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ANAHATA-SABDA

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ANAHATASABDA figures variously in the Guru Granth Sahib as anahadasabad, anahadatura, anahadajhunkara, anahadabain, anahatanada, anahadabani and anahadadhumand in the Dasam Granth as anahadabani and anahadabaja. The word anahata is from the Sanskrit language. It occurs in Pali and Prakrit texts as well. In the Sanskrit original, it implies unstruck; it stands for pure or immaculate in Pali and for eternal in the Prakrit. The suffix words like sabad or sabda, tura, jhunkara, bani and dhuni stand for word, rhythm, sound or speech. Thus, anahatasabda would mean the unstruck or pure or eternal sound. In a theistic system, anahatasabda would signify an eternal voice symbolizing the reality of God.

Indeed, Kabir uses the word anahata as an epithet of God who is of the form of Light (joti sarupa anahata). This interpretation is paralleled in Guru Nanak`sJapu where he refers to God, the Creator, as the original, the pure, the beginning less and the eternal (adi anilu anadi anahati). The Gurus have employed almost all the technical terms of Tantra and Hathayoga first used by the siddhas, nathas and yogis, but they have, at the same time, reevaluated and reinterpreted these doctrines and practices. However, the former were neither theistic in outlook nor bhaktic in practice: their path was chiefly that of ascetic yogis.

On the other hand. Sikhism believes in the nondual dynamic reality realizable through bhakti or loving devotion. Thus, the concept of anahatasabda in Sikhism had to be understood in the light of the Sikh concept of Reality which cannot be realized through tantric or hathayoga methods, but through namsimran, i.e. constant remembrance of His Nameban ki katha anahad bani (GG, 483). In the Sikh ontological view, this mystic sound (anahatisabda) has no meaning if it does not relate to the glory of God. The use of tantric and hathayogic terminology has to be given a theistic and devotional content to understand it fully in the Sikh context.

In Sikhism, the mystic sound in itself is not of much significance, but what matters is the source of this sound. Unlike the hathayogis who believed that the source of this sound (nada or sabda) is the kundalini passing through the susumna, the Sikh scripture declares that he who strikes the instrument and produces the sound is no other than God. It is the constant mindfulness of God (nam simran) which has to be made the life breath (pranapavana) of the devotee; controlling his left and right nerves (ida and pingala), he cultivates the central nerve (susumna), and then starts the reverse process by turning the life breath upwards.

When this life breath made by namsimran passes in the reverse order through the susumna, it pierces all the six plexuses on its upward march and it then settles in the void (ultat pavan chakra khatu bhede surati sunn anaragi GG, 333). The Gurus are not concerned with the details of nadis, cakras, and kundah`m; their central concern is to bear the eternal sound signalling the omnipresence of the Almighty.

When this is achieved, by the grace of God (gurprasadi) the self realizes its innate nature spontaneously (sahaja subhai), enjoys the innate bliss (saha/`asukha), becomes free (nirmala) of all impurities, merges into the emptiness trance (sunnasamadAi) and attains supreme peace (nirban pada) which characterizes the fourth station (chautha pada). It is not necessary to stress that the ana Aatasabda heard by the released sages is not a physical sound to be heard with the physical ears. One has to `kill` one`s sinful existence and live an immaculate existence called jivanmukti; then alone can one hear the anahadabanf.

References :

1. Eliade, Mircea, Yoga, Immortality and Freedom. Princeton, 1969
2. Bhattacharya, Haridas, The CuJtura/ History of India. Calcutta, 1969
3. Jodh Singh, The Religious Philosophy of Guru Nanak. Varanasi, 1983
4. Chaturvedi, Parasuram, Uttari Bharat ki Sant Prampara. Allahabad, 1963

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