By Swami Harshananda
Nāda literally means ‘vibration,’ ‘sound’.
Nāda as per Śaivism and the Śāktā tantras
Though the word ‘nāda’ is generally used in the sense of sound, both unmanifested and manifested, it has been employed more as a technical term in Śaivism and the Śāktā-tantras. Before creation, the Śiva-Śakti principle, the ultimate Reality, is one only, without a second. When this Reality, the equivalent of Brahman of the Advaita Vedānta, starts reflecting on Itself a throb or a stir is created. This stir named as spanda, develops further as ‘nāda’ or vibration and gets concentrated as ‘bindu’. Further creation evolves out of it.
Nāda as per Music
When the word is taken to mean sound, several varieties of it are described in the technical works related to music and yogic practices. For instance:
- Ghaṇtānāda - sound of a bell
- Śaṅkhanāda - sound of a conch
- Bherīnāda - sound of a kettle-drum
- Veṇunāda - sound of a flute
- Meghanāda - sound of clouds or thunder
- It is called ‘vimarṣa’.
- Bindu means the point of tremendous energy.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore