Effect of words

If the human body is a lute, then every word man speaks, every word he hears, has an effect upon his body; it not only has an effect upon the body, but also upon the mind. For instance, if a person hears himself called by the name 'foolish' and repeats it, even if he were wise he will in time turn foolish. And it is also true that if one calls a man who is simple wise, in time he will become wise. The effect of a man's name has a great deal to do with his life, and very often one sees that a man's name has an effect upon his fate and career. The reason is only that he is so often in the day called by that name. Is it not true that a man saying a humorous thing bursts out laughing, and a man saying a sad thing breaks into tears? If that is so, then what effect has every word that one speaks in one's everyday life upon oneself and upon one's surroundings!

The superstition that has existed in all times about not saying an unlucky word, an undesirable word, has a meaning. In the East a child is trained to think before he utters a word, since it has a psychological meaning and effect. Very often people reading a poem or singing a song with great love, a song of sorrow or tragedy, are affected by it, and their life may take a turn as a result.

A person who speaks of his illness nourishes his illness by speaking of it. Often I have heard people say that if a pain exists it is a reality, 'and how can one deny it?' It is so amusing to hear them say this, because reality is so far away, and our everyday life is such that from morning till evening we do nothing but deny it. If one could only know where the truth lies, if one could only know what truth is - if one only were to know it and see it - one would think that all else is non-existent in reality. If one studies the depth of this idea, one must admit the power of the word. But then, it is a science, a metaphysics that must be studied.

Yet the depth of the word of each person is very different. If a person has spoken a hundred words in one day, do you think that every word has the same power? No, the power and effect of a particular word depend upon the state in which that person was, and from what depth the word rises. Upon this depend the power and light of that word. For instance, with a person who has a habit of telling a lie, who is insincere, you will always find that his words are dropping down; his words have no force, while the one who speaks with conviction, who is sincere, who tells the truth - his word has a light, his word penetrates. Sometimes, from a person full of sadness and heartbroken, a voice comes, a word, full of sincerity; it has all the power to penetrate; it has such an effect upon the listener! Then there is another person who is lighthearted, who is not deep, not serious enough in life; everything he says and does is always on the surface; he inspires no one with confidence, for he himself has no confidence.

Besides that, there is a power of the word which is in accordance with the illumination of the soul, because then that word does not come from the human mind, that word comes from the depth, from behind; that word comes from some mysterious part that is hidden from the human mind. And it is in connection with such words that one reads in the scriptures of 'swords of flame' or 'tongues of flame'. Whether it was from a poet, or whether it was from a prophet, when that word came from his burning heart, then the word rose as a flame. In accordance with the divine Spirit which is in the word, that word has life, power and inspiration. Think of the living words of ancient times, think of the living words that one reads in the scriptures, the living words of the holy ones, illuminated ones! They live and will live for ever. It is as a music which may be called a magic, a magic for all times. Whenever such words are repeated they have that magic, that power.

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