Keeping silence is very useful. At least twice a year we must do this. Once a year is a must and twice a year is very good.
Silence purifies our speech. Often when we speak what happens, have you observed? You must observe. When you speak what impact your speech is making on others – we must observe that. Many times, we do not bother to notice this, we go on blabbering. We just want to say all that we want to say and become free. No, you must see what impact your speech has on others.
There is a beautiful couplet in the Bhagavad Gita which says, ‘Anudvega-karam vakyam satyam priya-hitam ca yat. ’ The words that do not rattle the minds of people and which is truth. Truth which is benevolent and which is pleasant, those type of words are to be spoken. That is called the penance of speech.
Similarly for the body, moderate food, moderate exercise, moderate work and moderate rest. This is an exercise, atapas (penance) for the body.
And tapas for speech is to speak only those words that do not rattle the mind of others. See, sometimes we think we are right and we may be right; it may be the truth what you are speaking, it may be benevolent, it may be good for the other person as well, but if it is not pleasant and it is rattling the other persons mind then it is not complete.
So this is a big skill and it is not an easy thing to do – Not to rattle anyone’s mind or give them pain.