Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Published on www.acadun.com
24th September 2013
What does silence mean?
Silence simply means the complete absence of sound. Is this achievable? Man apparently believes that it is. Every man and woman longs for silence, but not always; yet they do sometimes. This longing is present and more prevalent amongst the spiritual. There are basically two types of men and women as regards silence: the spiritual and the worldly. Why they long for silence needs to be understood. The spiritual long for silence because they believe that silence is the embodiment of bliss. The worldly long for silence because they believe silence is the embodiment of peace. Whether the methods employed to realise silence are possible also needs to be understood. The methods are beliefs about bliss and peace, and efforts and practices to attain them. The only tool man has to employ these methods and to determine whether silence is achieved is his mind and no other.
The mind can determine sound that the five elements make when wind blows, water flows in a rage, fire crackles in a huge blaze and the earth quakes. Some sound also appears as words and meanings. All these sounds are heard within a certain range and not beyond it. There is, however, sound within this audible range which the mind cannot hear either as sound or as words and meanings. They are the sounds that small insects or bacteria make; the sounds that even the five elements make, such as air that passes by on a still day or night, water that flows by gently, fire that is lit by a candle, and sound the earth makes while it revolves on its axis.
For all practical purposes sound does not exist for the mind in such daily instances and, for the mind, such instances are silence. The silence that mind thinks is therefore a belief, because sound exists in instances where the mind thinks it does not. Similarly, sound exists when man thinks a belief, or applies effort or puts it into practice. The silence that is achieved by beliefs, effort or practice can only be a belief and not an actuality.
Man needs to understand that there is sound everywhere in life while he is awake or asleep. He just cannot hear all of them while awake and definitely not during sleep, not even those which he hears while awake. During deep sleep there is absence of sound, which is silence, and man longs to achieve this silence during the waking state by using his mind. Life has given deep sleep to man to keep his longing alive. But the mind, however, is incapable of becoming silent. The beliefs and practices only make the mind quiet for a short time, but definitely not silent. Therefore, man believes, and puts in effort and practices to achieve quietness, believing it to be silence.
So, what is silence? Silence is complete absence of sound, which is pure light. Silence happens to man when understanding happens to him that the world, man and mind is an optical and auditory illusion of light and sound.
Author: Dr. Vijai S. Shankar
German translator’s Note:
Humanity will be grateful for Dr. Shankar's article "What does silence mean?". It may awaken many a spiritual circle into life from the mind's dream of "practicing silence", if only man and woman are open to ponder deeply. The article reveals that silence is realized when word is understood as an illusion of sound, and not when sound is tried to be avoided through "meditation". What the mind calls silence is subtle sound only, which is a thought! Only when life is spontaneously from moment to moment realized as a play of light and sound, silence reveals itself beyond the mind, no matter whether sound transforms into words or not. Therefore meditation cannot be practiced to achieve silence. Meditation is a clear understanding that any experience including the experience of silence during meditation is illusory and not real.
Marcus Stegmaier Germany