Naad Yoga and the Nightingale

I have embarked on a journey of Naad Yoga, after a most impressive encounter with the art of Professor Surinder Singh at the Yoga Festival last year. In KY you have certainly experienced the effects of mantras on body and spirit, or those of Gurumukhi recitations in early morning Sadhana, causing your mind to move gears and sensing something deep and true within yourselves.

It is such an experience which triggered my curiosity and lead me to the Naad Yoga teacher training [[i]]. At the time when Seva Simran Kaur asked me to write about it for the kundalininetwork, I happened to read the “Nightingale” by Hans Christian Andersen to my daughter, as a bed time story. And there it was, it seemed to me, the essence of Naad Yoga in a children´s story, skillfully recounted by the author of the Little Mermaid.

The Emperor of China discovers in a book that, what was praised above all in his kingdom, beyond the refinement of his porcelain palace and exquisite gardens, was a nightingale. A nightingale which he knows nothing of! Neither does any of his court officials. The fisherman knows, he who casts his nets in the early hours before the break of dawn. And the little maid in the king´s palace knows too. So she leads the search for the nightingale. They find her in the green forest and invite her to the kings´s palace. There she sings, sings and sings. Her delightful song touches the hearts of all. Tears roll down the emperor´s cheeks.

The same tears roll out again as five years later the nightingale´s song softens the grip of Death, sitting on the emperor´s heart: “She sang of the quiet churchyard, where white roses blossom, where the lilac sends forth its fragrance, and the fresh grass is bedewed with the tears of the sorrowing friends of the departed. Then Death was seized with a longing after his garden, and like a cold white shadow, flew out at the window.” The emperor is left “fresh and healthy” and thankful.

You may have already tasted the delights of Prof. Surinder Singh playing his Saranda. You probably also know of the “Siri Guru Granth Sahib” scriptures all coming with a Raag prescription to best render their essence and unfold their healing magic. As a Naad Yogi, you learn the rules of Raags (or moods); you sing, train your voice, strengthen your body and mind with the help of a personal friend – your instrument [[ii]]. Ultimately in your third year of training your soul comes to expression and your creative self emerges.

Walking in the steps of Guru Nanak, you listen (sunea), you train to distinguish the tones and the notes, to decode the emotions behind them. Through the imprint of your own life experience, you learn to drop the masks of the five misery drivers (lust, anger, attachment, greed and ego) within yourselves and within others. Following what is known as the “Nanakin Method” in the world of Naad Yoga, you work on your Indis, or five senses, so they open the doors of bliss.

Just as for the sick monarch in the tale, lying on his death bed, “a window was open above and the moon shone down onto the Emperor and the artificial bird” (his Ego?), your training starts with

Je sow chanda oogaveh …

If a hundred moons are rising…

In Raag Asa. Progressively you walk the path of musicology (psychology of sound), inviting the Nightingale to come according to his wish:

“I will sit on the branches close to the window, in the evening, and sing to thee, that thou mayest become happy and thoughtful. I will sing to thee of the joyful and the sorrowing, I will sing to thee of all that is good or bad, which is concealed from the … I love thy heart more than thy crown, and yet the crown has an odour of something holy about it … One thing I beg of thee: let no one know that thou hast a little bird, who tells thee everything, then all will go well.“

May your heart open to the song of the nightingale and bliss shower upon you.