What is vāco-vega? It is the urge to speak and is the root of all bad qualities. It can bring on krodha and other evils as well, like lust and envy. It can actually destroy us, so we must always try to control our tongue. Having no bone, no backbone, she can go in any direction heedlessly, sometimes here, sometimes there, sometimes up, sometimes down. She is so crooked—she will go anywhere and provoke all kinds of evil activities.
Don’t try to joke with the Vaiṣṇavas, with your friends or with anyone. In joking we may say something very improper. If we joke with our Gurudeva or the Vaiṣṇavas, we may commit some offense, and then jivhā-vega is aroused, so we should be very careful. Especially, lady devotees should not joke with the men, and the men in turn should not joke with the ladies. Caitanya Mahāprabhu has warned us strictly—this tongue can do so many wrong things.
Śrī Rāmacandra, following his promise to his father, was staying in Pañcavaṭī of Daṇḍakāraṇya with Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā. At that time Rāvaṇa sent Marīcī in the shape of a golden deer. Sītā saw it and prayed to her husband, “I want to have this golden deer. I have never seen any deer like this and I want it. If he cannot be taken alive, at least I want his skin. I will give it to Bharata or Kaikeyī.” Lakṣmaṇa said, “I am very suspicious of this deer. An ordinary deer will not be so beautiful. I fear that there is some conspiracy here. This is not a normal deer.” Rāma replied, “Do not worry. Have no doubts. I am going. You should stay here and protect Sītā. I will surely capture it and bring it here dead or alive.”
Rāma left to follow the deer, who went very far away. Rāma shot an arrow. As the deer was dying, he transformed into a demon, speaking in a voice the same as Rāmacandra’s, “O Lakṣmaṇa, O Lakṣmaṇa!” The sound reached the ear of Sītājī and She became so worried. “O Rāmacandra! He has been attacked by some demon, so He has called Lakṣmaṇa.” She said to Lakṣmaṇa, “At once go and save your brother. I am so worried for Him.” Lakṣmaṇa replied, “Do not be worried. I know Rāma. No one can attack or harm Him. So remain here peacefully.” But Sītā said, “No, you should go and see. He has called out like a dying man.” Lakṣmaṇa answered, “Do not worry. I will not go because Rāma has told me to stay here to protect you, and that I will do.” Sītā told, “Oh, you want to marry me? Rāma should be killed and you’ll be my husband? That can never happen. I will die by poison or I will burn myself in fire but I can never be your wife. I know that you are a Cia of Bharata and Kaikeyī.”
Lakṣmaṇa became so worried. “Why is Sītā speaking like this?” He could not bear her harsh words and was bewildered by Her speech. Repeatedly She kept talking like this and then began to weep, saying, “I know that you are a very cruel person and have come to cheat Rāma. You have come to murder Him. I cannot bear this.” She was weeping and weeping. Lakṣmaṇa said, “I do not know what will be the result, but I will go. However, I will take one precaution—I am drawing a line for your protection. You must not cross beyond this line for any reason.” Saying this, he went off, but Sītā was guilty of an offense to Lakṣmaṇa. Lakṣmaṇa was completely pure-hearted. He had no lust, but Sītā had spoken like this because She was Māyā Sītā, not the original Sītā. In this form she abused Lakṣmaṇa and committed an offense. Because of this, Lakṣmaṇa went off. Rāvaṇa came suddenly and took Sītā away. If Lakṣmaṇa had been there, Sītā could not have been stolen and Rāvaṇa could not have come at all. Only because of Sītā’s words, so many calamities ensued. A very big war took place and Rāvaṇa was defeated. From this you should understand how important it is to control your tongue.
There is also the story of Draupadī. One time she said to Duryodhana, “You are the son of a blind man and you are also blind. You are not seeing where there is water and where there is land.” He became furious and vowed, “I will surely take revenge for this and be vindicated.” Fighting ensued and both the Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas were destroyed. So try to control your tongue. Do not speak whatever you feel like. Consider first what will be the effect of your words.If you can check your tongue, then you can do bhajana easily. Gaura premānande!
―Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja