What is about “words” that our ancestors of yore cautioned us so much about?

Utter words with care…be careful what you say, it may just come true… blessings… curses… tathastu (so be it)… Saraswati sits on the tip of his/her tongue… he/she has a `black tongue’ etc. etc.

Words are an external manifestation of inner energies. The energies that we suck in from the universe via eyes (vision), ears (sounds), nose (smell), mouth (taste) skin (touch) – can be thrown outwards through only one medium – words: expression, communication.

Hence what we utter carry lot of significance. It is a sum total of energies pulled inwards through all 5 senses + our 6th sense (perception) – and thrown outwards through “words”.

Words are sound vibrations. So they have a scientific base. Each syllable that we utter vibrates to a certain point in the musical octave. So the string of words that we utter – are like a series of musical notes. When there is a ring of “truth”, we create music. When we say something mindlessly, things that are not in sync with our inner thoughts, we create noise, cacophony.

Music is soothing & healing. Noise is not. It is with this scientific background that sages & rishis of ancient India mastered “words”. When they spoke, they spoke the truth & made sense. Else they chose not to speak at all.

Words have to power to create. The sum total of inner creations can be brought into existence by uttering the right words. It is this power that was harnessed while scripting our myriad “stotrams” & “shlokas” to God Almighty. The words were strategically stringed together, by those empowered to do so. And when we uttered those words on a daily basis – with the belief that it is “true”, we automatically created that which we uttered, over a period of time. For eg. when we chant the MahaMrityunjaya strotram that says “kim no mrityu karishyati” in Sanskrit – meaning “don’t give me untimely death” – we automatically create that reality in our lives.

Examples from scriptures point to Yudhisthir from Mahabharata & Lord Rama from Ramayana. They always spoke the truth & their power to create or destroy stemmed from their ability to string the right set of words together. The “vachan” in Sanskrit simply means “word” – but uttered with utmost purity & in utmost truth – it becomes indefeatable, and hence it’s also called a “promise” – that which must not be broken.

Durvasa was another sage in Hindu mythology who was known for his immense ability to accumulate spiritual power through torturous meditation. Sadly, he had 1 more trait. He uttered words without thinking. Every time, he uttered a word without meaning to, he lost a bit of his earned spiritual power. This became his Achilles heel. Every time someone wanted him to lose his power, they would egg him on, to utter something angry or something he didn’t mean from inside. The energies of his unintended words became so overpowering – that they created a foul smell around his body, hence the name Dur-vasa (bad smell).

I recently re-discovered the power of words with my stray dogs in the colony. My housing colony has a bunch of strays that divide themselves territorially amongst the various buildings. My building lobby plays home to a family of 3. I have been observing them since the boy & girl met each other; mated; and had a set of 6 pups from which just 1 girl pup survived. Cute weather beaten mongrels all; each with a distinct personality; extremely family oriented.

The boy whom I have named Tango picks up trot with me whenever I go towards my car & waits till I drop him his expected pack of Parle-G biscuits. The daughter, who I have named Charlie, follows but keeps a distance & wards off any intruders to her daddy’s food. A usual routine.

Around MahaShivratri this year, when we returned back to city from a small journey, the usual welcomes & routine followed unbroken. It took me few days to notice that mom dog was missing. I checked with my security to learn that she was run-over by a car in the parking, that was turning at a high speed. Crushed & died instantly.

It broke my heart. The next day when I went down, I patted Tango & Charlie for longer than usual. Then I looked into their eyes & said “I’m sorry for your loss; I’m sorry you lost your mom”. I probably said it more times than I should & I said it every time I saw them.

The otherwise happy dogs started brooding; they curled up in different corners; slept though-out the day; refused to eat; and if you went near them, they stared at you with eyes welled up from inside just short of tears. Intensely human & seriously grieving. This went on for days.

My better-half joked that it was my words of condolence that brought on the act of grieving; so maybe I should experiment by saying something nice to them. This, I tried. Everytime I went down, I spoke to the dogs separately – happy, peppy, motivating stuff. I don’t care if I looked ridiculous, but it worked. 2 days later, father & daughter curled up nose-to-nose; and back to their simple, joyous, mundane existence.

I went a step further & tried something else. I noticed another lonely stray emaciated mongrel who wasn’t being given territorial entry by my dogs. Every time I went down, I tell my dogs to open their hearts & concede. It’s been 3 days now, and mongrel has been allowed entry into the periphery.

Words. They work. That’s why it hurts me when people use them without thinking; without meaning to; randomly; carelessly; without caution.

Words. Weapons of power. Sound vibrations that we can use, to externalize & create our inner universes, in the outside world – the same words that can also destroy, all that we have created, in a single go.

Hmm. Whoever said it was easy to create music?


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