Naad, the Science of Sound and Potent Applications of Vibration

person in red long sleeve shirt holding brown wooden handle

Sound has been used for millennia to both knowingly and unknowingly affect our lives. Not merely limited to music or even speech, these vibratory frequencies operate at the most subtle levels of our physiology and have consequences extending to our mental, emotional and spiritual lives as well.

Sound is an important part of many people’s lives, allowing them to both express and receive auditory information via speech, music and even technology. Beyond our favorite tune putting us in a good mood or a baby’s cry immediately getting attention, sound also has unlimited potential to influence our being metaphysically. Water and even DNA can be directly influenced by the vibrations and frequencies of sound, but even prior to modern scientific confirmation of its influence, sound has been revered as a powerful tool for spiritual practices throughout history. In Raj Yogic tradition, the “all originating sound current” known as Naad is responsible for the innumerable qualities of mantra or spiritual chanting. Whether we prefer to learn from ancient traditions or modern experimentation, it is clear that sound can be intentionally utilized for a variety of benefits.

Naad – the All Originating Sound Current

The brunt of jokes and an element of yoga that has commonly been discarded because of its capacity to make people feel “awkward” among strangers in commercialized class settings, mantra or chanting is actually a profound tool for metaphysical wellbeing. Permeating beyond our conscious limitations, these sound currents carry information deep into our cells, often facilitating changes we might otherwise find unobtainable. These unique emanations of voice were created to confer with the spiritual (or energetic) aspects of our being, working to create harmony and balance within the subtle symphony of our mental, emotional and physical expressions.

black vinyl record

Applications of Naad exceed mantra and the limits of human voice as well. We can see this extending to instruments and music, including the specific attunements of singing bowls and chimes, but also beyond to the subtleties of rhythm – even those of heartbeats and breaths. Rather than discovering limits to the application of this ancient understanding, we can even follow the trail of vibration and frequency beyond human experience, witnessing its power at work in the natural world as well. 

Why can a cat’s purr heal? How is the shape of water affected differently by different types of sounds? What is the purpose of the hum of cells, planets and crystals? 

Naad is “‘the cosmic sound’ or ‘vibrations of the cosmos’” (SikhiWiki) and in yogic traditions, external singing or mantra is done to reconnect with this “unstruck sound.” It exists all around us and is available to every being. However, culture and society have created more and more noise, distracting from the peace and potential of tuning into this natural harmony. 

“Only by following the rules of nature and realizing the patterns and disciplines of the cosmos, one can find this hidden energy of internal sound. Only through meditation, external singing, and reciting, one hears the bombardment of random noise in the mind.”


The Science of Frequency and Vibration

One profound illustration of sound and its effects on the world was done by Dr. Masaru Emoto, author of the bestselling books Messages from Water and The True Power of Water. In his extensive research, Dr. Emoto found that the shape of frozen water crystals changed in accordance to the types of sounds they were exposed to. 

“By exposing water to a particular word or piece of music, freezing it, and photographing the ice crystals formed, Dr. Emoto has shown that from beautiful words and music, come beautiful crystals, and from mean-spirited, negative words, come malformed and misshapen crystals.”
depth of field photography of ice shards

The implications of this research is expanded when we think about the high percentage of water in a human body. If water adapts its atomic patterning to the type of frequencies it is exposed to, how much more is human physiology affected by these vibrational frequencies? 

Another fascinating exploration of sound vibrations in modern science is that of the purposes and applications of cat purrs. Commonly believed to merely be an expression of pleasure, these gentle frequencies emitted by our feline friends are actually highly tuned to meeting their unique physiological needs.

“Because cats have adapted to conserve energy via long periods of rest and sleep, it is possible that purring is a low energy mechanism that stimulates muscles and bones without a lot of energy.”

Leslie A. Lyons

The potentials of this self-healing seemingly explains the common mythos of feline resiliency, including the pervasive sentiment of their nine lives. It is also valuable knowledge for researchers of space travel, as they attempt to mitigate the harmful effects of antigravity on human bone and muscle tissue. Here on Earth, perhaps even people suffering from osteoporotic conditions can benefit from sound therapies that utilize the 25 – 150 Hertz frequencies of purring. 

Beyond these examples of sound affecting the world, we can also consider the hum or sounds emitted from natural yet “unintelligent” forms of life. This includes the sounds cells, crystals and even planets make.

“In recent experiments using the frontier science of nanotechnology, the researchers have found evidence that yeast cells give off one kind of squeal while mammalian cells may give off another.”

– Smithsonian Magazine

Given the extent to which the integration of sound and its effects are being discovered, we can imagine even more modern “evidence” of the pervasive nature of sound is soon to come. At this point in history, we have only begun to explore this phenomenon with science and technology, yet humans have been employing the power of sound for millennia without any evidence beyond that of their experiences. Perhaps the eternal wisdom of Naad, as they were blessed to interact with it without as much encumbrance from modern noise and distractions, further facilitated this deep inner knowing as well. 

Why not utilize the ancient traditions that have outlasted empires and culture time and time again for ourselves? The power of sound – the vibrational frequencies of energy and light that make up everything – is available for any of us who are willing to take responsibility for our own expressions of life.

Permeating Life with Intentional Sounds

One of the Raj Yogic disciplines known as Kundalini Yoga incorporates the wisdom of Naad in unique and activating ways. In addition to singing, humming and even silently chanting in the mind (directly interacting with “the unstruck sound” of Naad), Kundalini mantras are recited in the Gurmukhi tongue with emphasis on the mouth shapes, tongue flicks and cranial vibrations created by the chanting. The subtlety of every seemingly involuntary aspect of this devotional and developmental practice becomes intentional, activating the practitioner at the cellular, mental, emotional and physiological levels.

“We can alter consciousness by changing the chemical composition of the fluids in the brain. There are eighty-four meridian points on the upper palate of a human’s mouth…

The tongue stimulates those meridian points, and they in turn stimulate the hypothalamus which makes the pineal gland radiate. When the pineal radiates, it creates a pulse in the pituitary gland. When this happens to the pituitary, the entire glandular system secretes. Then the chemical composition of the brain becomes balanced, automatically changing one’s outlook on life.”

photo of a man sitting under the tree

Beyond the unlimited potentials of mantra and chanting however, there are repercussions of sound in every aspect of our lives. Even, and especially, those “unstruck sounds” we call thoughts. Could it be that we are constantly programming our entire being with the frequency and vibrations of our inner dialogue? What are the potential repercussions of how we speak and think? 

The use of affirmation and intention are common in personal and spiritual development circles, but little can be explained as to why or how these types of integrations work for us. Perhaps now, with our expanding knowledge of the potentials of sound, we will begin to answer those questions for ourselves. Certainly, regardless of how sound plays a part in our lives, we will all be better for having awareness of and intentions for the types of vibrations we are creating and receiving. Whether activated by mantra or just thought, may we all use our sounds to further our growth and potential rather than diminish it.

“The state of mind, personality, and power to project from our authentic self is tied in with the use of our word.”