Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Mysticism of Sound
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan


The variety of things and beings and the peculiarities which make them differ, cause the necessity of name. Name produces the picture of a form, figure, color, size, quality, quantity, feeling and sense of things and beings, not only perceptible and comprehensible, but even of those beyond the perception and comprehension; therefore its importance is greater than all things. There is a great secret hidden in a name, be it the name of a person or a thing, and it is formed in relation to the past, present and future conditions of its object; the right horoscope tells you therefore about the conditions of a person.


All mystery is hidden in name. The knowledge of everything rests on first knowing its name, and knowledge is not complete which is devoid of name. Mastery depends upon knowledge; man cannot master a thing of which he has no knowledge. All blessings and benefits derived from earth or heaven are gained by mastery which depends upon knowledge, knowledge depending upon name. Man without the knowledge of the name of a thing is ignorant, and the one who is ignorant is powerless, for man has no hold over anything of which he has no knowledge.


The reason of man’s greatness is the scope of the knowledge with which he is gifted, all the mystery of which lies in his recognition of the differences between thing and beings. This gives man superiority not only over all creatures of the earth, but it even makes him excel the angels, the hosts of heaven.


The Qur’an explains it in the following words, ‘ When thy Lord said unto the angels, "We are going to place a substitute on earth" they said, "Wilt Thou place there one who will do evil therein and shed blood, while we celebrate Thy praise and sanctify Thee?" God answered, "Verily We know that which ye know not;" and He taught Adam the names of all things, and then presented them to the angels, and said, "Declare unto Me the names of these things if ye say truth." They answered, "Praise be unto Thee, we have no knowledge but what Thou teachest us, for Thou art all-knowing and wise". God said, "O! Adam, tell them their names". And when Adam came he told their names."


Every name reveals to the seer the past, present, and the future of that which it covers. Name is not only significant of form but of character as well. The meaning of name plays an important part in man’s life, and the sound, the vowels in the name, the rhythm, number, and nature of the letters which compose it, the mystical numbers, symbol and planet, as well as the root from which it is derived and the effect which it produces, all disclose their secret to the seer.


The meaning of a name has a great influence upon its possessor as well as upon others. From the sound of the letters and the word they compose the mystic can understand much about the character and fate of a person. An intelligent person generally gets the idea from the sound of letters that compose a name whether it is beautiful or ugly, soft or hard, consonant or dissonant, but does not know what makes it so; the one who understands knows why it is so.


Letters singly or together are either pronounced smoothly or with difficulty and have their effect accordingly upon oneself and upon another. Names that are smooth and soft-sounding make a soft effect upon the speaker and listener, whereas hard sounding names have a contrary effect. Man naturally calls soft things by smooth names and hard things by hard-sounding names as for instance flower and rock, wool and flint, etc. Language, and especially name, show the class of people and character of families, communities and races. Vowels play a great part in the name and its influence. E and I denote Jemal, the feminine quality of grace, wisdom, beauty and receptivity, O and U denote Jelal, the masculine quality of power and expression. A denotes Kemal, which is significant of the perfection in which both these qualities are centered. The above-named vowels in the composition of the name have an effect according to their place in the name, whether in the beginning, center or end.


Fate in Sanskrit is called Karma, meaning the rhythm of past actions. The influence of rhythm suggested by a name has an effect upon the entity whose name it is as well as upon those who call him by that name. Evenness of rhythm gives balance while unevenness causes a lack of balance. The beauty of rhythm beautifies the character of man.


By rhythm is meant the way in which the name begins and how it ends, whether evenly or unevenly, on the accent or before the accent. The accent falling on the beginning, middle or end varies the effect which plays a part in a person's character and fate. The rhythm of the name suggests the main thing in life, balance or its lack. Lack of balance is a deficiency in character and causes adversity in life. The number of letters plays a great part in the name of a person. An even number shows beauty and wisdom, and an odd number sows love and poser.


Number plays a great part in life and especially in name. Each letter of a name has its numerical value; in oriental science it is called Jafar. By this system not only are names given to buildings, objects and people, conveying their period of commencement and completion, but the combination of these numbers conveys to the seer its mystical effect. Names have a psychic effect upon their owners and even upon surroundings. The names of elementals and jinns, the sacred names of God, and the holy names of the prophets and saints, written according to the law of their numerical value, act as a magical charm for the accomplishment of different objects in life; and by the combination of such names written or repeated in their numerical form orders are performed.


Every letter either singly or when grouped in a word produces a picture which tells its secret to the seer. For instance X makes a cross and O zero, both of which have a meaning. The alphabet used in modern times is a corruption of e original ones, though the old Arabic and Persian writings are found on arches, walls homes of garments, on brass vessels and carpets, are of most perfect and beautiful design. A great symbolic significance may be seen in the Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit and other ancient scripts. Every line, dot and curve has a meaning. The ancients used to write every name not with different letters but as a picture signifying what they wished to express; the picture was divided into different parts and each part was used to represent a certain sound, and in the way the alphabets were made. By this break the true picture was lost, but a certain likeness may still be traced. Even into present day, although we have a most corrupted form of writing, all from the appearance of a certain name, a person's life, fate or character maybe read in whatever language it may be written. For instance a name beginning with I shows a steadfast and righteous ego, uniqueness and love of God and the pursuit of truth. E shows a shy and backward nature and an interest in three directions. As one letter makes a picture, in the same way a whole word makes a picture. The idea of Allah has come from man and one can read in the form of the hand the word 'Allah'. The Christian name has a greater influence than the surname. Sometimes a nickname has a still greater effect. The effect of the name is according to its use; the more t is used the greater the effect. Shortened names such as May for Mary, or Bill or Willie for William lessen the effect of the name. The names given by the Holy Ones have a double effect, that of the name itself and that of the will of the one who gave it. Malabakhsh, the greatest musician in India of hi day, was given this name by a fakir who was charmed on hearing his music; it means 'God bless'. After taking this name he had success were he went and was blessed with merit and reward, both of which are the rare gifts of God.


There are many instances to be found where a change of name has brought an entire change in a man's life. We read in the Bible that the blessing of Jacob was the name Israel given to him by the angel.


In the Qur'an, Mohammad is constantly addressed by a special name, each name having its effect not only on the life of the Prophet, but on his followers who adopted and worked mystically with any of these names. Sufis have for ages experienced the mystical value of these names. Among Sufis the Murshid gives to his pupils the name 'Talib' or 'Mureed', which is to give him in time the identity of the name.




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