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From the Editor's Desk

Silence – Powerful tool for Inner Engineering

In the Upanishad, Silence (mounam in Sanskrit) is described as a means to know God. Silence plays a vital role in one’s spiritual growth. Silence transformed Ramana to Maharishi Ramana and the sage is described as an epitome of silence. In silence one goes deeper into the inner core of one’s personality, develops will power, conserves energy, becomes creative and achieves inner growth. Silence is to mind what sleep is to body. Silence gives calmness, peace and stillness which are aids to purify mind and a means to avoid confrontation. Patanjali defines silence as cessation of thinking principle. The first practice on the path of self transformation is the art of observing silence. The practice involves observing complete silence – verbal conversations (accounts to 50%), written conversations (emails, chats etc, 20%), gestures (10%), watching television, listening to music (10%), inter active (playing games, web surfing etc, 5%) and reading news paper, books etc (5%). One should start practicing silence with short periods first, the shortest being at least one straight stretch of 24 hrs. During sound sleep (dream less state), cosmic healing energy is received which makes one feel refreshed after deep sleep, a stage of deep silence. This energy is regenerative, restorative and rejuvenating in nature. It restores our well-being by repairing damages at physical, emotional and spiritual levels. Depriving ourselves of this restoring process, leads to experiencing stress, irritation and discomfort. The point to note here is that it is silence of the mind that is pre-requisite to receiving healing energies from cosmos. This happens naturally during sound sleep. We can trigger this while staying awake as well.

Slow down of our thoughts, lead the mind to an experience of sweet silence, the experience that we reach in deep meditation. Thus silence is essential for progress in meditation. Instead of struggling, reacting and wanting, silence teaches us patience, humility and giving. In silence alone can there be union with the ultimate. When we wish to communicate with the divine existence, we try to become silent and it is in silence that we meditate. A walk amidst nature, a retreat, watching moon and stars, sunrise, chirping of birds or the soothing sound of waves do contribute to sweet silence.

The man is endowed with important and powerful faculty of silence which, the scriptures acknowledge, will help us to achieve inner growth. Our saints and mahatmas have effectively employed the faculty of silence to make spiritual progress and maintain mental equanimity. Acharya Vinoba used to say – Silence and solitude are the best friends of the soul. All the great persons of the world have been great practitioners of silence. They enhanced their spiritual energy through silence and solitude. Mahatma Gandhi included the practice of silence in his daily routine very sincerely and was very much benefitted by its outcome. In his Ashram, Monday was observed as ‘Maunvar’, a Day of Silence. We must learn to observe “Silence”. Guided by Acharya Vivek, 18 yatries began the “Chinmaya Inspiration Yatra VIII in Silence” at Pittsburgh from Dec 16-25, 2016. It was an inward journey in solitude with 90 minute contemplative sessions, devoid of books, phones and other gadgets. One also can experience noble silence for ten days in residential Vipassana Camps (www.dhamma.org) organized at different centers.

June 19, 2017                                                                                                     Prof. B. C. Harinath

The author gratefully acknowledges the writers in different magazines for preparation of this Editorial.

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