Better to speak less and say more than to speak a lot and say little

We all know ramblers who love to hear their own voice, even though they don’t have much to say. Knowing their penchant for rambling, we often don’t give them much attention. In contrast, we give far greater attention to people who speak tersely and meaningfully.

Such condensed and concentrated communication is exemplified in the Bhagavad-gita, which addresses cogently life’s fundamental questions in just seven hundred verses.

Condensed and concentrated communication is exemplified in the Bhagavad-gita, which addresses cogently life’s fundamental questions in just seven hundred verses.

Can the Gita’s concision be attributed to the exigency of the situation? Did the presence of two giant armies geared for war make Krishna and Arjuna hurry up? No, because then war would make all warriors succinct, which demonstrably doesn’t happen. Moreover, haste frequently makes one’s speech disorganized, whereas both Arjuna and Krishna speak calmly and systematically: Arjuna asks clear and specific questions, and Krishna gives pithy and profound  answers.

So, self-evidently the Gita is concise because its conversationists are expert.

Krishna’s drive for brevity is illustrated in the Gita’s sixteenth chapter.  After listing the qualities of the godly in the first three verses (16.01-03) and the ungodly in the next verse (16.04) – and mentioning their respective destinations (16.05), he declares (16.06) that as he has spoken in detail about the godly, he will move on to the ungodly.

What does ‘spoken in detail’ refer to? The preceding three verses?

Possibly.

It can also refer back to earlier descriptions of seekers and their qualities: 02.54-72; 04.19-24; 12.13-20; 13.08-12 and 14.22-24. Yet all these descriptions, though similar, have their context-specific nuances. Those differences would have been enough justification for a self-indulgent speaker to ramble. But Krishna stays focused on swiftly and progressively developing the message meant to enliven Arjuna.

Thus, the Gita is so rich with wisdom that its content teaches fruitful living and its method of delivery, effective speaking.



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