6 Speech is Civilization
“The eyes of men and women converse as much as their tongues”
– RW Emerson.
Some talk with their eyes. Some talk using signs. Some speak in their silence. TS Eliot talked of a speech without word and a word of no speech. If one is silent, it only means he is plotting something deep and dire. One’s silence is a measure of the tempest that is raging in his mind maze. John Keats said: . “Heard melodies are sweet And those unheard are sweeter.” Ideas may be good. But there has to be a way to express those ideas. Only when your voice resonates in the society, your value goes up. Only when one hears the voice, can they tell us which is nightingale bird and which is a mere chirper? There are a few things that must be spoken. They impact on the people who listen to them. Our words reflect our thought process. They reflect our wisdom and clarity of thought. How would the world be when everyone goes dumb? How can we talk? How can we attract the others? Hence, speech reflects our civilisation.
It reflects our character. How do we measure the character of a person? Of course, by the manner in which he speaks! Our speech should be like the lilting music. Some people will have sweet-talk, but do things that hurt us deeply. Some are brusque when they talk, but, do things that benefit us. It is for the word that made Harishchandra toil all through his life. It is the word that made lord Rama venture into the deep woods. It is this word that enabled Savitri to bring back her husband to life.
A mere five words made Vivekananda win over thousands at the World Congress of Religions in Chicago. The word ‘Quit India’ was enough to make the mighty British empire tremble. The word ‘Jai Hind’ electrified the whole of India. When we said “Vande Mataram” with clenched fists, it reverberated in far away London. “Hi… How do you do” we may have asked many a time in our life. When we enquire about their well-being, they bother about our well-being “The word has a power To hurt you Or to heal you Beware of every word you speak” Word is the most precious thing. Once spoken, it cannot be brought back. Hence, “think before you speak not speak and then think.” ‘Gareebi Hatao’ was the slogan that enabled Indira Gandhi govern this nation for well over a decade. When NTR spoke of the Telugu self-respect, the people catapulted him to chief ministerial position. When asked what she would do with the prize money in a world beauty contest, the girl said that she would use the money to make the eyes of destitute girls shine brighter. She walked away with the title of Miss World. “Don’t worry.
Cancer is curable”. These words infuse confidence in patients and enable them to live longer. Your words should instil self-confidence in people. They should be so inspiring that they should make the dying person sit up and become full of energy. Your words should make one confident. They should make his chest expand. “You can’t do it. This can’t be changed,” these words make you feel dispirited. “Dream and achieve,” said Dr. Abdul Kalam. A hero is always measured while speaking. It is only the joker who mindlessly blubbers. If you want to be a hero, choose your words with utmost care. Your words should make others learn how to speak. When in school, hasn’t your favourite teacher become your favourite only because of the way he or she spoke? The teacher spoke only what is absolutely necessary, not a word more, nor less.
He understood you and inspired you with his words. During the Kurukshetra war, Arjuna wants to shy away from war. But, it was Lord Krishna’s words that inspired him to fight the battle. Word is all powerful. When the conspirators wanted to assassinate Caesar, they first made Mark Antony leave the hall, because they were afraid that his eloquent speech may turn the tide against them. Mark Antony could gain entry into the hall where Caesar was done to death only after he expressed his ostensible support to the killers. They allow him thinking that his support could strengthen their cause.
Antony comes in, pays his respects to the dead king, with their permission brings the body of Caesar out into the open and lays it there. Then Brutus explains why they had to kill Caesar. Swayed by his oration, the people begin seeing virtues in Caesar’s killing. Then Antony begins his oration. Anthony begins his oration by calling “Brutus is an honourable man…” Then he begins singing paeons to Caesar. He tells how vicious the killers were. He weaves a web with his words and turns the tide. Incited by his great oration, people realise that the killing was unjust and they chase away the killers. Their houses get burnt and they are thrown out of the city of Rome forever. Such is the strength of the word – such is the sharpness and such is the incisiveness.Chicago city. September 11, 1893, the day when world realised what Swami Vivekananda was. In his soul-stirring words, the monk from India enunciates the greatness of India and its hoary culture. He presents the refined gist of holy Vedas, Upanishads and Hindu concept of coexistence, tolerance and universality. Would the world have understood the greatness of Hinduism, had Vivekananda not spoken those magical words? Poets like Sri Sri moved the most unmovable of the minds into action with their razor-sharp words. Be aware of people who can weave magic with their words. He listens intently. He speaks only when absolutely necessary. Such a person is universally respected.“ A fool’s heart is in his tongue But, a wise man’s tongue is in his heart.” – Jaurles.
Several people fail because they do not know how to put across their thoughts. The dialogues mouthed by action heroes usually border on the hyperbole. Yet, they instil a sense of fear in the minds of the rivals. There is an interesting anecdote involving a mendicant and an obstinate young man. As the man sets out on a journey to a neighbouring village, the mendicant says: “May you have a successful tour. Please donate a coin for me.” The young man shoots off his mouth. “I shall not give you a penny.” “Never mind. Give me a penny at least while returning. God shall bless your endeavour.” “I shall not give you any dole. I, for one, do not need your prayers. Your prayers are no guarantee for achieving my objectives. I shall achieve it anyway.” The mendicant gets furious. “You obstinate idiot,” he shouts at the young man. The youth is all fire and brimstone. “How dare you pass invectives at me?” he barks and tries to attack the mendicant. The mendicant peacefully, but firmly asks him to stop. “You had said that my blessings do not mean anything to your success. Then why do you feel that my expletive willaffect you,” The young man realised his follow. He asked for forgiveness. “When you have everyone’s blessing, you become confident, courageous and self-believing. This is the power of the word,” explains the mendicant. “Respect the elders. Accept their blessings wholeheartedly. Everything would be fine,” says the swami. Some people make you feel like running away when they go on a harangue. Some others make you feel like listening to their words on and on.
It is said: “The best man conquers
The good man commands
The bad man compromises
The worst man complains. “But, this can be achieved only through words.
The best speaker is the one who makes you yearns for more. Who is your favourite speaker? Why are you unable to speak like him?The power of his words lies in his wisdom. You too need to get more wisdom.
There is a story of a minister’s daughter who saved her life from a vicious Maharaja using the power of her words and the art of captivating story-telling. The Maharaja began hating every woman after his wife betrayed him. He used to marry a girl a day, enjoy her by the night and kill her by the dawn. None had the gumption to neither counter the weird king nor save the lives of the hapless girls. After all, he was a king and a despot. His word was law. But, a petite girl could stop the king from continuing with his cruel practice and she had achieved it with the power of her speech. The minister was sad. He sat alone deeply immersed in his thoughts. Neither did he eat a morsel of food nor did he talk to anyone. His daughter came to him and sought to know the reason for his sadness. Tears welled up in his years.
Every girl of marriageable age fell a prey to the king’s weird practice. Only the daughter of the minister was left. So, it was her turn today. But, the girl was not perturbed. She was courage personified. “Worry not father. Marry me off to the king. I shall take care of the problem.” Accordingly, the girl was married off to the king. The king was floored by the girl’s beauty. That night, the king waited eagerly for the consort to come. His thoughts were filled by her beauty. As he entered the room, he found the girl sitting there with great poise and beauty. She smiled at him without fear like a cuckoo bird.
The king was perplexed. He had never heard a voice that was sweeter. He had always seen girls cowering in fear over the impending death at the hands of the cruel king. But, this girl looked supremely confident, not in the least worried. Her voice was all honey and milk, mellifluous and lilting like a thousand flutes playing in perfect symphony. “Oh King! I am all yours. I know you would make love and enjoy and then you would kill me before sunrise. But, I would like to tell the story of a girl who defeated many a king in the battle field. Will you care to listen to this story before getting happiness in slaying me?” the girl asked. The enamoured king agreed, partly out of weakness for her beauty and partly for the interest she managed to create. The girl began telling the story. It was a perfect plot and told in the most gripping manner possible. The story’s canvass became wider and wider and sub-plots appeared one after the other totally captivating the king. The king wanted to know how the story climaxes. But, the clever girl stopped the story at the most gripping of the moment. The king wanted more. The girl pointed out that it was already dawn. The king, who wowed never to kill his consort after sunrise, said he would come back in the evening to hear the complete story. The girl continued the second night with the story. It was gripping as ever and the king was totally immersed in the myriadtwists and turns of the gripping story. It was dawn again and the king unwillingly left for his daily chores. But, his heart was yearning to listen to the story. The girl went on to tell the story for 1001 days keeping the king completely enthralled. This is the famous book ‘Thousand and one nights’ by Robert Burton. Men of wisdom ruled over the world only through the power of their speech. Myriad writers excelled in their persuasion, thanks to the power of their word. It is the manner of speech that makes or breaks a situation. Then, why shouldn’t we make the word our weapon? The wise convinces, but the idiot argues. Isn’t that true? “Silence is prayer. Prayer is faith. Faith is love and Love is God,” said Mother Teresa. She had silently worked all her life in the path of spirituality.
Word is wizardry
Word can be catastrophic.
Word can be world-conquering.
Word can be your weapon.
Word denotes your personality.
Word can make to the exalted.
Word measures up your character.
Use the word efficaciously and the world shall be at your feet.