Words can bring us gain or loss, praise or blame, good repute or ill will, happiness or misery. A gentle word, at times, can melt the hardest heart. The Buddha tamed many vicious and unrefined men by kind and gentle words.
By Sanjoo Thangjam
What a unique faculty is gift of speech! When we see the dumb, only then do we realise the human voice has the gift of expression. There is no musical instrument that could ever match the richness of the human voice. Through speech we have found the method of communication and developed human languages.
One should be fearless but cautions in giving tongue to his thoughts; for a word uttered thoughtlessly and without due consideration may lead to chaos. In all our speech and writing we only make use of a few letters in the alphabet, but what marvels, wonders and utter destruction we can do with these few letters.
Words can bring us gain or loss, praise or blame, good repute or ill will, happiness or misery. A gentle word, at times, can melt the hardest heart. The Buddha tamed many vicious and unrefined men by kind and gentle words. Unpleasant speech or a sarcastic smile may turn a good-natured man into a criminal, a friend into a foe. Much of the misunderstandings, dissension and animosities could be controlled, if not eliminated, if only people are more thoughtful and gentler in what they say, and more accurate and sincere in what they right. “ Better than a thousand sentences- a mere jumble of meaningless words- is one sensible phrase on hearing which one is pacified,” says the Buddha.
Even our dumb animals by detest harsh language. We know how a dog manifests its appreciation by the wagging of its tail and the twisting of its body when it is spoken to in a gentle tone.
The quotations written below are the sayings of the founders of several religious teachers as well as great philosophers, thinkers, scientists, historians, psychologists, politicians, free thinkers and from some other publications, too. Their names and references are given below in many places. There are also many other sayings where references are not given. Most of them are extracted by me.
1. KNOW WHAT TO SAY
Diplomacy is the art of knowing what not to say.
2. QUALITIES OF A PREACHER
Whatever is in the sermon must be in the preacher first; logicalness, vivacity, earnestness must be personal qualities in him before they are qualities in him before they are qualities of thought and language in what he utters.
3. SPEECH AND SKILL
A speech is like a love affair – any fool can start one, but to end takes considerable skills.
4. ARGUMENT AND AGREEMENT
There’s too much said for the sake of argument and too little said for the sake of agreement.
5. THE TALKATIVE PARROT
Much talking is a source of danger:
Through silence, misinform is avoided
The talkative parrot in a cage is shut,
While birds that cannot talk fly feely.
6. WORDS CAN CUT DEEPER THAN A SWORD
A blow with a word is deeper than a blow with a sword.
7. FLATTERY SELDOM STRENGTHENS OUR MINDS
We all like commendation and many of us like flattery, but it is a debatable question as to whether the indulgence of these tendencies builds character and strength and individuality.
I believe in the discipline of silence and talk for hours about it.
George Bernand Shaw
9. WE SHOULD NOT SACRIFICE TRUTH FOR EVERYTHING
Everything can be sacrifice for truth,
but truth cannot be sacrifice for everything
10. WE MUST KNOW WHO WE ARE
There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that is hardly necessary for any us to talk about the rest of us.
11. DO NOT TALK ILL OF OTHERS
If you want people to think well of you,
do not speak ill of others.
12. SLANDER UNCOVERS ONE’S INNER-SELF
The man who slanders his fellowmen unwittingly uncovers the real nature of his inner-self.
13. WHO TALKS MUCH?
One who knows doesn’t talk much.
One who does not know talks a lot.
14. NO ONE IS FREE FROM BLAME
People blame others for their silence. They blame those who talk much in moderation.
There is therefore no one in this world who is not blamed.
There never was, nor will be, nor is there now, anyone who is wholly blamed or wholly praised.
15. WHY PEOPLE QUARREL
When people cannot discuss in a reasonable manner, usually they quarrel.
16. EFFECTIVE SPEECH IS ACQUIRED
The ability to speak effectively is an acquirement rather than a gift.
William Jenings Bryan
18. GREAT ONES OBSERVE SILENCE
Brooks make so much noise while the great river flows in silence.
19. CRACKED VESSEL
A vessel is known by the sound, whether it is cracked or not, so men are proved by their speeches whether they be wise or foolish
20. ARGUMENT WITH A FOOL
When you are arguing with a fool, you also become a fool.
21. THE EFFECT OF HARSH SPEECH IS NEVER HEALED
Injury by an arrow will get healed. A tree cut by an axe will sprout again, But the wound inflicted by an unkind and harsh speech will never get healed.
22. TWO WAYS TO INDICATE WEAKNESS
Two things indicate our weakness – to be silent when it is proper to speak, and to speak when it is proper , and to speak when it proper to be silent.
23. GUARD YOUR TONGUE
If your foot slips you may recover your balance, but if your tongue slips you cannot recall your words.
24. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DISCUSSION AND ARGUMENT
Discussion is an exchange of intelligence; argument is an exchange of ignorance.
25. GOOD COMMUNICATION AND COFFEE
Good communication is an stimulating as black coffee and just as a hard to sleep after indulging in it.
Anne Morrow Lindburgh
26. HANDS CAN SPEAK
Other parts of the body assist the speaker but hands speak themselves.
By them we ask, promise, invoke, dismiss, threaten, entreat, and disapprove.
By them we express fear, joy, grief, doubts, consent or repent; we show moderation or profusion, and mark number and time.
27. THE FOOL SHOULD KEEP QUIET
The fool can cover up his stupidity until he opens his mouth.
28. WHETHER MAN IS WISE OR A FOOL
For one word a man is often deemed to be foolish. We should be careful indeed what we say.
29. EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
When we speak so loudly,
I cannot hear what we say.
Ralph Waldo Emersion
30. Silent administrator
They that govern the most make the least noise.
Negative thoughts weaken men. Do you not find that where parents are constantly taxing their children to read and write, telling them they will never learn anything and calling them fools and so forth, the latter do actually turn out to be so in many cases?
If you speak kind words to children and encourage them, they are bound to improve in time. What holds good for children also holds well in the region of higher thoughts. If you can give people positive ideas, they will mature and learn to stand on their legs. In language and literature, in poetry and the arts in everything we must point out not the mistakes that people are making in their thoughts and actions, but the way in which they will gradually be able to do these things better. Pointing out mistakes wounds a man’s feelings.
Criticism with bad intention is futile because it puts a man on the defensive, and usually makes him strike to justify himself. It is dangerous to, because it damages a man’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses his resentment. Let’s realise that the person we are going to correct and condemn will probably justify himself, and condemn us in return.
(The writer is a columnist based in Imphal)