What You Say Matters

By Swami Sahajananda

Words powerfully affect you; you respond to words immediately.  They can lift you up to new heights of spiritual elevation.  Or they can go the other way, binding you in delusion.  Words are influential.  Politicians know this and use words to sway people to their point of view.

Did you ever hear a talk which held you spellbound?  The speaker’s choice of words created a quality of awe, greatness or wonder.  The talks of many spiritual teachers have touched me this way.  I felt they had laser-beamed right into my heart, addressing my deepest yearnings and questions.  Their profound spiritual experiences fueled their powerful words, reaching beyond my mind.  Their words brought about the ah-ha moment for which I’d been searching.  Powerful language transmits deep teachings that open you to the knowing of your own Divine Reality, your Self.

Yoga says the cosmic process is the source of the power of words and names it matrika.  All language flows from this cosmic process.  A classic teaching story tells of a teacher expounding on the power of words to an audience of seekers.  A man in the audience shouted, “Stop talking this nonsense about words.  I came here to hear about liberation!”  The teacher responded, “Hold on, hold on — I am getting there.”  Appeased for a bit, the man sat for a while longer.  But then he stood and again shouted, “I want to hear about liberation.  Not this nonsense about words!”  Seeing the man approaching, the teacher shouted, “You stupid ignorant man!”  Red-faced, the heckler was stopped in his tracks.  Then the teacher looked at him and said, “If words aren’t important, why did my words get you so upset?”  The man sat down and listened to the rest of the teacher’s talk intently.

This story illustrates the supreme energy of words, which flows from matrika. The philosophy of Kashmiri Shaivism explains the power of words by tracing matrika, their source, back to the creation of our universe.  Shiva is Consciousness-Itself, the Primordial Oneness, that is everything and beyond everything that exists.  Shiva is stillness.  Then Shiva decided to move; Shiva in movement is called Shakti.  This movement is the cosmic energy that manifests the universe by contracting into all the various forms of existence, seen and unseen.  The first and subtlest movement of that manifestation is the constant vibration which can be perceived as sound.  The primordial sound is OM.  It is so sacred that it is not to be spoken aloud, but is called the pranava.

As the process of contraction continues, the cosmic matrika splinters the one primordial sound into many sounds.  They are the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, which combine to form words.  Matrika is a form of Consciousness-Itself, that which created the universe.  This ultimate source of words accounts for their profound power.

Now you can see how words have the power to either bind or liberate you.  Every feeling and emotion originates from your mind, powered by words.  The yogic texts promise that whatever you are thinking, that is what you are becoming.

For instance, if you congratulate yourself for a good job on a project, you feel good, even elated.  Or if you berate yourself, trying to figure out what you did wrong, you feel bad.  Words bring you pleasure or pain.

It’s not just spoken words that have this effect.  Words create thoughts that control how you feel.  Such words weaken you and make you feel small.  When you tell yourself that you are no good, not smart enough, etc., your own words enhance your bondage.  They keep you stuck in the endless patterns of your mind.  Your mind can do this without help from anyone else!

A Siva Sutra states that the power of words can bind you by giving you limited knowledge:

J~nanadhi.s.thana.m mat.rka. — Shiva Sutras, 1.4

Matrika (the cosmic power of words) is the source of limited knowledge (the not-knowing of your own Divinity).

Words trap you in limited knowledge.  Fortunately, they can also be used in the opposite way: to take you to new heights.  Your mind is the place where you have free reign to say whatever you want to yourself.  This means you can make a choice about the content of your thoughts.  You can use words to unbind you and reverse the direction back to Consciousness, which is the essence of your own being.  These words take you towards liberation, back to the source.

To become liberated, use words that are sacred.  Sacred words remind you that you are Consciousness Itself, open you into Consciousness and take you toward liberation.  Mantra repetition is one of the main practices of Svaroopa® Yoga.  Gurudevi Swami Nirmalananda received the mantra of divine sounds from her Guru, Baba Muktananda; he received it from his Guru, Bhagawan Nityananda, who was given it by his Guru, and so on back through countless ages.

The mantra of Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation is permeated with the blessings and Grace of all the yogic sages who have repeated it, going back thousands of years.  It was passed down from one Enlightened Being to the next.  The mantra holds the abundance of benefits of their practices.  When we repeat it, we are the beneficiaries of their practices, which allow us to steep in their Grace and blessings.  These sacred words are thus imbued with the enlivened power of Guru’s Grace.  They expand you past your limitations.  Repeating mantra, you are using your mind to go beyond your mind.  These powerful words will set you free.

Matrika is the secret behind mantra.  With these sacred sounds, you can access Grace.  Through the Gurus of this lineage, who imbued the mantra with their blessings, it is readily available.  Words have the power to bind us or to set us free.  Words give us the opportunity to dive deeper inside to access our Divine Essence.  The Self has always been there, waiting for us to take the journey inside.  Mantra, the sound form of God, is the vehicle that takes you to your own Self, your Divine Essence.  Mantra makes it easy to access the Self.  It is your choice what you are going to say to yourself.