Since we’re constantly learning – the process of learning continues throughout life – we are immensely responsible for transmitting this knowledge to others. A full-fledged educational system includes knowledge on how to share information acquired. We should transfer the knowledge we get proficiently, effectively and on a regular basis. The science of knowledge transfer has many subsections. Listeners may belong to different categories. Each of them requires a different approach to be convinced to accept our knowledge. Seniors, juniors and equals are trained according to certain rules, considering the differences between them. But today we’ll discuss broad guidelines enabling to give knowledge to any person, regardless of their age, education and social status.
Naturally, first and foremost, to impart some information, we must be firmly convinced of it. We are transmitting not just information itself, but our confidence. Feeling of confidence is the invisible information-carrying medium, and it must be top-quality. Imagine that you help a driver to pull out of driveway onto the busy road. He can’t see the road and fully trusts you. You give him the sign whether to turn onto the road or to wait a little. And if you aren’t sure about what you are doing, better not to help at all. Otherwise, it may result in an accident. This is why drivers are especially annoyed by unsophisticated passengers giving them driving tips.
As soon as you become convinced of the truthfulness of knowledge you get, you may start distributing this knowledge. Here, it’s not the power of reasoning or strong convincing skills that play the major role. In the process of knowledge transfer, love rules the roost. Yes, if the speech of the person, except their confidence in the message, is saturated with love, it reaches the very heart of a listener and is perceived as the most valuable gift. We must be aware of that. Pleasant speech is not deceitful flattery. It is a true message imparted by those who are full of compassion towards the listener and hence, choose words that protect veracity from rudeness.
Mark these words: a wise person protects veracity from pride and rudeness. Pride and rudeness downgrade the importance of the message of truth and can even destroy it completely. Under the influence of rudeness and pride, the truth easily turns into dangerous lies. Love is the fire that transforms a dish of knowledge into a splendid feast. If a person lacks love (displays rudeness), the dish is undercooked. If there’s too much love or it is wrongly directed (pride), the dish is burnt. Having quality food products is not enough – one needs to cook them perfectly. To receive truth is not enough because one needs to protect it. The Truth is one – it’s easy to give it an imperceptible twist, harness it to serve the false ego and start to exploit. Therefore, the duty of every right-minded person is to protect the truth at all costs.
Sages say that sweet words, gladness and a loving glance, when they accompany a gift, are valued more highly than the gift itself. Gift-giving is a good deed, an act of kindness, but well-wishing attitude touches the heart even more. The same goes for knowledge. Maybe our knowledge won’t help a conversation partner to learn anything new. But if he feels our love, if he feels that we see the beautiful soul in his heart, it will encourage him to reevaluate the words he might have heard a hundred thousand times before. He’ll be able to see things in a different light. How many times in our life did we hear that God loves us? But what have we understood? Has anyone ever given thought to it?
But one fine moment we hear the same words and suddenly realize that God really loves us and pushes us toward happiness by all means, although we stand up against it. He doesn’t take offence and continues to send loving teachers. We suddenly come to this realization because a person who says these words is speaking with love. It is selfless display of love, for no obvious reason. We are moved by this merciful spiritual love. Our heart melts. And the simple words “God loves you” become so easily understandable that we immediately feel like we want to go and tell others about it.
Someone who talks about human suffering must really see this suffering and show real compassion towards people. Sages say that pain is soothed by a frank look in the eyes, sympathetic glance and caring words. Otherwise, our help won’t bring any real relief to anyone else’s heart. A person will hear right things, undeniable facts, well-shaped logical arguments… But the heart won’t be softened. In fact, it may become even more cynical and cold. Instead of embracing spiritual path, one may close his mind against it once and forever, if we give that person a cold shoulder instead of warm-hearted welcome. The one who knows is not the full embodiment of knowledge. He only invites others into its realm. But we shouldn’t forget that people judge by those who stand at the entrance. The knowledge we invite to obtain is judged by its representatives.
Even from a material standpoint, kindness brings only benefits. A modern man thinks that in order to flourish, one needs to be pushy and harsh. In reality, except brutal force, one needs to know the golden rule for prosperity. According to it, the one who gladdens people’s hearts with kind words has nothing to fear from poverty. People will never leave such a person in the lurch. Yes, by using brutal force and being rude, one can really get rich quick. But a rich man is not necessarily a prosperous man. Prosperity is the absence of poverty, and poverty is always ready to return to a rude man. Poverty adores harsh people. Therefore, the Vedas differentiate between temporary riches and permanent prosperity. These are two different things. Temporary riches are like the flash of a match in the darkness, even though it’s very bright. Prosperity is compared to an oil lamp that, although it may be not too bright, burns steadily all night long.
It is said in the scriptures that the true adornment of a prosperous man is not jewelry, but his righteous speech and impeccable manners. Strange, indeed, that people are rude to each other, despite knowing full well how much joy sweet words can bring. Something makes us be rude; it is the direct influence of our past. When we want to say pleasant things, but swear-words fall from our lips instead, in this very moment we can fathom our past life. Our karma comes to us and makes us reveal the true nature of our character that is called prarabdha-karma. The way we behaved in the past affects our behavior in the present. Therefore, changes in the heart start with changing the speech.
Sages say: if you can use soft words, why to pronounce hurtful ones? Isn’t it stupid to pick unripe berries and trample down the ripe ones with your feet? It must be remembered that low-minded people are always rude, average-minded people answer rudeness with equal rudeness, and high-minded individuals are never rude, no matter how bad they are treated. Therefore, an intelligent person should think twice before saying something.
One should decide: is it really necessary to say to this person what I want to say? Can I speak kindly, or am I going to let harsh words slip out? Am I sure what I’m going to say is true? I should also make sure that my words don’t inflict pain on someone not in my presence, even if that person won’t hear them right now.
Will my words make any difference at all? Wouldn’t it be better to keep silent and say nothing? Isn’t it that my talk is a fat lot of use?
Wise people say that even in everyday life we shouldn’t yell loudly at a person. If he stands far from you, do not yell across the street – come closer and talk calmly, softly and with love. When we start yelling, it is never soft and kind. It is always rough and angry. So be careful about your speech in any situation. Misuse of the tongue leads to commitment of four sins: malicious gossip, fault-finding, cheating and idle talk. These four flaws are said to give no peace neither to the individual, nor the society one mingles with. There are three interrelated factors: proper perception, proper hearing and proper speech. If one of them is missing, other factors also suffer. If the speech is indecent, the vision also becomes perverted. One hears right things but takes them the wrong way.
And here is a funny story of perception. Once, all villagers came to the local sage and asked, “What’s more important – the sunlight or the moonlight? We can’t understand.”
The sage thought for a while and said, “Certainly, the moonlight is more important!”
“But why?” the folks asked. “Could you explain to us, know-nothings?”
“It’s quite simple,” said the sage. “The moon shines at night when it’s dark and we need it to shine. The sun shines during the daytime, when it’s already light around and we have no need for it at all.”
The villagers listened and thought, “Isn’t it time for us to find another sage?”