We are judged by the way we speak


Once upon a time an old sage sat meditating under a banyan tree. He was blind. A man came up and said: “Hey old man, did you hear anyone passing this way?” The sage replied, “No my good man, I did not hear anyone”

After a while another man went up to the old sage and asked, “Old man, did you hear anyone going this way?” The sage replied, “Oh yes, a man went by just now and asked the same question.” The man went away. After some time another man came and asked, “Noble sir, did you hear anyone passing this way?”

The old sage replied, “Yes, Your Majesty. A soldier went first and then your chief minister. Both of them asked the same question.” The man was surprised and asked, “Good sir, how do you know that I am a king and that the other two were a soldier and a chief minister?”
The sage answered, “Your Majesty I knew them by their manner of speaking. The first man spoke rudely. The second was a little more polite, but Your Majesty was most polite.”

The King went away astonished at the sage’s astuteness.

We maintain our dignity by the way we behave with others. I learnt it the hard way. Recently I boarded a train, and used the services of a porter to carry my belongings. When I reached my seat, the porter put my belongings and on being asked what were his charges, he asked for Rs100. I lost my temper, and was extremely rude, gave him Rs50 and asked him to get lost.

When I sat down, I realised that my rudeness had disturbed the tranquility of the fellow passengers who were already seated. It took me some time to regain my composure. After I regained my composure, over the next thirty minutes, I was able to create a harmonious relationship with fellow passengers. Three hours later, I apologised to the passengers for my rude behavior.

I also realised that I had not negotiated the price with the porter. The porter is a free human being, and has the right to ask for any price for the services he renders, it is up to me to either accept or negotiate the price. I learnt a lesson, whenever we are rude; invariably we are covering up some of our own mistakes. Admitting our mistakes and correcting them will prevent us from being rude and thus lead dignified lives.