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The Dual Power of the Tongue

Each sense organ given to human beings has one particular use, but the tongue is endowed with dual power. It has both the power of speech and the power of taste. In the Gita, the Lord cautions you to be very careful in using your tongue. He praises the devotee who has attained complete control over the tongue, for such a one will soon develop a pure and steady heart and feel the constant presence of the Lord. To gain such control, devotees have been practicing a number of special disciplines, such as observing silence, controlling their diet, or maintaining a complete fast.

Fasting promotes health for the physical body. In the mental realm it gives joy and bliss. Unlimited and unregulated food is very harmful for devotees. Indulging indiscriminately in unwholesome foods is likely to lead the devotee into the torpidity of inertia. To think that you can go on wantonly indulging yourself in food, while at the same time trying to please God and enjoy the nearness of God, is extremely foolish. These two, indulging in food and gaining the nearness of God, are not compatible. Therefore, right from the beginning you must make a determined effort to keep the tongue under control. Once you gain mastery over the tongue, the other sense organs will automatically come under control.