The idea of the power of the word is as old as the Vedas
of the Hindus. The modern world is now awakening to it through
what is called psychology, and since there is an interest in
psychology there is a possibility of exploring that ancient
treasure which seekers after truth have developed for thousands
of years in the East.
Man today looks at psychology as a side issue and as something
that can help medical science. But there will come a day when
mankind in this modern world will look upon the science of psychology
in the same way that the people in the East have looked upon
it: as the main thing in religion and spiritual development.
As to the power of the word, a new idea has been coming from
various places under different names, and it is that the repetition
of a certain word or phrase is of great use in curing oneself
of certain illnesses. Psychology in the Western world is discovering
this today. But what about the Buddhists who, for so many centuries
have repeated the different Mantras, sitting in their
temples, repeating them two thousand, three thousand times a
day? And what about the Hindus who have preserved their age
old sacred Mantras and chants? Even though the language is extinct,
they have preserved these ancient chants up till now. And what
about the Jewish people, who still preserve the sacred songs,
which they inherited from the prophets of Beni Israel? And what
about the Muslims, who for ages have repeated the Quran daily
for so many hours, and who still continue to repeat the verses
of the same book today? And think what secret there is behind
the repetitions of the priests and Catholic mystics!
The Zoroastrians, the Parsis, whose religion dates from perhaps
eight thousand years ago, have still maintained even up to the
present time their sacred words, and they chant their prayers
several times a day, repeating the same words every day. But
modern man, who reads a newspaper today, throws it away and
tomorrow he will ask for another newspaper!
No doubt there is great value in the fact that millions of
people have been clinging to those mantras, repeating
them day after day perhaps all their life and never becoming
tired of doing so. If it were, as it is sometimes called, a
religious fanaticism, then nobody could continue those repetitions,
as no intoxication can continue longer than its influence lasts;
then it goes and a person is disillusioned.
This shows that behind the repetition of words a secret is
hidden, and the day when man has fathomed it he will have discovered
a great secret of life. One way of understanding this mystery
is to keep in mind that as a reflector is needed behind the
light in order to direct the light fully, so a reflector is
needed for the voice, as every voice producer knows. The voice
producer will always give exercises to his pupil to repeat and
repeat, in order to get this reflector into the right condition,
so that all the possibilities of producing a full voice may
be brought out.
That is the material side of the question, but then there
is the psychological side of it. This is that not only the organs
of the physical body have this quality of reflection, but the
mind, or what we call feeling, can also be a reflector. We very
rarely explore this question; we cut it short every time we
are faced with it. For instance, when a person is telling a
lie it is natural that it is wicked, and we cannot readily believe
it. However loud his voice may be, however strongly he emphasizes
his lie, since it is a lie, we feel it is wicked. Because psychologically,
the power of mind must act as a reflector, but in these circumstances
it does not act as this person wishes, for his mind is not really
Also, take an ordinary phrase such as 'thank you' or 'I am
very grateful to you'. If during the day, ten people say it
to you, each one of them will have a different power of conveying
it. Because if the reflector is not giving power from behind,
a person may say a thousand times 'I am so grateful to you',
but it will make no effect.
There is another way of looking at the same question: one
person may tell you something, and you readily believe it, and
another person may tell you the same thing fifty times over,
and you do not feel inclined to believe it. What does this show?
It shows that we must prepare ourselves before we say anything.
It is not always what we say, but how we feel it, how we express
it, and what power is hidden behind our expression, what power
pushes it out, so that the word may pierce through the heart
Then there is the question as to how one can best prepare
oneself to utter a certain word effectively? Symbolically speaking,
a person may pronounce the same word a hundred times before
people, but it is an iron word. A person may say it fifty times,
but it is a copper word. A person may say it twenty times, but
it is a silver word. And another person may say it only once,
and it is a golden word. For instance, a person may talk and
talk and talk in order to convince you, he may dispute and discuss
and argue and show a thousand examples to make you believe him,
but the more he wants you to believe him, the less he convinces
you. Yet, there is another person who tells you something perhaps
only once, and you cannot help saying: 'Yes, I believe it, I
understand it I am convinced'.
How does one prepare oneself? How does one prepare the reflectors
in order to make the impression of the word? Yogis and Sufis
have found certain practices by which a kind of psychological
development is brought about. Through these a person becomes
naturally more and more sincere and earnest, and everything
he says bears that influence, that power. Perhaps these practices
have no value according to the science of voice production,
but they have a very great value according to the psychological
point of view. It is such practices, which have been considered
as concentration, meditation, contemplation and realization.
Regarding ancient words, a student of ancient languages will
find that these words can be traced back to one and the same
source. The closer you approach the ancient languages the more
you will find a psychological significance in them, and the
languages of today will seem like corruption's of them. It is
surprising how many words in the languages spoken today come
from the ancient languages, and many names of persons are derived
In the ancient languages, words were formed by intuition.
Modern languages are based on the grammar one learns. Certainly
words that have come purely from intuition, and that form a
language, which is an action and reaction of man's experience
of life, are more powerful than the words of the languages we
speak today. Thus they have a greater power when repeated, and
a great phenomenon is produced when a person has mastered those
words under the guidance of someone who understands that path.
Every vowel, has its psychological significance, and the
composition of every word has a chemical and psychological significance.
The Yogis use special words, which they repeat in the morning
or in the evening. And by this they reach a certain illumination
or come to a certain state of exaltation. It is this very science
which was called by the Sufis of ancient times Zikr.
This means a science of bringing about desirable results by
the repetition of the proper words or phrases. A chemist may
have all the medicines, but if every person went and got whatever
medicine he wanted, he might cure himself or kill himself.
Even more difficult and more responsible is the work of using
the repetition of certain psychological words or phrases. It
is the physician's responsibility to give a certain person a
proper medicine for his condition, for his purpose. In the East
one searches for a Guru, or a Murshid as the Sufis
call him, who has the experience of psychological prescription,
and one takes what the Murshid has prescribed as an instruction.
First the Murshid makes a diagnosis of the person's condition,
and according to that he prescribes a word or phrase by the
repetition of which that person may arrive at the desired goal.
Those, who have some experience of voice production will know
that in the beginning the teacher does not give any songs; he
gives certain words and notes, and a special way of practicing
by which the voice is developed.
In Sufism there are certain words, which are considered sacred,
and a person of simple faith will only know them as such. But
besides being sacred, they have psychological significance,
and by repeating them, a certain effect is produced.
It is very interesting to note that science shows every inclination
of awakening to the significance of vibrations and their phenomena.
The modern systems are not yet very much developed, but the
aim is the same, to find out the conditions of the vibrations
in the physical body, in order to treat the body in a scientific
When we see that similar systems were developed by the ancient
mystics and occultists, and tried for thousands of years by
numberless people all their life, it is clear that those systems
must bring about satisfactory results, and give to many a treasure
which has always been kept sacred by the seekers after truth.
The Sufi Movement therefore has made a facility for the people
of the West, for those who wish to reach that treasure, that
source, to obtain by a serious study and practice of Sufism
some glimpses of the truth which the ancient mystics possessed.