By James Bean
Copyright November 2004
Before the Sufi mystics of the west, in ancient times there were Gnostics: Jewish, Hermetic, and Christian mystics who also described hearing the Sound, and seeing mystic visions of Light while in deep states of meditation. The following is from The Gnostic Mystery by Andrea Grace Diem. She quotes from the Nag Hammadi Library, several ancient new testament-like collections of holy books written in the Coptic language of Egypt:
Man’s soul shall become, when it leaveth the body, a great flood of Light, so as to traverse all the regions until it cometh into the Kingdom of Mystery.
I turned to myself and saw Light that surrounded me and the Good that was in me; I became divine. (Allogenes, which literally means “the Stranger” or “Foreigner”)
In Trimorphic Protennoia the gnostic writer (in the voice of God) describes how this transformation takes place:
I cast a Sound into the ears of those who know me. And I am inviting you into the exalted, perfect Light. Moreover as for this Light, when you enter it you will be glorified … you will become gloriously glorious, the way you first were when you were Light. And I hid myself in everyone and revealed myself within them, and every mind seeking me longed for me, for it is I who gave shape to the All when it had no form. And I transformed their forms into other forms until the time when a form will be given to the All. It is through me that the Voice originated … And it is a Word, by virtue of a Sound; it was sent to illumine those who dwell in darkness…I am a Light that illuminates the All. I am the Light that rejoices in my brethren, for I came down to the world of mortals…
When describing the philosophical nature of the cosmos, Gnostic writers emphasize this Sound Current, variously referred to as Word, Voice, Logos, Speech, or simply Sound. Also, throughout Gnostic texts reference is made to the manifestation of a mystical Light, known as Treasury of Light, Immeasurable Light, etc. In the Trimorphic Protennoia it is described in the following way:
I am the Word who dwells in the ineffable Silence. I dwell in undefiled Light and a Thought revealed itself perceptibly through the great Sound … And it the Sound exists from the beginning in the foundations of the All [multiverse or cosmos]. But there is a Light that swells hidden in Silence and it was the first to come forth…I alone am the Word, ineffable, incorruptible, immeasurable, inconceivable. It (the Word?) is a hidden Light … being unreproducible, an immeasurable Light, the source of All…It is foundation that supports every movement of the Aeons that belong to the mighty glory. It is the founding of every foundation. It is the breath of the powers. It is the eye of the three permanence’s, which exist as a Voice by virtue of a Thought. And it is a Word by virtue of the Sound … I (the Word) became a foundation for the All… (“Trimorphic Protennoina” in The Nag Hammadi Library In English, James M. Robinson, Harper Collins)
The Five Names (Panch Naam Mantras) of the Sethians
Throughout Gnostic literature names of specific lights of the different realms are described: Armozel of the first region, Oroiael of the second, Daveithe of the third, and Elethe of the fourth. The fifth aeon, the Divine, is the all-encompassing Light. (Andrea Grace Diem, The Gnostic Mystery)
Name One: Armoz-el of the first region,
Name Two: Oroia-el of the second,
Name Three: Daveithe of the third,
Name Fourth: El-ethe of the fourth.
The fifth aeon and Fifth Name not revealed:
the Divine, is the all-encompassing Light.
These sacred names, which correspond to five heavenly regions or planes, are words of power. By repeating various names of God while concentrating in the darkness, the energies of the soul that normally are scattered and dissipated into the world of the five senses are gathered together at the Single Eye. With this Singleness of Vision – concentration at the Third Eye Center, Light will appear. One will begin to rise above body-consciousness and begin the interior voyage of spiritual ascension (soul travel) accompanied by the Radiant Form of the Master. Trimorphic Protennoia:
He who possesses the Five Seals of these particular names has stripped off the garments of ignorance [the material body and subtle bodies: astral, causal, etc… ] and put on a shining Light. And nothing will appear to him that belongs to the Powers of the Archons [rulers of the lower regions]. Within those of this sort, darkness will dissolve and ignorance will die. And the thought of the creature, which is scattered, will present a single appearance and dark Chaos will dissolve and … until I reveal myself to all my fellow brethren, and until I gather together all my fellow brethren within my eternal Kingdom. And I proclaimed to them the ineffable Five Seals in order that I might abide in them and they also might abide in me.
HEARING THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES (SOUND CURRENT) IN SUFI MYSTICISM
The Mysticism of Sound by Hazrat Inayat Khan is an amazing book presenting the Sufi teachings on inner Sound. Hazrat Khan on hearing the Mystic-Sound:
Abstract Sound is called Saut-e Sarmad by the Sufis; all space is filled with it. The vibrations of this Sound are too fine to be either audible or visible to the material eyes or ears, since it is even difficult for the eyes to see the form and color of the ethereal vibrations on the external plane. It was the Saut-e Sarmad, the Sound of the abstract plane, which Muhammad heard in the cave of Ghar-e Hira when he became lost in his divine Ideal. The Qur’an refers to this Sound in the words, ‘Be! and all became.’ Moses heard this very Sound on Mount Sinai, when in communion with God; and the same Word was audible to Christ when absorbed in his Heavenly Father in the wilderness. Shiva heard the same Anhad Nada during his Samadhi [deep meditation] in the cave of the Himalayas. The flute of Krishna is symbolic of the same Sound. This Sound is the source of all revelation to the Masters, to whom it is revealed from within; it is because of this that they know and teach one and the same truth. (The Sufi Message Series, II)
For More Information:
Trimorphic Protennoia Online, the Complete Text:
For more on the Sethian branch of Jewish Gnosticism, see:
“The Gnostic Mystery”: Sant Mat and Gnostic Spirituality: