Intone a sound, as aum, slowly. as sound enters soundfulness, so do you.
INTONE A SOUND, AS AUM, SLOWLY. For example, take Aum This is one of the basic sounds. A-U-M: these three sounds are combined in it. A-U-M are three basic sounds. All sounds are made of them or derived from them; all sounds are combinations of these three sounds. So these three are basic. They are as basic as in physics the electron, neutron and proton are basic. This has to be deeply understood.
Gurdjieff speaks of “The Law Of The Three”. He says existence in the absolute sense is one. In the absolute sense, in the ultimate sense, there is only one. But that is absolute, and whatsoever we see is relative. Whatsoever we see is never absolute; the absolute is always hidden. It cannot be seen, because the moment we see something, it is divided. It is divided in three: the seer, the seen, and the relationship. I am seeing you: I am here, you are there, and between the two there is the relationship of knowledge, of seeing, of vision, of cognition. The process is divided into three. The absolute is divided into three; the moment it is known it becomes three. Unknown, it remains one. Known, it becomes three. The known is relative; the unknown is absolute.
So even our talk about the absolute is not absolute, because the moment we say “the absolute,” it has become known. Whatsoever we know, even the word `absolute’ is relative. That is why Lao Tsu insists so much that truth cannot be said. The moment you say it, it has become untrue because it has become relative. So whatsoever word we use — the truth, the absolute, PARA-BRAHMA, Tao — whatsoever word we use, the moment we use it, it has become relative and it has become untrue. The one has become divided into three.
So Gurdjieff says that “The Law Of The Three” is basic for the universe that we know. And if we go deep we will find, we are bound to find, that everything will be reduced to three. This is “The Law Of The Three”. Christians have called it the trinity — God the father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Ghost. Indians have called it TRIMURTI: the three faces of Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh or Shiva. Now physics says that if we move, if we go on moving through analysis to the very base, then matter will be reduced to three: the electron, neutron and proton.
Poets have said that if we go deep in search for human aesthetic feeling, emotion, then there is SATYAM, SHIVAM, SUNDARAM — the true, the good and the beautiful. Human feeling is based on these three. Mystics have said that if we analyze ecstasy, SAMADHI, then there is SAT-CHIT-ANANDA — existence, consciousness and bliss.
The whole human consciousness, in whatsoever dimension it works, comes to “The Law Of The Three”. `Aum’ is a symbol of The “Law Of The Three”. A-U-M: these three are basic sounds. The atomic sounds, you can call them. These three sounds have been combined in Aum, so Aum is just near the absolute, just behind it is the absolute, the unknown. And Aum is the last station as far as sounds are concerned. If you move beyond Aum, you move beyond sound; then there is no sound. A-U-M: these three are the last, they are the boundary of existence. Beyond these three you move into the unknown, into the absolute.
Physicists say that now we have come to the electron, it seems we have come to the limit, to the very limit, because the electron cannot be said to be matter. Electrons are not visible; they have no material property. And they cannot be called non-matter either because all matter consists of them, is constituted of them. If they are neither matter nor non-matter, what to call them? No one has seen electrons, they are just inferred; it is mathematically assumed that they are there. Their effects are known, but they have not been seen. Now we cannot move beyond them. The “Law Of The Three” is the limit, and if you move beyond “The Law Of The Three” you move into the unknown. Nothing can be said then. Even about electrons very little can be said.
Aum is the limit as far as sound is concerned, you cannot move beyond. That is why Aum has been used so much, in India, and all over the world. The Christian-Mohammedan ‘Amen’ is nothing but Aum in a different form; the same basic notes are there. The English words ‘omnipresent’, ‘omnipotent’, ‘omniscient’ contain it: the prefix ‘omni’ is a derivation of Aum. So ‘omnipresent’ refers to that which is present in the whole of the Aum, in the whole of existence. ‘Omnipotent’ means that which is absolutely potent. ‘Omniscient’ means that which has seen the Aum, the whole, “The Law Of The Three”. The whole universe comes under it.
Christians, Mohammedans, have been using after their prayers ‘Amen’. But Hindus have made a complete science out of it — the science of sound and the science of how to transcend sound. And if mind is sound, then no-mind must be soundlessness, or — and both mean the same — soundfulness.
This has to be understood. The absolute can be described in either of two ways — negative or positive. The relative has to be described in both the ways — negative and positive: it is a duality. When you try to express the absolute, you can use either positive terms or negative terms, because human languages have two types of terms — negative and positive. When you are going to describe the absolute, the indescribable, you have to use some terms symbolically. So it depends on the mind.
For example, Buddha liked to use negative terms. He would say soundlessness; he would never say soundfulness. ‘Soundfulness’ is a positive term. Buddha would say soundlessness, but tantra uses positive terms. The whole thinking of tantra is positive. That is why the term used here is ‘soundfulness’: ENTER SOUNDFULNESS. Buddha describes his absolute in negative terms: SHUNYA, nothingness. The Upanishads describe the same absolute as the BRAHMAN — absoluteness. Buddha will use nothingness and the Upanishads will use absoluteness, but both mean the same thing.
When words lose meaning you can use either the negative or the positive, because all words are either negative or positive; you just have to choose one. You can say for a liberated soul that he has become the whole. This is a positive way of saying it. Or you can say he is no more — he has become nothingness. This is a negative way of saying it.
For example, if a small drop of water meets the ocean, you can say that the drop has become nothingness, the drop has lost its individuality, the drop is no more. This is a Buddhist way of saying things. It is good, it is right as far as it goes, because no word goes very far. So as far as it goes, it is good. The drop is no more” that is what is meant by NIRVANA. The drop has become non-being, it is not. Or you can use Upanishadic terms. The Upanishads will say that the drop has become the ocean. They are also right, because when the boundaries are broken, the drop has become the ocean.
So these are simply attitudes. Buddha likes negative terms, because the moment you say anything positive it becomes limited, it looks limited. When you say that the drop has become the ocean, Buddha will say that the ocean is also finite. The drop remains the drop; it has become a little bigger, that is all. Howsoever bigger makes no difference. Buddha will say that it has become a little bigger, but it remains. The finite has not become infinite. The finite remains finite, so what is the difference? A small drop and a big drop… for Buddha, that is the only difference between ‘ocean’ and ‘drop’ — and it is right, mathematically it is so.
So Buddha says that if the drop has become the ocean, then nothing has happened. If you have become a god, then nothing has happened, you have only become a bigger man. If you have become the BRAHMAN nothing has happened, you are still finite. So Buddha says that you have to become nothing, you have to become SHUNYA — empty of all boundaries and attributes, empty of everything that you can conceive of, just emptiness. But Upanishadic thinkers will say that even if you are empty YOU ARE. If you have become emptiness YOU are still there, because emptiness exists, emptiness is. Nothingness is also a way of being, a way of existence. So they say, why belabor the point and why unnecessarily use negative terms? It is good to be positive.
It is your choice, but tantra almost always uses positive terms. The very philosophy of tantra is positive. It says, do not allow no, do not allow the negation. Tantrics are the greatest of yea-sayers. They have said yes to everything, so they use positive terms. The sutra says, INTONE A SOUND, AS AUM, SLOWLY. AS SOUND ENTERS SOUNDFULNESS, SO DO YOU…
INTONE A SOUND, AS AUM, SLOWLY. The intoning of a sound is a very subtle science. First you have to intone it loudly, outwardly; then others can hear it. And it is good to start loudly. Why? Because you can also hear it clearly when you intone it loudly; because whatsoever you say it is to others, and this has become a habit. Whenever you are talking you are talking to others, and you hear yourself talk only when you are talking to others. So start from the natural habit.
Intone the sound Aum, then by and by, feel attunement with the sound. When you intone the sound Aum, be filled with it, forget everything else. Become the Aum, become the sound. And it is very easy to become the sound, because sound can vibrate through your body, through your mind, through your whole nervous system. Feel the reverberation of Aum. Intone it, and feel it as if your whole body is being filled with it, every cell is vibrating with it.
Intoning is also “in-tuning.” Tune yourself with the sound, become the sound. And then, as you feel a deep harmony between you and the sound, and you develop a deep affection for it — and the sound is so beautiful and so musical: Aum — then the more you intone it, the more you will feel yourself filled with a subtle sweetness. There are sounds which are bitter, there are sounds which are very hard. Aum is a very sweet sound, the purest. Intone it and be filled with it.
And when you begin to feel harmonious with it, you can drop intoning loudly. Then close your lips and intone it inwardly, but inwardly also first try it loudly. Intone inwardly, but loudly, so that the sound spreads all over your body, touches every part, every cell of your body. You will feel vitalized by it, you will feel rejuvenated, you will feel a new life entering you — because your body is a musical instrument. It needs harmony, and when the harmony is disturbed you are disturbed.
That is why when you hear music you feel good. Why do you feel good? What is music, but just some harmonious sounds? Why do you feel such a well-being when there is music around you? And when there is chaos, noise, why do you feel so disturbed? You yourself are deeply musical. You are an instrument, and that instrument re-echoes things.
Intone Aum inside, and you will feel that your whole body dances with it. You will feel that your whole body is undergoing a cleansing bath; every pore is being cleansed. But as you feel it more intensely, and as it penetrates you more, go on becoming more and more slow, because the slower the sound, the deeper it can go. It is just like homeopathy. The smaller the dose, the deeper it penetrates — because if you want to go deeper, you have to go more subtly, more subtly, more subtly…
Crude, coarse sounds cannot enter your heart. They can enter your ears, but they cannot enter your heart. The passage is very narrow, and the heart is so delicate that only very slow, very rhythmic, very atomic sounds are allowed to enter it. And unless a sound enters your heart, the mantra is not complete. The mantra is complete only when the sound enters your heart — the deepest, most central core of your being. Then go on being more slow, more slow, more slow.
And there are also other reasons for making these sounds slower and more subtle: the more subtle a sound is, the more intense an awareness you will need to feel it inside. The more coarse the sound, the less need there is of any awareness. A coarse sound will hit you, you will become aware of it; but then it is violent.
If a sound is musical, harmonious, subtle, then you will have to listen to it inside and you will have to be very alert to listen to it. If you are not alert, you will go to sleep and miss the whole point. That is the problem with a mantra, with any chanting, with any use of sound: it can create sleep. It is a subtle tranquilizer. If you continuously repeat any sound without being alert about it, you will fall asleep, because then the repetition becomes mechanical. “Aum, Aum, Aum…” becomes mechanical, and then repetition creates boredom.
Boredom is a basic necessity for sleep. You cannot get to sleep unless you are bored. If you are excited, you cannot get to sleep. That is why the modern man is becoming incapable of going to sleep. What is the reason? There is so much excitement. It was never like this before.
In the old, past world life was a deep boredom, a repetitious boredom. If you go to a village hidden somewhere in the hills, there life is a boredom. It may not look to you like a boredom because you have not lived there, and on a holiday you may feel very much excited. But that excitement is because of Bombay, not because of those hills. Those hills are completely boring. Those who are living there are bored and asleep. There is only the same thing, the same routine with no excitement, with no change, and nothing ever happens. There is no news. Things go on as they have always, they go on repeating in a circular way. As seasons repeat, as nature repeats, as day and night move in a circle, everything moves in a village, in an old village, in a circle. That is why villagers can fall to sleep so easily: everything is just boring.
Modern life has become so exciting — nothing repeats. Everything goes on becoming new, changing. Life has become unpredictable, and you are so excited you cannot fall asleep. Every day you can see a new film, every day you can hear a new speech, every day you can read a new book, every day something new is possible.
This constant excitement continues. When you go to your bed, the excitement is there. The mind wants to be awake; it seems futile to fall asleep. There are thinkers who are saying that this is pure wastage — if you live for sixty years, twenty years are wasted in sleep. Sheer wastage! Life is so much excitement, why waste any of it? But in the old world, in the old days, life was not an excitement. It was a circular movement of the same repetition. If anything excites you, it means it is new.
If you repeat a particular sound, it creates a circle within you. It creates boredom; it creates sleep. That is why Mahesh Yogi’s transcendental meditation is known in the West as a non-medical tranquilizer. It is because it is a simple repetition of a mantra. But if your mantra becomes just a repetition without an alert YOU inside, an alert YOU constantly listening to you, listening to the sound, it may help sleep, but it cannot help anything else. As far as it goes, it is good. If you are suffering from insomnia, transcendental meditation is good.
Otherwise, it helps — but not unless you use the mantra with an alert inner ear. Then you have to do two things: go on reducing the pitch of the mantra, reducing the sound, making it more slow and more subtle, and at the same time simultaneously go on becoming more alert, more alert. As the sound becomes subtle, become more alert; otherwise, you will miss the whole point.
So two things have to be done: sound has to be slowed down, and you have to become more alert. The more sound becomes subtle, the more alert you are. To make you more alert the sound has to be made more subtle, and a point comes when sound enters soundlessness, or soundfulness, and you enter total awareness. When the sound enters soundlessness or soundfulness, by that time your alertness must have touched the peak. When the sound reaches the valley, when it goes to the down-most, deepest center in the valley, your alertness has gone to the very peak, to the Everest. And there, sound dissolves into soundfulness or soundlessness, and you dissolve into total awareness.
This is the method: INTONE A SOUND, AS AUM, SLOWLY. AS SOUND ENTERS SOUNDFULNESS, SO DO YOU. And wait for the moment when the sound has become so subtle, so atomic, that now, any moment, it will take a jump from the world of the laws, the world of the three, and it will enter the world of the one, the absolute. Wait! This is one of the most beautiful experiences possible to man — when sound dissolves. Then suddenly you cannot find where the sound has gone.
You were hearing it subtly, deep down: “Aum, Aum, Aum…” and then it is no more there. You have entered the world of the one. The world of the three is no more. This, tantra says, is soundfulness; Buddha says soundlessness.
This is a way — one of the most used, one of the most helpful. Mantra became so important because of this. Because sound is already there and your mind is so filled with it, you can use it as a jumping board. But there are difficulties, and the first difficulty is sleep. Whosoever uses a mantra must be aware of this difficulty. That is the hindrance — sleep. You are bound to fall into sleep because it is so repetitious, it is so harmonious, it is so boring — you will fall victim. And do not think that your sleep is your meditation. Sleep is not meditation.
Sleep is good in itself, but beware. If you are using the mantra for sleep, then it is okay. But if you are using the mantra for spiritual awakening, then beware of sleep. For those who use a mantra, sleep is the enemy — and it so easily happens. And it is so beautiful, because it is a different type of a sleep: remember that too. When it comes from a mantra, this is not ordinary sleep. This is a different kind of sleep.
The Greeks have called it HYPNOS, and from hypnos the word hypnotism has been derived. In yoga, they call it YOGA TANDRA — a particular sleep which happens to the yogi and not to the ordinary man. It is hypnos — an induced sleep, not an ordinary sleep. And the difference is very basic, so try to understand it — because if you try a mantra, any sound, this is going to be your problem. The greatest problem to face is sleep.
Hypnosis uses the same technique — creating boredom. The hypnotist goes on repeating a certain word or certain sentences. He is continuously repeating, and you become bored. Or he gives you a light to concentrate on. Seeing a light continuously, you get bored.
In many temples, churches, people are fast asleep. Listening to scriptures, they fall asleep. They have heard those scriptures so many times, it has become a boredom. There is no excitement, they already know the story.
If you go on seeing the same film again and again, you will be fast asleep: no excitement for the mind, no challenge, and there is nothing to see. You have heard the RAMAYANA so many times, you can be asleep and without any difficulty you can go on hearing in your sleep. And you will never feel that you were asleep because you will never miss anything in the story: you know it already.
Preachers’ voices are very deeply sleep- inducing, monotonous. You can talk monotonously, in the same pitch, then sleep happens. Many psychologists advise their patients with insomnia to go and hear a religious talk, that gives sleep easily. Whenever you are bored, you will fall asleep, but that sleep is hypnosis, that sleep is yoga tandra. And what is the difference? That is not natural. It is unnatural, and with particular attributes.
One, when you fall asleep through a mantra or through hypnosis, you can create any illusion easily and the illusion will be as real as possible. In ordinary sleep you can create dreams, but the moment you are awake you will know that they were dreams. In hypnosis, in yoga tandra, you can create visions, and when you will be out of it you will not be able to say that they were dreams. You will say that they were more real than the life around you. That is one of the basic differences.
You can create any illusion. So if a Christian falls into hypnosis, he will see Christ. If a Hindu falls, he will see Krishna playing on his flute. It is beautiful! And the quality of hypnosis is that you will believe that this is real. That is the danger, and no one can convince you that this is unreal. The feeling is such that you KNOW this is real. You can say that the whole life is unreal, MAYA, illusion, but you cannot say that whatsoever you have seen in hypnosis, in yoga tandra, is unreal. It is so alive, so colorful, so attractive and magnetizing.
That is why if someone says something to you while you are hypnotized, you will believe him absolutely. There can be no doubt; you cannot doubt him. You may have seen some hypnotic sessions. Whatsoever the hypnotist says, the hypnotized person believes and starts acting out. If he says to a man, “You are a woman. Now walk on the stage,” the man will walk like a woman. He cannot walk like a man because hypnosis is deep trust; it is faith. There is no conscious mind to think, no reasoning mind to argue. You are simply the heart, you simply believe. There is no way not to believe, you cannot question. The questioning mind is asleep — that is the difference.
In your ordinary sleep, the questioning mind is present, it is not asleep. In hypnosis your questioning mind is asleep, and you are not asleep. That is why you can hear the hypnotist say anything to you and you will follow his instructions. In ordinary sleep you cannot hear, but your reasoning is not asleep. So if something happens which can be fatal to you, your sleep will be broken by your reason.
A mother is sleeping with her child. She may not hear anything else, but if the child gives even a very small sound, a small signal, she will be awake. If a child feels a little uneasy, she will be awake. The reasoning mind is alert. You are asleep, but your reasoning mind is alert. So even sometimes in dreams, you can feel that they are dreams. Of course, the moment you feel this your dream will be broken. You can feel that it is absurd, but the moment you feel it the dream will be broken. Your mind is alert, a part is constantly watching.
But in hypnosis, or in yoga tandra, the watcher is asleep. That is the problem with all those who want to use sound to go into soundlessness or soundfulness, to go beyond. They must be aware that the mantra should not become an auto-hypnotic technique. It must not create auto-hypnosis.
So what can you do? You can do only one thing: while you are using your mantra, while you are intoning your mantra, do not simply intone it. At the same time be alert and listen to it also. Intone it and listen to it both. Otherwise, if you are not listening consciously, it will become your lullaby and you will fall into deep sleep. That sleep will be very good — you will feel refreshed after it, alive; you will feel a certain well-being — but this is not the point.