Pleasing speech

Human beings have the unique faculty of speech. But is all speech good? Don’t we hurt others with our words, or use words to indulge in gossip? Tamil literature shows us the importance of pleasant speech, said Malayaman in a discourse. Avvaiyar, in her Kondrai Vendan, advises us to speak gently, and not use harsh words. Ulaganathanar, in his Ulaga Neeti, says we must never speak in such a way as to offend others. Sivaprakasar, in his Nanneri, gives an example to help us understand the importance of proper speech.

When the moon is up, with its cooling luminousness, the tides in the ocean rise high, as if in joy. But when the Sun with its scorching rays is up, the ocean shows no such approval of its heat. In the same way, when we speak pleasing words to someone, their hearts are filled with happiness. But when we use unpleasant language, their hearts are filled with sadness. Kumaragurupara Adigal says good conduct is like the kalpaka tree. A gentle look in the eyes is like a bud on this tree. A smiling countenance is like a flower. And sweet words are like the sweet fruits in the tree.

Thiruvalluvar said that those who spoke kind words will not suffer the agonies of poverty. He further says that he who has humility and also gentle speech has no need of further ornamentation. If we are gentle in our speech, then this reduces the burden of our sins, says Thiruvalluvar. He wonders why a man who has been witness to the benefits of gentle speech would resort to rude words. When good words can so easily be used in conversation, if a man still chooses to speak harshly, then his action is like shunning a sweet, ripe fruit and consuming an unripe fruit instead. To have a pleasant look and equally pleasant words is even better than generosity.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 12:28:37 AM |

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