedly, it wakens kundalini (the coiled power) and causes it to ascend. Anu refers to an atom and sandhana is the act of taking aim. The sound penetrates to the realm of the infinitely small, the chamber of the unstruck sound (anahata nada) within the heart. This brings unmani avastha (the state beyond mind) and this manifests in four clear stages of experience before the final dissolution and reabsorption into the source point (bindu).
- arambha avastha – the first stage in which one gains control over the mental and physical faculties called chitta.
- ghatha avastha – the stage of awakening in which the pranic impulse enters the central channel (suṣumna nadi). This endows the yogin with the wisdom of the knowledge of past, present and future. Attachment to this gift arises easily, creates great suffering and can lead to a falling away from the path.
- parichaya avastha is modification of the sound of thought into a single atom. The yogin thus gains control over manas, the organ of mind, and freed from desire, anger and suffering achieves mental bliss and peace. The obstacle here is excessive joy and a fall from here leads to the pains of mental delusions.
- niṣpatti avastha is the entry beyond the noose of the mind into profound meditation. Mastery of disintegration and reintegration of matter is gained so that one can evolve and destroy forms at will. This is nad-bind-yogin where source point, sound and yogin are united and identical. This is the door to śambhavi mudra.
The first verse of the Gorakṣamrityunjaya Mantram, Gorakṣa’s great song about the victory over death, hints at the tools required in this process and also about the time and place of their application. Shiva’s crescent moon, which carries the power of renewal, obscures both the energies of the sun and the moon and releases its rhythmic dictate at the time of twilight each day at sunrise and at sunset. Lord Shiva, the cosmic dancer and bearer of the drum, beats out the rhythm of the moon’s sacred song of renewal and preservation from the clutches of death, time, with the aid of his secret instrument the śula-dinda whose residence is the fifth seat of the second chakra, svadiṣthana. The seed of power here is RAM, and is referred to as kala-agni-rudra the howling lord of the black fire that eats time. This fire must be raised by the yogin from the blue black terrestrial waters of the navel for the correction of the ills of his/ her past. Śula-dinda is the soothing and restorative instrument of the kandasthana, the bulb that is the source of all the nadis. It has the power to level and equalise the awakening fiery energies.
The song to be sung by the singer yogin is: AUM HAMSA.
AUM, the greatest two syllable mantra of imperishable might, is the hidden form of Shiva and rises in the form of the great swan, Paramahamsa, in the midst of the sounding of the prayer. It is during the hours of twilight that this cosmic sound reverberates. It imparts the message of the coming day to the sun before it rises and the sun then carries it through the day and passes it on to the moon at sunset.
The moon then imparts its secret to those singer yogin’s awake at midnight who make the prayer of AUM HAMSA. At this time the skilful singer yogin is rewarded with the un-struck sound of the heart (anahata nada) due to the benevolence of the protector of the tongue and the herder of thoughts, the deity of Khecari. She thus grants entry into the void of suṣumna, the eater of time.
By raising the sound of AUM and so bringing and shaping the sound of thought to a single point (bindu) the yogin achieves the goal of nad-bind-yogin. Bind is the end of suffering where the four powers of life at the mulachakra freely unite and rise as a single power of light, the coiled power of the kundalini shakti. The yogin that knows how to pierce the one point through this sound accomplishes this alone but then enters the twilight of Shiva’s eternal dwelling and becomes one with him. Without the mantra the three worlds of the body will remain devoid of sound. The wisdom of mantra is thus complete and knowing this much of sound.
I bow to Sri Gorakṣanath Ji.
Here ends the song of Nadanusandhana, the key to the gates of shambavi mudra.
To achieve this stage of dhyana (meditation) the following skills and practical knowledge are required:
- The 16 supports of the moon with its knowledge extracted through practical experience.
- Yoginicharananyasavidhim, the invocation of shakti through the placement of sound with touch.
- Knowledge of the chakras.
Knowledge of the 16 nadis, the channels of sound.
- The required asanas for the uttering of AUM HAMSA. These are simha, bhadra, gorakṣa, bhaga and kanda.
The singing must be done while sitting in kandasana and the sound of AUM HAMSA must rise from the mula-chakra, without the aid of tongue, teeth, throat or lips. The singing of the song should not last more than 30 minutes. From there one rises to nrtta – pure dance, as it is hinted in the beginning verse, then returning to the floor into siddhasana and continue with the song through silent repetition, until it begins to resonate within the innermost part of the right ear. It is at this point that one must tune into the right ear and cease doing the japa. The most difficult task is to tune into the point and listen, so that one can hear the sounds that make up the mantra dissolve into an atomic grain of sound, which will be very distinct and in constant change. This will carry one through the transitions between the four states of nadanusandhana described above. Each one is marked by its own distinctive sound and content. Those practitioners who have mastered vajroli, kapali, śakticalani and khecari mudras, will have a lighter journey than those who have not, since mastery of these four mudras brings the advantage of spontaneous suspension of breath (kevala kumbhaka), the moment they assume their seat in siddhasana.
Reflecting on these requirements and stages one can see that meditation is not the easy path to tread, as so many deluded people of this present age believe.
Shadow Yoga © Sundernath (Shandor Remete)