|| Hari OM ||
Wishing you a Very Happy Deepavali and
A Peaceful New Year - 2015
The Power of Silence (Maun)
Contemplative religions of Indian origin put great emphasis on 'Silence'. It is the best way to express the ultimate state of Self Realization from where eyes and speech return without touching it.
Silence is not only verbal. Silence means absence of thoughts. More deeply, silence is absence of desires (in mind). If there are no desires in mind, mind will not try to achieve anything that is external. Less the number of desires, more is the peace within. In absence of desires and thoughts, mind will turn towards it source of power which is the ultimate reality known by the wise as 'Brahman'. This Brahman is pure consciousness.
Spiritual journey is to get rid of worldly thoughts, stay detached from external objects and turn mind introvert. Introvert mind then melts into Brahman thereby losing it's individual identity.
Dispassion is another name of silence. Lack of interest in worldly matters keeps mind peaceful and focused on only one tatva – Brahman. Such a mind experiences deep long-lasting peace thought the day. Bliss accompanies peace. Since this peace is a result of absence of desires for external objects, it does not depend upon it. Such peace and bliss is not lost if any external object is lost. Hence peace and bliss resulting from dispassion is long lasting and has deep impact upon us.
As amount of bliss and peace increases, it begins to radiate outwards influencing the environment and all those who are in its vicinity. Calmness touches their hearts relieving them of unwanted thoughts making them mentally free.
Maun or silence has many health and spiritual benefits. Some of them are:
- Introspection: Reflect on our own Thoughts
- Ability to discard unwanted thoughts and stay focused on chosen topic by use of will
- Protecting Relationships
- Detachment: Feeling of deep peace and bliss and feeling of nearness of God
- Feeling of comfort throughout the body due to nearness with God and absence of mental agitation.
- Increase in Awareness i.e. living in presence.
- Ability to stay peaceful in stressful situations
- Control over Anger and emotions in general
- Healthy body due to healthy mind
- Increased immunity
Listing points would not convey the underlying meaning. Lets discuss some of the benefits in brief.
In our busy life, we do not give time to ourselves. Introspection helps one to have an appointment with ourselves. Introspection helps one to reflect on our own thoughts and actions. Either reflection is done in the morning or in the night before going to sleep. In the morning, reflection is done to strengthen our resolve to achieve our (spiritual) goal, while in the night we reflect on our (physical and mental) actions we have done throughout the day. Many people do not have any definite goal in life and they rarely do the introspection. Hence such people are not in a position to know their mistakes, their short comings and a way to proceed to achieve their goal.
In Jain dharma, there is a word for introspection. It is called as ‘pratikramaṇa’. Pratikramaṇa means to attack (yourself) without attacking. Another explanation for the word is to drawback (prati-kramaṇa) what has been done in excess (ati-kramaṇa). It is a way to keep a check on ourselves and stay in moderation. Wise say, anything in excess is poison.
Ability to stay peaceful in stressful situations
Silence helps one to be an observer to our own thoughts and be their witness without reacting or getting involved in them. After regular practice and by grace of Guru and God, a meditator can separate himself from thoughts. With diligent practice, power of thoughts gradually decreases with time and meditator can have control over thoughts. S/he can either ignore them or get involved. Later on, percentage of thoughts decreases and period of silence increases thereby giving all kinds of physical and spiritual benefits. Of course the benefits does not come easily. There is no shortcut and shortcut methods do not last long. One has to live a spiritual life.
Leaving physical body ‘as it is’ without any interference keeps body healthy. During Deep Sleep, there is rejuvenation of body, new cells are created and body is healed when we are not conscious of our body nor are there any thoughts floating in our mind. Similarly in the state of meditation, the connection or feeling of physical body is absent when one is fully aware of silence which is the root of everything. This source is nothing but Brahman. We are often told to chant mantra in order to reach this blissful state. Hence Silence is Meditation. In meditation, we listen to God, we tune ourselves to the supreme power. The only difference between deep Sleep and transcendental state is that in later case, meditator is consciousness of himself.
The most easiest way to control mind is to regulate breath. Breath control is mind control. Later on, as consciousness evolves, mind can be directly controlled without controlling breath. Breath is automatically controlled as mind is controlled.
Benefits come as a byproduct and are not the goal of life. The real goal is Self Realisation.
An example of modern saint living in Silence is Sri Ramana Maharshi. Lord Dakshinamurty is considered as epitome of wisdom, the first guru who teaches by the power of silence. Silence has more power than words, as mind is not involved in expressing the supreme state. When mind and intellect are involved, they create their own thoughts and hence are somewhat disconnected with the supreme. In silence, there is total surrender and merging in Supreme Brahman. Silence is golden and is the best way to express the indescribable state of Self Realisation.
An entire Upanishad Mandukya Upanishad explains three states of mind, waking, dream and deep sleep. It goes beyond deep sleep into turiya, a state of super consciousness via OM
शान्तम् शिवम् अद्वैतम् - माण्डुक्य उपनिशद् - ७
Shāntam Shivam Advaitam – Māṇḍukya Upanishad – 7
It (Truth) is peace, bliss (auspiciousness) and non-dual.
We all must strive to control our mind, not become slaves of technology and not dance to the tunes of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. We should keep a check on ourselves and limit the use of cell phones. Instead of playing games and sending WhatsApp messages, better try to stay with nature and give an appointment to yourself.
A healthy mind gives a healthy body. A healthy mind gives healthy thoughts. Constructive mind helps build family, society and nation. Sadly, no university teaches how to control our mind, especially in this age when people demand their right to express themselves. Universities do not teach us to tame the untamed mind. Modern liberal thinking allows mind to go loose. Mind without bridle keep running without any direction. This is not a good sign. Nothing is harmful if done in moderation. Anything in excess is poison. It does more harm than help.
Let’s pray to Haimāvatī Mā Pārvatī or (Laxmī mātā) who represents ātma-vidyā. Spiritual wealth is chitta-shuddhi and atma-jnāna. Let’s pray to Umā-Maheshvara for our spiritual progress.
Let this year we give an appointment to ourselves.
Let’s begin contemplative life from this year.
|| Hari OM ||