“A walnut kernel shaken against its shell makes a delicate sound, but
The walnut taste and the sweet oil inside makes unstruck music,
Mystics call the shell rattling talk; the other, the taste of silence.”
The value of silence was well understood by sages and mystical poets.
In this post I would like to bring to the readers the value of silence as perceived by some renowned spiritual leaders.
Once when Colman Barks (who had done a major work in translating Rumi) had a dream about Shams Tabriz, he was shown a cave which had internal pathways which led to many chambers and was called Rasa Shamsi (a Sanskrit word that was presented to him in this dream meaning ‘essence of Shams’). He was shown a central chamber and along the wall, in niches, many illustrious beings were seated and in the centre there was a chair like a throne. As he sits on the floor a man rises and admonishes that as an appropriate opening we sing in a strong voice. But Barks stood up and said “No silence is better” and the dream ended. To Barks it was the bedrock of silence which dominated the mysterious conversations (sobbet) of Rumi and Shams.
Carl Jung, the great Swiss depth psychologist and Gnostic initiate, was most creative in Bollinger tower. He associated this place healing power of being quiet. He says “Solitude is the fount of healing which makes my life worth living. Talking is often a torment for me and I need many days of silence to recover from the futility of words”. From 1923 till his death in 1961, Jung spent his time in this tower and was guided by an inner Gnostic called by him Philomon. In a stone plaque he renamed his home as ‘Philomon’s shrine’.
The cave or tower of silence symbolism has been reflected in the Upanishads. To illustrate this deeply understood concept of the true inner self Katha Upanishad says:
“Atman, smaller than the small, greater than the great, is hidden in the cave (hearts) of all living creatures. A man who is free from desires beholds the majesty of the Self through (silence) tranquillity of the senses and the mind and becomes free from grief.” ……………Katha Upanishad 2:20
Jiddu Krishnamurthy says:
“Silence and spaciousness go together. The immensity of silence is the immensity of the mind in which a centre does not exist. Always to seek for wider, deeper, transcendental experience is a form of escape from the actual reality of “what is,” which is our self, our own conditioned mind. A mind that is awaking, intelligent and free, why should it need, why should it have, any “experience” at all? Light is light; it does not ask for more light.”
Meditation is not a means of an end; there is no end, no arrival; it is a movement in time and out of time. Every system, method, binds thought to time, but choice-less awareness of every thought and feeling, understanding of their motives, their mechanism, allowing them to blossom, is the beginning of meditation. When thoughts and feelings flourish and die, meditation is the movement beyond time. In this movement there is ecstasy. In complete emptiness there is love, and with love there is destruction and creation.