Friday, January 13, 2012

Why poverty in words?

Some four decades ago, before the advent of Television era, there used to be a program on All India Radio for teaching Sanskrit.   The program used to start and end with a sloka:

केयूरा न विभूषयन्ति पुरुषं हारा न चन्द्रोज्वलाः
न स्नानं न विलेपनं न कुसुमं नालंकृता मूर्धजाः
वाण्येकासमलं करोति पुरुषं यासंस्कृताधार्यते
क्षीयन्ते खलु भूषणानि सततं वाक् भूषणं भूषणं

Keeyoora na vibushayanti purusham haara na chandrojwalaa
Na snaanam na vilepanam na kusumam naalankrutaa murdhajaa
Vaanyekasamalankaroti purusham yaa samskrutaadharyatee
Ksheeyante khalu bhushanaani satatam vaakbushanam bushanam

Armlets do not decorate a person, neither garlands nor other ornaments, nor taking a bath or smearing with perfumes, nor flowers or attractive hairstyles.  A gift of refined speech alone beautifies a man. All other ornaments lapse or decay with time, only a refined speech stays for ever!

We have to perforce talk and interact with others during our daily life.  It is not possible to lead a civilized life without talking or communicating to others.  All the people with whom we interact do not do so at the same wavelength.  Transaction Analysis stipulates that there are three level of interaction: Parent, Adult and Child.  The best interaction takes place when both persons are dealing with each other at adult to adult level.  There are some people with whom we want to talk and interact.  There are some others whom we try to avoid.  Talking to some people uplifts our spirits.  When we talk with some others, we always end up being upset.  Why this difference?

When confronted with a problem, we think of sharing with somebody with the hope of getting some hints or suggestions to solve the problem.  When it is shared with such a person, the problem may not be solved.  But we get some comfort and direction.  Being firm in speech and action is often mistaken for being harsh and rude.  We all know of someone or the other who is very polite and courteous; yet they are equally firm in their words and dealings.  Their  voice is never raised, yet the firmness is felt and understood.

We know the story of the young astrologer and his Guru.  On completion of his education in the Gurukula, a young student started on the journey of life.  He was very good in his predictions and his fame reached the King.  The King sent for him and showed him his horoscope.  The young man studied the horoscope and told the king;  "I have never seen such a bad horoscope in my life.  Your sons and grandsons will die before you.  Your enemies will take control of your kingdom.  You will get it back only when you are very old".  the King was extremely annoyed and instructed the guards to put him prison.  This matter reached the Guru and he came to see the King.  The king was reluctant to see another astrologer.  But the Minister convinced the King to give him an audience.  Guru studied the same horoscope and exclaimed:  "Oh my dear King, I have never seen such a horoscope all my life.  You are very fortunate.  You will live longer than your sons and grandsons.  Even though your enemies take away your Kingdom, you will be able to fight back and rule your kingdom till your death!".  The king was very happy and wanted to gift something to the Guru.  Guru told him to release his student as he was still to learn some lessons.  Once the student was released from the prison, the Guru took him away and taught him the last lesson:

प्रिय वाक्य प्रदानेन सर्वे तुष्यन्ति जन्तवः 
तस्मात्  तदेव वक्तव्यं वचने का दरिद्रता ? 

priyavakya pradaanena sarve tushyanti jantavaha 
tasmaat tadeva vaktavyam, vachane kaa daridrataa?

All living beings (let alone human beings) are happy with sweet words.  Only such words are to be spoken.  why poverty in words?  What the student and teacher told the King were the content but packaged differently.  Only difference was that they were worded differently.  One version was palatable and the other was not.

Vachane kaa daridrata?

Why poverty in words?

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