I tried to make sense of the Four Books*,
until love arrived,
and it all became a single syllable.
(*Torah, Psalms, Gospel, Quran, considered by Islamic tradition to be four Divinely revealed books.)
From #21, page 43, chapter II, The Way of Love, in The Drop That Became The Sea, Lyric Poems of Yunus Emre. Translated from the Turkish by Kabir Helminski and Refik Algan.
This theme of the single syllable, the first letter of the alphabet, containing everything, is reiterated in this poem #26, page 52, chapter III, Necessary Lessons, where wisdom is equated with Self-knowledge.
Wisdom comes from knowing wisdom.
Wisdom means knowing oneself.
If you do not know yourself,
what is the point of reading books?
The point of reading is to know something real.
Since you have read and do not know it,
reading is useless.
Don’t say, “I’ve read, I’ve learned.”
Don’t say, “I’ve worshipped a lot.”
If you don’t accept the Perfect Man,
all other works are futile.
The meaning of the Four Books is clear and complete.
It shows itself in the first letter, aleph.
If you don’t know what aleph is,
what do you know of reading?
You recite every syllable of the alphabet.
You say “Aleph,” but how little it means.
Yunus Emre says:
“Hey Hoja, you’ve made a thousand pilgrimages
but never been welcomed by a single heart.”
“A” and Knowledge of the Knower as the Basis of Knowledge
Yunus Emre makes the same point in both poems—that unless one knows the first syllable, the single syllable, Aleph, the name of the first letter of the alphabet, “A,” from which the wisdom of the Four Books sprung—unless one knows oneself, one’s Self, we know nothing.
With one-pointed devoted service to his master, Yunus Emre awoke to Love of the Friend, and his refined consciousness perceived the wisdom of the Scriptures, now distilled down to their essence, the first syllable. He understood their origin, the Unity of things, the Singularity, the state of Oneness. He said the same thing Socrates admonished: Know Thy Self.
This reminds me very much of what Maharishi would always say—that the basis of knowledge is the knower, and if the knower is in darkness, if the knower doesn’t know himself, then how can he know anything? Knowledge gained is baseless.
He said that “A”, the first syllable of Rk Veda, through a series of unmanifest transformations, the sounds (mantra) and silent gaps (brahmana) sequentially elaborate the first sentence (sukta), chapter, and all ten books (mandalas) of Rk Veda. And from this first Veda come the other three Vedas. So we can say that all four Vedas are contained in A, in compact unmanifest form. Same notion of the Four Books being contained in the first letter Aleph.
Richo Akshare Verse and Maharishi’s Apaurusheya Bahasya
Maharishi also taught that by knowing one letter, A, one word, we can know the whole thing. This understanding is brought out in his commentary of the Richo Akshare verse, which is one of the basic tenets of his Science of Creative Intelligence and Vedic Science. It states that Knowledge is Structured in Consciousness, the corollary of which is, Knowledge is Different in Different States of Consciousness. Maharishi translates the Richo Ak-kshare verse from Rk Veda 1.164.39 as follows:
The verses of the Veda exist in the collapse of fullness (the kshara of A) in the transcendental field, self-referral consciousness, the Self, in which reside all the Devas, the impulses of Creative Intelligence, the Laws of Nature responsible for the whole manifest universe. He whose awareness is not open to this field what can the verses [of the Veda] accomplish for him? Those who know this level of reality are established in evenness, wholeness of life.
The first sound of the Veda, A, is Infinity collapsing to a point, K, the kshara of A. The first syllable of Rk Veda collapses, dissolves into an abstract nothingness, and gets transformed into the next syllable. Like that, by referring back to the memory of the previous one, the next sequential syllable gets projected. And the Veda continues to unfold, elaborate and comment on itself.
This is the cognition of Maharishi’s Apaurusheya Bahasya, the unwritten, uncreated commentary of the Veda, which is eternal and self-created. It is not man-made. The Veda unfolds its own structure to itself, the Constitution of the Universe, the source of all the Laws of Nature that manifest our body and the cosmic body, the universe.
The Veda expresses its own commentary. If you’re interested to learn more about this, click on Veda and the Unified Field of Natural Law and scroll down to these headings: Maharishi’s Apaurusheya Bhashya and The Significance of Sounds and Gaps.
See my poem about this creative process: Coalescing Poetry: Creating a Uni-verse, and this Japanese poem, which beautifully expresses the idea of the first word: Singing Image of Fire, a poem by Kukai, with thoughts on language, translation, and creation.
Here is another amazing poem: What Turkish Sufi poet Yunus Emre realized — everything was found within his cosmic body, and related: Sufi poet Hakim Sanai says transcend belief to enter into the mystery.
An enlightening resource is Evan Finkelstein’s Ph.D. Dissertation: Universal Principles of Life Expressed in Maharishi Vedic Science and in the Scriptures and Writings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. If you’d like a PDF of the 536-page paper you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other articles written by Evan Finkelstein that may interest you are: Buddha and Meditation and God? ~ Dr. Evan Finkelstein.