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How do I retain this beautiful silence? || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
7 min
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Question : While writing the questions about our lives, we were silent and it feels very peaceful right now. But how to maintain this silence? How to make sure that this silence holds, that it is not momentary?

Speaker: It is apparent that this silence is conducive to understanding. It is actually simple , isn’t it? You know what brings about, what you call as ‘environment of understanding’? Have you all tried to understand what brings this about? It is very simple and direct. Is it an external threat, a coercion, a compulsion? Is it some kind of gloominess which makes you fall silent? Is it an expectation or is it out of respect that you have fallen silent? None of that!

It is so recent, so close to you that you must find out, it is available to be found out. If you investigate you will find out that it is nothing but that you are writing questions that are relevant to YOU and each single individual is doing that. The moment you go inwards, there is a beautiful silence that nothing else can bring about. You experienced that silence. You are experiencing it right now. It did not come about because of the persuasion or influence of an external agency. The external agency might have just helped initiate it but ultimately it was because each single one of you was going inwards and writing questions that are pertinent to your life. That is a great meditation.

If you look carefully, nobody else is very much relevant in this. All disturbance ceases to affect you. Nothing matters but your own mind and your own awareness. That moment this mind that is habituated to travelling outwards starts looking within. You are using the same faculties right now that you use in at other times in the day. You are using your eyes, you are using your ears, you are using your limbs and your mind, all of that is being used. But there is one central difference. In the last fifteen minutes this mind that otherwise remains preoccupied with everything external, all objects outside, ‘What’s happening there?’, ‘Who is talking to whom?’, ‘What is there in the newspapers?’, ‘What is up for gossip?’, ‘What is there on the notice board?’, ‘What’s there on Facebook and email?’, this same mind that is occupied with all that just went inwards and asked itself, ‘What is it that fills me up?’, ‘What is it that keeps me occupied?’ and you wrote those things down. Didn’t you? That is what you did. Right?

(All listeners nod their heads in affirmation)

This same mind that is occupied with everything outside, for a few minutes went inside and the result is was this beautiful peace. You need no discipline, no regulation for this. All you need is an intelligent mind that investigates not only the external but also itself. We all have that capability. But that capability is being lost, squandered upon analyzing, investigating, being obsessed with the external. This same capability when it turns inwards gives you these beautiful moments of silence and peace. And in this peace there is understanding, there is intelligence, there is freedom from all kinds of disturbances. A subtle joy!

See how nice all of you are looking right now. Composed, still, silent, attentive, not fearful, not full of expectations. Just present! And that has not been brought about by me or anybody else. That has been brought about by your own mind that went within. That is the only way.

There are two aspects to everything that happens, everything that you take notice of throughout the day. One is, ‘What is happening there?’ and second is, ‘What is happening here (inside my mind)?’. These two are highly inter-related. What do we do? We become so attached with what is happening there that we forget to look at what is happening here (inside our mind). But these are two aspects of the same phenomenon. If you want to know completely what is happening then you must not only know what is happening there (pointing at the outside) but you should parallely know what is happening here (in your mind) as well.

Unfortunately the method of science does not teach us that. Science says that when you are observing a pendulum, it is the pendulum that matters. So you focus completely on the pendulum. That may be the way of science but that is not the way of life. In life, you not only look at the pendulum but parallely you must be silently, subtly, also aware of what is going on inside the mind that is looking at the pendulum. So look at the pendulum but also have that subtle awareness of this observer that is looking at that pendulum. Do not get lost in the external. Do not get lost in the pendulum. Know that and know this mind that knows that. And when you know them both then you know everything. Then even if there is great disturbance outside yet you will be very, very silent. Running, speaking, dancing, involved in everything that you do daily. You would still be experiencing this calmness and silence.

Calmness and silence do not necessarily mean that you have to sit down, not move and be physically inactive. No! You can be extremely calm and still even when involved in vigorous physical activity. You might be dancing with all your might or playing football or writing an examination paper or speaking upon a podium, yet you can be deeply silent. You might be shouting outwards, yet you could be deeply silent within. And when you are deeply silent within then everything that you do has a special quality to it. Then your speech is beautiful, then your walk is beautiful , then everything you do or think is beautiful.

I hope you are not thinking that silence is just the absence of sound. Please get over that notion. Silence is not just the absence of sound. Sound has its utility. Let there be a lot of sound and yet let there be silence and that silence, let me repeat, is not cultivated through discipline. It is just a matter of the mind being aware of anything outside it but also of itself. And that is what happened just now. The mind became aware of itself, that’s what you were writing down in your sheets, hence you got silent.


Listeners(everyone): Yes,Sir.

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

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