Thursday, March 19, 2009

The penance of speech

Sathyam brooyath priyam brooyath na brooyath sathyam apriyam,
Priyam cha na anritham brooyath esha Dharma sanatanaha.
The above is a verse in Subhashithani emphasizing the imperative of telling truth in a pleasant manner without hurting anyone. If the truth is unpleasant, it would be better to avoid telling an unpleasant truth. But on no account, one should speak falsehood for the sake of pleasing someone. This is an eternal value to be followed by one and all. The Bhagavad Gita also emphasizes certain guidelines in the matter of speech

anudvega-karaḿ vākyaḿ
satyaḿ priya-hitaḿ ca yat
svādhyāyābhyasanaḿ caiva
vāń-mayaḿ tapa ucyate(Bhagavad Gita-17.15)
“To speak without ever causing pain to another, to be truthful, to say always what is kind and beneficial, and to study the scriptures regularly: this practice is called austerity of speech.” (Bhagavad Gita 17:15)
All of this is tapasya of speech–speech that includes the exercise of thought and intelligence
Besides these there is certain etiquette to be observed in speech Clarity in one's speech without ambiguous talk is essential in a good conversation. There should be no beating around the bush and the speech should be direct to the point.. The tone should vary according to the person to whom spoken to like a gentle and a respectable tone when talking to elders; a vibrant and an energetic tone to someone dear or of the same age group and a sweet and an affectionate tone modulation towards children. There should be warmth in speech and very minimum interruptions. It would be wise to keep silent if the tone of the other turns aggressive and dogmatic...Harsh words are best avoided. A refined language is a hallmark of perfect speech


  1. That's a wonderful Gita quote... Very well explained. Am inspired to practice this penance sir :)

  2. Well-written and thought-provoking.
    Thanks, KP :)