The voice is not only indicative of man's character, but
it is the expression of this spirit. The voice is not only audible,
but also visible to those who can see it. The voice makes impressions
on the ethereal spheres, impressions which can be called audible;
at the same time they are visible. Those scientists who have
made experiments with sound and who have taken impressions of
the sound on certain plates – which impressions appear like
forms – will find one day that the impression of the voice is
more living, more deep, and has a greater effect. Sound can
be louder than the voice, but sound cannot be more living than
that the voice.
Knowing this the Hindus of ancient times said that singing
is the first art, playing the second art, and dancing the third
art which make music. The Hindus who have found that by these
three different aspects of music one attains to spirituality
much sooner than by any other way, have discovered that the
shortest way to attain spiritual heights is by singing. Therefore
the greatest prophets of the Hindus were singers: Narada and
Tumbara. Narada inspired Valmiki who wrote the Ramayana and
the Mahabharata, the great Hindu scriptures.
There are three principal kinds of voices: the Jalal
voice, the Jamal voice, and the Kamal voice. The
Jalal voice indicates power; the Jamal voice indicates
beauty; the Kamal voice indicates wisdom. If you take
careful notice in everyday life, you will find that sometimes
before a person has finished his sentence you have become annoyed.
It is not because of what he has said, but it is his voice.
And you will also notice, perhaps not every day in your life
but sometimes, that you once heard someone say something that
has always remained with you: it gives always a beautiful feeling,
it is always soothing, it is healing, it is uplifting, it is
A doctor coming to see a patient may, by his voice, frighten
the patient and make him more ill if his voice is not harmonious.
And another doctor may, by his voice, treat the patient so that
before the medicine is brought he is already feeling better.
The doctor gives the medicine, but it is the voice with which
he comes to the patient that counts.
In the history of the world have not men marched hundreds
of miles with strength and vigor, not knowing what they were
going to face, on hearing the voice of their commander: 'Quick
march!'? It seemed that all fear, all anxiety were taken away,
and all vigor and courage were given to them, as they were going
to march. And again have you not heard of commanders who said:
'Fire!' and the soldiers turned back and fired at them? That
is the voice too.
The voice, therefore, is a wine. It may be the best wine,
or it may be the worst liquor. It may make a person ill, or
it may uplift him.
There are five different qualities of the voice, which are
connected with the peculiar character of the person. The earth
quality of the voice is hope giving, encouraging, tempting.
The water quality is intoxicating, soothing, healing, uplifting.
The fire quality is impressive, arousing, exciting, horrifying;
at the same time it is awakening, because very often warning
is given in the voice of the fire quality. The use of the words
'tongues of flame' in the Old Testament is narrative of that
voice and word which were warning of coming dangers. It was
alarming for the people to awaken from their sleep, to awaken
to a greater consciousness, to a higher consciousness.
Then there is the air quality of the voice. It is uplifting,
raising a person, taking him far, far away from the plane of
the earth. And the ether quality of the voice is inspiring,
healing, peace giving, harmonizing, convincing, appealing; at
the same time it is most intoxicating. Every Jalal voice,
Jamal voice, or Kamal voice has one or another
of these five qualities predominant in it, and according to
that it creates an effect.
The most wonderful part in the study of voice is that from
the voice you can find out a man's particular evolution, his
stage of evolution. You do not need to see the person, just
his voice will tell you where he is, how far he has evolved.
There is no doubt that the character of the person is apparent,
is evident, in his voice. There is another most wonderful thing
to be found in the science of the voice: that the fortunate
person has a different voice from the one who is not so fortunate.
If you gather five persons who have really proved to be most
fortunate, and you hear their voices, you will find what great
difference there is between their voice and the ordinary voice.
When you compare the voice of great people – no matter what
their line may be – with the voice of others, you will find
that there is a difference.
But what is meant here is the speaking voice. When we come
to singing it is quite different, because today the art of singing
has become as artificial as can be. The whole idea is to train
the voice and make it different from what it is naturally. The
training of the voice does not develop what is natural in it,
it mostly brings into it something which is not natural to it.
Therefore when a person sings according to the method of the
day he has a different voice. It is not his voice, it is not
his character. He may have a great success, he may be audible
to thousands of people, but at the same time he is not singing
in his natural voice. Therefore the real character of the person
is to be seen in his speaking voice.
Then there is another thing to be understood: that is the
softness and the loudness of the voice; that there are times
when the voice is softer, and there are times when the voice
is louder. Naturally that shows the condition of the spirit
at that particular time, because sometimes the spirit is tender,
and with the tenderness of the spirit the voice becomes softened.
Sometimes the spirit is harder, and with the hardness of the
spirit the voice becomes hardened. In order to scold a person
you do not need to put on a hard voice; the voice becomes hard
naturally. In order to sympathize with a person, in order to
express your gratitude, your love, your devotion, your affection
to someone, you do not need to soften your voice; your voice
is soft before you can feel it, before you can think about it.
This shows that the voice is an expression of the spirit. If
the spirit is soft, the voice is soft; if the spirit is hard,
the voice is hard; if the spirit is powerful, then the voice
has power; if the spirit has lost its vigor, then the voice
loses its power.
Furthermore I should like to tell you an amusing thing on
this subject. Sometimes a person comes to you and begins to
speak about something; and then he says: 'Hmm, hmm'; next he
says another word and then continues to say: 'Hmm, hmm'. It
may be that he has a cold, but it may be that he has not. Yet
that time he is doing this. Why? Because there is something
that he is bringing forth from his mind, and it does not come
quickly. The same condition that is going on in the spirit is
manifesting in the voice. He wants to say something, but he
cannot say it: the voice does not operate, because the mind
is not operating. If in the mind there is some obstacle, some
hindrance, then in the voice there is also something hindering.
Inspiration chooses its own voice, and when a speaker has
to change his voice in accordance with the hall where he is
going to speak, then inspiration is lost. Because when the inspiration
begins to feel: 'It is not my voice', it does not come. Then
the speaker has to struggle twice: one struggle is that he must
speak without inspiration, and the other struggle is that he
must be audible to the number of people present. That cannot
Nowadays people have adopted a new method of elocution. A
person who has learned elocution can shout as loudly as ten
people shouting at the same time, and everyone will thing: 'How
wonderful!' But what impression has it made? None!
Nowadays radio technicians have made a kind of horn which
they use at stations in the United States. A person takes that
horn and on speaking into it his voice becomes twenty times
louder. It is all right for trade and business purposes, but
when you come to life itself, and when you come to conversation,
to speaking to your friends, it is different. It is most psychological
occasion when you speak to one person or to many persons, because
something is taking place which has its echo in the cosmos.
No word ever spoken is lost; it remains, and it vibrates according
to the spirit put into it. If a person makes his voice artificial
in order to convince people, in order to be more audible, and
in order to impress people, it only means he is not true to
his spirit. It cannot be. It is better for a person to be natural
in his speech with individuals and with the multitude, rather
than that he should become different.
Now coming to the subject of singing: there are certain things
which must be retained in the voice. However much the voice
may be developed, however great its volume, however far reaching
it may be and should be made by practice, at the same time one
must feel responsible for keeping one's natural voice through
every stage of development – that the natural voice is not hurt
by it. It does not mean tat one should not have afar reaching
voice, it does not mean that one should not have a voice of
a larger volume, that one should not have a voice that is vigorous
and flexible. Everything that enriches the voice is necessary
and must be developed by practice, but all the time keeping
in view: 'I must not sacrifice the natural quality of my voice'.
For every person, every soul must know that there is no other
voice like his. And if that particularity of its own voice which
each soul has is lost, then nothing is left with it.
Besides this, every person is an instrument in this orchestra
which is the whole universe, and his voice is the music that
comes from each instrument. Each instrument is made distinct
and particular and peculiar, so that no other voice can take
the place of that particular voice. If then, with the instrument
that God has made and the music that God has intended to be
played in the word, one does not allow that music to be played
and one develops a voice which is not one's own, naturally that
is a great cruelty to oneself and to others.
For those on the spiritual path, thinkers, students and meditative
souls, it is of the greatest importance to know the condition
of their spirit from time to time by consulting their voice.
That is their barometer. From morning till evening one can see
the weather – the weather created by oneself: whether it is
warm or cold, or whether it is spring or winter. One's voice
is that barometer that shows to us what is coming, because what
will come is the reaction, the result of what is created, and
the voice is indicative of it.
Those who think still more deeply on this subject will be
able to see how, step by step, they are progressing in the spiritual
path, if only they consult their voice. Every step in the spiritual
path brings about a little change. By a distinct study of the
voice you will find that it is so. When you go back, you will
find by the change of voice: 'I had gone so much further, and
I have gone back again'. The voice will tell you.
There is another point which is most wonderful about the
voice: that once you have worked with the voice and have cultivated
it, deepened it, widened it, and it has become invigorated,
and then you have left it, you may leave it for months and years,
and the voice may take a different shape and a different appearance,
but at the same time what you have once developed remains with
you somewhere. It is just like a deposit kept in a bank. You
do not know of it, you have forgotten it perhaps, yet it is
there. The day when you will touch it again, it will come back
in the same way and it will take very little to complete it.
If the voice has developed a spiritual quality and one finds
later that it has lost that spiritual quality, one must not
be discouraged or disappointed. One has not lost it. One must
correct oneself and want to go forward again, and be sorry for
having gone backward, but never be discouraged, never be hopeless,
because it is there; it only wants a little touch. It is just
like a little candle which has gone out, but once you strike
a match it is lighted again; it is a candle just the same. The
voice is light itself. If the light has become dim, it has not
gone out, it is there. It is the same with the voice. If it
does not shine, it only means that it has not been cultivated.
You must cultivate it again, and it will begin to shine again.
Question: Is it advisable to train one's voice, if one has not
much of it.
Answer: One might ask: Is it advisable to do physical exercises
when one is very thin? If one is thin, it is even more necessary
to do physical exercises. So if there is no voice, it is more
necessary that one should develop it.
Question: Does the voice change through the different ages?
Answer: Yes. Every age, infancy, childhood, youth, and more
advanced age changes the pitch of the voice. The advanced age
is an expression of what a person has gained, and so the voice
is also indicative of his attainment. No doubt, as with every
step in the age of a person, so with every step forward in spiritual
evolution, there is also a difference in the voice. Every experience
in life is an initiation. Even in the worldly life it is a step
forward, and that experience changes the voice.
Question: Do the words one has spoken in the past continue to
affect one's life?
Answer: Certainly, certainly.
Question: Which is more powerful: to say something mentally
or to say it aloud?
Answer: If you say it mentally and do not speak, it is powerful.
If you speak and do not say it mentally, it is powerless. If
you say it mentally and speak it at the same time, it is most
Question: Would you say a few words about the modern art of
Answer: There is little to be said about it. Very often people
think that, when they have to recite, they must have a different
voice, they must become a different being. A person does not
want to remain what he is, he wants to be different. There is
nothing more beautiful, nothing more convincing and appealing
and impressive than reciting in one's own natural voice.
Question: Would you tell us how it was that Tansen kindled candles
Answer: It is told that Tansen, the great singer, performed
wonders by singing. Tansen was a Yogi. He was a singer, but
the Yogi of singing. He had mastered sound, and therefore the
sound of his voice became living, and by his making the voice
live everything that he wanted happened. Very few in this world
know to what extent phenomena can be produced by the power of
the voice. If there is any real trace of miracle, of phenomena,
of wonder, it is the voice.