Compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 19 December 2016


Time uploaded in London:- 20-23


Post No.3464



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Every idea that you have in the mind has a word; the word and the thought are inseparable. The external part of one and the same thing is what we call word, and the internal part is what we call thought. No man can by analysis, separate thought from word.


The idea that language was created by men–certain men sitting together and deciding upon words — has been proved to be wrong. So long as man existed there have been words and language. What is the connection between an idea and a word? Although we see that there must always be a word with a thought, it is not necessary that the same thought requires the same word.


The thought may be the same in twenty different countries, yet the language is different. We must have a word to express each thought, but words need not necessarily have the same sound. Sounds will vary in different nations.

One commentator says, “Although the relation between thought and word is perfectly natural, yet it does not mean a rigid connection sound and one idea.” These sounds vary, yet the relation between sounds and the thoughts is a natural one. The connection between thoughts and sounds is good only if there be a real connection between the thing signified and the symbol; until then the symbol will never come into general use.


A symbol is the manifestor of the thing signified, and if the thing signified has already an existence, and if, by experience we know that the symbol has expressed that thing many times then we are sure that is a real relation between them. Even if the things are not present, there will be thousands who will know them by their symbols. There must be a natural connection between the symbol and the thing signified; then when the symbol is pronounced, it recalls the thing signified.


The commentator says the manifesting word of God is OM. Why does he emphasize this word? There are hundreds of words for God. One thought is connected with a thousand words; the idea, God, is connected with hundreds of words and each one stands as a symbol for God. Very good, but there must be generalisation among all these words, some subsratum, some common ground of all these symbols and that which is the common symbol will be the best, and really will represent them all.


In making a sound we use the larynx and the palate as a sounding board. Is there any material sound of which all other sounds must be manifestations, one which is the most natural sound? Om (Aum) is such a sound, the basis of all sounds. The first letter, A, is the root sound, the key, pronounced without touching any part of the tongue or palate. M represents the last sound in the series, being produced by the closed lips, and the U rolls from the very root to end of the sounding board of the mouth. Thus, Om, represents the whole phenomena of sound-producing. As such, it must be the natural symbol, the matrix of all the various sounds. It denotes the whole range and possibility of all the words that can be made.


Apart from these speculations we see that around this word om are centred all the different religious ideas in India, all the various religious ideas of the Vedas have gathered themselves round this word Om.


What has that to do with America and England or any other country? Simply this, that the word has been retained at every stage of religious growth in India and it has been manipulated to mean all the various ideas about God. Monists, dualists, mono-dualists, separatists, and even atheists took up this Om. Om has become the one symbol for the religious aspiration of that vast majority human beings. Take, for instance, the English word God. It covers only a limited function, and if you go beyond it, you have to add adjectives, to make it Personal, or impersonal, or Absolute God. So with the words for God in every other language their signification is very small. This word

Om however, has around it all the various significances. word om, how. significances. As such it should be accepted by everyone.


Source: Selections from The Complete works of swami Vivekananda, Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta 700 014


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