Various ancient mystical societies conceived that the highest heaven (sahasrara) has the same musical tone as the earth (mooladhara chakra) and that it differs only in the musical pitch. Since there are seven basic notes in the musical scale, then these relate directly to the different chakra levels.
According to tantra, everything is a manifestation of shabda, subtle sound vibration. This is really another way of defining the kundalini. Sound in the form of mantras can also be used to raise the kundalini. It should therefore not be surprising to know that the cosmic sound Aum symbolizes and is kundalini. Aum arises in the realm of the sahasrara and then descends through the various chakra levels, until it manifests gross matter, organic life, including man. In the Yoga Chudamani Upanishad it says: “Aum resides in all created things (i.e. it is the kundalini). Generally, it remains downwards enjoying the material world.” (v. 73) In man, Aum or kundalini resides in mooladhara.
The letters of Aum represent many things, but they notably indicate tamas, rajas and sattwa. That is: A – sattwa, U – rajas and M tamas. As we have already explained earlier, tamas predominates in the lower chakras, rajas in the middle chakras and sattwa in the higher chakras. Therefore, Aum symbolizes the progressive ascent of kundalini through the chakras. The symbol Aum as a whole symbolizes the sahasrara. But Aum is not only a symbol, it can also be used as a mantra to raise the kundalini when utilized under the right circumstances.
It is also significant that the well-known yogic scripture, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, praises nada yoga as being a powerful method of raising the kundalini. The following are selections: “Salutations to the sushumna, kundalini and the nectar secreted from the moon (bindu); O Manonmani (Brahman or the absolute), salutations to you. The source of supreme power and consciousness.” (4:64) “Sri Gorakhnatha (a great yogi) described numerous types of laya yoga (methods of raising the kundalini). Amongst these nadanusandhana (discovering the source of nada) is the best.”
(4:66) “By this the brahma granthi is pierced and a wonderful bliss arises from the void. A tinkling sound can be heard emanating from the anahata chakra.”(4:70)
“In the second stage prana enters the sushumna; the posture of the vogi becomes steady and he becomes wise like a divine being.”
(4:72) “Then the vishnu granthi is pierced and overwhelming bliss is experienced. In the shoonya (void) the sound of a bheri (type of musical instrument) is heard.” (4:73) “In the final stage, when the prana enters the ajna chakra, the rudra granthi is pierced. The sound of a veena (musical instrument) takes place like the sound of a flute.” (4:76) This describes the process of raising the kundalini. The practice of nada yoga is an excellent technique and if you are inclined, we suggest you practise it earnestly.
Incidentally, music is a powerful medium for producing changes in one’s state of mind. Under the right conditions, it has a direct influence on the chakras. It depends on sensitivity. In fact, many great musicians attained elevated states of awareness through sound because of their heightened sensitivity. Music becomes a particularly powerful method of raising the kundalini when it is combined with bhakti yoga.