Those who know, do not say. Those who say, do not know. The wise are therefore silent. The clever speak, the stupid argue. -Lao Tsu
This is a true story.
A woman used to travel from Philadelphia to New York every day by train. One day, she was a little late arriving at the station, and hastily managed to board the train just in time.
She found herself in a compartment totally empty – except that a heavy-set gentleman was seated in front of her.
The man lit a cigar and began to puff. The woman was annoyed. Wishing to show her displeasure, she began to clear her throat and groan loudly. But the man continued to puff away lighting a fresh one when the first was over.
Seeing this, the lady lost all her patience. She shouted at him for a long time for disregarding the co-passengers and disobeying Government rules. The man cast a questioning glance at her. Then wordlessly, he stubbed his cigar out and started to read.
A little later, a railway official entered the compartment and was startled to see the lady.
“You are not supposed to be seated here, madam,” he whispered to her. Pointing at the heavy-set man with great respect, he continued, “This is General Grant’s private compartment”.
Shocked, the lady got up made a quick hasty exit. The General did not even glance at her as she left, for he did not wish to embarrass her!
Our condition is exactly similar to that lady. We go on blabbering about every happening, not knowing that the visible world is unreal, being a projection of our own disturbed mind. It is only the wise who know that the world is as unreal as our dream. Just as we ignore the blabbering of a dreaming person, so too the wise remain silent when the worldly people argue, for, he knows that the Self, the Pure Consciousness alone is real, and anything seen in it is but an illusion and hence, essenceless.
For the ignorant, the world alone is real and God, unreal. For the awakened, God alone is and nothing else! Quieter the mind, nearer are we to God.
Once S. Radhakrishnan, the then Vice President of India, went to meet Ramana Maharshi. After around 45 minutes Radhakrishnan came out, and when the media people gathered around him anxiously enquiring what they had discussed, he gave a short, sweet answer, “We met in Silence”!
The empty vessels make all the noise. The deepest rivers make least din. So too with people.
Practising inner silence is easier said than done. A famous writer narrated his experience, “Once I was condemned to three month’s absolute silence. As I could not speak, I wrote a book”!
George Bernard Shaw sees another reason why we should remain quiet. He says, “Choose silence among all virtues, for, by it, you hear other man’s imperfections, and conceal your own”!
A Sanskrit subhashitam glorifies silence thus, “Much talking is the cause of danger. Silence is the means of avoiding misfortune. The talkative parrot is shut up in the cage. Other birds, without speech, fly freely about”!
God is far far away from people puffed up with the arrogance of learning. Many are the learned and the eloquent, who, despite their vast knowledge in scriptures, grope in darkness within.
But to the humble and the meek, the Lord reveals all His secrets. To such a one who approaches God in all nakedness with a simple and pure heart, He makes him realize his oneness with Him.
God can never be found in noise and restlessness. He loves silence. In nature the trees, the grass, the flowers grow in silence; the sun and the moon and the stars move in silence. To discover Him within, one has to be in silence.
An ancient proverb says, “He who is asleep in continual noise is awakened by silence”!
May the Silence of the Self awaken us all, now sleeping comfortably amidst the continual noise of the ego and the egocentric demands.
O M T A T S A T