Words are sounds. Thoughts are words in sequence, in logical sequence, in a particular pattern. Sound is basic. With sound words are created, and then with words thoughts are created, and then with thoughts religion and philosophy, everything. Deep down is the sound.
This technique uses a reverse process. Shiva says:
Devi, imagine the Sanskrit letters in these honey-filled foci of awareness, first as letters, then more subtly as sounds, then as most subtle feeling. Then, leaving them aside, be free.
We live in philosophy. One is a Hindu, one is a Mohammedan, one is a Christian, or something else. We live in philosophies, systems of thought, and they have become so important that we can die for them. Man can die for words, for mere words. Someone calls his conception of the absolute a lie, or someone calls Ram or someone calls Christ or something else a lie – then man can fight, for a mere word he can kill the other. The word has become so important. This is nonsense, but this is history and this is how we are still behaving.
A single word can create such a disturbance in you that you are ready to kill or to die for it. We live in philosophies, systems of thought. What are philosophies? Thoughts arranged logically, systematically, in a pattern. And what are thoughts? Words arranged in a system, meaningfully. And what are words? Sounds, upon which it is agreed that they mean either this or that. So sounds are basic; they are the basic structure of the mind. Philosophies are the peak, but the bricks by which the whole structure is raised are sounds.
What is wrong? A sound is just a sound, and the meaning is given by us, agreed upon by us; otherwise it has no meaning. The meaning is invested by us, projected by us; otherwise “Ram” is just a sound – it is meaningless. We give it a meaning, and then we create a system of thought around it. Then this word becomes very significant, then we make a philosophy around it. Then you can do something, anything, for it. You can die or you can live for it. If someone insults this sound “Ram,” you can become infuriated. And what is this? Just an agreement, a legal agreement that “This word means this.” No word means anything in itself, it is simply a sound.
This sutra says to go in the reverse order – go backwards. Come to the sounds, then, more basic than sounds, a feeling is somewhere hidden. This has to be understood. Man uses words. Words mean sounds with meanings that are agreed upon. But animals, birds use sounds without any linguistic meaning. They do not have any language, but they use sounds with feeling. A bird is singing: it has a “feeling” meaning in it, it is indicating something. It may be a call for the partner, for the beloved, or it may be a call for the mother, or the child may be feeling hungry and just showing his distress. It is indicating a feeling.