“Silence is Truth. Silence is Bliss. Silence is Peace. And hence, Silence is Athman. To live this Silence as such is the Goal. It is Moksha or liberation. It is the end of the endless cycles of birth and death. Sri Ramana Maharishi was an embodiment of such Silence”.
I read the above in an article written by Swami Tapovanji Maharaj about swami Ramana Maharishi. It is a very appropriate description of the demeanor of some one who has truly attained the state of enlightened living.
How does one get there, to this state of enlightened Silence?
To remain silent is merely an activity. Bhagawath Geetha tells us that any activity can be perceived with respect to the five aspects associated with that activity:
The objective: Is the silence an expression of agreement, disagreement or neutral frame of mind? What is the need to remain silent ? The person involved: Are we referring to the silence of the person who is expected to say something. or the silence of the person who is anticipating something to be said, or the silence of the person who says something through the silence or the silence of the person far away, who has said something but never been heard by others ! The means: Is the silence achieved by willful suppression of speech? or is it achieved by suppressing the noise (such as by closing the ears or closing the mind)? Or is it a reflection of a mind actively engaged and yet at peace like the stillness of a deep body of water? The circumstances: Is the silence one of awe and amazement? or is it a silence of grief ? or is it a silence of respect to the event (such as in a prayer hall) or the silence of training (such as in meditation) or is it a silence of discipline (such as in an examination hall or that of an army at stand still or a concert hall in the middle of a brilliant performance)? The laws of nature or Divine influence: Is it the silence of a still rock or a piece of wood? Is it the silence of a tiger ready to pounce? Is it the silence of an object in mid air? Is it the silence of an ascetic? Is it the silence of an audience mesmerized by the performer and the performance? Is it the silence of the person in wonderment, just saved from a grave incident, as if by a miracle?
Many are the facets of silence.
Bhagawath Geetha also tells us that there are three attributes to any activity: Ignorance (or Inertia), Turbulence and Tranquility. Let us look at these attributes by taking just take one aspect of silence: The silence of the person expected to say something. Let this person be myself. I am expected to say something, but I say nothing. I am silent.
Am I silent because I don’t know anything better to say or do. Am I ignorant of the fact that I am supposed to say something? Am I ignorant of the fact that I am empowered to speak? Am I inertial and unwilling to use the skills of thinking, speaking, reasoning and influencing, bestowed on me? May be I am overcome by Inertia?
Am I silent because I am fearful of speaking? or I am angry and unwilling to speak? proud and feel that the listeners are not worthy of my words? Overwhelmed with emotions and not mindful of the opportunity lost by not speaking up? Am I overcome by Turbulence?
Am I silent because I have thought through the various facets: the objective, the person involved, the circumstances, the means and the laws of nature. To the best of my knowledge, it is preferable to be silent. Hence I am silent. I am not hesitant to speak up in the next moment, if I need to. I am not hesitant to admit that I could be ignorant of some aspects, but I am open enough to receive inputs in any form as they come. I wish not to be overwhelmed by such inputs, but I am willing to admit that I could become overwhelmed. I do not wish to under-estimate or belittle any inputs. May be I am silent and tranquil, but I am vigilant and my silence for the moment is merely a reflection of my readiness to engage as required in the next moment.
Why did my mind wander into this analysis? Why not simply pick any aspect of silence and transcend to the highest and broadest level of existence – the abode of the Lord? How can I do that?
How about if I offer respectful prayers to the Saint? Reflect on the Silence of the saint as a form of prayer. Prayer for what? Pick anything. Prayer for the betterment of myself? my family? my friends? my colleagues? my neighbors? the community? for any one and every one? Let this limitless and expansive reflection gradually lead to a prayer for all and exclusive of no one. This internal expansive outlook, like a large deep ocean transcends into a calm, peaceful silence. I can hear myself, but I am not speaking.
Let the mind continue its respectful prayers for the Saint: calm, reflective, expansive and all inclusive. Let the mind be aware of all of the above and varying facets of silence. Let the mind become inclusive of all and exclusive of none. Let there be an inner peace that transcends all of the above, the specifics and the details. Let there be an inner glow that unites with the peace and the Silence of the saint. Dwell in this Silence for a moment, few moments, as long as one can. This Silence is Truth, Bliss, Peace. This Silence is You, the Athman. To live in this Silence as much as possible is the Goal.
Go ahead and start thinking of all of the above, while dwelling in this Silence. Conduct all aspects of life, while dwelling in this Silence. Let there be this constant union with this silence among the noise and clutter of the world of activities. This union is Moksha or Liberation. This is the blessing for our prayers to the silent saint, Sri Ramana Maharishi.