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Chapter 27: Soundlessness, Soundfulness and Total Awareness

Intone a sound, as aum, slowly. For example, take Aum This is one of the basic sounds. a-u-m: these three sounds are combined in it. A-u-m are three basic sounds. All sounds are made of them or derived from them; all sounds are combinations of these three sounds. So these three are basic. They are as basic as in physics the electron, neutron and proton are basic. This has to be deeply understood.

Gurdjieff speaks of “The Law of the Three.” He says existence in the absolute sense is one. In the absolute sense, in the ultimate sense, there is only one. But that is absolute, and whatsoever we see is relative. Whatsoever we see is never absolute; the absolute is always hidden. It cannot be seen, because the moment we see something, it is divided. It is divided in three: the seer, the seen, and the relationship. I am seeing you: I am here, you are there, and between the two there is the relationship of knowledge, of seeing, of vision, of cognition. The process is divided into three. The absolute is divided into three; the moment it is known it becomes three. Unknown, it remains one. Known, it becomes three. The known is relative; the unknown is absolute.

So even our talk about the absolute is not absolute, because the moment we say “the absolute,” it has become known. Whatsoever we know, even the word absolute is relative. That is why Lao Tzu insists so much that truth cannot be said. The moment you say it, it has become untrue because it has become relative. So whatsoever word we use - the truth, the absolute, para-brahman, Tao - whatsoever word we use, the moment we use it, it has become relative and it has become untrue. The one has become divided into three.

So Gurdjieff says that “The Law of the Three” is basic for the universe that we know. And if we go deep we will find, we are bound to find, that everything will be reduced to three. This is “The Law of the Three.” Christians have called it the trinity - God the father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Ghost. Indians have called it trimurti: the three faces of Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh or Shiva. Now physics says that if we move, if we go on moving through analysis to the very base, then matter will be reduced to three: the electron, neutron and proton.

Poets have said that if we go deep in search for human aesthetic feeling, emotion, then there is satyam, shivam, sunderam - the true, the good and the beautiful. Human feeling is based on these three. Mystics have said that if we analyze ecstasy, samadhi, then there is sat-chit-ananda - existence, consciousness and bliss.

The whole human consciousness, in whatsoever dimension it works, comes to “The Law of the Three.” “Aum” is a symbol of The “Law of the Three.” A-u-m: these three are basic sounds. The atomic sounds, you can call them. These three sounds have been combined in Aum, so Aum is just near the absolute, just behind it is the absolute, the unknown. And Aum is the last station as far as sounds are concerned. If you move beyond Aum, you move beyond sound; then there is no sound. A-u-m: these three are the last, they are the boundary of existence. Beyond these three you move into the unknown, into the absolute.

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