When a woman requested him to suggest an observance for the four monsoon months, ShriMaharaj said, "There are many different kinds of observances practised; such as, to limit diet to only one kind of grain, to eat only one meal a day, to partake of a meal only after uttering the name of a particular deity, and so on. But I will suggest an entirely different kind of observance. It may be practised by men as well as by women. Whenever there is an occasion to speak, one should be on guard not to speak in one's own praise and of others' faults. Both these things have become so much a part of ourselves that we do not even realize that we are doing them. We also talk unnecessarily about other matters. Therefore, when one wishes to say anything at all, one should ask one's own mind whether it is necessary to say it, will it hinder anything if it is not said ? If only this much care is taken, nearly ninety per cent of speech, needless conflicts, and bitterness arising therefrom, will be avoided. Everyday transactions will thereby become more amicable and pleasant. Even if the remaining ten per cent essential conversation is retained, a person engaged in worldly affairs may be considered to have maintained an adequate amount of silence. If we apply all the time and energy thus saved to the practice ofNama, the vision and thoughts will automatically turn inwards, love for Nama will be heightened, the heart will be cleansed, the mind will start becoming steady. When steadiness of mind has been accomplished, God is not far. One should, however, not limit this observance to the four monsoon months, it should be practised till death."
Shri Maharaj further said, "Some who practise this observance refrain from speaking, but convey their mind by writing or by gestures, and thereby sometimes do ridiculous things." He narrated an example of this. He said, "A magistrate used to observe very strict silence during the course of worship. One day, while the worship was in progress, four policemen brought along a hardened thief whom they had apprehended. The leader of the police party saluted him and said, 'Sir, we have arrested him and brought him here. Now please give orders as to what is to be done next.' The magistrate's commitment to silence was rigid; therefore, to give orders through gestures, he picked up the idol of Balkrishna before him, tied his sacred thread to its leg, and holding the idol upside down hit him with the pali*. What he intended to convey was, 'Hang the thief upside down and give him a sound beating.' If he had conveyed the same thing by words, at least the poor Balkrishna would have been spared the beating! In brief, one should use one's judgement even in observing silence."
* Pali :(m£i) the tiny ladle used at the time of worship.