Those seeking to lead a spiritual life may naturally become inspired to live in peace and non violence. To learn spiritual practices to develop these values, one may turn to spiritual teachers, and to variety of religion.
But beginning to cultivate spiritual awareness is not always as simple as it seems – especially in family / unhealthy relationships, or while dealing with difficult people. Daily interactions such as these may feel like the very definition of conflict!
In the book “Science of Speech”, Gnani Purush (embodiment of Self knowledge) Dada Bhagwan offers key understanding about non violent communication, along with conflict resolution skills and conflict management strategies. His spiritual teaching on how to resolve conflict - or to avoid it altogether - is offered in the context of common and everyday relationship challenges.
Whether wondering how to become more spiritual, or simply how to deal with negative people and difficult people, this book will prove invaluable.
1. Forms of Hurtful Speech
Questioner: The tongue says one thing at one time and something else at another time.
Dadashri: The tongue is not at fault. The tongue constantly lives and works within the confines of the thirty-two teeth. It does not rebel or fight back. The tongue is fine, but it is we, the organizers, who are awkward and at fault. The fault lies with us.
The tongue is very good. Although it lives between the thirty-two teeth, does it ever get crushed or bitten? It gets bitten when we are eating and our chit (the component of the mind composed of knowledge and vision that can wander outside) has gone somewhere else. The chit only wanders when we are inattentive. If the chit stays focused on the task at hand, the tongue will function well, but it gets bitten when the organizer is inattentive.
Questioner: Please help me control my tongue because I talk too much.
Dadashri: I too, talk all day long. As long as your speech does not hurt anyone, there is nothing wrong with talking.
Questioner: But many conflicts arise because of the words I use.
Dadashri: It is because of words that this world has come into existence. When words come to an end, so will the world.
Words have been the cause of all the wars in the world. Words must be sweet or else they should not be spoken. You can become one with someone again even after you have fought with that person, if you use sweet words to assuage him.
Some people tell their elders that they have no sense. How can one say such a thing? Who are they to assess commonsense in others? Such words will inevitably create conflicts. You should not say anything that would hurt others because you will be held liable for it. People who understand this will not take on such a liability; instead they will always say the right thing, whereas those who lack this understanding speak recklessly, taking on the liability. The responsibility is yours.
By telling a person, “You do not understand,” you create the worst of the knowledge-deluding karmas (gnanavaran). You cannot make such a statement because it hurts the other person. Instead you can say, “I will help you understand.”
If you are sitting peacefully and someone comes and says to you, “You have no sense,” these words will shatter your peace of mind and you will feel hurt, but it is not as if he has thrown a rock at you!
Words have a tremendous impact in this world. The scars they leave behind cannot be erased for hundreds of lifetimes. People say their hearts have been wounded by words. This is nothing but the effect of words and this world perpetuates because of these effects.
Some women tell me they still bear scars on their heart from what their husbands said to them twenty or thirty years ago. What kind of a ‘rock’ did these men throw with their speech that the wound has not healed even now? Such wounds should not be inflicted.
In our culture, people of lower caste use physical violence to hurt one another, while those of higher castes use words to hurt one another.
Words, which hurt others, are called inappropriate words. People take on a grave liability when they use such words, even casually. On the other hand when they employ pleasant words casually they are beneficial. People are not brave enough to use inappropriate language with a policeman or someone with authority for fear of being reprimanded, but they use it freely at home, because they are not afraid of the consequences. The policeman would indeed teach you a lesson, but who would teach you a lesson at home? Should we not learn a new lesson?
Questioner: What should I do in my business when I become angry with someone who does not understand?
Dadashri: In a business it is important to speak up or say something for the sake of the business. But there too, to say nothing is an art; you can accomplish a lot even when you do this in your business. But this is not learnt easily because it is a very refined art. You have to fight in your business and whatever you gain, you must evaluate and deposit into your karmic account. But you should never fight at home; because it is your family, people of your own that you fight with.
Keeping quiet is a very difficult art to master. It is difficult for others to learn.
Here is a way to practice this art: Even before the person appears in front of you, you have to communicate with the Pure Soul (shuddhatma) within him. When you so this, it will placate him, so that all you have to do is stay quiet. You will get your work done by doing this. I am only giving you a very brief explanation, but this art is indeed very subtle.
A single harsh word creates vibrations that last for a long time. When you use harsh language, you commit violence with your intent (bhaav hinsa), and this is violence against the person’s Soul (Atma hinsa). You should only utter pleasant words and never harsh ones. People forget this and so they quarrel throughout the day.
Good and bad words exist in this world. Bad words are damaging to one’s health, while good words maintain good health. When people say, “You are unworthy”, the word, ‘You,’ is innocuous but the word ‘unworthy’ is very harmful.
When you tell your wife, “You have no sense!” the words hurt her and they are also unhealthy for you. If her response is, “You are useless,” then you both will become unhealthy. One looks for sense, while the other is looking for usefulness! This occurs everywhere.
A married couple should not fight. Their karmas bind them to each other, so they should work at freedom from these karmas.
I asked a woman once; if she ever fought with her husband and she said she never did. I was astonished that such households should still exist in India so I said, “Surely there must be some conflict between you and your husband?” She replied, “No, but sometimes he taunts me,” she said.
Taunting one’s wife is like caning a donkey. Although men do not cane their wives, they taunt them instead. I asked the woman what she did when her husband taunted her. And she replied, “I tell him that the effects of our past karmas have brought us together and that is why we married each other, and so each of us have to suffer the consequences of our own karma.” I told her that she was truly blessed. One can still find such nobility in women in India; one would call such a woman, sati (a woman of highest virtues).
What brings people together? Why are people forced to live together even when they do not like it? It is the karma of a man and a woman that forces them to live together. A man may not like his wife, but where would he go? He should accept that because of his own karmas things are the way they are and be at peace with that. He should not criticize her. How will finding fault in her help him? Has anyone ever found happiness by finding fault in others?
When your mind shouts, ‘She said so many hurtful words, she hurt me so much,’ you should tell your mind, ‘Go to sleep and your wounds will soon heal soon.’ Your mind will heal readily. If you comfort and pacify the mind, it will go to sleep.