|How does silence shape character?|
|Today, you have to open your hearts and close your mouths. But people are doing exactly the opposite. This is treason to God. Practice silence as far as possible. The ancient sages practiced mounam (absolute silence) as a spiritual discipline. Today people indulge in excessive talk over the trivial and the unimportant. When silence is practiced, bliss will manifest itself. The one who talks much will do little. One who acts will talk little.|
Divine Discourse 8 March 1997
|How should I convey something even if it is something embarrassing?|
|You are prepared to believe in the words of an astrologer. Once a king Summoned an astrologer, who had acquired some reputation. The astrologer felt proud that he had been invited by the king himself. Most astrologers are full of ego and conceit. The astrologer examined the king’s horoscope. Because of his conceit, he did not realize how he should speak on specific occasions. He told the king after examining the horoscope that all his sons would die early. The king was very angry. He ordered the servants to take the astrologer to prison.|
The prediction was correct, but it should have been conveyed to the king in an appropriate manner that would not cause consternation. The king summoned another astrologer to verify whether the earlier astrologer’s prediction was correct. This astrologer was a man of humility. He examined the king’s horoscope and said: “Maharaja! You have a very long life. Your sons may not live so long.” This manner of conveying the prediction was more satisfying to the king.
Sweetness in speech lies in the words you use and the manner of speech. The first astrologer, by predicting the premature deaths of the king’s sons, provoked his anger and displeasure. The second astrologer conveyed the same prediction in a less unpleasant way by predicting long life for the king, though it would mean his outliving his sons.
This means that even in conveying truth one should see that it is not conveyed in a harsh or unpleasant manner. Even an unpleasant truth should be conveyed in soft words. For instance, if you see a blind man, you should not ask him brusquely: “Oh you blind fellow! Come near me.” It is bound to wound his feelings. How much better is it to go near him say, “Oh Surdas! Please get up.”
The words you use should be sweet and pleasing. For this, you should have love in your heart. Only the man who fosters love in his heart is a true human being. A man without love is a lifeless corpse.
Divine Discourse 7 April 1997
|How should speech be exercised?|
|Speech is very valuable but does not cost anything. Speech should be pure, sweet, and bereft of emotions. The Bhagavad Gita says: One should speak only truthful, pleasing, and well-intentional words, which are beneficial to others (Anudvegakaram vakyam sathyam priyahitham cha yat).|
Divine Discourse 26 April 1997