Harsh speech is often the major factor that breaks a relationship.
Harsh speech is often attributed to arising out of anger, apathy and often driven by a selfish motive and out of context remarks.
Quality of conversations often reflect the refinement and maturity of an individual.
Sometimes we are the victim of harsh speech by others and on the other hand, sometimes we lose our cool and emit unbearable words. Both are not ideal situations!
Reconciliation is the key but avoidance is the best!
Tolerance is a virtue but just like “Rome is not built in a day”, we have to cultivate this attribute gradually by our own behavioural analysis, introspection and observation. Surely this is a lifelong learning.
Our scriptures deal with harsh speech, its ill effects and its remedy beautifully.
For example, in Shrimad Bhagavatham, harsh speech is considered as one of the causes leading to devastation!
“During the creation process, it has been said that one of sons of Lord Brahma is “Irreligion” coming from his back and his wife is “falsity”.
From them two demons were born: Dambha, or “Bluffing” and Maya, or “Cheating”.
From Dambha and Maya were born “Greed” and Nikrti, or “Cunning”.
From them came Krodha (“Anger”) and Himsa (“Envy”),
and from them were born Kali and his sister Durukti (“Harsh Speech”).
From Kali and Harsh Speech were born children named Mrtyu (“Death”) and Bhiti (“Fear”).
From Mrtyu and Bhiti came children named Yatana (“Excessive Pain”) and Niraya (“Hell”).
This summarily explained the causes of devastation. It has been said that one who hears this description three times attains piety and washes the sinful contamination from his soul.”
Further, it also states:
“Sharp arrows which pierce one’s chest and reach the heart do not cause as much suffering as the arrows of harsh, insulting words that become lodged within the heart when spoken by uncivilized men.”
Shrimad Bhagavatham https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/11/23/3/
Saint poet Thiruvalluvar in his work Thirukural has emphasized the importance of pleasant speech and the ill-effects of harsh speech beautifully at several places and they are worth mentioning:
- Choice of words is beautifully explained here:
இனிய உளவாக இன்னாத கூறல்
கனிஇருப்பக் காய்கவர்ந் தற்று
Iniya Ullavaaga Innadha Kooral
KaniIruppa KaaiKavarn thatru
To say disagreeable things when agreeable are at hand is like eating unripe fruit when there is ripe.
Thirukural 100, Chapter: Speaking pleasantly (http://www.thirukkural.com/2009/01/blog-post_3486.html#100)
- Impact of using harsh words is beautifully explained here:
யாகாவா ராயினும் நாகாக்க காவாக்காற்
சோகாப்பர் சொல்லிழுக்குப் பட்டு
Yaagaava raayinum naakaakka kaavakaar
Sogaappar sollizhukkup pattu
Whatever besides you leave unguarded, guard your tongue; otherwise errors of speech and the consequent misery will ensue.
Thirukural 127, Chapter: Having restraint (http://www.thirukkural.com/2009/01/blog-post_3155.html#127)
- Impact of using harsh speech on the afflicted person is beautifully explained here:
தீயினாற் சுட்டபுண் உள்ளாறும் ஆறாதே
நாவினாற் சுட்ட வடு
Theeyinaar suttappun ullaarum aaradhe
Naavinaar sutta vadu
The wound which has been burnt in by fire may heal, but a wound burnt in by the tongue will never heal.
Thirukural 129, Chapter: Having restraint (http://www.thirukkural.com/2009/01/blog-post_3155.html#129)