Need of Good Communications in Maintaining Relationship: A view from Sikh Scriptures
Good communications are vital for maintaining, promoting and sustaining good relationship between two individuals as well within an organization. In present days we form a part of highly complex personal as well as professional work environment. In spite of expanding general awareness, technology and knowledge it is becoming more and more difficult to communicate effectively with people, be it your colleagues , seniors or family members. It is seen that most of the family ties get strained due to poor communications between its members. The cases of divorce between couples are on the increase and in majority of the cases it is due to crossed communication transactions between a husband and wife coupled with ego problems.
Many behavioral scientists have put across various theories on communications, a very important one being by Dr Eric Berne who identified the basic unit of a social interaction between two persons as Transactions and manner in which it is conducted was called Transactional Analysis. Each individual speaks from various life stages called, Parent, Adult or Child and how the other person responds becomes basis of response. The communications between two persons if initiated and responded from the same level like Adult to Adult would be termed as complementary transactions, whereas any variation in the level of the second person would become crossed transactions and create problem of understanding between them. This of course is a very modern theory and all those who would have pursued management studies would be well aware of it.
However in ancient times, when such analysis was not available, it was scriptures of various religions which taught people how to converse effectively. These teachings are still very effective even in the present day society. I would substantiate this aspect by quoting from Sikh scriptures ( the religion I belong to).
Guru Nanak , a great reformist and first Guru of the Sikhs during fifteenth century in India, wrote many verses on various topics which showed the path of good life-conduct to the community. His writings were aimed besides meditation to God at many subjects such as livelihood by ethical means, combating corruption, power of using good and polite words, duties of rulers and civil servants, healthy living, character building etc. I am going to dwell only on the topic of good communications.
Guru Nanak emphasized the value of polite conversation and choice of words while communicating with others. To quote,
“ਬਾਬਾ ਬੋਲੀਐ ਪਤਿ ਹੋਏਯ||”
ਜਿਤ ਬੋਲਿਯੇ ਪਤਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਸੋ ਬੋਲਿਆ ਪਰਵਾਨ ||
ਫਿਕਾ ਬੋਲਿ ਵਿਗੁਚਣਾ ਸੁਣ ਮੂਰਖ ਅਜਾਨ ||” (Page 15 Shri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS))
“ O Baba, Speak only those words which bring you Honor,
As those words are acceptable, which when spoken, bring Honor.
Harsh words bring only grief. Listen, O foolish and ignorant mind.”
Above implies that words should be carefully chosen so as not to offend the listener, these should be balanced, clear, polite and exhibit grace. Only such communications would show one’s maturity, dignity and class, thus it would be a true reflection of one’s personality. Harsh and improper words spoil relations and a person using these is considered a fool and ignorant.
In another verse Guru Nanak talks about impolite and discourteous talk
“ ਨਾਨਕ ਫਿਕੈ ਬੋਲਿਯੇ ਤਨ ਮਨ ਫਿਕਾ ਹੋਏ ||” (Page 473 SGGS)
“O Nanak, speaking insipid words, the mind and body becomes insipid.”
Most of the marital relations become sour due to bad speech and communications, which increase differences between the married couples. Guru then talks about as to how a bride can attract her husband. Besides other things good communication is one of the prerequisites of a happy married life.
“ਜਾਇ ਪੁਛਹੁ ਸੋਹਾਗਣੀ ਤੁਸੀਂ ਰਾਵਿਆ ਕਿਨੀ ਗੁਣੀ ||” ਸਹਿਜ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਸਿਗਾਰੀਆ ਮਿਠਾ ਬੋਲਣੀ || (Page 17 SGGS)
“Ask the happy soul-brides, By what virtuous qualities do you attract your Husband Lord”
“ Intuitive Ease, Contentment and Sweet Words.”
These teachings are even more relevant in the present day materialistic word where ambition, ego, work pressures consume the patience of working couples which lead to various family challenges and finally to disturbed family life. Balanced communications are thus very vital to sustain the relations within a family.