Forum August

Harmony (4)

from: Hazrat Inayat Khan -

Mysticism of Sound and Music

(see also topic)

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There are nine different aspects of feeling, each of which has a certain mode of expression:

mirth - in a lively tone

grief - in a pathetic tone

fear - in a broken voice

mercy - in a tender voice

wonder - in an exclamatory tone

courage - in an emphatic tone

frivolity - in a light tone

attachment - in a deep tone

indifference - in the voice of silence


An untrained person confuses these. He whispers the words which should be known openly, and speaks out loudly those which should be hidden. A certain subject must be spoken in a high pitch, while another requires a lower pitch. We should consider the place, the space, the number of persons present, the kind of people and their evolution, and speak in accordance with the understanding of others, as it is said: 'Speak to people in their own language'.

With a child we must have a childlike talk, with the young only suitable words should be spoken, with the old we should speak in accordance with their understanding. In the same way there should be a graduated expression of our thought, so that everybody may not be driven with the same whip. It is consideration for others which distinguishes a human being from the animals.

We should understand that rhythm is the balance of speech and action. We must speak at the right time, otherwise silence is better than speech: a word of sympathy with the grief of another, and a smile at least when another laughs. We should watch the opportunity for moving a subject in society, and never abruptly change the subject of conversation, but skillfully blend two subjects with a harmonious link. Also we should wait patiently while another speaks, and keep a rein on our speech when the thought rushes out uncontrollably, in order to keep it in rhythm and under control during its outlet. We should emphasize the important words with a consideration of strong and weak accents. It is necessary to choose the right words and mode of expression, to regulate the speed and to know how to keep rhythm. Some people begin to speak slowly and gradually increase the speed to such an extent that they are unable to speak coherently. The above named rules apply to all actions in life.

Sufis, like students of music, train both their voice and ear in the harmony of life.

The training of the voice consists in being conscientious about each word spoken, about its tone, rhythm, meaning and the appropriateness for the occasion. For instance a words of consolation should be spoken in a slow rhythm, with a soft voice and sympathetic tone. When speaking words of command a lively rhythm is necessary, and a powerful distinct voice.

Sufis avoid all unrhythmic actions; they keep the rhythm of speech under control of patience, not speaking a word before the right time, not giving an answer until the question is finished. They consider a contradictory word a discord unless spoken in a debate, and even at such times they try to resolve it into a consonant chord. A contradictory tendency in a human being finally develops into a passion, until he contradicts even his own idea if it be propounded by someone else.

In order to keep harmony Sufis even modulate their speech from one key to another; in other words, they fall in with another person's idea by looking at the subject from the speaker's point of view instead of their own. They make a base for every conversation with an appropriate introduction, thus preparing the ears of the listener for a perfect response. They watch their every moment and expression, as well as those of others, trying to form a consonant chord of harmony between themselves and others.

Send Thy Peace, o Lord,
which is perfect and everlasting
that our Souls may radiate peace.


Send Thy Peace, o Lord,
that we may think, speak and act


Hazrat Inayat Khan: Peace Prayer

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