Human beings are instinctively social animals and enjoy social engagements and interaction. Most of us engage in informal conversations at home, at work, and in group gatherings. Unfortunately, many times such conversations result in gossip, which is one of the most wasteful and destructive activities we can engage in. Yet regardless of its futility, our material mind loves it.
For instance, it is common to see two friends engrossed in talking about a common friend who is absent. Very often the conversation revolves around discussing defects of the other person or is an opportunity to vent out his/her own frustration of the third person who is absent.
We have seen such kind of gossip destroying organizations, creating tension in families, breaking up the best of friendships, and yet, we don’t desist from engaging in it. The injustice of it is that the person being gossiped about is not even aware nor is given a chance to defend himself or herself.
Just like we eat food with the mouth, what we hear is diet for the mind, and gossip only reduces our mental health. It gives a kind of material “rasa”; it becomes like a vice and people love to indulge in it again and again. Statistics reveal that unfortunately, 50% of the talks in offices are about others. Though it may benefit if we were talking about the achievements of others, but invariably, the conversations are about their defects and their deficiencies which are all unverified.
There is another defect in gossip. If we are speaking ill about a third person to somebody, it conveys the message that tomorrow we will speak ill about this person to somebody else. Hence, it reveals a weakness of our own character. Therefore, the person who engages in gossip is grossly wasting his or her time. Human life is invaluable and every moment of it is precious. Let us illustrate this through the following story.
One fisherman left his home at 4:30 in the morning with his net and proceeded to a stream. He sat down by the riverside under the dark sky and immersed his feet in the water. He sensed a bag below his feet and pulled it out. He picked it up and discovered some round objects. Thinking them to be pebbles, he took one out and cast it into the water. The “plop” sound gave pleasure to his ears. He took another and cast it, and yet another until he had the last and final pebble in his hand.
By now there was sufficient light for him to see and as he turned to it to see what he was holding, he was shocked to find a priceless jewel in his hand. He cursed his luck. In dismay, he said, “What! God gave me 25 such precious stones. In my ignorance, I threw 24 of them away. How unfortunate I am!” However, this man was still fortunate, he had at least one stone for himself.
Watch this interesting video by Swami Mukundananda –
More precious than the priceless gems is the human form that we have received. It in, we have the ability to completely transform our nature and attain our supreme goal. The Vedas state:
इह चेदवेदीदथ सत्यमस्ति न चेदिहावेदीन्महती विनष्टिः ।
भूतेषु भूतेषु विचित्य धीराः प्रेत्यास्माल्लोकादमृता भवन्ति ॥ ५ ॥
iha cedavedīdatha satyamasti na cedihāvedīnmahatī vinaṣṭiḥ |
bhūteṣu bhūteṣu vicitya dhīrāḥ pretyāsmāllokādamṛtā bhavanti || 5 ||
“O human being, the human birth is a rare opportunity. If you do not utilize it to achieve your goal, you will suffer great ruin.”
Thus, human life is invaluable and every moment of it should be used wisely. If we are wasting it away in frivolous activities such as gossip, it means the yearning and aspiration for life transformation is not deep enough yet.
So, let us uplift our character by implementing this self-discipline of not gossiping and if somebody wishes to give it to us, let us avoid it by saying, “I am sorry, I am busy today.” It will convey the strong message that you don’t indulge in such activities. That restraint of the tongue will be a stepping-stone to the restraint of the mind and building block for lifting up our character and personality.
This is a 21-day challenge. For today, I would like to suggest, let us start practicing this tool of life transformation. We will continue to discuss yet another life transformational gem of wisdom as we progress along.