Among all other sadhanas (spiritual discipline?) for me keeping ‘silence’ is the best one. One cannot avoid ‘noise’ of all forms in life—both within and outside, even in nature. So practicing ‘silence’ as a sadhana is the most difficult and challenging one. I am not talking here about silencing the mind through some technics related to the so called ‘yoga’. According to me we cannot silence something which is not there. Even if take for granted that we have a mind, the moment we ‘realized’ the silence in our mind or the mind itself will break the very silence.
Well my point is different one. How to practice the ‘presence of silence’ as a sadhana? As a talkative person (both outwardly and inwardly) I am not competent to prescribe any steps for this sadhana. However, as I am interested in this discipline, I would like to share some elementary methods which could help others to invent their own methods.
Don’t get up from the bed quickly. When you woke up, first lay down for few seconds and silently recall the good sleep that you had. If you have faith in god and believe in prayer, then thank god for the good sleep that She gave. Then think about others who are with you either in your room or in the same house. Thank god for their presence and help/seva that you received through them to have that silence in that morning. You can at least thank that they are not disturbing your morning silence.
Then get up from the bed as silently as possible without making much noise. Try to do all other activities silently not disturbing others as well as you. The point is that your movements should not disturb the silence in your room or house.
If you are lucky to have your own separate bathroom, then try to do all your morning duties with minimum sound and disturbance to you and others. Even brushing the teeth and answering natural call should be done with less noise. Opening the tap should be done without disturbing the silence in your bathroom. I put a long cloth on the mouth of the tap so that water will gather in the bucket without making much noise.
Then I need not tell what all the other activities that one should do then. All the activities that we need to do should be done with making minimum noise and not disturbing the silence both within you and outside. For example when I sit for my morning worship and meditation, I will sing a bhajan or chant a mantra first loudly, then wisher it and then will silently recite it.
I know what I narrated so far is easily said than done by anyone—including me. I have the privilege to live in a remote place outside the society in a quiet and calm place. As I am staying ‘alone’ I try this sadhana as much as possible. But others living in society with family and all kinds of responsibilities cannot even think of doing one thing without breaking the silence in form or other. But no discipline is possible without first trying it. Even if we fail, we should not give up and try to start again and if needed to do the same first steps again and again till it become part of us.
However we need to keep few things in mind before attempting to do this sadhana. First is that we need not begin this only from the morning, but can be practiced at time of the day according to our convenience. Next is that we need not learn this discipline from another person, or any center. Finally, one should not even read this kind of article on this subject. Because when it comes to spiritual discipline (sadhana) we should invent our own according to our temperament, vocation need and circumstance. Above all, sadhana of silence should be done on our own interest and not promoted by others.
Gurukulam. September 7, 2012.