Saturday, April 21, 2007

Word Power

The unique feature that is the legacy of man is his ability to communicate through words. Majority of our waking time is spent in using words for communication. But you can bet that very few recognize the tremendous power that a spoken word carries.

In this age of growing technology, even a child knows that when you type a word into the computer, it can perform a variety of functions. But he is totally ignorant that when he utters those quite often heard words these days 'Oh! Shit', what an effect he is creating in the aura around him!

Our culture has given a lot of importance to the way we communicate. We don't believe in calling everybody by name. Importance is given to relationships. When we call 'Beta', 'Papaji', or 'Bhabhiji', those words carry the love, respect and affection associated with them. If you are not convinced of the power of words, just think of the chain of reactions starting in your body when somebody hurls two simple words 'You fool' at you. Just four words from Draupadi could lead to the great Mahabharata war.

When you call a thief a thief, half of his sin is supposed to be transferred to you. But if you call an honest man a thief, you will acquire two times the sin of a thief. The current tendency is to achieve success in life fast. Nobody is willing to spend years of toil. Everything has to be acquired here, and now. In that pursuit, it is very common to reduce competition by hurling baseless accusations at others.

According to our scriptures, abusing others is equivalent to murdering them. Think of the term 'Character assassination'. There is a story that once Arjuna was about to kill Yudhishtira when the latter swore upon Arjuna's bow, which was very sacred to him. Arjuna had vowed that he would kill anybody who did that.

Lord Krishna intervened and told, 'There is no need to spill blood. Hurl abusive words at Yudhishitra . It is equivalent to killing him.' Arjuna did that. Again he took his weapon. To Krishna's question, he answered that since he had committed the crime of killing his elder brother, he had to face the punishment by taking away his own life.

Again Lord Krishna had the solution. He asked Arjuna to do self-praise, which was equivalent to suicide. In this context, if we look around, it is interesting to see how many people are committing murders and suicides each moment. According to our scriptures, for every sin, there is atonement, except one sin, and that is self -praise.

Self -praise has now become second nature to man. When a tree is laden with fruits, its branches droop down. Man is supposed to take hint from this, that when he acquires knowledge, he should become more humble. But usually it is the opposite. We are surrounded by people who project their self-image in a highly blown up manner through their own words.

When one is determined to attain the ultimate goal, the 'moksha', he has to start his journey by controlling his lower senses. Controlling his taste buds and words are the first exercises. A word that comes out of your mouth is like an arrow that is shot. You cannot take it back and it will do its job. First, you learn the control of stopping those words that are detrimental to your progress in life from being uttered. Remember that at times, 'Silence is golden'. Only when you attain this control can you go to the next step of controlling your thoughts.

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