Verbal Violence

Are you verbally violent? 

When we talk about violence, we generally mean wars, mob lynchings, henious acts of crime and domestic cases of tortures. But, violence is in many forms. Both obvious and subtle. And one of the subtle and most rampant forms of violence is through speech. Almost every one of us expresses some degree of verbal violence. It’s such a common phenomena in our everyday lives that we’re not aware of this particular kind of violence. Yet, everyday, we practice and perpetuate violence through our speech. 

In the scriptures, there is the ideal of ahimsa, non-violence. And according to the scriptures, himsa or violence is of three types: 

1. Violence through speech.

2. Violence through body (physical violence) and 

3. Violence through the mind

So, what exactly is himsa? Any response though mind, body or speech which harms other living beings (not only humans) is himsa. If there is any motive or bad intention in our minds to harm someone or some being, this is himsa. When we’re hurt or angry or our self-interest gets hit, we become violent. Haven’t you seen, when someone becomes angry, how rudely, ruthlessly and violently one behaves and talks? We throw terrible words at each other. We curse, swear, do all kinds of inhuman and insensitive gestures. This is violence. Violence is not only when somebody hits you physically. Wrong and insensitive words and gestures are also violence. And how brutally we’re practicing this everyday! 

I am particularly sensitive to this kind of violence. Maybe because of my silent nature. The amount of insensitive acts, words and behaviours that we go through everyday, is enough to squeeze all love and respect out of our hearts. And that’s why I think we lack respect for each other. I am talking about the general population. Nobody actually cares for others, much less show respect. And how would we be respectful? Everyday we go through so many inhuman and insensitive experiences that we don’t feel like thinking good about others. We gossip so much, and discuss about people so much. But, well-wishing hearts are very few. 

Parents are one of the most violent kinds. Sorry to say this, but this is my experience. Actually violence is in everybody’s hearts. Seeped in our blood. Just a little titillation, and how violent we are, can be revealed. Whenever you think negatively about others, whenever you throw bad words at others, whenever you behave out of self-interest, you’re being violent. Whenever you’re hurt, angry, jealous, you’re being violent. We practice violence in so many ways. 

The root of violence is self-interest. Whenever our self-interest is hampered, we become violent to protect our self-interest. The ‘self’ is an antithetical entity. It exists only in comparison, in competition to others. If you do not compare yourself or compete with anybody, the self cannot live. It lives on our selfish motives and separate ideas. Any self-centric thought or activity perpetuates the self. And this separatism is the root of violence. Because, once I am separate from you, now it’s about me. I’ll protect my interest. And obviously your interest is different from mine. So, conflicts and clashes are bound to happen. And it’ll lead to violence. 

Once we see the brutality and danger of it all, we can be free from violence. No amount of teaching can end this violence in us. It’s so steeped in us. Only when we see for ourselves how violent we are, and how violence in us gives birth to violence in others, we’d seek a solution. But, as long as we’re only concerned about our own petty self-interests, we’ll continue being violent. And as a result, humanity will keep suffering. Now, the choice is yours. Do you want to contribute to this endless cycle of injustice and suffering? Or do you want to be free from all this? If you want freedom, then you have to first end all forms of violence in you! Would you do that? Would you take the pain? Because otherwise, you’re only contributing to the problem. 

See the danger of it. Please see. If you see the whole workings of violence in you, you can be free from that. And then you’ll no longer perpetuate violence, because violence will not emanate from you anymore. Others will keep being violent towards you. But, you won’t make the same mistake. Can you do that? You’d do a great service to humanity. 

Thank you.
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Alok Singha

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