Theories of vibration are widespread throughout written Indian traditions, and as far back as the Vedic period many references to Vak can be found. Around the middle of the 9th century C.E. one of the most comprehensive early texts on vibration was produced in Kashmir, a fertile valley kingdom in northwest India. The Spandakārika or "Stanzas on Vibration" is thought to have been compiled by Kallatabhatta.
Tantraloka and Sandakarika
Inhabitants of Kashmir at the time enjoyed widespread religious tolerance, and for centuries the region experienced a rich confluence of Hindu and Buddhist thought, including many streams of what is also termed Tantric practice.
Almost two centuries later, Abhinavagupta wrote the Tantrāloka, a detailed commentary on the Spandakārika. In these works on the doctrine of vibration, stress is laid on the importance of experiencing Spanda, the vibrating energy of consciousness, in various ways through various methods and techniques, in order to cultivate a growing interconnection with the primal vibrating energy of the universe itself. Much of 9th century Kashmir practice "deals with how to lay hold of this inner power and identify with it."
Surat Shabd Yoga
Other movements that center on vibration have arisen in more recent centuries. One example is Surat Shabd Yoga, arose from north Indian origins as early as the 13th century C.E. In this context "Shabd" means "Audible Sound Current," or "Soundstream," and the objective of this approach is for the individual to fuse with the essence of the absolute supreme being in a yoga of the sound current. In modern times, we find innumerable references to vibration, as in the following paragraph from the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, P.B. Mukharji, who states:
Everything vibrates. The resting atom has within it the perpetually vibrating atomic solar systems. It is emanating cosmic radiations all the time. ... Sound is deathless. It is preserved forever in the matrix. It is the claim of the Indian metaphysics of sound that you can fashion and refashion your needle of awareness by "Mantram" and "Japam".
In Western Greek culture we find in The Timaeus of Plato a systematic discussion of vibration. Plato writes that sound is the perception of a systematic vibration propagated through air. And of course the opening line of St. John's Gospel reads in translation "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God." In the biological sciences new evidence is coming to light to support the theory that sensory information is communicated via vibrations alone, not through chemical reaction mechanisms. For example, a recent publication announces that smell appears to be the direct sensing of vibrations, rather than chemical bonding mechanisms: A new study by a team of chemists in Greece has added credence to a theory that suggests that humans differentiate smells by sensing molecular vibrations, rather than through simple binding to receptors.
Electromagnetic energy is the vibrating radiant energy known to the modern material sciences, and while this energy has been throughly studied and modeled mathematically, and harnessed within ingenious circuitry to produce modern technologies, its nature as a locus of consciousness is generally dismissed. Instead, credence is given to the belief that synaptic sparking of the neuronal system "gives rise to" consciousness and that somehow thephenomena of consciousness in biosystems is a by-product or contingent upon the nervous system.
Even if true, such a view does not obviate the possibility of other modes of consciousness, but evidence of such is tacitly ignored in the majority of modern neuroresearch.