Silence is a royal path in spirituality!
The value of silence in spirituality!
It is said in the scriptures that ‘silent is golden’. But those who are engaged in mundane activities can never keep silence. Hence, the sages have prescribed that people who are involved in spiritual activities should maintain silence at least for one hour a day. If you observe yourselves, it is quite possible. We are mostly maintaining silence while commuting or focusing on some important works. We maintain silence while watching TV, reading news papers etc. It is quite possible for every body to maintain one hour a day if they start practicing it. They can even earmark a specific hour for silence which is convenient to all in the house.
Why silence is prescribed as a part of spiritual activities? Only during silence, you can contemplate and watch or observe your thoughts. Maintaining outward silence is not a guarantee for inner quietness. Even if you don’t speak, your mind will be going on chatting in privacy, planning, judging and anticipating many things. Of course, it is desire which prompt the mind to think. If you do not keep silent outwardly, it is all the more difficult to maintain inner silence. Only after shutting up the mouth, one can observe his inner realm and thought patterns. Though it is quite impossible to stop the thought process, one can divert one stream of thought with another one. One can keep the negative thoughts at bay by thinking positive thoughts.
When one is able to increase the number of hours he maintain silence, there is slowing down of the thought process. But, to achieve this you must become a silent observer of your thoughts. Let any thought arise. Be a mute spectator without involving in the thought. The thought will concede defeat, once you remain indifferent to it. Many saints and sages of ancient India observed complete silence throughout the day and night! If there is a necessity to communicate, they will just write it. Most of the time, they will remain absorbed in their own Self. Here I remember Maharishi Ramana, who maintained complete silence even when devotees gather in front of him. Some times, he will look at some person and the doubts of the person would be cleared mysteriously. Shri Ramana maintained that speech is an obstruction to our natural state. Silence is eloquent compared to speech. When by his seeing, if he could bless the devotees, what is the necessity of speech? Still, if some devotee persistently questions him on some doubt in spirituality, he will either give it in writing or ask them to read a particular book which contains the answer! Here I am reminded of Sri Sathya Saibaba, a recent incarnation that passed away or shed his mortal coil on 24th April 2011. The abode of Sathya Saibaba, is known as “Prasanthi Nilayam, meaning the abode of Supreme peace! Apt to the name, even if tens of thousands gathers there, pin drop silence is maintained for hours before the Dharsan of Sathya Saibaba. Dharsan is seeing the holy form! Every day around 7 AM, He will come out of his residence to enter into the precincts of Prasanthi Nilayam. Prior to that for many years, He was staying in the upstairs of Prasanthi Nilayam itself.
This place is being visited by devotees from all over the world. We can see Arabs, Chinese, Russians, and people from far and wide gather there in groups, silently chanting their own prayers. Many Christians, Jews, Parsis, Buddhists and Muslim people recite their prayer there. It is pertinent to note that people from Communist countries gather there in good numbers. His books have been translated into Russian, Chinese, Japanese, German, Spanish besides English and thousands of publication of Sai literature is available in every country. In fact, Saibaba belongs to all religions and faith. His symbol or flag contains the emblems of five major religions of the world and a huge pillar depicting the world religions have been constructed and inaugurated during November 1975 (during His 50th birthday celebrations conjoined with World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Organizations held in Prasanthi Nilayam. The crowd was so huge that Saibaba had to give His Divine Dharsan flying in a Helicopter. I was present there during the occasion. He said “All are mine, none is alien here” whether one professes any religion or belong to any country. He emphasized that He stays in Prasanthi Nilayam but the entire world is like a big mansion. Each room is a country. I will peep in whenever I feel so! “Fundamentally, there is no difference in any human being. All can follow their own religion, practice the teachings shown in the religious books. Whichever form of god you like to adore, take his name, and chant it with faith and love? God is One only but He is called in different names and people assign one form to the God they adore. Whether one worship Allah or Jesus, Ram or Krishna, Buddha or Sai, all these worship reaches the One God and He answers the prayers through the particular form!
Saibaba again emphasize the importance of silence in most of the lectures. He said; do not wag the tongue always. Try to maintain silence. If there is an urgent necessity, speak briefly in one or two world in a low voice so that it is audible only to the person intended. When one is able to silence the mind, he can easily progress in the meditations! Hence always practice silence. Talk little that too when it is essential!