Communication is THE key to keeping any relationship going.

If we don't communicate, we can't express how we feel the relationship is going.  Even simple  relationship between shopkeeper and shopper can only function if we communicate our requirements and negotiate for a win win on both sides.  Anything less will leave one side feeling short changed, damaging the relationship for future.  Friendships can only be maintained by constant communication and renewal of "common interest".  Family relationships are a minefield of hierarchy and levels of intimacy that must be observed to maintain smooth relations.  So for example, Krushna never forgets he his place in the family structure and acts in accordance with social norms.  So Krushna bows to Yudhishthir and Bhima, hugs Arjun and blesses Nakul and Sahadeva.  Though the Pandavas worshiped Krushna as God incarnate, they also maintained strict social hierarchy when they met.  Good social graces cost nothing but make a huge impact on how you are perceived by others.

Do others see you as rough, smooth, conciliatory, kind, crude, rude, prude, fun, bore, good advisor, tattle-tale, keeps his word, unreliable, reliable, safe, stingy, spendthrift, good with money, ingenious, genuine, fake, worldly wise, fool, careful, carefree, materialist, spiritual, vagabond, generous, greedy, good sounding board or someone to avoid ?  How you are seen by others is how they will behave with you.  We can't say its unfair that our good intentions are misunderstood by others.  If we are misunderstood, it's lack of communication on our part.  People will perceive us as we project ourselves.  If people aren't seeing us as we want to be seen, we need to adjust our behaviour rather than blame them for their lack of perception.

As soon as we take responsibility for our communication, we are in charge of driving that relationship in the direction we want.  If we want to have a wonderfully flourishing relationship, its up to us to water it with constant doses of loving communication.

However - be careful.  Don't over communicate and certainly don't take the other person's feelings for granted.  Nothing ruins a fantastic relationship like unkind remark, bad joke or lies - no matter how good your intentions.  Loving relationship between sisters Kadru and Vanita were poisoned by Kadru's desire to be "right".  So bitter was the result that even now their descendants - snakes and eagles - are still fighting each other.  Be careful, too much "bakwas", careless talk and cruel words can ruin the most established of all relationships.  If established relationships are like mighty trees, cruel words are like an axe that can chop down even the thickest of trunks.  Yadu and Kuru clans with their countless family members were reduced to a singular heir by cruel words spoken by both sides.

Have an open mind. If you want your relationships to last, don't jump to conclusions the moment you hear something.  Establish facts and consider the situation carefully from all sides before making a decision.  See if what is being said to you sounds like the normal behaviour for the other person.  If things sound odd, they probably are.  Talk to the person(s) concerned and weigh up everything before speaking good or ill. King Sagar lost his 100 sons because they chose to accuse Sage Kapil of stealing their horse with undue haste and insufficient investigation.  Don't believe everything you hear or see with your own eyes.  Always think and think again before spewing bile.  Vali could have avoided the fatal rift between him and his brother by assumed positive intent from Sugriv.

Presuming positive intent, kindness and generosity of spirit healed what could have been a bitter split amongst the sons of Dashrath after his death.  Countless times Balarama and Krushna stood on opposite sides of an argument, but it never developed into a split, as both assumed the other was acting in the best interest of the family.  Despite their differing natures, towering egos, sharing a wife and countless adversities, Pandavas stayed together because they had an unshaken belief that everyone was acting in the best interest of the family - the entire family.  By acting as a team, and always as a team, they managed to overcome odds that were greatly stacked against them.

Communication could have resolved the misunderstanding between Ahalya and Gautama.  Communication helped save the life of Satyavan.  Savitri very cleverly turned an impossible task into possible one by befriending Yama and actually talking to someone who no one wants to talk to !  Commincation between Krushna and Arjun was so open, they could talk of everything from spirituality to war to a marriage alliance involving an elaborate abduction plan !  Such total openness is a rare thing.  It was so precious because they did not hold anything back from each other and if one said something, the other listened with an open mind.  At no point did either of them feel they were constrained in their communication between them.  That feeling of - I can say anything to this person and I will be listened to - is the corner stone of a lifelong relationship.


One of the biggest thing that can sour a relationship is "multi tasking" - its what modern life assures us is the ideal thing to do - to pack as much as we can in a single minute - but it's the worst thing you can do when communicating.  No one wants to be 2nd fiddle to you finishing off a document / presentation or jotting down your ideas for the next big business or worse - TV and internet !  When talking, even on the phone - concentrate on the person you are talking to.

Even if it is unfair and wasn't your fault, ruined reputations take a lot of time to re-estblish.  Rumours are easy to start, but once having spawned, they have a life of their own and you can not control them no matter how carefully they are planned.  Sita's reputation was ruined through no fault of her own and despite agni-pariksha, she was unable to get rid of the stain on her character while she lived.  So its important never to be part of spreading a rumour, not even if it sounds innocent, as we never know how it will impact lives of other people.  Also, guard your reputation well and give no one an opportunity to start a rumour or talk in negative terms about you.

Bali and Vaman - classic case of terrible miscomunication and not "reading the fine print".  Bali thought he was giving up land covered by only 3 small steps of a child.  Vaman asked for 3 steps - not defining how big those steps will be.  Definition is essential.  Define it otherwise you will not know what you are signing up for !  Nasa and scientists from Europe were working on a space probe to Mars.  Project failed because both sides had not clarified if the the measurements were in inches or centimeters.

Quality - not necessarily the quantity - of your communication will define your relationship.  

It will define how you perceive your relationship.  

It will define how others perceive your relationship.

For further information on some of the great people mentioned here, visit other pages on this site.

© Bhagwat    [email protected]


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