The Art of Speaking
(from Science of Being and Art of Living)
In his classic book, Science of Being and Art of Living, Maharishi describes seven desired qualities of speech:
1. Speaking with a minimum consumption of energy;
2. Speaking rightly;
3. Speaking harmoniously;
4. Speaking pleasingly;
5. Speaking powerfully;
6. Speaking usefully;
7. Speaking in such a manner that the speaker remains free from the binding influence of speech.
The following excerpt elaborates on the theme of speaking rightly.
A correct evaluation of right and wrong is found in its absolute value only on the plane of Being [the level of pure consciousness]. Therefore, the art of speaking rightly necessarily has its basis in the plane of Being.
However, the basic considerations of the relative nature of the art of speaking involve the projected art of thinking; so all that is valid for the art of thinking is valid for the art of speech. Right speech has its basis in right thinking.
Speech is the expression of both the heart and mind together. Therefore, for the speech to be right, it is necessary that the man be right in his heart and mind.
Speech is the expression of one's state of evolution. One word from the mouth of a man reveals his inner quality. The softness of speech gives an expression to the culture of the heart, and the logic, imagination, or creativity expressed through the speech reveals the culture of his mind. A man could be screened for his whole state of evolution and development through one word of his speech.
Speech is a very delicate medium between the man and his surroundings. It is highly important for the well-being of the individual and his surroundings that all the people should cultivate the art of speech, because one wrong word spoken gives wrong impressions in the atmosphere. The man may change his attitude, his decision, or his course of behavior, but the word that has gone out of his mouth can never be withdrawn. The influence that he has created in the audience
and in the atmosphere around him can never be withdrawn. Therefore, it is highly important that one should know the art of speech and should know how to speak rightly.
Speech is a projection of a thought, and, while the art of speech fundamentally lies in the art of thinking, it is much finer than the art of thinking itself, because every thought that arises in the mind need not be expressed as speech.
Take the example of a businessman who is sitting with a friend in the evening, when suddenly an idea comes to his mind regarding some matter that he had to speak to his manager about the next day. It would be very odd if he began to give expression to his thought right there. This is what is meant by the art of speech being much finer and thus a more advanced art than the art of thinking.
Speech has to be in keeping with the atmosphere. The thought and its expression as speech should be such that they are welcomed by the surroundings. Hundreds of words unsuitable to the atmosphere will prove futile against one word of value.
Thus the art of speaking rightly gains fulfillment in the art of thinking, together with the skill of proper expression suitable to the atmosphere. This, as has already been said, depends upon the man being right in his heart and mind, and this, as we have seen, is only possible by the infusion of Being into the nature of the mind, which is easily accomplished through the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation.