We each have a tonal center, a certain pitch to which our own bodies are tuned, just like a musical instrument.
Imagine that your sushumna [the central energy channel in the body] is like a bamboo stalk that has been made into a flute. The finger holes represent the seed sounds of the chakras—seven holes and seven notes in a musical scale.
In deep meditation, when the energy passes through this central channel, heavenly music is playing and can be heard. It’s not like hearing it in your mind or your imagination. It’s as real, even more real than if you were to have it performed for you in your own meditation room by an angel. Hearing this sound is more profound, more beautiful, more joyful, than anything that can be experienced here in our everyday world.
You may have seen pictures of Krishna playing a bamboo flute. This is one meaning of this scriptural art. Krishna is an incarnation of Vishnu, the sustainer of life. It is prana, the incarnation of Vishnu in your body, flowing through the sushumna that creates the music of this magic flute.
Listening to music from external sources can also affect the chakras. It is not surprising that so many attempts have been made, some with considerable success, to use music therapeutically. In just what way music affects the chakras depends on the music.
Each component of music has an effect on the body through the chakra system, but it is tone and pitch (the highness or lowness of tone) that are most apparent. Tone and noise are both the result of vibrations, but the vibrations that create tones are of equal size and distribution, regular and even, whereas the vibrations that create noise are irregular and uneven and haven’t the power to affect the chakras in the same way.
Just as the color white is the crystallization of all the colors of the spectrum, in music, every tone is made up of all pitches organized in specific intervals, becoming subtler as they become higher. All the pitches that make up a specific tone are not ordinarily distinguishable to the human ear. They are known as ‘overtones’, or ‘harmonics.’ The formula for the harmonic intervals that make up a tone are the same for each tone. The only difference between the pitch of one tone and another is the order of the subtle pitches in the harmonic sequence.
The chakra system is based on this system of harmonics. Comparing the sushumna and the chakras to a flute is suggestive. Just as vibrations are the cause of sound, vibrations are the effect experienced when energy passes through a chakra. Just as the movement of air through the flute causes it to sound, the movement of energy through the sushumna causes it to sound. This sound is heard is deep meditation and is called anahata nada, unstruck sound. When this Divine Sound is heard in meditation, chakras are being played—opened and refined. The chakras in the harmonic sequence of the chakra being ‘played,’ also sound.
If you want to see for yourself how this principle works, try an experiment: If you lift the dampers from the strings of an acoustic piano (push down on the pedal on the right) and play a certain pitch on a violin, or even with your voice, you can hear the strings sounding in the back of the piano that are tuned to that pitch as well as the closest harmonics that make up that pitch. Another experiment is to silently depress a ‘G’ above middle ‘C’ and hold it down while you strike and release (quickly and loudly) the middle ‘C’. What you will hear as you continue to hold down the ‘G’, is the ‘G’ and some of its harmonics—even though you never struck the ‘G’. Similarly, if chakra number one is sounded in meditation, chakra number four will also be vibrated.