Don’t Waste Words

I see that Indian scriptures are full of symbolism, which if correctly interpreted, can lend us with insights and vision. A couple of months back, I released a post on the wisdom that I drew from the chapter 15 of the Srimad Bhagwad Gita. But very recently, someone shared some verses with me on WhatsApp. As always, my tech-writer’s radar caught the content.

I saw some strikingly simple referential points for technical communicators. And, so I thought of this post. So be it. Here, I am giving the screenshots (minus the sensitive information) and the translation of the verse. The translation itself is simple. So, you won’t need any additional notes. Hey, just notice how verses written around 400 years ago can bring us insights into something that we do today.

The more I think about it, the more I feel that technical writing was always a part of the Indian history. Just that it wasn’t under the same title. So, here is the line-by-line translation of the verses:

1

Polish words. Test words.

Weigh words. Before saying.

2

Words are scissors. Words are needled threads.

Weave words, knowing the technique*.

 3

Talk less: Precise, crisp, and sure.

Be sensible about your country, time, and character.

4 

Speak soundly. Speak the truth.

Speak not to break anyone’s heart.

4

Be it a comment, taunt, or compliment.

Let it not bring forth the caste, religion, or its sentiment.

6

Understand precisely. Help understand precisely.

Stick to the point. That’s the art of conversation, quite strictly

7 

Let words reflect knowledge**, karma, and bhakti***.

Let each word be born out of self-experience.

8

Words create chaos. Words resolve chaos.

Let this jungle of words prosper.

9

A control over the tongue can bring a world of happiness.

Do not waste water, words, and money.

India has produced some of the great minds in the past. And, such great minds continue to lend us insights into doing what’s right and what’s righteous. Isn’t it!

*Shaastra also means science or procedure, but in the current context, it means technique.

**Dnyaan also means wisdom, but here it means knowledge.

*** Bhakti in the current context means the tradition of devotion.

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