The Power of Words
It seems unnecessary to draw your attention to the quantity of useless words that are uttered each day; this evil is well known to all, although very few people think of remedying it.
But there are many other words which are spoken needlessly. That is to say, in the course of the day, we often have the opportunity of expressing a helpful wish by pronouncing one word or another, provided that we know how to put the appropriate thought behind the words.
But too often we lose this opportunity of drawing a beneficial mental atmosphere around the people we know and thus of truly helping them. It would be very useful to remedy this neglect.
To do this, we must refuse to allow our minds to remain in that state of vague and passive imprecision which is almost constant in most people.
To cure ourselves progressively of this somnolence, we can, when pronouncing a word, force ourselves to reflect upon its exact meaning, its true import, in order to make it fully effective.
In this regard, we can say that the active power of words comes from three different causes.
The first two lie in the word itself, which has become a battery of forces. The third lies in the fact of living integrally the deep thought expressed by the word when we pronounce it.
Naturally, if these three causes of effectiveness are combined, the power of the word is considerably enhanced.
1) There are certain words whose resonance in the physical world is the perfect vibratory materialisation of the more subtle vibration produced by the thought in its own domain.
If we examine closely this similarity between the vibrations of thought and sound, we can discover the limited number of root syllables which express the most general ideas, and which are to be found in most spoken languages with an almost identical meaning. (This origin of language should not be confused with the origin of written languages, which are of an altogether different nature and correspond to different needs.)
2) There are other words which have been repeated in certain circumstances for hundreds of years and which are instinct with the mental forces of all those who have pronounced them. They are true batteries of energy.
3) Finally, there are words which assume an immediate value when they are pronounced, as a result of the living thought of the one who pronounces them.
To illustrate what I have just said with an example, here is a very powerful word, for it can combine the qualities of all three categories: it is the Sanskrit word “AUM”.
It is used in India to express the divine Immanence. There, it is associated with every meditation, every contemplation, every yogic practice.
More than any other sound, this sound “AUM” gives rise to a feeling of peace, of serenity, of eternity.
Moreover, this word is instinct with the mental forces which for centuries all those who have used it have accumulated around the idea that it expresses; and, for Hindus especially, it has the true power of bringing one into contact with the divine Essence it evokes.
And as Orientals have a religious mind and the habit of concentration, few pronounce this word without putting into it the conviction that is needed to make it fully effective.
In China, a similar effect is obtained with a word of identical meaning and somewhat similar sound, the word “TAO”.
18 June 1912