The word is in itself a profound mystery in every sense, and every scripture has considered the mystery of the word as the most profound mystery as compared to all other secrets of life. Coming to the scripture which is most known to the Western world, we read that "first was the word and the word was God." And then again one reads that it was the word which was first and then came light. These two phrases convey to us two things. The first conveys that if anything existed that we can express, we can only express it by the name "word."

          And when we come to the second phrase it explains another phase of the mystery, and that is that in order for the soul surrounded by the darkness of this world of illusion to come to the light, the word was first necessary. Which means that the original Spirit was in the mystery of the word, and by the mystery of the word, the mystery of the Spirit was to be found. And when we come to the Vedantist scriptures which existed many thousands of years, there also we realize the same thing. For instance, there is a phrase in the Sanskrit language which says 'Nada Brahma,' which means, 'the mystery of creation was in Nada,' which means, 'in the word.'

          In the Koran one reads in Arabic the word, "Kunfa ukun," that first was the exclamation "Be," and it became. The One Who said "Be," and it became, was not a mortal being; He was and is and will be all the life there is. And if that is so, then the word was not the mystery of the past, but the word is a continual and everlasting mystery. And at this time, when man has engaged himself in the material phenomena and has progressed very far, compared with the past, in industrial and commercial activities, this one aspect of discovering the might which lies under the word is still unexplored.

          In the first place, the mystic who knows the value of the word finds that word in himself first. For the secret of all knowledge that one acquires in the world, whether worldly knowledge or spiritual knowledge, is the knowledge of the self. For instance, music is played outside, but where is it realized? It is realized within. A good word or a bad word is spoken outside, but where is it realized? It is realized within. Then where is the realization of this whole manifestation, all this creation that stands before us in all its aspects? Its realization is within.

          And at the same time the error of man always continues. Instead of finding it within he always wants to find it without. It is just like a man who wants to see the moon and looks for it on the ground. And if a man sought for thousands of years for the moon by looking on the earth, he will never see it. He will have to lift up his head and look at the sky. And so with the man who is in search of the mystery of life outside; he will never find it. For the mystery of life is to be found within. There is the source and goal, and it is there that, if he seeks, he will find. What is sound? Is the sound something outside or is it something within? The outside sound also becomes audible because the sound within is continued and the day when the sound within is closed, then the body is not capable of hearing the outside sound. 

          Man today, living in the life of externality, has become so accustomed to the outside life that he hardly thinks of sitting alone. When he is alone he engages himself with a newspaper or with something. Always working with the life which is outside, always being occupied with the life outside, in his way man loses his attachment with the life within; his life becomes superficial, and the result is nothing but disappointment. For there is nothing in this world which is so attractive in the form of sound that is visible or audible, as the sound within. For all that the senses touch and that is intelligible to the mind of man, has its limitation of time and of effect. It does not make effect further than it does.

          The mystery of life does not concern only the material plane, but it goes still further. The mystery lies in the breath; it is the breath and the pulsation that goes on that keeps this mechanism of the body going. And it seems that the people of the ancient times had a greater knowledge of this mystery than man today. For what is meant by the lute of Orpheus? It means the human body; it is a lute, it is meant to be played upon. When this lute is not realized, when it is not understood, when it is not used for its proper purpose, then that lute remains without the use for which it was created, because then it has not fulfilled the purpose for which this lute was made.

          The breath is not alone as far as the man of material science knows it; he only knows the vibrations of the air going out and coming in, and he sees no further. Besides this, pulsation, the beating of the heart and head, the pulse, all these things which keep a rhythm, man very rarely thinks what depends upon this rhythm. The whole life depends upon this. Besides, this breath which one breathes is certainly a secret in itself; it is not only a secret but the expression of all mystery, something upon which the psychology of life depends. The science of medicine for thousands of years has to some extent depended upon finding out the physical complaints of the body by the rhythm and by the breath.

          The ancient medicine knew that health depended upon the rhythm of vibrations. And now again a time is coming that in the modern world physicians are striving to find out the law of vibrations, upon which depends man's health. But a man absorbed in the material life goes so far and no further.  The mystery of vibrations does not concern only the material plane, but it goes still further. If the human body is a lute, then every word man speaks, every word he hears has an effect upon the mind. For instance, if a person repeats or hears himself called by the name foolish, even if he was wise, in time he will turn foolish. And it is true also that a man who is simple, call him wise and in time he will become wise.

          The effect of the name that man has, has a great deal to do with man's life, and very often one sees that the name has an effect upon man's fate and his career. The only reason is that he hears so often in the day that particular name being called. And is it not true that a man saying a humorous thing bursts out laughing, and a man saying a sad thing breaks into tears? If that is true, then every word that one speaks in one's everyday life what effect has it upon one's self and upon one's surroundings! And the superstition that has existed in all times about not saying an unlucky word, an undesirable word, one can see that that superstition has a meaning.

          In the East there has always been a training given to a child that he must think before he utters a word, for it has a psychological meaning and effect. Very often people reading a poem or singing a song with great love, a song of sorrow or tragedy, are affected by it, and very often their life takes as turn and is affected by it. Besides, a person who speaks of his illness certainly nourishes his illness. Very often I have heard people say that, if there exists a pain it is a reality, and how can one deny it? It is so amusing to hear them say this, because reality is so far away, and our everyday life is such that from morning to evening we do nothing but deny it. If one only knew where lies the Truth, if one only knew what is the Truth, if one only were to know it and see it, one would think that all else is non existent in reality.

          But besides that there is a power of the word according to the illumination of the soul, because then that word does not come from the human mind, that word comes from the depth, from behind, that word comes from some mysterious part that is hidden from the human mind. And it is in connection with such words that one reads in the scriptures of words such as "swords of flame" and "tongues of flame." Whether it were a poet or whether it were a prophet, when that word came from the burning heart then the word rose as a flame. In accordance with the Divine Spirit which is in the word, that word has life, power and inspiration.

          Think of the living words of the ancient times, think of the living words that one reads in the scriptures, the living words of the holy ones, of the illuminated ones, they live and will live forever. It is a music which may be called a magic, a magic for all times. Whenever such words are repeated they have that magic, that power. What the sages of all ages have said, these words have been kept by people, by their pupils. In whatever part of the world they were born or lived, what they have let fall as words that has been taken as real pearls, that has been kept as a scripture. And therefore wherever one goes in the East one finds the followers of different religions wherever they pray have the words of the illuminated ones, and they do not need to put them in their own language. And one finds in this way that the words said by the great ones have been preserved for ages in order to use them for meditation.

          Besides this, there is a still more scientific and a greater mystery of the word. It is not only what the word means, it is not only who has said the word, but the word in itself has also a dynamic power. The mystics, sages and seekers of all ages, knowing the mystery of the sacred word, have been always in its pursuit. The whole meditative life of the Sufis is built upon the mystery of the word. For the word 'Sufi,' according to the explanation of the initiates, comes from 'Sophia' which means wisdom, but wisdom not in the outer sense of the word, because worldly cleverness cannot be wisdom.

          The intellect which man very often confuses with wisdom, is only an illusion of wisdom. Wisdom is that which is learned from within, and intellect is that which is acquired from without. The source of wisdom is above, the source of intellect is below. And therefore it is not the same method, it is not the same process one adopts in order to attain wisdom as that which one adopts in order to acquire intellect. In short the attainment of that wisdom is made in various ways by various people, but at the same time the great mystery of attaining the Divine wisdom is in the mystery of the word.