ANAHATA-ŚABDA figures variously in the Gurū Granth Sāhib as anahada-sabad, anahada-tūrā, anahada-jhunkāra, anahada bain, anahada-nāda, anahada bāṇīand anahada-dhunī and in the Dasam Granth asanāhada-bāṇīandanāhada-bājā. The word anahata is from the Sanskrit language. It occurs in Pāli and Prākrit texts as well. In the Sanskrit original, it implies unstruck; it stands for pure or immaculate in Pāli and for eternal in the Prākrit. The suffix words like sabad orśabda, tūrā, jhuṇkāra, bāṇī and dhunī stand for word, rhythm, sound or speech. Thus, anahata-śabda would mean the unstruck or pure or eternal sound. In a theistic system, anahata-śabda would signify an eternal voice symbolizing the reality of God. Indeed, Kabīr uses the word anahata as an epithet of God who is of the form of Light (joti sarūpā anahata ) . This interpretation is paralleled in Gurū Nānak's Japu where he refers to God, the Creator, as the original, the pure, the beginningless and the eternal (ādi anīlu anādi anāhati). The Gurūs have employed almost all the technical terms of Tantra and Haṭhayoga first used by the siddhas, nāthas and yogīs, but they have, at the same time, re-evaluated 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 yogīs. On the other hand, Sikhism believes in the non-dual dynamic reality realizable through bhakti or loving devotion. Thus, the concept of anahata-śabda in Sikhism had to be understood in the light of the Sikh concept of Reality which cannot be realized through tāntrik or haṭhayoga methods, but through nām-simran, i. e. constant remembrance of His Name - harī kī kathā anāhad bānī (GG, 483). In the Sikh ontological view, this mystic sound (anahati-śabda) has no meaning if it does not relate to the glory of God. The use of tāntrik and haṭhayogic 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 thehaṭhayogīs who believed that the source of this sound (nāda or śabda) is the kuṇḍalinī passing through the suṣumnā, 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 (nām simran) which has to be made the life-breath (prāṇa-pavana) of the devotee; controlling his left and right nerves (iḍāand piṅgalā), he cultivates the central nerve (suṣumnā), and then starts the reverse process by turning the life breath upwards. When this life-breath made by nām-simran passes in the reverse order through the suṣumnā, it pierces all the six plexuses on its upward march and it then settles in the void (ulṭat pavan chakra khaṭu bhede surati sunn anarāgī - GG, 333). The Gurūs are not concerned with the details of nāḍīs, cakras, and kuṇḍalinī; their central concern is to bear the eternal sound signalling the omnipresence of the Almighty. When this is achieved, by the grace of God (gurprasādi) the self realizes its innate nature spontaneously(sahaja subhāi), enjoys the innate bliss (sahaja-sukha), becomes free(nirmalā) of all impurities, merges into the emptiness trance (sunna-samādhi) and attains supreme peace (nirbāṇ-pada) which characterizes the fourth station (chauthā pada). It is not necessary to stress that the anahata-śabda 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 jīvan-mukti; then alone can one hear the anahada-bāṇī.


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L. M. Joshi