From the book "Naam or Word", written by Sant Kirpal Singh


We have an Upanishadic text that tells us that Truth is one, though sages have described it variously. But to define It is to limit, and since Truth (i.e., the whole Truth) is illimitable, It, by Its very nature, remains unde­fined. It is more a matter of inner experience and realiza­tion than of comprehension and apprehension on the in­tellectual level.

"The surest way unto Truth," says Henri Bergson, the great philosopher, "is by perception, by intuition, by rea­soning to a certain point and then by taking a mortal leap."

Again, "True knowledge is an action of the soul and is perfect without the senses," says Ben Jonson. The Reality can neither be known by the senses, nor by the mind or the intellect, nor by the vital airs that keep the physical frame, both of the Universe and the individual, going.

"Man is a little world made cunningly of elements and an angelic spirit" (John Donne). He is a composite entity that unites in himself the physical, the subtle and the causal principles: the body, the mind, the supermind and the soul, one behind the other, the last one being the source of all life, the very life principle enlivening every­thing that lives.

There is within the all-comprehending ambit of animal instincts, some secret urge which drives the chosen few, called the elect, toward the transcending of animal impulses, leading to complete disinterestedness by total dis­regard of the animal-ego on the one hand and willing sub­mission to a self-sought death on the other, in spite of the strong opposition of instincts, impulses and ego arrayed against an inspired soul. There is a subtle communication between mystery and mystery, between the unknown soul and the unknown Reality and it is only at one particular point in the texture of life that the hidden Truth seems to burst through the enveloping veils of ignorance; and this happens only when one is able to disimprison the soul from the facts of life. John Keats, the great Romantic poet, speaks of this blissful state:

Wherein lies happiness? In that which becks Our ready minds to fellowship Divine. A fellowship with Essence; till we shine Full alchemized and free of space.

The secret of Truth then lies in the little "great self" in Man, the self, the seemingly little thing of no consequence neglected and cast aside and almost lost in the mighty swirl of mind and matter, and yet a great thing once it comes to its own after breaking through the prison bars of life; the senses that keep one enmeshed all the time. The inner man or the spirit-in-man is, therefore, to be freed from the tentacles of the outer man, consisting of matter and mind, before the Self can rise in self-conscious­ness and become aware of the Cosmic Awareness. All this is a practical possibility by a process of self-analysis and withdrawal, and not a figment of the imagination as most of us might think. As "self-knowledge" precedes "God-knowledge," all the sages and seers have from time imme­morial laid emphasis on "Gnothe Seauton" or "Nosce Teipsum" as known among the ancient Greeks and Ro­mans respectively. And to know oneself, one must detach one's self from the life of the senses. This is exactly what Jesus meant when he taught, "He that findeth his life shall lose it" and "he that loseth his life shall find it." Thus one has to choose between the two lives: the life of the senses and flesh on the one hand and the life of the spirit and Awareness on the other, for one cannot have both at the same time; and unless one is able to rise above body con­sciousness, one cannot make his or her choice between the two. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Guru Nanak has said:

Without actual transcendence of the spirit
The magic spell of the world dissolves not.

This then is the way Truth ward or Godward. "Truth is one," says Nanak, "and comes as a pure and simple gift from a Master of Truth." When we say "One," that too is incorrect for that means limiting the Limitless and finitizing the Infinite. Kabir, therefore, speaks of God or Truth:

If I say He is one that too is inapt,
The idea of duality in Him is but a blasphemy.
He is what He is, neither the one nor the other,
Something, yet whole and self-contained.

The numeral "One" is but a pointer and an index to the Great Being beyond numerology itself. Guru Nanak, speaking of Truth, tells us:

Truth was when there was nothing:
Truth was before all ages began;
Truth existeth now, O Nanak!
And Truth shall exist forever more.

''Absolute Truth'' is of course imageless, but when it came into being, Its primal manifestations were the Sound and the Light Principles, collectively called Nad in the Vedas, Udgit in the Upanishads, Sraosha in Zend Avesta, Word in the Holy Gospels, Kalma in the Koran, Naam or Shabd in the Holy Granth – all signifying the two-fold aspect of the Divine Nature or the Creative Life Principle in Na­ture.

Nameless and devoid of all forms He is,
And yet all names and forms are His.

The great Rishis and Munis, we are told, had a direct inner contact with Truth or the Godhead within. To Moses were revealed the sacred precepts of the Decalogue or the Ten Commandments in the midst of Thunder and Flame signifying the twin aspects of Truth Itself. The Prophet Mohammed had to cut his way through the moon – Shaq-ul-Qamar – as he ascended on the wings of lightning (barq). Prince Siddhartha, when he contacted the Light within, came to be known as Buddha or the Enlightened One. Christ assured his following of his true nature, in no idle words:

I am the Light of the world, and he that followeth Me, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life.

And again,

If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of Light.

"Mysticism," says Dean Inge, "is the core of religion," and language has no means of conveying the super-sensual experiences of the mystics. "The Light shineth in the Darkness and the Darkness comprehendeth it not," is the fate of the common man today.

Man's spirit can return to God through the deepest of man's conflicts and negations
. . . (and by) total denial of his finite being.

A. C. BRADLEY

Walter De La Mare, in the "Dreams," gives us a glimpse:

And once – from agony set free –   
I scanned within the womb of night,  
A hollow in-woven orb of light.
Thrilling with beauty, no tongue could tell,
And knew It for life's Citadel.

Both soul and God live together in the holy temple of the human body, but alas! one has not known the other. About this inborn relationship, St. Catherine tells us,

God is in the soul and the soul is in God,
As the sea is in the fish and the fish is in the sea.

But can we have this beatific vision? "Yes," say the Masters, "as surely as two and two make four."

Feel we these things? That moment have we stept into a sort of Oneness, and our state is like a floating Spirit.
JOHN KEATS

To return to the point from which we began – namely, that Truth is infinite and can be only inwardly realized and not mentally comprehended – let us touch upon the claims of science. Science too declares that it seeks to arrive at Truth in an objective and a detached fashion, called the "scientific way," and most of its adherents even go on to say that science is the only means to Truth, for mysticism and spir­itual realization are too personal, too subjective and too rare a phenomenon to be trusted.

But can science really bring us to Truth? Can we equate factual knowledge with Truth? Does not Truth imply a knowledge not only of the various objects composing the sum total of existence but also their interrelations to the finest degree, and is not this aspect of Truth the more important one? Science of course does give us factual knowledge about objects and to some extent their interrelations as well. But science, at least at present, seems to be an endless process: the findings of today being outdated by those of tomorrow. Thus its pic­ture of Truth, whatever it may be, is an ever shifting one and in fact it can never be a picture of Truth for Truth in Its very nature is changeless. The adherents of science fail to see this significant limitation of science for they mistake knowledge for Truth and forget that if science is to be our only means to Truth, then man can never hope to reach that goal. Looking on the other side of the picture, the side which we have already discussed, there is the incontroverted testimony of the saints and the mystics who tell us that Truth can be realized by man, and who go on to say that a pursuit of objective factual knowledge is a dis­traction from It. The poets speak of intuitive moments when they feel the presence of a spiritual unity behind the material diversity.

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts: a sense sublime, 
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man.

WORDSWORTH

While the mystics of all times and climes tell us with one voice that this Inner Reality or Truth is not only a matter of intuition and feeling but of actual super-sensuous reali­zation, and it is in this connection that the study of Yoga – Surat Shabd Yoga in particular – reveals its importance. We cannot, if we really seek the Truth, afford to ignore spirituality, as so many modern thinkers have tended to do, for It is a highway to Truth, and as suggested, perhaps the only highway to Truth. It is in this context that an attempt has been made to explain in this book the basic concept (which of course is the same in spite of an endless variety in nomenclature) of the various words used by the Masters to signify the Wordless in His primordial mani­festation – the life current creating, sustaining and con­trolling the endless creation.

My heartfelt thanks to Shri Bhadra Sena especially and others who took great pains in helping to bring out this work and spent many hours in this labour of love.

KIRPAL SINGH