Speak not “to reveal the truth about others,” but to realize the truth about yourself

Gossipers often act as if they are doing a valuable social service by “revealing the truth about others.” However, they frequently don’t check whether that “truth” is actually true. Further, their intention usually is not to help others, but to become the center of attention.

Such gossipers end up doing a disservice to everyone – their object who gets needlessly maligned, their audience who gets misled, and they themselves who lose the trust of others and face an eventual inevitable backlash.

Regular scriptural contact propels us on our inner journey, enabling us to increasingly realize truths about ourselves.

The Bhagavad-gita (17.15) recommends speech that is not agitating, but is truthful, pleasant and beneficial – essentially the antithesis of gossip. Anticipating that such positive speech may be difficult, the Gita deems it a verbal austerity. This implies that we strive as a discipline to stop gossiping, even if overcoming that tendency is not easy.

Significantly, the Gita ask for not absolute abnegation of speech, but its constructive channelization. The same verse concludes by urging us to regularly recite scripture. The import of this goes beyond mere repetition to verbalization for assimilation – to speaking on scripture in a way that makes its essential message more intelligible to others and us too. When we study scripture and explain it to others, the necessary sustained contact with this verbal manifestation of the divine purifies us, thereby deepening our scriptural understanding.

Scripture is essentially a guide to self-realization. So, regular scriptural contact propels us on our inner journey, enabling us to increasingly realize truths about ourselves. The most important truth is about our identity and destiny: We are eternal souls meant to delight forever in loving and serving Krishna. The more we realize this truth by using our power of speech to serve Krishna’s words, the more we relish life’s supreme happiness – the endless happiness of divine love.

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