The practice of Bhakti-yoga requires watering the seed of devotion within our heart. It also means to be very careful to pull out the weeds that are growing along side. Topics of the mundane subject matters of this world are very nourishing waters to the weeds that are always eager to choke the plant of Bhakti. People tend to be fond of listening to rumors or hearing gossip. They also like to speak gossip. It is said that among all of the senses, the tongue is the most difficult to control. The tongue has two functions; to taste and to speak. And of the two, the tendency to speak is particularly difficult to control.
Sometimes it is explained that this human body is like a boat to carry us across the ocean of birth and death. A boat may be very big, but there is a part of the boat called the rudder. It is just a small part in the back – underneath. The steering wheel moves the rudder. The direction the rudder moves determines the direction the boat will move. The tongue is like the rudder of the boat of the human body. Although it is just a little organ, how you control it will establish the direction of your life.
atah sri krishna namadi
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jahvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah
It is explained by Rupa Goswami that the beginning of devotional service is to control all one’s senses and keep them engaged in the loving service of the Lord, and that to control the senses one must begin with the tongue. Yoga means controlling the senses. Whatever the tongue does all the other senses will follow. So therefore, the process of hearing and chanting is the basic principle of our spiritual life.
We must always strive to keep our consciousness within the realm of transcendental sound, beginning with what we ourselves speak. There is nothing more polluting to our consciousness than hearing sound in the modes of passion and ignorance particularly when they are coming out of our own mouth.
satyam priya-hitam ca yat
van-mayam tapa ucyate
“Austerity of speech consists in speaking truthfully and beneficially and in avoiding speech that offends. One should also recite the Vedas regularly.” Bhakgavad-gita 17:15
- Radhanath Swami