The Scriptures all advise us to control our thoughts, words and actions. Our interactions and co-habitation with the world are very much dependent on our words and manner of speech. The Manusmriti proclaims, for example, speak the truth and speak it sweetly, and thus great focus is placed on control of the mind and control of speech.
The great sages have advised the practice of mauna vrata or a vow of silence. While the practice of silence is one that is a must for aspirants, it is advisable that everyone undertakes a vow of silence whenever convenient. This allows for the reconciliation of mind (intent) and words.
The two verses below are from the Manusmriti and the Aitareya Upanishad. The Manusmriti advocates the upholding of truth in a calm and sweet manner while the Upanishad advocates for us always to reconcile mind and words. It should be noted that the Vedic Havan and Vedic Sandhya – both rituals open with blessing for the mouth and speech. In the Sandhya – Om vaak vaak seeks awareness, health and control over mouth and speech In the Havan, Om vaang ma’syestu, the aspirant prays for noble speech which arises from within oneself.
सत्यं ब्रूयात् प्रियं ब्रूयान्न ब्रूयात् सत्यमप्रियम् ।
प्रियं च नानृतं ब्रूयादेष धर्मः सनातनः॥
Priyam cha naanritam
brooyaadeṣha dharmah sanaatanah.
(Manusmriti 4, 138)
Speak the truth sweetly; speak the truth without bitterness. do not speak any untruth even if its appealing or agreeable. This is Sanatan Dharma, the eternal law.
सत्यम् truth, reality, embodiment of truth ब्रूयात् ब्रूते speak प्रियम् pleasantly, lovingly, with care, delicately ब्रू – speak न not सत्यम truth अप्रियम unpleasantly, bitterly च and न not आनृत lie, untruth, falsehood ब्रूयात speak एष this धर्मः सनातनः Sanatana Dharma, the ancient righteous laws
Vaang me manasi
वाङ् मे मनसि प्रतिष्ठिता ।
मनो मे वाचि प्रतिष्ठितम् ।
आविराविर्म एधि ।
वेदस्य म आणीस्थः ।
श्रुतं मे मा प्रहासीः ।
ऋतं वदिष्यामि ।
सत्यं वदिष्यामि ।
अवतु माम् ।
अवतु वक्तारम् ।
अवतु वक्तारम् ।
Vaaṅg me manasi pratiṣhṭhitaa
mano me vaachi pratiṣhṭhitam
Aavir-aaviram edhi vedasya ma aaṇeesthah
Shrutam me maa prahaaseeh
Avatu vaktaaraam-avatu vaktaaram.
May my Speech be in sync with my mind;
May my mind be in sync with My Speech,
May my consciousness evolve (absence of self-doubt)
Let the Vedas be the foundation (for speech/mind)
May no negative sounds heard be retained.
What is gained by studying day and night be retained.
(May) I speak the Divine Truth
I speak the Absolute Truth
May that protect me
May that protect the preceptor
May that protect me
May that protect the preceptor, may the preceptor be protected.
Note: Ritam and satyam are two concepts of vedic wisdom. Ritam is truth, satyam is ultimate truth. The difference is logical versus factual, for example, logically the sun never “sets”, factually there are 12 hours of night without sunlight. Another example, if there is a flowing river, the existence of the river is satyam, the flow is ritam, they both compliment each other. Example: Husband & Wife relationship can sever, but it is husband and wife, thus ritam; mother and child cannot sever/separate, thus satyam
वाङ् speech मे me mine मनसि in mind प्रतिष्ठिता established, valued, prozed मनो mind वाचि speech आविराविर्म = let my consciousness grow मे आविः आविः एधि increasingly evident आविस् (आविः) evidently, apparent, manfest आविस् evidently, apparent, manfest म् particle of thought वेदस्य of the veda म आणीस्थः pinnacle, main point, linchpin श्रुतम् heard, listen मे me my मा not प्रहासीः leave, assume अनेन by this अधीत studied अधीतेन by what was studied अहोरात्रान् by days or nights सन्दधामि join, hold ऋतम् divine law वदिष्यामि I speak, proclaim सत्यम् truth तत् that वच् speech वक्तारम् speaker अव् to protect, to move अवतु may that move, be अवतु to protect, to move माम् me वक्तारम् speech, speaker