Abstract sound is called Saut-i Sarmad by the Sufis; all
space is filled with it. The vibrations of this sound are too
fine to be either audible or visible to the material ears or
eyes, since it is even difficult for the eyes to see the form
and color of he ethereal vibrations on the external plane. It
was the Saut-i Sarmad, the sound of the abstract plane, which
Muhammad heard in the cave of Ghar-i Hira when he became lost
in his divine ideal. The Quran refers to this sound in the words,
'Be! and all became.' Moses heard this very sound on Mount Sinai,
when in communion with God; and the same word was audible to
Christ when absorbed in his Heavenly Father in the wilderness.
Shiva heard the same Anahad Nada during his Samadhi in the cave
of the Himalayas.
The flute of Krishna is symbolic of the same sound. This
sound is the source of all revelation to the Masters, to whom
it is revealed from within; it is because of this that they
know and teach one and the same truth.
The Sufi knows of the past, present and future, and about
all things in life, by being able to know the direction of sound.
Every aspect of one's being in which sound manifests has a peculiar
effect upon life, for the activity of vibrations has a special
effect in every direction. The knower of the mystery of sound
knows the mystery of the whole universe. Whoever has followed
the strains of this sound has forgotten all earthly distinctions
and differences, and has reached that goal of truth in which
all the Blessed Ones of God unite. Space is within the body
as well as around it; in other words the body is in the space
and the space is in the body.
This being the case, the sound of the abstract is always
going on within, around and about man. Man does not hear it
as a rule, because his consciousness is entirely centered in
his material existence. Man becomes so absorbed in his experiences
in the external world through the medium of the physical body
that space, with all its wonders of light and sound, appears
to him blank.
This can be easily understood by studying the nature of color.
There are many colors that are quite distinct by themselves,
yet when mixed with others of still brighter hue they become
altogether eclipsed; even bright colors embroidered with gold,
silver, diamonds, or pearls serve merely as a background to
the dazzling embroidery. So it is with the abstract sound compared
with the sounds of the external world. The limited volume of
earthly sounds is so concrete that it dims the effect of the
sound of the abstract to the sense of hearing, although in comparison
to it the sounds of the earth are like that of a whistle to
a drum. When the abstract sound is audible all other sounds
become indistinct to the mystic.
The sound of the abstract is called Anahad in the Vedas,
meaning unlimited sound. The Sufis name it Sarmad, which suggests
the idea of intoxication. The word intoxication is here used
to signify upliftment, the freedom of the soul from its earthly
bondage. Those who are able to hear the Saut-i Sarmad and meditate
on it are relieved from all worries, anxieties, sorrows, fears
and diseases; and the soul is freed from captivity in the senses
and in the physical body. The soul of the listener becomes the
all-pervading consciousness, and his spirit becomes the battery
which keeps the whole universe in motion.
Some train themselves to hear the Saut-i Sarmad in the solitude
on the sea shore, on the river bank, and in the hills and dales;
others attain it while sitting in the caves of the mountains,
or when wandering constantly through forests and deserts, keeping
themselves in the wilderness apart from the haunts of men. Yogis
and ascetics blow Sing (a horn) or Shankha (a shell), which
awakens in them this inner tone. Dervishes play Nai or Algosa
(a double flute) for the same purpose. The bells and gongs in
the churches and temples are meant to suggest to the thinker
the same sacred sound, and thus lead him towards the inner life.
This sound develops through ten different aspects because
of its manifestation through ten different tubes of the body;
it sounds like thunder, the roaring of the sea, the jingling
of bells, running the water, the buzzing of bees, the twittering
of sparrows, the Vina, the whistle, or the sound of Shankha
until it finally becomes Hu, the most sacred of all sounds.
This sound Hu is the beginning and the end of all
sounds, be they from man, bird, beast, or thing. A careful study
will prove this fact, which can be realized by listening to
the sound of the steam engine or of a mill, while the echo of
bells or gongs gives a typical illustration of the sound
The Supreme Being has been called by various names in different
languages, but the mystics have known him as Hu, the
natural name, not man-made, the only name of the Nameless, which
all nature constantly proclaims. The sound Hu is most
sacred; the mystics call Ism-i Azam, the name of the
Most High, for it is the origin and end of every sound as well
as the background of each word. The word Hu is the spirit
of all sounds and of all words, and is hidden within them all,
as the spirit in the body. It does not belong to any language,
but no language can help belonging to it. This alone is the
true name of God, a name that no people and no religion can
claim as their own. This word is not only uttered by human beings,
but is repeated by animals and birds. All things and beings
proclaim this name of the Lord, for every activity of life expresses
distinctly or indistinctly this very sound. This is the word
mentioned in the Bible as existing before the light came into
being, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God.'
The mystery of Hu is revealed to the Sufi who journeys
through the path of initiation. Truth, the knowledge of God,
is called by a Sufi Haqq. If we divide the word Haqq
into two parts, its assonant sounds become hu ek, Hu
signifying God, or truth, and ek in Hindustani meaning
one, and both together expressing on God and one truth. Haqiqat
in Arabic means the essential truth, Hakim means master,
and Hakim means knower, all of which words express the
essential characteristics of life.
Al-Haqq is the sacred word that the Vairagis, the adepts
of India, use as their sacred chant. In the word al-Haqq
are expressed two words, al meaning he, and Haqq
truth, both words together expressing God the source from which
The sound Hu becomes limited in the word Ham,
for the letter m closes the lips. This word in Hindustani
expresses limitation because Ham means I or we, both
of which words signify ego. The word Hamsa is the sacred
word of the Yogis which illumines the ego with the light of
reality. The word Huma in the Persian language stands
for a fabulous bird. There is a belief that if the Huma
bird sits for a moment on the head of anybody it is a sign that
he will become a king. Its true explanation is, that when a
man's thoughts so evolve that they break all limitation, then
he becomes as a king. It is the limitation of language that
it can only describe the Most High as something like a king.
It is said in the old traditions that Zoroaster was born of
a Huma tree. This explains the words in the Bible, 'Except
a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom
of God.' In the word Huma, hu represents spirit,
and the word mah in Arabic means water. In English the
word 'human' explains two facts which are characteristic of
humanity: Hu means God and man means mind, which
word comes from the Sanskrit Mana, mind being the ordinary
man. The two words united represent the idea of the God-conscious
man; in other words Hu, God, is in all things and beings,
but it is man by whom he is known. Human therefore may
be said to mean God-conscious, God-realized, or God-man. The
word Hamd means praise, Hamid, praiseworthy, and
Muhammad, praiseful. The name of the Prophet of Islam
was significant of his attitude to God.
Hur in Arabic means the beauties of the Heaven, its real
meaning is he expression of heavenly beauty. Zuhur in
Arabic means manifestation, especially that of God in nature.
Ahura Mazda is the name of God known to the Zoroastrians.
This first word Ahura suggests Hu, upon which
the whole name is built.
All of these examples signify the origin of God in the word
Hu; and the life of God in every thing and being.
Hayy in Arabic means everlasting, and Hayyat means
life, both of which words signify the everlasting nature of
God. The word Huwal suggests the idea of omnipresence,
and Huvva is the origin of the name of Eve, which is
symbolic of manifestation; as Adam is symbolic of life, they
are named in Sanskrit Purusha and Prakriti.
Jehovah was originally Yahuva, Ya suggesting the
word oh and Hu standing for God, while the
A represents manifestation. Hu is the origin of sound,
but when the sound first takes shape on the external plane,
it becomes A, therefore alif or alpha is
considered to be the first expression of Hu, the original
word. The Sanskrit alphabet as well as that of most other languages
begins with the letter A, as does the name of God in
several tongues. The word A therefore expresses in English
one, or first; and the sign of alif expresses the meaning
one, as well as first. The letter A is pronounced without
the help of the teeth or tongue, and in Sanskrit A always
The A is raised to the surface when the tongue rises
and touches the roof of the mouth when pronouncing the letter
l (lam), and the sound ends in m (mim). The pronunciation
of which closes the lips. These three essential letters of the
alphabet are brought together as the mystery in the Quran. With
A deepened by ain the word Ilm is formed
which means knowledge. Alim comes from the same, and
means knower. 'Alam means state or condition, the existence
which is known.
When alif the first and lam the central letters
are brought together they make the word al which means
'the' in Arabic. In English all suggest the meaning of
the entire or absolute nature of existence.
The word Allah, which in Arabic means God, if divided
into three parts may be interpreted as 'the One who comes from
nothing'. El or Ellah has the same meaning as
Allah. The words found in the Bible, Eloi, Elohim
and Hallelujah, are related to the word Allahu.
The words om, omen, amen and amin, which are
spoken in all houses of prayer, are of the same origin; A
in the commencement of the word expresses the beginning, and
M in the midst signifies end; N the final letter
is the re-echo of M, for M naturally ends in a
nasal sound, the producing of which sound signifies life.
In the word Ahad which means God, the only Being,
two meanings are involved by assonance. A in Sanskrit
means without, and Hudd in Arabic means limitation.
It is from the same source that the words Wahdat, Wahdaniat,
Hadi, Hada and Hidayat all come. Wahdat means
the consciousness of self-alone; Wahdaniat is the knowledge
of self; Hadi, the guide; Hada, to guide; Hidayat
The more a Sufi listens to Saut-i Sarmad, the sound
of the abstract, the more his consciousness becomes free from
all the limitations of life. The soul floats above the physical
and mental plane without any special effort on man's part, which
shows its calm and peaceful state; a dreamy look comes into
his eyes and his countenance becomes radiant, he experiences
the unearthly joy and rapture of Wajd, or ecstasy. When ecstasy
overwhelms him he is neither conscious of the physical existence
nor of the mental. This is the heavenly wine, to which all Sufi
poets refer, which is totally unlike the momentary intoxication's
of this mortal plane. A heavenly bliss then springs in the heart
of a Sufi, his mind is purified from sin, his body from all
impurities, and a pathway is opened for him towards the world
unseen; he begins to receive inspirations, intuitions, impressions,
and revelations without the least effort on his part. He is
no longer dependent upon a book or a teacher, for divine wisdom,
the light of his soul, the Holy Spirit, begins to shine upon
him. As Sharif says, 'I by the light of soul realize that the
beauty of the heavens and the grandeur of the earth are the
echo of Thy magic flute'.