Sound of the Universe

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The 23rd summer of my life was a major transition period. Events made me aware of rare mystical rhythms that had remained hidden from me for a long time.

I had recently returned to New Delhi from the USA having graduated from the Cornell Hotel School in Ithaca, New York, USA, and found myself in the action-packed Nirula's family hotel and food service business.

The wintry breath of lake Cayuga and the sub-zero wind-chill of the sun-deprived college campus at Ithaca, New York were very far away.

Distant impressions gathered from a far away land rapidly became hazy. Melting and evaporating in my overheated family situation and the blazing summer heat of New Delhi.

Moving out of the comfort zone
The family food and hotel business had done very well and the elders thought that going into some other field of enterprise would be a good idea. Soon after that, the family was in severe financial trouble.

  • The main reason for this was the family venturing into the poorly understood business of manufacturing stainless steel cutlery that was not it's core expertise.
  • In addition, the business model was turned upside down. The hotel and restaurant business even today is mostly 'buy on credit and sell for cash', while the new business was buy for cash and extend long, long credit. Working capital requirement were huge and unreal!

The situation was worsened because start up of the new business was delayed due to the 1962 Indo-Chinese war. The business depended upon imported equipment and raw material--which was not forthcoming due to the government policies having changed.

Even more than a decade after that war, the governmental controls over business enterprises in general had increased, corruption in government was rampant. This contributed to creating restrictions, shortages and black markets. Political unrest was simmering, and Jai Prakash Narain was developing his Bihar movement of civil disobedience. Unknown to us, the next year would bring on the black 'national emergency' on 25th June 1975 that would suspend all civil liberties. The Congress party led government forces would terrorize the populace of the country for two years in an effort to crush political opposition and civil disobedience.

In this tumultuous atmosphere, the successful family business had been heroically and bravely financing the loss-making enterprise for years. There was no end to the financial troubles in sight and this put immense pressures on each of us daily.

We were already living in a constant state of 'emergency' ahead of the country.

A major cleanup and pruning job
My portfolio of work included repairs and maintenance, the materials purchase function, financial jugglery of suppliers and their payments, and cutting out the rot of wasteful expenditure. A major effort was to get out of the vicious cycle of usurious rates charged by suppliers for extending months and years of credit. In addition, I also got to deal with dissatisfied staff and labor unions from time to time.

I learned on the job. Some thing I learned quickly, others not so much and not so well.

I had little patience with the snail-like working pace here compared to the business efficiencies of America. I was intolerant of time-wasting and resource-wastage and this brought me into regular confrontation with my seniors and staff. Of course, they frequently reminded me that things were different here and this was not 'back home in the USA.' But by this time nothing felt like home--neither here nor there!

The summer season stretched out long and hot, overcast with the spine-chilling knowledge that my expertise gained at distant Cornell would not be enough to help bail out the family business.

This was specially scary considering that as a family we had a lot of experience and technical expertise. My father and uncle had founded the business in the 1940's and had run it very successfully. My older cousin, Lalit, was my senior and a Cornell graduate working in the business. My younger brother Deepak also graduated from Cornell after me, but he was in America, managing a Thunderbird Inn in Washington, working hard while living the American dream.

Successes, lessons learned and other things unlearned
Many of my successes involved re-vamping working styles and attitudes, and stopping waste. This was a surprisingly difficult thing to do. For instance it was a herculean task to get the kitchen staff to stop throwing things onto the floor instead of dustbins.

The manual dish washing process led to a lot of breakages. I had to regularly demonstrate dish washing procedures for the in-house restaurant and room-service staff. Another small change I made was to have the overhead metal water storage tanks painted over with black instead of the conventional silver color. The heat absorbed by the black metal saved money in water heating charges.

Later, I changed the billing procedures by introducing numerical codes for items which then needed only postage stamp size receipts. This saved a lot of time for cutting bills and also saved a lot of paper!

Those were the fun things for me to do actually--lots of opportunities! But some of the other situations were more serious. The room-service department had an average of 100-120% cost of food sold due to pilferage and wastage. This meant for every 100 rupees billed, our cost of food raw materials for that sale were between 100 and 120 rupees. After such an expense there was no chance of covering other expense heads--we were giving the food away!

I had some ideas how to fix this, but the senior Cornell grad was somewhat dismissive about my proposals, saying that internationally, 'room service always lost money.' I took his comment and attitude to mean that he was in depression, having faced the business difficulties longer than I had and that he might have given up at some level.

I was in a hurry to make the changes, because there was a nagging thought I would end up overwhelmed like him. In about 5 weeks I had redesigned the restaurant menu, put in stiff internal control systems and got the food cost down to a respectable 40%-45%. This upset a lot of people--and not just the staff members.

The politics of success
These small successes allowed me to make more changes, even though I faced resistance from the politically savvy members of the family. Some played devious games to manipulate the internal dynamics of the family in their favor even if it meant some cash losses to the business. This manipulation was one play I never mastered.

As a result, I was at the receiving end of much criticism. Some of the criticism was certainly justified, but a great many situations I got into trouble for was engineered by clever folks, and I did not play that game well.

  • I learned valuable lessons from this. I learned that actions were a better indicator of intentions than talk even from family members, because people's actions impacted things in life far more than words alone.

Like multiple alien universes, the dual realities of the theoretical and practical of the family dynamics and work situation co-existed in my head. I had a fractured view of what should be and what actually was, with a large inability to reconcile the two. The daily grind had numbed the mind into a state of inactivity in any direction other than coping with the unending fire-fighting nature of the family crisis.

'Blame'—the popular Family Game
Relationships within the family deteriorated with periodic eruptions of verbal explosions, lavishing the lava of frustration and fear upon each other. These bouts led to an almost daily family blame-game, where there were no winners of course. Even so, this was a popular game not only at our home, but in homes of all the people I knew, who had varying degrees of passion for playing it!

As for us, we played the blame game quite well. As a result, none of our relationships ever really recovered from this, despite the optimistic and dynamic efforts of my father and uncle. Periods of calm were far and few. There was no inner space of tranquility left to retreat into.

Tranquility river
In this 24 hour war zone, the daily 26 kilometer drive to Connaught Place and back to our home in Vasant Vihar became the space for my inner compressions to release. The elegantly sweeping wooded curve of Talkatora Road flowing by the President's Estate became my moving river of tranquility.

One blazing June afternoon I drove back towards Vasant Vihar in my dilapidated Fiat with the windows down. The air conditioning in the car did not work. Passing Talkatora Gardens, pondering the family situation, I came to the realization that there was nothing I could do about it that I was not already doing. I also realized that my educational qualifications and 23 years of life experience were totally inadequate to deal with the crisis.

In that moment, I immediately lost the feeling of responsibility for the situation in the sense of holding myself or others responsible for the pain we were collectively going through. This was a big relief. I took a deep breath and exhaled—my mind and emotions emptying out completely.

Time out of mind
Time paused, the thinking consciousness spiraled into a different zone. In this space of silence, something else entered. The car moved as in slow motion although the speedometer showed a steady 60 kilometers an hour.

The rhythmic shushing of tires on the hot asphalt silenced and faded out all other sounds around me including that of the occasional car passing by. Into this expanded zone of time and space entered a low humming sound. The air became wintry cool.

The twisted trunks of the acacia-keekar trees moved, the feathery leaves flexed and glowed. The yellow seed pods hanging off the branches radiated a golden aura I had never noticed before. As the pods moved in the breeze they gave off a soft rustling chiming sound. A part of me was caught up in this experience. A part of the mind asked disbelieving questions and then finally gave itself up to the child-like wonderment of the experience.

The low humming-thrumming expanded gently, filling my consciousness like a perfume. It was magnificent. A lovely sound of an otherworldly string instrument. A veena perhaps, overlaid with tones of a mellow cello vibrating incredible harmonics.

Sound of the Universe
I instantly understood that this was the voice of the living, life-sustaining universe. It was a primal and never-ending melody. This majestic sound was at once the source and the driver of this universe. I knew then that as the energies of the universal creation move, they create a sound that generates and maintains the universe.

'Aaa..uuu...mmm' was the sound, each cycle ending with a with a soft 'aah. . .', but never really dying down as it merged with another layer of soft plangent vibrations asking me why I had not connected with it for so long. It inter-played, overlaid and interacted with each tone within itself in different scales and harmonics. It reversed itself sometimes beginning at the end and completing with the beginning. A beautifully complex composition, a symphony of unending sound.
Resonating rhythmically in the hush of the steely blue sky, this ocean of sound penetrated everything around it—the shushing of the car's tires, the rumble of the car engine, the soft rustle-rattle-chime of the acacia seed pods, distant honk of a car horn.

We met again and again, the sound and I—long lost friends overjoyed to meet each other, touch each other and ultimately penetrate and become each other. It was a glorious vibration that connected me to its innermost self, giving me direct perception of my innermost consciousness—the never-ending quality of my eternal self.

"The universe sings ... "
To download the full Sound of the Universe meditation scroll down here.

The Consciousness connection... The eternal friend
The sound was me and I was the sound. I knew what it knew, and it knew what I did. It stayed with me for a long time, even when the monkey chatter of the mind resumed. I was left with the realization that I—my consciousness, would never cease to exist as long as my friend, the sound existed in the universe—for it was the universe and all living things in it as well.

Since then, Aauummah, Aauumm, Aum or Om has been that sound friend who has remained a constant guide in my continuing spiritual journey to discover, reveal and revel in the mystic. My friend also gave me the wonderful gift of freedom from fear—that fear which arises from living in the impermanent and unpredictable world.

The eternally vibrating sounds
of Aauumm gave me the gift of joy.
It was a reminder from my past
that I could reach the infinite
and eternally joyous source
of the sound itself.

* * *


Postscript:
Many years later Nalin sang a meditation based on this experience, and it is included in the 'Joy of Reiki' meditation audio recording, available from the Nirula Healing Center. (The audio sample above is from that recording--download link for the complete recording is below.)

You can download the full Sound of the Universe Meditation here. (Right click and save as...or left click to hear it in your browser) You can get the complete audio CD with 5 cleansing and healing meditations from the Healing Center.

  • Special Note:The Sound of the Universe guided meditation is designed to extract negative energies, especially fear and anxiety energies. It replaces these with positive healing energies.
  • Each time you meditate with the Sound, you may have a different experience with it. Typically, on some days you will feel restless, especially in the legs, and may not want to continue with the meditation. You may even dislike the Sound that day. This is normal when a lot of negative energies are being discharged from the lower body chakras. On other days you will feel very relaxed and calm and joyous with the Sound. In either circumstance, allow your body and aura to respond to the healing Sound.

I came across this article a couple of days ago--
An odd coincidence...


Scientists think that the 'God particle' may sound like this...
Scientists theorize that the so-called 'God particle' or Higgs-Boson particle, is a physical particle that in itself has no mass or polarity or directional movement, and that it 'gathers' mass and polarity once it 'appears'.

Essentially this particle has no material quality and in the presence of matter it gathers or organizes elemental matter around it.

This is also the precise mechanism observed by spiritual scientists about the nature of the non-material spiritual particle, the 'atma' or soul.

Click here to read more about the atma/soul or the "I-Consciousness" particle. (Article: 'Physics of the I-Consciousness (I-Con) Universe')

Nalin K. Nirula comes from the well-known restauranteur family in New Delhi of the same name.

In 1983, nine years after this experience with the sound of the universe, he left the "Nirula's" family business to explore his true interest in the spiritual and healing arts.

He and his wife, Renoo work as a spiritual and karmic healers and counselors. This brings people seeking relief from disease and difficult life situations to them from all over the world.

Renoo is a healer and clairvoyant, and together the Nirulas empower people with spiritual initiations into life-changing and healing modalities including Reiki and the KQ Force.

The KQ Force is an advanced form of spiritual karmic healing energy they have rediscovered. With these empowerments, people are able to get significant relief in any difficult life situation. They also get the capability of changing their condition in radical ways very rapidly, which is not experienced by other self-developmental or self-help techniques.

Well known authors in their field, Nalin and Renoo have had their books published by Macmillan, and their audio meditations by Times Music.

The Nirulas make their home in New Delhi, along with their children, Arjun Raj who is an artist, photographer, film-maker and entrepreneur, and Divvya, who is an artist and international art consultant.

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