Prajalpa – Idle Talking that Destroys our Destiny
“every time you speak prajalpa, the greatest tragedy takes place; Maya, the illusory energy of the Lord drains out your spiritual life right out of your heart.” Radhanath Swami
We are meant to use our lifetime for self inquiry. By the time we get old we are supposed to be established in the wisdom, that we are immortal souls and not bodies. This allows not to have fear of death, and be as prepared for the next life cycle as possible. Death of the body is a vehicle which chaperon our progress. The new physical body we get is more situated for changes in our subtle body we achieved in the current life.
But in actual fact we spend this precious time doing everything but self inquiry and realization. Every day we are engaged in social life: family, work, neighbors, hobbies, mass media etc. Ayurveda says that eighty percent of our energy is lost due to unnecessary talking. Chatting and listening is not as innocent as it may seem.
We have choice of every single word we speak. And because of that free choice we take consequences of whether we choose to gossip or praise a person, event, or thing.
Generally Prajalpa (or Jalpana) means talking with one another. Talking of noble subject purifies us and the environment but most of the time we are engaged in useless talks, which Vedas consider to be very inauspicious and even dangerous.
These activities are of many types: useless talks, arguments, gossip, debates, fault-finding in others, speaking falsehoods, blaspheming good people, and worldly talk.
Useless talk is extremely detrimental. Several minutes of insulting speech can cross out years of positive practice. Speech in the form of blaspheming others is the source of great inauspiciousness while all one’s virtues are destroyed. When we judge someone, we adopt all the bad features we blame them for. Thus, if they really have these attributes, they share their bad karma with us. If they are innocent, our bad karma doubles: we acquire these bad characteristics plus bad karma for blaspheming good people. True love for enemies, as recommended in Bible, makes plenty of sense, since it helps get rid of tons of negative reactions.
Arguments do not yield any result other than wasting the mind’s strength and increasing one’s restlessness. We have an inborn ability to discriminate between wrong and right, but arguing makes the heart become tough. Then natural discretion no longer remains. Quarrelsome people also become intoxicated by useless arguments.
Gossip. Talking without reason about other people is extremely harmful. Being engaged in every day life a householder cannot completely give up talking about others. At least he should not talk in a way that is detrimental to anyone and never talk without reason. A good idea is find good qualities in everyone and never criticize a person in her absence. Even if you are dragged into gossip then do not contribute to it.
Debate. Debate arises only from a desire for conquest. It is extremely abominable. Debate with goal to discuss what is auspicious and what not, based on Holy scriptures, with deep respect for the opponent is not prajalpa. How can we know if our discussion of certain subject matters pertains to ‘prajalpa’ or the ‘necessary’ category? The test is how you feel after the discussion. If you are inspired to engage in spiritual activities, you haven’t done prajalpa and vice versa.
Fault-finding arises only from imposing one’s own bad habits on others. This should be given up in all respects. Control of speech means ability to say the truth using pleasant words without insulting others. It is possible when we talk about the action and not the personality of the individual who acted. We should never compromise our values, but present them in such a way that the person would be attracted.
Speaking falsehoods is another form of useless talk. Whoever is criticizing us gives us his piety and takes our bad karma. When one is criticized, the reaction that he was meant to suffer for that fault is transferred unto the person that is criticizing him and he is relieved from all reaction. But when a person is glorified, that good quality enters our heart and we develop that good feature.
Worldly talk is waste of precious time. We may accept some worldly talk when absolutely necessary for our daily needs, but not more. Reading newspapers and novels, or watching TV is also useless talk, unless they cover an elevated topic like pure life or devotion.
TODAY’S TIP: The tongue has two functions: to taste and vibrate. Both the functions have to be regulated. With an uncontrolled tongue, there is no hope of bringing all other senses under control. We regulate the disposition to taste by eating sattvic food (See How food affects our mind). We control the tongue’s tendency to vibrate by engaging only in subjects that help us progress.