Some of the greatest rishis taught through silence. Dakshina murthy was the silent one. So also was Ramana, so too the great avadootha Sadasiva Brahmendra, the Kanchi Paramacharya was known to go into prolonged periods of complete silence stretching into days and it was during these times that he seemed to exude unparalleled brilliance. Sri Aurobindo called it that which one enters into, lives within, and grows within.
Silence is ever-speaking; it is a perennial flow of language; it is interrupted by speaking. These words obstruct that mute language. There is electricity flowing in a wire. With resistance to its passage, it glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan. In the wire it remains as electric energy. Similarly also, silence is the eternal flow of language, obstructed by words.
What one fails to know by conversation extending to several years can be known in a trice in Silence, or in front of Silence – e.g., Dakshinamurti, and his four disciples. That is the highest and most effective language.
Silence is the most potent form of work. However vast and emphatic the scriptures may be, they fail in their effect. The Guru is quiet and peace prevails in all. His silence is vaster and more emphatic than all the scriptures put together. These questions arise because of the feeling, that having been here so long, heard so much, exerted so hard, one has not gained anything. The work proceeding within is not apparent. In fact the Guru is always within you.
Silence is all, say the sages.
Silence watches the work of the ages;
In the book of Silence the cosmic Scribe has written his cosmic pages;
Silence is all, say the sages.
What then of the word, O speaker?
What then of the thought, O thinker?
Thought is the wine of the soul and the word is the beaker;
Life is the banquet-table – the soul1 of the sage is the drinker.
What of the wine, O mortal?
I am drunk with the wine as I sit at Wisdom’s portal,
Waiting for the Light beyond thought and the Word immortal.
Long I sit in vain at Wisdom’s portal.
How shalt thou know the Word when it comes, O seeker?
How shalt thou know the Light when it breaks, O witness?
I shall hear the voice of the God within me and grow wiser and meeker;
I shall be the tree that takes in the light as its food, I shall drink its nectar of sweetness.
PARAMACHARYA OF KANCHI – CHANDRASHEKARENDRA SARASWATHI:
Maunam is an important method of worshipping God. Maunam in this context does not mean merely silence. It is also the process of keeping the mind free of all thoughts. It implies that we should keep all our senses under perfect control, so that during the period of silence, the limbs may not move even involuntarily. Such a maunam will enable the divine spark within every one of us to become active in its progress towards the realization of the Paramaatma. The waves of thoughts that continuously rise and fall in our minds keep the all-pervading Atma hidden from us. Once the flow of thoughts is checked, the Atma begins to function. This kind of maunam is also an attribute of a muni.
That is why we have been enjoined not to think for a while every day – tooshneem kinchit achintayan तूष्णीम् किञ्चिन्तयन्.