Silence heals; silence soothes; silence comforts; silence purifies; silence revitalizes us. – J. P. Vaswani
All goodness and auspiciousness in nature express as silence.
Sun rises in silence. Bodily organs function in silence. Flowers bloom in silence. Beings evolve amidst the marching seasons in silence. Mother Nature’s love pours out in silence. The sick recuperate in silence. The bereaved recover in silence. The ignorant rejuvenates in the sleepy depths of silence…
An intellect free of doubts is silent. A heart soaked in love and gratitude is silent. A devotee surrendered totally unto the Lord becomes silent. A meditator merged in the non-dual Self becomes silent…
All love silence. Why? The above quote gives the answer. But again, why is it that silence alone has the ability to heal us, energize us? It is because in silence we are closest to our real nature – the Self, the ultimate Truth.
Self is of the nature of supreme peace and happiness, because in It there is no ‘otherness’. The Upanishads say, ‘The fear comes from the other’.
Silence implies no-otherness. The moment the ‘other’ comes, there is noise and disharmony.
A lady went to a Mahatma and complained, “Swamiji, there is no peace at home. My husband argues, fights and ultimately beats me up.” The Mahatma gave her a bottle of water. The lady inquired, “Swamiji, when should I give it to him?”
The saint said, “It is not for him; it is for you. Whenever he argues, fill your mouth with this water. All problems will be solved!”
One among the 24 gurus for Lord Dattatreya is a maiden. Once, a family came to visit her, seeking her hand in marriage for their son. As she was alone at home at that time, and the guests had to be entertained with refreshments, she at once started husking the paddy, pounding the food grains with a pestle etc. The bangles on her hand started knocking against each other creating too much of jingling noise. The wise girl reflected thus: “The party will detect, by the noise of the bangles, that I am husking the paddy myself, and that my family is too poor to engage others to get the work done.”
Removing all the bangles except one in each hand, she was able to finish her job quietly.
Just as a single hand cannot clap, so too the Self alone does not create noise. Someone else is also necessary. That someone else is our superhero – the Ego, an illusion born of ignorance.
The ego, in the guise of the Self, arrogates that it knows everything, that it does everything!
An elephant was crossing over a bridge. The bridge started shaking under his weight. A fly was sitting on his trunk. When they both got to the other side, the fly said, “Son! We really shook that bridge.”
The elephant said, “Sweetie! Until you spoke I didn’t even know you existed.”
Destroy the noisy illusory ego, to experience the silent real Self. But how to destroy the ego? Destroy the mind, the ego is destroyed. And how to destroy the mind? Watch the mind, and the mind vanishes – so says Ramana Maharshi in Upadesha Sara.
In the life of Baal Shem, a great mystic, there is an incident. He used to go towards the river in the middle of the night, just to be alone with himself. On the river bank was a rich man’s mansion, and the watchman there was puzzled about this man, Baal Shem. Every night, exactly as the tower bell was tolling twelve, Baal Shem would appear out of the darkness.
The poor watchman could not contain the temptation. “Why do you come here every night and sit next to the river in the darkness? What is the purpose of it?” He enquired once.
Rather than answering him, Baal Shem asked, “What do you do?” He said, “I am a watchman.”
Baal Shem said, “Me too. The only difference is, while you watch somebody else’s house, I watch my own!”
As we watch our mind, a great secret is revealed to us – that this noisy mind is nothing but a mind full of thoughts; and the root of all thoughts is the ego, the subtlest thought. As the watching becomes more intense, another secret gets revealed – that the thoughts vanish when observed without identification. Once thus the ego is burnt in the fire of intense observation and washed off in the tears of devotion, the mind becomes silent. The silent mind uncovers the pure Consciousness – the Truth Absolute, of the nature of peace, joy and contentment –which is our own true nature.
Such Silent Ones alone know that Silence – the Silence of the Self Divine – the Presence that presides over even the dead silence of the burial grounds – the resting grounds of the silent ones.
O M T A T S A T