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Volume II - The Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word

Part III: The Power of the Word

Chapter III
The Power of the Word (continued)

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 behind it.

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 of man.

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 from them.

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 way.

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.

checked 23-Oct-2005