anāhatanāda

(‘sound produced without beating’)

When a yogi practises prāṇā yāma (breathing exercises aimed at regulating the energy of prāṇa) and achieves purification of the nāḍīs (tubular structures through which prāṇic energy flows) he starts hearing melodious sounds of praṇava or Oṁkāra. Since these sounds are generated without any beating (āhati) of two objects (which, incidentally, is the usual way of producing sound) they are called ‘anāhata-nāda.’ The sound is normally heard through the right ear whether open or closed. However, it is more distinct when the ears are kept closed.

Some authorities say that the sound can also be heard if the ajapāmantra is repeated one lakh times.

See also AJAPĀJAPA, NĀḌĪS and PRĀṆĀYĀMA.