Listening is an art

Listening cannot be taught. Despite distractions, we should listen to what is being said, carefully, as we read along.
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.

If your eyes are filled with gratitude, you love the world and if your tongue is filled with pleasantness and care, the world will love you. If your ears are filled with openness, you will always be a student of Life.
The Veda is the most ancient of the scriptures of the world. The word Veda originates from the Sanskrit root vid, which means to “know”. Veda is also called shruti, which means listening. In its truest sense, Veda is comprehended through proper listening.

Listening is an important art. Of late, even corporate managements accept this. There is an old book on management that discusses what is not taught at Harvard. The book mentions that the very first thing we should recognise is how to listen.

There is a saying in the Vedas: atmavareshrotavyam, which means first learn how to listen. Listening cannot be taught. Despite distractions, we should listen to what is being said, carefully, as we read along. We should learn not only the words written, but also learn to listen to the meaning of what is written. We should listen to the words, listen to the meaning and listen to the feeling. If our listening is deepened, we will be in line with the context of what is written in this text. The context should not be captured through words only, because words are only indicators and not what is being indicated.

Veda is an art. It says that when we listen to a Guru or anybody, we should listen not only to the words, but also to the meaning, the feeling and the context. It is only then that we listen to the significance of the context. When we understand the context, we will capture something that cannot be conveyed by mere usage of words.

When we listen to a speaker or author, we should not waste time agreeing or disagreeing with the context. Our listening should be focused. As good listeners, we should not stop at words, meaning, feeling or context, we should capture the significance. When we capture the significance, there is an awakening that happens. In that awakening, there is cognition of a different kind.

Hence, we should listen from that aspect. Teaching is an art that deepens our listening such that we become capable receivers.

“Listen to the Self”. This is being explained in clear language. We should not delete what the speaker or author conveys, as some of us tend to do. Some of us distort what is being conveyed and then what is understood will be remarkably different.

There is a deleted listening and distorted listening, but there is also a factual listening. Even management talk of factual listening; it will reveal actual listening. There is a difference between factual and actual listening, which will be unveiled. If we do not understand certain areas that are written, we should maintain space for not understanding them. We should not get too anxious that we could not understand. Otherwise, our anxiety will create a traffic jam in our listening. When we do not understand, we should give it space. Then there are two different dimensions of understanding since the author and listener are in two different spaces. Then one realises, that factual listening is superficial, whereas actual listening is a deeper cognition of reality.

Swami Sukhabodhananda is an international management, spiritual & corporate guru
Join him for a three-day retreat—Existential Laboratory—along with Rishikesh Yatra on February 15-17. Email:

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