By sweetness is meant sociability, civility, broad-mindedness, polite speaking, cheerfulness and forbearance. It is necessary for a beautiful face to have good habits, otherwise the beauty is useless. If there is a beautiful bungalow in a beautiful city, but only owls reside there, what is its beauty? There may be a green tree, but if there are no flowers or fruits on it, then of what use can it be? A gold watch which does not tell time, or a beautiful lamp which does not give light, is of no value: There may be a pucca masonry well, but if there is no water in it, then of what use can it be? Similarly, a man may be very beautiful, and may wear costly clothes, but if he is not social, is not good-mannered, courteous and polite, then he is without human virtues. What makes a man really a man are his sociability and cheerfulness.
The bounties of the Lord are reserved for the person who greets others with a cheerful heart and an open mind.
Hazrat Ali says, "To greet others cheerfully is the first virtue."
If a man is handsome or rich, this concerns himself. If he is social and cheerful, he influences others. If he is always cross and has wrinkles on his brows, nobody wants to see him, to say nothing of meetig him. Sweet speech full of humility goes to the bottom of another man's heart, and this is the real glory and embellishment of man.
Shah Farindu was asked as to how he supervised his servants. He replied, "By politeness and forbearance." He was then asked as to how he solved his difficulties. He replied, "By leniency and kindness."
However serious the difficulty, use politeness, sweetness and melody. It can succeed better than use of the sword or violence. The wound inflicted by a sword heals in course of time, but that caused by a sharp word becomes fresh every time you remember the words. It is, therefore, necessary to watch the speech so that no harsh words are used. Think before you speak. Even if there is no occasion, ask to be excused, as a matter of courtesy. It tastes sweet to take bitter pills from a cheerful person. It, however, becomes difficult to take even a sweet thing from the hands of a rude man.
Sheikh Sa’adi says:
To eat bitter things from the hands of a cheerful man, is better than to have sweets from the hands of a rude man.
One should not visit a mercurial or rude person. His bad manners would affect you. How badly is a rude man affected by his being grieved? It is better to meet a man cheerfully than to give him treasures. As far as possible, meet persons cheerfully just as lightning appears to be laughing in the clouds.
To be cheerful is better than to be given diamonds in charity. As far as possible, be like lightning and not like dark clouds.
We have to spend nothing when speaking sweet words. Their good effect is felt by us first and then by others.
Kind words do not cost anything.
When you meet another person cheerfully, you shower flowers, and the other man becomes full of their scent. Be cheerful like a flower. Whoever would meet you would share your happiness. If you speak to anyone rudely, he would be ready to fight with you. This would lead to no good, but a lot of worry. We should not be quick-tempered. We should be courteous in our daily behaviour — even to the servants. Whoever comes in contact with you would be pleased with you. To be courteous on a particular occasion is called politeness, but when one is always courteous and mild he is called civil. This virtue is very helpful in spiritual matters.
Only a courteous and cultured man can be called a man; to be otherwise is to be inhuman. The Lord is everywhere but a man can be seldom seen anywhere. He is seen rarely.
Kabir says that outwardly, all human beings seem alike but become different when we know the — just as swan and stork seem alike, but their actions are different. A swan feeds on pearls but a stork lives on fishes.
The peacock and the eagle are very beautiful as far as form is concerned, but the real beauty is inner which is much superior to that of the body.
Sciene has proved that coal and diamond are both carbon, but there is a great difference in their price. Similarly, innumerable persons look like human beings, but are not so in reality. The worth of a thing depends on its quality. If a thing ceases to possess its quality, it ceases to have any worth and becomes valueless. When an electric bulb is fused it becomes worthless and is of no use. The plant which ceases to flower is uprooted and thrown out. Similarly a man, who ceases to be social, cheerful and sweet of speech, becomes unfit for spiritual progress. No real benefit can be had from him. A holy man has said:
What wealth can a crow or a cuckoo give! Cuckoo sings sweetly and turns foes into friends.
A man of social habits does not oppose any good work and does not find fault with others. Owing to compassion he sympathises with others and never injures the feelings of others.
Hafiz says that there are two sure means of being happy. One is to be kind to one's friends and the other is to love one's enemies.
There are two means for being happy in the world: kindness to friends and loving treatment of foes.
If you wish to go to paradise, treat the creatures of the Lord with kindness and consideration.
If you wish to enter the paradise of Eden. Treat the creatures of God with kindness.