Language and Power

Language is a very powerful tool that shapes our perception and reality. It is important to be conscious of this and use our power to benefit the world.

In Indian cosmology the Sanskrit language has immense power. It is a magic and divine force of creation, preservation, and destruction. Each letter of the alphabet is assigned a divinity. In Vedic times, the ritual, performed in Sanskrit, was believed to uphold the entire cosmos. There was even a class of priests who oversaw the ritual to make sure that each and every syllable was pronounced correctly and to remedy a mistake should one occur. It was believed that a misspoken ritual could lead to the unraveling of reality.

In some Hindu cosmologies everything was brought into existence when Lord Brahman spoke everything into being. He did this through the power of Vac, the goddess of speech, who lent Lord Brahman her supreme creative force — the word. The power of word is by no means exclusive to India and is evidenced in every spiritual tradition with which I am familiar. For example, in Judeo/Christian cosmology the Lord God speaks the world and man into existence in the book of Genesis chapter 1.

Everyone is acquainted with the sacred Sanskrit word, Om, which is comprised of a nasalized “m” known as visarga or bindhu. “Bindhu” means “drop” and it is believed that this drop is the primordial and eternal sound from which all creation sprang. Even to say the Sanskrit word for “I”, aham, is a sacred act. Aham begins with the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, the vowel “A”. The second letter of aham is “Ha” which is the last letter of the Sanskrit alphabet. Finally we end with the nasalized “M”, the visarga or bindhu. Thus, to say aham we go through the beginning and end of reality and culminate with visarga, the primordial sound of being.

Today we tend to forget that language has any power and are often unconscious of the words we use. In reality, language has a strong influence on our world view, attitude, and our actions. Positive thinking and speaking produces positive actions as negative words and thoughts will engender negativity. In order for us to evolve and connect with the ground of being, it is incumbent that we bring more consciousness to our language. We must be mindful and speak in a way that is congruent to the positive, powerful world and lives which we aspire to have.

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