Sound-life and silence-lifeNorthern State College; Aberdeen, South Dakota, USA
25 October 1974
Dear seekers, dear sisters and brothers, we are all sailing in our respective boats, but our destination is the same: the Golden Shore. We are all destined to reach our goal: the Goal of goals. I wish to give a talk as part of my devoted, dedicated service to the Divine Being, the Supreme Pilot in all of us. I wish to speak on sound and silence from the spiritual point of view.
In our outer life we notice that sound is quite often destructive; it embodies the message of destruction. In our outer life we also notice a kind of silence which is nothing short of isolation. The sound-life wants to destroy the world around us; this silence-life wants to destroy us. But destruction can never be the answer to our quest for the truth, light and bliss which our inner being needs in abundant measure. Nor is the isolation the answer to our life’s divine needs.
But there is also inner silence and inner sound. Inner silence is God-preparation in us. Inner sound is God-manifestation in and through us.
Outer sound-life is often uncontrollable. Modern technology, modern machinery, modern nuclear weapons sometimes threaten us. Although we have created them, these creations of ours threaten and frighten us; our own creations are beyond our control. This is the outer sound-life. When we are in a position to bring this outer sound-life under our control, we create a new life, a new promise, a new illumination, a new perfection within us. At that time we grow into a new dawn at every second of our life of aspiration.
Silence which advocates isolation can never be our choice divine. Isolation is the result of false renunciation. We try to renounce our friends, our relatives, our dear ones. We try to renounce society. But if we go on renouncing each and every person that we know, finally there will come a time when we will try to renounce ourselves. Today we renounce our parents, tomorrow we shall renounce our own existence. This kind of renunciation is not the answer to the world’s problems or to our individual problems. If we renounce the world, then we can never manifest the divinity within us. Acceptance is the answer, but not the ultimate answer. First we have to accept the world as it is and then we have to transform it. Today’s world of imperfection must be transformed into tomorrow’s world of perfect Perfection. This is our ultimate goal.
In the spiritual life we do have to renounce, but we have to be very careful about what we renounce. We have to renounce our undivine attitudes, our undivine earthly, unaspiring thoughts. And where do these things abide? They abide in our mind. We may enter into the Himalayan caves in the hope of totally forgetting about the outer world, but we carry with us our mind, the mind that unfortunately treasures undivine thoughts or, let us say, the mind that is an unfortunate victim to teeming undivine, unhealthy thoughts. No matter where we go, we cannot escape from the mind. Whether we are at home or elsewhere, the mind has to be transformed. And once the mind is transformed, a major problem in our life is solved.
In order to change or transform the mind, we have to take shelter in the heart. The heart is more than ready to shelter us. The heart has divine light. The heart is not the light, but it has light. Why? Because inside the heart is the living presence of the soul. The quality, the capacity, the beauty, the divinity of the soul permeate the entire body, but there is a specific place where the soul abides, and that is in the heart. So the heart receives more illumination from the soul. Of course, I am speaking of the spiritual heart, the divine heart within us, and not the emotional or physical heart.
The heart identifies. The mind separates. When the mind sings the song of separativity and division, naturally the mind cannot achieve satisfaction. But the heart has the capacity to identify itself with the universal Reality, and it always tries to do so. On the strength of its identification, it achieves satisfaction in boundless measure.
The sound-life and the silence-life prepare us to enter into the world of art. There are two types of art: the outer art and the inner art. The outer art is satisfied when it observes and discovers imperfection in others. The inner art is satisfied only when it sees perfection in others and perfection in itself — perfection within and perfection without.
There is a saying: “Art for art’s sake.” But this phrase does not satisfy a God-lover. If we say, “Art for God’s sake,” then immediately God comes into the matter. Suppose I draw a chair. I have to know that the capacity, the beauty, the reality, the soul that the drawing embodies will be very limited. But if I try to see God inside the chair and I try to bring to the fore God the Reality from the chair, then there is infinite scope for my own inner experience, inner realisation and God-manifestation in this work of art.
We have to know that life itself is the supreme art. How do we regulate our life-art? We regulate and discover our life-art through prayer and meditation. When we pray, we come to realise that there is Someone who is listening to us and who is showering His choicest Blessings upon our devoted head. While He is blessing us, He is descending into our prayer and moulding our lives into His very Image. When we meditate, we realise that God is constantly offering us His divine Message. While we were praying, we were talking and God was listening and doing the needful. Now, when we are meditating, we are just receiving. God is the Talker and we are the listener. He is giving us constantly the message of what to do, how to do it, when to do it and why to do it. We are just preparing ourselves so that He can act in and through us in His own inimitable and supreme Way.
The ordinary sound-life is the desire-life. With the desire-life there is always a sense of incompleteness, insufficiency. No matter how much we achieve, there is always something lacking, something missing. But in the silence-life there is always a sense of satisfaction, inner satisfaction. Even if we have only an iota of peace, light and bliss, we feel that we are satisfied. Today we are a tiny drop, but we know that this tiny drop has every opportunity and possibility of entering into the mighty ocean and becoming the mighty ocean itself.
The sound-life and the silence-life both prepare us for joy, unlimited joy. Unfortunately, the human in us quite often makes a deplorable mistake when it notices joy in others or in us. It comes to the conclusion that this joy is self-indulgence. When we notice that somebody is cheerful and happy, immediately we come to the conclusion that he is indulging himself. But this is totally false. Indulgence and happiness are two different things, like north and south pole. Indulgence comes from the undivine part in us. When we indulge in something, we have to know that the undivine in us is cherishing something — the small in us, not the vast is cherishing something. When we are really happy, we have to know that the divine in us, the infinite in us, is treasuring something and enjoying something.
We enjoy. God enjoys. We enjoy our emotional vital life. God, the supreme Enjoyer, enjoys His Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. Enjoyment in the physical and the vital is the precursor of destruction. But enjoyment in the heart or in the soul is divine, perfect and supreme. Enjoyment in the physical is the pleasure-life. The pleasure-life and the happiness-life are totally different things. In pleasure, what immediately looms large is frustration, and frustration is the harbinger of destruction, whereas happiness is a gradual movement, a gradual progress in us. It is like a river flowing towards its source, the sea, and this source is within us, not without.
In order to enter into the source we have to be satisfied with what we have and what we are, but not in a complacent manner.
Dissatisfaction with what we have and what we are does not mean that we are ready for a higher and more fulfilling life. No. If we are satisfied with what we have and, at the same time, if we know that there is a higher goal, a more fulfilling reality, then we can eventually reach our highest Destination.
Life’s ladder is right in front of us. It has quite a few rungs. After we step on the first rung, if we have confidence enough, then we can step to a higher rung. In this way, we move from joy to greater joy to greatest joy. But if we are dissatisfied with where we are, then there is every possibility that the higher rungs also will not give us satisfaction. We have to know that life’s process is just like progress through school. From kindergarten, we go to primary school, high school, college, university and so forth. At every moment we have to be satisfied with our present course of study, otherwise we will not study well and we will not progress to a higher level. But inside our satisfaction we should always be aiming at a higher goal. Divine satisfaction is not a complacent feeling. If we become complacent, then we are doomed to disappointment, for we will have no higher goal before us. We will not make any progress at all. We must be satisfied with what we have and, at the same time, we must feel that this is not the highest, the ultimate achievement. Today’s goal can never be the ultimate goal. Today’s goal has to be tomorrow’s starting point, and tomorrow’s goal has to be the starting point for the day after tomorrow.
In human life we notice two specific movements. From freedom, we have entered into the world of bondage. And from the world of bondage we are trying to enter into the world of freedom. If we try to live in the inner silence-world, then we feel that we have come into this world from a world of freedom, but that we have misused our freedom in the outer sound-world; therefore, we have been compelled to live in bondage. If we live in the outer sound-world, then we feel that from darkness we are entering into light. The outer sound-life tells us that we are in ignorance but that there is every possibility that we can enter into the world of light and delight and bring it into the earth-plane.
Right now the world of ignorance is our only reality. But when we meditate and light enters into us, we see that we have entered into the realm of darkness for a special purpose. We have to transform everything that is within us into something divine. Each and every part of our being has to be transformed. There is no other reason why we have entered into the world of ignorance. To be perfect in only one part of the being is not sufficient. Perfection must be found on every plane of our consciousness. That is why the light from above must enter into the world.
Service-life is the life of our soul. When we say ‘myself’, or ‘I’, we should be referring to the soul and not to the body or the body-consciousness. If I know myself as the soul, then I feel that I am the conscious representative of God. Him to manifest, Him to reveal: this is my purpose on earth. If I am of God and for God, then I must dive deep within. I must have a free access to the real reality within myself. When I feel at one with my inner reality, then I see around and within me the world of perfection.
The ultimate Goal of the sound-life and the silence life is perfection, and this perfection can be founded only upon self-dedication. The message of self-dedication we give through our constant inner cry. The mounting cry wants to reach the Transcendental height of perfect Joy, with all its infinite Light and Delight, for earth’s transformation and nature’s perfection. Here we are all seekers. This is our supreme task.