AUM: Stories of Protection
The following article is excerpted from the forthcoming book, AUM: The Melody of Love, by Nayaswami Bharat (Bharat Cornell), author of Sharing Nature with Children and other books. AUM: The Melody of Love will be available for purchase in 2013.
The Melody of Love
The Holy Ghost, or AUM, is God’s conscious, loving presence in creation. AUM is the bridge that unites human and cosmic consciousness. AUM is the music of all atoms and the cosmic melody of love vibrating in the superconsciousness. When one communes with AUM, he enters into, and flows with, the stream of God’s love.
AUM is called the Comforter, because it gives supreme comfort to the soul. When one is absorbed in AUM, he feels a wonderful peace and harmony. No harm can come to one who is in the consciousness of AUM. How could harm come to one who is united with the Essence of the universe?
Nothing Can Touch You
While backpacking in California’s Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, three women from Ananda Village had a dramatic experience of the power of AUM. On the fourth day of their trip, a furious thunderstorm caught them at 10,000 feet. Loud cracks of lightning and massive explosions of thunder crashed around them. Torrential rain fell; then hail began to fall harder and harder. Desperate for shelter, they ran to a couple of small trees, which soon proved inadequate protection against the pounding hailstorm.
Seeing a large tree nearby, they bolted for its sheltering branches. Already wet, they struggled out of their packs and dug for their rain jackets. The temperature, meanwhile, had plummeted, and the hail began to fall even harder.
They knew they were in trouble. In their drenched condition, hypothermia was a real possibility. They badly needed shelter. Yet, standing under the highest tree around wasn’t wise—because tall trees are perfect lightning rods. They wondered aloud, “Do we risk hypothermia or lightning strikes?” Both options were dangerous.
Then one of the women began chanting to all-pervading AUM. The two other women quickly joined in. Suddenly, they felt as if a bubble of protection surrounded them. Their fear was gone—a feeling of awe and gratitude filled their hearts. For twenty minutes, they chanted and enjoyed the majestic show of lightning and hail. After the storm, everything was transformed into a white wonderland; they felt blessed beyond measure by the love and protection of AUM.
Being in AUM gives one absolute security. The whole world could go up in flames and it wouldn’t matter to you. Swami Rama Tirtha was a great devotee of AUM. He chanted AUM always—during lectures, conversations, and solitary walks in nature. Before he knew AUM, he said, every whiff of wind threw him off balance. But after constant practice and remembrance of AUM, he became completely free of annoyance, anxiety, and fear. He told his students, “If one man can do this, you can, too.”
Absolute Security and Assurance
Communing with AUM makes one fearless. One’s reality shifts from the ego, which can never be secure, to the Cosmic Vibration, which is the essence of all creation. Ego consciousness isolates us from the rest of life. Those who deeply merge with AUM, however, know and say, “I am the whole universe. What can possibly harm me?”
The Power of Chanting AUM
During a severe kidney stone attack, Nayaswami Sadhana Devi experienced AUM’s transcendent power:
After three hours of intense pain, I realized its location was near the lower three chakras. As the stone made its way down through my body I began chanting AUM at the appropriate chakra. I chanted as loudly as I could and visualized light at the chakra. Each time I chanted, the pain decreased dramatically; each time I stopped, it returned in full force. I could feel AUM vibrating in the chakras, as though breaking up the stone. Finally, after a couple of hours of chanting, the pain stopped completely and never returned.
To feel AUM’s holy vibrations in your whole being, Paramhansa Yogananda recommends saying AUM mentally in each body part and chakra.
Blessed Is the Man that Heareth Me
As I was having dinner with a Unitarian minister, after giving a meditation class at his church, he looked at me intently and shared the following experience: “I was going through a very challenging time in my life. Every night I prayed deeply that harmony would prevail, but the situation remained inharmonious and divisive. One night, I suddenly heard the most marvelous sound. It was like a great, rushing wind. I can never forget it. In that moment I felt great reassurance, and I absolutely knew that everything would work out for the best—and it did.” He looked at me and said, “What was that sound?”
I was thrilled by the blessing he had received. I told him, “You heard the Holy Ghost—what Jesus called ‘the Comforter.’” The AUM vibration had brought into this minister’s life the very comfort and healing Jesus described in the Bible.
The Supreme Vibration
Everything is energy in condensed form: plants, rocks, stars, and our bodies vibrate at different frequencies. “Because nature is an objectification of AUM… man can obtain control over all natural manifestations through the use of certain mantras or chants.” (Paramhansa Yogananda)
On August 28, 2004 members of Ananda Village witnessed a dramatic demonstration of AUM’s sovereignty over natural phenomena. Late August in California is the height of the fire season, with grasses browned by the summer heat.
At 11:30 a.m. a fire started on the steep slope below Ananda’s guest retreat, The Expanding Light. The fire’s location made it especially ominous. Forest fires travel much faster uphill than downhill, because the fire preheats its uphill fuel with the rising smoke and heat.
The blaze spread quickly and raced upward, threatening to destroy The Expanding Light and the Ananda Community. Nine air tankers and helicopters soon appeared and began dropping water and fire retardant. Forty fire engines and 400 firefighters arrived shortly afterwards to try to contain the growing inferno.
As low flying bombers released red streams of fire retardant into the thick, smoky air, the retreat look more and more like a war zone. Many community residents and guests were covered with fire retardant.
Everything that could be done on the physical level was being done. Government agencies had responded quickly and capably to the fire. Ananda residents were putting out spot fires, thus freeing the professional firefighters to work on the front lines of the blaze. Fire crews were doing a magnificent job protecting the retreat buildings and slowing the fire’s advance.
Despite the concentration of many fire fighting resources gathered to fight the blaze, the fire chief had the uneasy feeling that this fire was “going to be one of those that go totally out of control and burn thousands of acres and hundreds of homes.” His concern seemed validated when the inferno began moving uphill toward a nearby cluster of twenty Ananda homes. With strong winds pushing the fire upslope, the blaze seemed more and more likely to reach the cluster. Residents of the threatened homes were already packing and evacuating.
At the Ananda Community market and visitor center, located a safe quarter mile from the fire, retreat guests and community residents had gathered. Seeing that people were frightened—and feeling that Ananda was under physic attack by a dark force that had manifested as the fire—Nayaswami Devi organized a prayer circle. The circle started with twenty people, and grew to fifty.
Those gathered blessed the fire fighters, the homes and buildings of our neighbors and of Ananda; the fire itself; and the trees and wildlife living on the land. After each prayer they chanted AUM three times, to energize their petition by the truth of Cosmic AUM. The Cosmic Vibration is beyond duality. The swings of cause and effect (karma) are stilled and nullified by AUM’s pristine vibration. “At first,” Devi said, “the darkness seemed stronger than our prayers. But after two hours of praying and chanting AUM, the darkness felt diminished.”
When the fire chief arrived back at the market area, he was quite pleased. The fire was contained. To the Ananda residents, he said, “You were very lucky. I have never seen winds reverse themselves so dramatically. The fire was heading toward the housing cluster when it suddenly stopped—because the wind suddenly changed direction. I don’t know what you people did. But it worked.”
While in solitary confinement in Communist Romania for his Christian faith, pastor Richard Wurmbrand heard in the silence a sound “more beautiful than the most beautiful music. A sound,” he said, “that you never tire of.” Holy AUM came to him unsought. In time, the Cosmic Sound will come to you, too, and you’ll receive wondrous realizations and bliss from the Blessed Comforter.
Nothing Can Touch You
When you feel worried or anxious, call on Holy AUM. Pray believing in its sovereignty over matter. “Problems… that arise when we deal with inert matter will be transformed… once we become conscious that we are dealing with a living reality behind [matter].” (Swami Kriyananda) AUM is the living reality behind every joy and challenge in your life. Remember always Yogananda’s promise: “When you are in the consciousness of AUM, nothing can touch you.”
As Doctor Lewis, Yogananda’s first Kriya Yoga disciple in America, was sailing outside Boston Harbor, a sudden storm blew up, with great violence. Thinking he might drown, he focused his consciousness at the Christ Center in the forehead and saw the great light of the Spiritual Eye. [The inner light is a primary manifestation of the Cosmic Vibration.] Instantly, he felt a sense of peace and security envelop him and he knew he would survive: nothing could harm him; he was safely in the consciousness of AUM.
“When I got home,” Doctor Lewis said, “the phone rang. Master was on the other end of the line. He said to me, ‘You came near getting wet, Doctor, didn’t you?’”
The Winds of Grace
The winds of grace are always blowing. A man from Massachusetts told me that as an infant he heard the sound of AUM continuously. When adults around him became worried or inharmonious, he wanted to comfort them: “Don’t worry. Everything is okay because AUM is here.” But he hadn’t yet learned to speak and so wasn’t able to share with them the comforting power of AUM.
How the Guru Frees Us
Paramhansa Yogananda said of his disciple, Sister Gyanamata—“She has lived in my vibrations for a long time.” Whenever he sent her a special inner blessing, she would feel it instantly. While living in Seattle, she had several serious physical ailments. When Gyanamata’s condition worsened, she wrote a letter to Yogananda, who was then lecturing in New York City, asking for his prayers. On the day she thought the letter had arrived, she heard AUM’s tremendous roar and felt her body shaking. Her guru had received her letter and sent Cosmic AUM to heal her.
Bathing in AUM’s sacred vibrations is the true baptism. The technique for listening to AUM is usually given as an initiation because of the importance of the guru’s magnetism. The guru is beyond vibratory creation and guides his disciples—through Cosmic Vibration—to the deepest states of enlightenment.
AUM is devoid of duality. It’s the only sound not made by striking another object and so is called the “unstruck” sound. AUM’s thrilling sounds cannot be heard by physical ears, but only by the intuitive power of the soul. Below, a devotee describes AUM’s pristine quality after hearing it emanate from his heart center:
“I heard the sound of church bells and it was utterly beautiful and crystal clear. It had a sense of lightness and clarity unlike anything I have ever experienced. If you can imagine the heaviness of ordinary sound produced by the air it must pass through, this was completely unlike that. It was the essence of sound before it meets air—as if the sound was conveyed on light through space with no grossness whatsoever.”
Another friend of mine had an enthralling experience, also unsought, with AUM. He had come to our Ananda Center on the Peninsula for the first time. That evening, throughout the class, he heard beautiful harp music. He assumed someone in the building was an extremely accomplished musician. But, inexplicably, he continued to hear the melody as he drove home and throughout his week at work.
When he came to class the following week, he said, “I love music, and I have never heard anything so beautiful as that harp music. What is this?”
I said, “You are hearing the sound of AUM manifesting through the third chakra. The sound of the third chakra is like that of a harp. It is because of this lovely sound that people envision angels playing harps in heaven.”
Listening with Devotion
Except for unmoving Spirit, AUM is the subtlest of all realities and can only be perceived by a pure and attentive heart. One should practice his meditation techniques with a sense of privilege. As you mentally chant and listen to AUM, do so with deep feeling for and awareness of its omnipotence and omnipresence.
The following words by Swami Kriyananda express the profound and encouraging truth on how one really advances spiritually:
You may think, “I can never love God the way the great saints love Him. I’ll never have their fervor or joy.” But you will find that as you keep reaching for God, He will uplift you. He will give you the power to find Him. You can’t generate that power yourself. But your love can draw that power to you.
What If I Don’t Hear AUM?
People sometimes become discouraged when they don’t hear AUM clearly. It’s helpful to remember that hearing AUM purely and constantly signifies a deep state of meditation, which, if it is sustained, leads to samadhi. Listening reverently to whatever sounds you hear is the key to deepening your experience of AUM. A friend described once during meditation, hearing a very soft sound in the background. He assumed it was just a sound made by his physical body. As he focused on it, however, it became the thrilling sound of AUM.
God’s grace, through Cosmic Vibration, has created you. To declare, I don’t hear AUM so it must not be for me, is to say, “I am separate from the rest of creation.” This separateness simply isn’t possible. “AUM is a sound with which all can commune, and into which also, in time, all can merge.” (Swami Kriyananda) The day will come when you’ll know that AUM is—and always has been—your greatest Friend.
Live in the Consciousness of AUM
“You are not a physical body, but a blissful manifestation of AUM.” (Swami Kriyananda) Live in the consciousness of AUM. One who constantly sings AUM during his activities, and with his whole being, makes his life a continuous song of joy.
Nayaswami Bharat is a Lightbearer and longtime Ananda member. He works in the Sangha Office at Ananda Village as Meditation Support Coordinator. He is also the author of the Sharing Nature Book Series and the founder-president of Sharing Nature Worldwide.
Related Reading: The Hindu Way of Awakening, by Swami Kriyananda, Crystal Clarity Publishers