The Five Sounds (Shabds)

There are numerous Anhad Shabds. They manifest within, with the Grace of the Master.

Myriads of Blissful melodies of Shabd continue ceaselessly, of whose delight there is no limit, no end.

M5 Sarang 1236-11

Bhai Gurdas says:

Many were bewildered on hearing the Sound of the Unending Music within themselves.

Bhai Gurdas, Var 13 Pauri 4

Of these numerous Sounds, five are the genuine ones. The Gurbani speaks of these five Sounds.

By following the Master, the Five Sounds ring within. By a great good fortune one hears them.

Bhai Gurdas, Var Kama; M 4 1315-18

The unstruck Melody of the Five Sounds rings within me, and I live ever in God. Oh absolute, formless and dispassionate One, this is how Kabir performs Your worship.

Kabir, Parbhati 1350-13

The five pure Sounds are played. Banners are waved and conch shells are blown.

Beni, Ram Kali 974-18

The Lord is described by the Gurus as 'Panch Shabdi' (One who has Five Sounds).

The Lord of the Five Sounds came; and the happy marriage was celebrated.

M1 Suhi 735-15

The Five Sounds emanate from the Lord and are the means of attaining Him.

They contemplate on the Master of the Five Sounds.

Jap Ji 3-13

Bhai Gurdas says that after transcending the five elements of the material world – earth, water, fire, air and ether – five Sounds are heard.

On transcending the five elements, one is welcomed by five beautiful Sounds.

Bhai Gurdas, Var 29 Pauri 6

These five Sounds are however heard through the faculty of the soul and only by a Gurmukh. He unites with the Lord through them:

He follows the directions of the Master, His soul hears the five Sounds.

Bhai Gurdas, Var 6 Pauri 18

He is the Supreme Lord. The five thunderous Sounds are his insignia.

Bhai Gurdas, Var 7 Pauri 5

All the Saints have taught their disciples to listen to the Five Sounds. Hafiz Sahib has described them as five melodies.

Be silent and hear the five Sounds coming from the sky. The sky lies beyond the six centres of the body and the seventh heaven.

Shams-i-Tabriz also taught the observance of these five Sounds. He says:

Every day the five melodies are being played at the door of the Lord.

If we hear the beating of that drum, we are freed from envy and egotism.

He again says that if a man were to transcend the six centres of the body and reach the seventh sky, he would hear the five Sounds resounding there.

One hears the Five Melodies in the seventh sky. When he strikes his tent and leaves the six regions.

This Shabd or Sound is really one. In the lower parts of the creation, where the proportion of mind and Maya is greater and the Shabd creates the regions of subtle and gross matter, its melody or Sound principle changes. Since there are five primary regions in the creation, this one Shabd appears to be five. There are two Shabds up to Trikuti; two from Trikuti to Satlok; and the fifth one is in Satlok. These five Sounds become perfect there. By the practice of listening to them according to the directions of a perfect Adept, the soul becomes one with the five Sounds and unites with the Lord from Whom they emanate. Guru Amardas says:

The highest good is gained through the Grace of the Master, when the Merciful One plays the Five Melodies.

M3 Bhairon 1128-17

The melody of the Five Sounds is resounding within every human being. He who merges his soul in melody and ascends to the sky hears the Five Sounds.

Where praises of the Lord and the Creator are sung there the melody of the five Sounds resounds.

M4 Sarang 1201-3

The Masters say that the melody of these Shabds is heard in the forehead.

I was Your servant in my previous birth; how can I deny You now? At Your door rings the Melody of Equipoise, and on my forehead is inscribed Your stamp.

Kabir, Ram Kali 969-19

Where exactly is this Sound in the forehead? It is present between the two eyebrows, in the so-called Royal Vein, through which it is heard.

Seated in the home of Sushmana (Royal Vein), one hears this Melody; attuned to the state of the desireless void.

M1 Malar Var 1291-2

The God-intoxicated Muslim faqirs called this place Mehrab (arch) in Persian. The Vein has also been described as the Shah Rag or (great Royal Vein). Khwaja Hafiz Shirazi writes:

While bowed in heartfelt prayer, when I remembered You it happened that a sound came from the arch.

Bulleh Shah says, "Allah is nearer than the Royal Vein."

In the Holy Quran also it is written:

I am nearer than the Royal Vein.

The devotee who practises listening to the Shabd gains a twofold benefit from its Music or Sound. Firstly, he experiences the Truth as taught by the Master. In the second place, he recognises the Music or Sound and by its harmonies recognises the region he is in. These different harmonies are like milestones on the road which save the traveller from wandering astray.

The path of the Five Sounds can be learned only from a Master who is an adept in the practice of the Sound and who has himself merged in it. The ability to hear the Sound can be had only by following His directions.

By following the Master the Five sounds ring within me; by great good fortune only one hears the unending Music.

Var Kama M4 1315-18

The Sound that is heard in each region is made plain at the time of initiation by the Master. After this, as the disciple continues to practise and ascends through the higher regions, he sees everything himself with his own inner eyes. It is only as a result of great good fortune that the Five Melodies play in this body and such a body is really blessed.

In that fortunate home ring the Five Melodies, after the Lord has manifested His power.

M3 Ram Kali 917-12

These Five Shabds are heard only by those whom the Lord wishes to hear them. The ability to hear them does not lie in the power of man.

The melody of the Five Shabds is wonderful; the Lord Himself makes it heard.

M1 Maru 1040-4

These Five Sounds are unceasing, perfect and all pervading.

The Five Sounds resound without a break, and are unending and blissful.

Bhai Gurdas, Var 3 Pauri 16

The Five Shabds are perfect. The unending Music is wonderfully blissful.

M5 Ram Kali 888-17

The unending Music is all-pervading.

Kabir, Ram Kali 971-7

All these Five Shabds combine to form one perfect Shabd. The mind can be stilled by It, and all the three gunas (qualities) are removed and one becomes free from birth and death and enjoys bliss.

When the soul meditates in the company of Saints; all the Five Shabds then become one.

Bhai Gurdas, Var 6 Pauri 10

The One Shabd is as dear to me as life it frees us from rebirth.

M1 Bilawal 795-14

He obtains everlasting bliss by merging with the One Shabd.

M4 Malar 1265-8

When the three gunas are silenced, one is in communion with the One Word.

M3 Sri Rag 66-6

Those who have become attuned with the One Shabd are indeed blessed.

Blessed are those who listen to the harmony of the One Shabd.

M1 Ram Kali 879-4