The Mother Divine
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The Sound Principle (Part – I)
Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath
By Sant Kirpal Singh


In Sanskrit "Shabd" is a root but we do not know its construction, as with other words. It means awaz (sound), akshar (word), kalam (talk), Ism (name), zamir (essence), bachan (spoken word), wazahat (exposition), sarahat (clarity), izhar (expression), taqrir (speech), etc. Whatever is spoken or heard is Shabd, and it reveals the real nature of things and explains the hidden reality or mystery thereof. But in the terminology of the saints, the term "Shabd" has a much deeper significance, quite  different from its commonly accepted meaning.  


Before the creation, Shabd existed in its latent form and as such had no name. In this state, It was something completely established in Itself and was thus known as Ashabd (sound-less), Anaam (nameless), Alakh (ununderstandable), Agam (inconceivable), Akeh (unutterable) and Akath (indescribable). When It came into manifestation, It was called "Shabd" or "Naam."

Shabd when hidden was Anaam, 
Shabd in manifestation became Naam. 
                    SWAMI SHIVDAYAL SINGH

Before its manifestation, there was no form whatsoever; nor was there any sun nor moon nor sky nor earth, for then the Shabd existed by Itself in a formless state. The essence of Shabd is Pure Consciousness. It is the active life-principle of the whole creation. It is the Guiding and Controlling Power behind all that exists. All manifestation is the result of Shabd and without It nothing exists. It is the very life-essence of everything. The Muslim divines call it Jauhar (essence) and the Hindu saints describe It as Mul (the root cause). It is the vital principle immanent in every form and permeating all, the visible and the invisible. It is the Causeless Cause, the eternal self-existing life, running endlessly in and out of time. It is the very soul of the Creative Power, all pervading even to the purely spiritual realm - Sat Lok. Shabd is the primal cause of both birth and dissolution.

Both birth and death come about by Shabd, 
Rebirth too is because of Shabd.  
                             GURU AMAR DAS

Everything from beginning to end exists in Shabd. The physical elements, the subtle and ethereal powers and vibrations, the causal seeds and essences, one and all are from Shabd and nothing but Shabd personified. We live and have our very being in Shabd and ultimately dissolve into Shabd. All the scriptures of the world tell us that Shabd is above the material and efficient cause and All- Controlling Power of the Universe.
He is all in all Himself and revels in His creation by supporting it by Shabd.                                                                                              GURU NANAK

There is none like Thee in the entire creation, 
In Thy Word Thou art manifesting Thyself. 
Whatever Thou wishest, that comes to pass.
                                              GURU RAM DAS

The subject of Shabd is such that we cannot do justice to it by discursive reasoning. All that can be said is that "Shabd" implies the Power of God that has created and is sustaining the various grand divisions, and sub-divisions of the vast creation of God. It is a current from the Ocean of Consciousness and is characterized by Sound-vibration, or in other words, It is a live and active principle which, emanating from God, is enlivening all creation. It is the instrument with which God creates, controls and sustains His vast universe. It acts as a life-line between the Creator and His creation and serves as a golden bridge between the two. The divine currents, like the ethereal waves of a radio, are spread out in the atmosphere in all the directions of the compass, giving out delectable strains of music. We, however, cannot catch the ethereal vibrations and listen to the divine melody until we get in tune with the Infinite by adjusting our mental apparatus. Therefore we become etherealized more and more as we come in tune with the heavenly music. Shabd is the connecting 
link between God and man. In brief, Shabd alone is the true religion - a binding force that rebinds us to our Source. All the powers of Nature depend on and work through this Shabd or the Sound Principle. The Pranas or the vital airs, that are the source of all energy - electrical, mechanical, magnetic or atomic - and are the most active agents in the physical material plane, are but an outer manifested form of the Shabd. Like the electric waves with which the whole atmosphere is charged, Shabd in Its most subtle form pervades everywhere in Its fullness and is thus the Creator. Guru Nanak, in the Jap Ji, has called It Hukam and describes Its working:

All things are manifestations of His Will, 
But His Will is beyond description. 
By His Will is matter quickened into life, 
By His Will is greatness obtained. 
By His Will some are born high and others low, 
By His Will (the impious) wander in endless transmigration. 
All exists under His Will, 
And nothing stands outside. 
One attuned with His Will, O Nanak, is wholly free from ego. 

Shabd is of two kinds: outer and inner or Varn-Atmak and Dhun-Atmak, respectively. The Varn-Atmak to a certain extent gives a clue to the Dhun-Atmak Shabd. It is a matter of common experience how martial music stirs up men to arms, sad dirges bring tears to the eyes, loving strains bewitch the mind, doleful songs strike the spirit, solemn notes inspire awe and reverence. Again, the words of the wise act as a soothing balm for lacerated minds and smarting taunts cut us to the quick.

Words there be that cut the very heart-strings, 
And words may lead to profound renunciation, 
Words may work as soothing balm or may strike misery, 
Some of them inspire hope and others engender helplessness.               KABIR

What passion cannot Music raise and quell. 

When there is so much magic in Varn-Atmak Shabd, one cannot possibly imagine the Power that lies hidden in the Dhun-Atmak Shabd, which is very subtle and ethereal in nature. The inner Shabd is sublime and pure, with an irresistible magnetic pull which a freed soul cannot but plunge into. 
In all the religious scriptures, "Shabd" is stated to be the Creator of the Universe. The Vedas tell us that "Nad" brought into being fourteen Bhavans or regions. In the Koran, it is mentioned that "Kalma" created fourteen tabaqs or divisions. St. John, in his Gospel, has written that "Word" is the root cause of the creation.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. 
All things were made by Him: and without Him was not anything made 
that was made. In Him was life; and life was the light of men . . .

The sacred Sikh scriptures also tell of the same thing - the entire manifestation has sprung from "Shabd" and is being maintained by Him. The sun, the sky, the earth and the heavens all are within His Controlling Power and there is no place where He is not.The immanence of Shabd is all- pervasive.
Shabd is the directive agent of God, 
And is the cause of all creation.  
                           GURU AMAR DAS 
The earth and the sky were made by Shabd, 
Shabd has been the source of all light. 
The whole creation sprang from Shabd, 
O Nanak! Shabd is the very life of life.

Having set up everything, He beheld His own imprint therein, 
He established the beautiful earth and the starry welkin, 
He raised the tabernacle of heaven with no pillars to support. 
He created the sun and the moon with all the starry host 
  and His light is pervading all. 
                              GURU NANAK

Again, "Shabd" is not only the Creator but He is the Destroyer also, and the rebirth of the creation takes place through Him.

Both the creation and the dissolution are from Shabd, 
And Shabd again is the cause of re-creation.
                                                    GURU AMAR DAS

In the Hindu scriptures, It is described as the essence of ether, which goes to show that It is more subtle than ether and is all-pervading. Its presence, in fact, is felt in the union of matter and spirit, for every union implies vibration and vibration is caused by Shabd or Sound-the active life-principle permeating all space, nay receding far back into Itself; for God too is described as "Shabd," as the Power of God (Shabd) is not distinct and separate from God: God and Godhood (God-in-action) always go together.

Thy "Shabd" is Thyself and whatever Thou ordaineth that comes to pass.                                                                                                           GURU RAM DAS

The Mohammedan divines tell us that the world owes its very life and existence to Shabd. Shamas Tabrez says:

World came into being through Saut (Shabd or Sound Principle). 
 And from Saut spread all light.

Again Abdul Razaq Kashi tells us,

The Great Name (ism-i-azam) is the very essence and life of all names. 
Its manifested form (Shabd) is supporting the entire creation, 
It is the great sea in which we all appear as waves. 
He alone can understand this mystery who belongs to our order.
(To be contd…)