The height of silence and the might of sound
Part I: Silence
I saw in his eyesHe slept in silence.
I saw in his closed eyes
The Peace of God.
He woke up in silence.
I saw in his blossomed eyes
The Joy of God.
He walked in silence.
I saw in his glowing eyes
The Light of God.
He ran in silence.
I saw in his ambrosial eyes
The Life of God.
SilenceLife needs and wants victory, but the victory that we achieve in the world of sound does not last for long. This victory is very fleeting. The victory that we achieve in the world of silence is everlasting, and each time a victory dawns in this inner world we feel that we are being prepared for a higher and more fulfilling victory in tomorrow's Dawn.
An ordinary man thinks either that silence cannot be achieved or that it is of no avail. But a seeker knows that silence can be achieved on the strength of his inner cry. He also knows that silence is of tremendous importance, for without silence we cannot see the face of Truth or grow into the very image of Truth and Light. Silence is within but we have to discover it. Unless and until we discover our inner silence, we cannot feel that we are of God and for God. Inner silence is not just the absence of thoughts. No! Silence is the blossoming of our indomitable inner will. Silence is our inner wisdom-light. This wisdom-light is our conscious and constant surrender to the Will of our Inner Pilot, who inspires us, encourages us and guides us to the Shores of the Golden Beyond.
Silence is preparation, our preparation for God's examination. We come to know God's Hour only when we observe silence, only when we dive deep within. An unaspiring person does not and cannot know God's Hour. If God's Hour dawns in his life he fails to notice it. But a seeker who practises silence every day for half an hour or an hour knows when God's Hour is going to strike. And God not only tells him when the Hour will strike but also, like a private tutor, helps the seeker to pass his inner examination.
Silence is our protection. When we live in silence, we are protected by God's mightiest Power, His all-illumining Light. At that time the negative forces of fear, doubt, anxiety, worry, insecurity and selfishness can have no access to our inner being. We are protected by God within and without at every moment.
Silence is our transformation. When we observe silence consciously, our outer being is transformed. This transformation is a great achievement for Mother Earth. When a human being is transformed, Mother Earth feels that she has achieved something momentous, something that can be kept for Eternity for the rest of humanity to treasure. And this transformation becomes a foundation for a higher and mightier achievement in the ever-continuing process of evolution.
Silence is our will-power. This will-power conquers the very pride of ignorance-night and manifests the Light of Divinity's Delight in aspiring souls who want to climb up to the highest pinnacle and bring down the message of Immortality to earth. Our human mind says, "Silence is emptiness; it is sheer emptiness and nothingness." But our aspiring heart knows that silence is the fulness and plenitude of our Eternity's Height and Infinity's Light.
Purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate
Purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate
Infinity is that.
Infinity is this.
From Infinity, Infinity has come into existence.
From Infinity, when Infinity is taken away, Infinity remains.
This is the message that we get from silence. Again, the soul tells us that silence is oneness, our inseparable oneness, our universal oneness with the Pilot Supreme.
Silence is our Truth-consciousness, our highest Reality. This Reality in the inner world is our divine Love, our supreme Love for the world at large. And this Reality in the outer world is the supreme Glory of the Supreme for aspiring humanity.
Here we are all seekers. At times we are prone to watch our weaknesses, incapacities, limitations and imperfections. When we do this we are bound to be disappointed with ourselves. But our inner silence illumines us. It says, "Don't be disappointed. It is God within you who is going through a series of experiences in and through your imperfections." When we realise God, we see that these imperfections were necessary at the time for our evolution. And then, when they were no longer necessary, these imperfections were turned into perfections. From darkness we enter into Light. From the unreal we enter into Reality. From death we enter into Immortality.
Asato ma sad gamaya
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
Mrityor ma amritam gamaya
Lead me from the unreal to the Real.
Lead me from darkness to Light.
Lead me from death to Immortality.
Silence tells the seeker in us to love, to love himself. It tells us it is wrong to hate ourselves because of our imperfections. When the seeker loves himself, loves the Divine within himself, he eventually realises the Ultimate Truth. Then he comes to realise that it was not he who loved the Divine in himself, but it was God the Lover who loved God the eternal Beloved Supreme within him.
In Heaven God is Silence-dream. On earth God is Reality-Sound. In His Silence, God prepares Himself. Through His cosmic Sound, God manifests Himself. The transcendental Silence is our Source, and the emanating sound is our manifestation. The higher we go, the deeper the silence we enjoy. And the deeper the silence we enjoy, the more fulfilling the manifestation of our divinity.
Part II: Questions and answers on sound and silence
When I sang the silence-songWhen God sang the sound-song,
I told Him that it was not fair;
He was singing my song.
When I sang the silence-song,
God happily and unconditionally
Told me that
Since I had learnt His song
He could peacefully retire.
Question: What is the sound that we sometimes hear in a river?Sri Chinmoy: It is the sound of movement and forward progress. It is progressing towards its destination. Movement can occur at one spot. Somebody can be singing and dancing in the same spot. A runner can be jogging in the same spot, lifting his legs. But he can also run forward.
Similarly, a river is the movement of consciousness. A river has water and water signifies consciousness. When the river flows it is the forward movement of consciousness. The sound of a river that we hear is the sound that embodies the forward movement of consciousness.
Question: How can a spiritual aspirant attain and maintain silence?Sri Chinmoy: The spiritual aspirant can attain and maintain silence only by diving deep within. He has to feel that every moment is a golden opportunity to transcend himself. He has to feel God as his very own. If he can do this, then without fail he will get silence and he will be able to maintain silence.
Question: Why did God create sound?Sri Chinmoy: God created sound in order to know outwardly what He is inwardly. Inwardly He knows what He is, but if He does not outwardly manifest His inner Divinity then the world cannot accept Him, cannot realise Him. So He created sound just for the sake of manifestation, His own manifestation.
Question: Which is better to become: the best of silence or the best of sound?Sri Chinmoy: It is always advisable to become both the best of silence and the best of sound all at once. We have to know what is meant by "the best of silence" and "the best of sound." The best of silence means our highest Height, the ever-transcending Height. The best of sound means God-manifestation in and through us, constantly, consciously and unconditionally.
Question: What is God's favourite sound?Sri Chinmoy: God's favourite sound is the sound of His inner Music. This inner Music is the music of earth's transformation and mankind's life-perfection.
Question: What is the sound that music creates?Sri Chinmoy: There are two types of music: earthly music and Heavenly music. There is also a third type which is the Music of the Supreme. Earthly music stimulates the vital in us, Heavenly music illumines us and spreads the divinity within us and the Music of the Supreme fulfils the Reality within us.
Question: What is the most meaningful sound for spiritual awakening?Sri Chinmoy: The most meaningful sound is AUM, which is the mother of all Indian mantras. Mantra means incantation. But if we say that AUM is an Indian mantra, it will be an act of injustice to God's most sublime and unparalleled Message to humanity. God's Message in the form of AUM will always remain unparalleled. AUM is the combination of three letters, A-U-M, which represent the three principal figures in the heart of the Supreme: Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Transformer. The moment we start chanting or pronouncing AUM, 'A' is purifying the physical in us. When we pronounce 'A' soulfully, it purifies the ignorance of millennia within us. When we chant 'U' most soulfully we have to feel that all our vital emotions from time immemorial are illumined. And when we chant 'M' most soulfully, we have to feel that our limited, sophisticated, earthbound mind is totally freed from the meshes of ignorance. So if you can pronounce, if you can chant most soulfully A-U-M, then the body consciousness is purified, the vital consciousness is illumined and the mental consciousness is perfected. When this is done, we become undoubtedly the supreme instruments of the Absolute Supreme.
Question: Does the experience of sound come from the heart or from the mind?Sri Chinmoy: The experience of sound must come from the heart. It is inside the heart, inside the soul. From the heart the sound, like a river, can flow right up to the head. It can flow up. It can flow down. But the experience must originate in the inner heart, spiritual heart. This is the place where the soul is located. It is actually the light of the soul coming to the fore that we hear in the form of sound.
Question: Guru, I can be outwardly silent, but in my mind and vital there are many disturbing sounds. How can I be really silent?Sri Chinmoy: There are some people who have disturbing sounds within them, but outwardly they pretend to be very silent. If they have real divine silence in the depth of their heart, then outwardly they will also have silence. But if the inside is false, then the outside will also be false. Outside we see the reflection of what we have within. So if we want to be really silent, then first we have to be silent within, inside our heart. Then automatically there will come a time when the mind and vital will also be silent and freed from the disturbing sounds.
Question: How can a person manifest the highest, most joyful music in his soul while playing a musical instrument?Sri Chinmoy: While playing a musical instrument, you have to feel that music is the universal language, that music has and also is the key to unlock the Heart-Door of the Supreme. It is only music that has a free access to unlock the Heart-Door of the universal Heart of the Supreme. If you can do that, then the musician in you will be able to manifest the Highest.
Question: Is silence the Language of God or the medium through which the Supreme communicates to our soul?Sri Chinmoy: Silence is at once the Language of God and also the best medium through which the Supreme communicates not only to our soul, but also to our outer being. Our soul understands the message, the language of silence, but our outer being does not understand it. Once our outer being is purified and our outer life is considerably disciplined, then like the soul, we will be able to understand the Silence-language of God when He offers us any message.
Question: How can sound and silence help us to grow spiritually?Sri Chinmoy: Sound and silence can help us to grow spiritually provided we know what to expect from silence and from sound. From silence we have to expect the potential of a seed. And from sound we have to expect the capacity of a tree. If there is no seed there can be no tree. Again, if there is no tree there can be no seed. Here the seed is silence. Now if the seed remains only under the ground, then what good does it to? It has to germinate, it has to become a plant and then a huge tree with flowers and fruits and so forth. Then only is the tree helping mankind, serving the Supreme in mankind. If a seeker knows that silence is the seed and sound is the tree, then he will be able to grow spiritually.
Question: How is it that sound in the form of music can so immediately awaken and inspire our hearts?Sri Chinmoy: Sound in the form of music immediately awakens and inspires our hearts because music embodies the Absolute Lord Supreme. The Lord Supreme also is cherishing His most treasured Wealth, which is music. His Music is universal Harmony, universal Peace, universal Love.
Music is the universal Body of the Supreme. If music is taken away from God, then God's Body is taken. Now if the body is gone, the soul is useless. Similarly, the body without the soul is of no help. The body we need for manifestation and the soul we need for realisation. It is like the instrument and the musician. Without the instrument how can anything be played? The musician will remain alone as an individual, unmanifested. And if there is no musician, who will play on the instrument? Both are supremely necessary.
Question: How does meditation help to expand the silence within ourselves?Sri Chinmoy: Meditation undoubtedly helps to expand the silence within ourselves. Meditation is like an inner flashlight. When you enter into a dark room with a flashlight, immediately the room is illumined. When we enter with our meditation into our subconscious, unconscious, or even inconscient parts, immediately we feel that Light has dawned. And when the Light dawns, immediately the Divinity, which is the silence within us, gets the opportunity for expansion, universal expansion.
Question: I've heard that there are different tones or notes for each Heaven. Could you please describe them?Sri Chinmoy: Heaven means the higher worlds in this case. There are seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. Each world has a music of its own and a note of its own. The higher worlds have a music that awakens us, inspires us, illumines us, perfects and fulfils us. The music of the higher worlds constantly comes to us as the harbinger of the highest Height, whereas the music of the lower worlds naturally comes to us as a messenger of destruction.
It is not only the higher and lower worlds that have a music of their own; each individual has his music, each movement has music, each action has music. Each time we breathe in and breathe out there is music. When we don't pay attention to the inner depth of the action, we don't hear the music. If we do pay adequate attention to each action, then inside the very depth of that action we are bound to hear music. Unless we hear music inside each action, the action is lifeless.
Question: How can we best silence the sounds of our minds and expand the silence of our hearts?Sri Chinmoy: We can best silence the sounds of our mind by knowing that whatever the mind gives us is insufficient. The mind will never be able to give us the sense of satisfaction and perfection. It will always fall short of perfection.
But what will the heart give us? The heart will give us the message of identification, oneness, inseparable oneness with the Absolute, the Highest, the Universal and the Transcendental. On the strength of our identification with the Absolute we will get what He has. If He is eternal then we will become one with His Eternity. If He is infinite then we will become one with His Infinity. If He is immortal then we will become one with His Immortality. This is what we get on the strength of our identification with the heart.
A seeker has to know the limitations of the mind. The mind gets tremendous pleasure by limiting itself, by separating itself, by showing its own individuality. But the heart does not want to maintain its individuality or personality. It only wants to melt into the infinite Vast. A drop wants to enter into the mighty ocean and cries to become the ocean itself. If we have that kind of inner awareness, then we will be able to silence our mind. We will be able to silence the sounds of our mind and expand the silence of our heart.
Question: What is the spiritual significance of the sound of AUM?Sri Chinmoy: The spiritual significance of the sound of AUM is earth's cry for Heaven's smile. This cry of earth ascends to the Highest Absolute. The Highest Absolute descends to the earth-cry, for they need each other. Earth needs the smile of Heaven so that it can claim that it is complete and perfect. And when Heaven hears the cry of earth it feels that it is complete and perfect. It is not that Heaven feels a kind of malicious pleasure from earth's cry, far from it. Only Heaven feels that earth has the real need for something high, divine and sublime. When a child has a real need for milk he cries and the mother immediately gives the child milk. But if the child is not crying for milk and the mother gives him milk, he will just throw it away. This happens quite often. But when earth feels a real need it cries and then Heaven has the opportunity to give what it has: Light infinite.
Question: Is there a different sound for each person or is the divine Sound the same for everyone?Sri Chinmoy: The divine Sound is the same for everyone. But if one's heart of receptivity has not grown sufficiently then he will hear the Sound only very faintly. And if when he is hearing it his mind starts functioning all of a sudden, then he will hear the divine Sound in a slightly different way. But the Sound is always the same. When an advanced person sees something, he sees it in its totality. But when someone is not advanced he sees only a portion of the reality. If a seeker is really advanced, his interpretation, his embodiment or revelation of the Sound will be different from that of others who have just heard the Sound on a lower level. God-realisation is like a tree; you can come and touch the foot of the tree, you can climb up a little, or you can climb up to the highest branch and stop. And again you can come down with the fruit. If you ask me if everybody will have the same type of God-realisation, then I will answer, "No." Somebody will touch the tree of God-realisation and say, "Oh, it is like this." Somebody will climb up part of the way and say something else. Still another will climb up higher to the Highest and he will describe it in a different way. Then somebody will bring down the fruit and distribute it. Naturally his experience of the realisation-tree will be different. So also, the experience of the divine Sound will be different for each individual, although the reality itself is the same.
Question: What is the height and depth of inner silence?Sri Chinmoy: The height and depth of the inner silence is the song of God's ever-transcending Height and ever-deepening Depth. With His Height He eternally becomes. With His Depth He eternally offers Himself.
Question: Is the soul able to run the fastest with sound or with silence?Sri Chinmoy: If it is the Will of God then the soul can run the fastest with the help of silence, inner silence. Or if God wants, the soul can run the fastest with the help of sound. There is no hard and fast rule. Some people aspire through manifestation; other people manifest through aspiration. Here, sound is manifestation and silence is aspiration. In some cases God manifests Himself in and through those whom He has given the capacity to aspire. Again there are some people whom He has given the capacity to aspire through devoting themselves to the supreme cause of manifesting the Reality, the Source. A seeker can run the fastest when he has the capacity of both aspiration and manifestation. It is like having two legs: one leg is aspiration, another leg is manifestation. If one uses both legs, then naturally he will run faster, much faster than if he used only one leg.
Question: Should we maintain specific periods of outer silence other than meditation?Sri Chinmoy: Yes. Sometimes it is quite necessary to have outer silence for half an hour or an hour, apart from one's deep meditation. When we talk unnecessarily it weakens us; it weakens our subtle nerves. Then at the time of our real meditation we won't be able to meditate well. This does not mean that you will remain silent for hour and hours. That will be an act of self-deception because outwardly you are keeping silent but inwardly your mind is in the gutter, roaming and roaming. That kind of silence is no silence. Only your mouth and tongue are not functioning. You are deliberately forcing the mouth not to open, but that is of no help. But fifteen minutes, half an hour or an hour of silence after the meditation or before the meditation will help us. If we observe silence before the meditation then it strengthens us. If we remain silent after the meditation is over then we get the opportunity to assimilate the Peace, Light and Bliss that we have received in abundant measure during our meditation. This assimilation is of paramount importance because without it, all that we have received will be wasted.
Question: How can I transform or incorporate into my meditation sounds from outside? At present I find sounds most disturbing.Sri Chinmoy: In the beginning it is not advisable for seekers to incorporate outer sounds into their meditation. In the beginning it is always advisable to ignore the fact that there are sounds. In the beginning we have to be very careful and try to disassociate ourselves from imperfect things that create problems for us.
Suppose we have two rooms, a kitchen and a living room. The kitchen is in a mess, and the living room is in very good condition. If we don't have the eagerness or the capacity to fix and clean up the kitchen then we should remain in the living room and receive strength, joy and inner determination. When we have that we will then go into the kitchen and clean the dishes and so forth. So in the spiritual life a beginning seeker should meditate in a quiet place if at all possible. Right now it will be impossible for you to incorporate extraneous sounds into your meditation. It is like trying to unite the north pole and the south pole. Instead you should try to feel that your aspiration-power is infinitely more powerful than the sound that you are hearing. Even if you hear an atom bomb drop, you have to feel that your aspiration-power is infinitely more powerful than the sound of the atom bomb. When your aspiration is this tremendous, intense and powerful, then you can try to incorporate the sound itself into your own reality without disturbing your peace of mind. You will try to accept the sound with all its power, with all its destructive quality, and then transform it.
But if you are not strong enough and you try to incorporate the sound, it will be sheer stupidity. Your meditation will be no meditation.
When you have enough will-power you can transform everything. But if the power of the thing you want to transform is greater than your will-power, then you have to remain separate. When you have more power you can accept it and transform it in your own way. When I was fifteen or sixteen years old, I had to undergo an operation. The doctor was operating on me, and I was smiling at him. The doctor said. "Why are you smiling, why are you so happy? How is it that you are not shouting and screaming?" I said, "I know what kind of pain I was supposed to have while you were operating, but I have already transformed that pain into joy. That's why I am enjoying it." My concentration-power was on one side and the fear of the pain of the operation was on the other side. The pain and the fear had their own power, and my concentration also had its own power. But I knew that my power of concentration was much more powerful than the pain that I was about to undergo. Immediately before the operation took place I had transformed the pain into joy, and I was smiling and laughing. You yourself can eventually use will-power to transform the sounds that disturb you. But if you don't have the capacity right now, you should avoid them for the time being.
Question: What is the sound that I hear when I go deep within?Sri Chinmoy: When you go deep within you hear a sound similar to a gong. But unlike a gong, nothing has to be struck to produce this sound. When you hear it you can feel that it vibrates right from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head. Like a river that sound is flowing from its source deep in your heart.
Question: Can we have sound and silence at the same time?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, in the soul it is quite possible. We use the term 'soundless sound'. When we chant AUM we use our tongue, our mouth, our earthly physical organs to produce an outer sound. In the outer world two things must strike together to produce sound. But in our heart, in the inmost recesses of our heart, there is a constant sound, a soundless sound going on. It is called anahata nada and it is unstruck. So in the heart, silence itself is the sound and sound itself is the silence. Silence embodies sound and sound embodies silence. When seekers are far advanced they hear that sound, the soundless sound.
Question: When one is purposely attacked, should he remain silent?Sri Chinmoy: If he is attacked on the physical plane, he has to protect himself. I am not going to attack anyone, but if somebody comes and unnecessarily attacks me, and if I allow him to kick me and kill me, then how am I going to represent or manifest God on earth? If somebody purposely comes and attacks me, self-defence is absolutely necessary. He who is attacking me or striking me is not my saviour — far from it. He has only surrendered to ignorance and that is why he is striking me, an innocent fellow. If I allow him to strike me as long as he wants to, it means that I am consciously helping him in his ignorance. No, I shall not attack anybody, but at the same time I shall not allow anybody to attack me because then I will not be able to do God's Will. If God wants me to do something for Him or God wants to act in and through me, then why should I surrender to somebody's ignorance and allow him to strike me? If I allow it then God's Purpose, God's Mission in me will remain unfulfilled and incomplete.
Question: Occasionally during meditation I momentarily hear a soft voice. How can I hear this voice more clearly?Sri Chinmoy: You can hear this voice more clearly if you try to feel that inside the physical heart there is a divine heart, an inner spiritual heart. First try to feel it inside you and then try to see it. Once you can see it you will hear this voice most clearly. Now you have to know that the heart that you are going to see is not smaller than the physical heart. We always feel that something must be smaller in order for it to fit inside something else. If I have a vessel and I want to put another one inside it, naturally the vessel that I am putting inside must be smaller. But in the case of the spiritual heart, it is not like that. The spiritual heart, which is inside the physical heart, is infinite. How can something infinite be inside the finite? Your mind will not be able to understand it. But God the Infinite Himself is within us; that is why we are praying and meditating. Similarly, the inner heart which is inside the heart is infinitely more powerful and infinitely larger than the physical heart. If you can see it once, then immediately you will be able to hear most clearly its strength, its capacity in the form of sound. When we enter inside the spiritual heart we can hear this sound most powerfully and constantly. To create this sound we don't have to strike anything. We call it anahata, unstruck sound. Here on the physical plane we must strike two hands together to produce a sound, but this most powerful inner sound is not struck by anything or anyone. This is the difference between earthly sound and inner sound.
Question: How can the soul speak with an audible voice in the language that it spoke during life in another country?Sri Chinmoy: The soul can adopt any language in order to express itself. The soul has the quintessence of God's capacity. God is omniscient; He knows everything. So each individual soul also has some limited capacity to know all the languages. The father teaches the child all that he knows, but the child learns according to his capacity. Father starts teaching the child the alphabet: A, B, C; and the child learns. Then after a few years the father teaches him a higher course. So the human in us, the body in us will not be able to speak in all the languages; only the soul can. But again, the soul does not actually use the language that we use. The soul uses the soul's language, which is Light. It is through Light that the soul expresses itself. When the soul's light expresses itself to the physical in us, the physical mind gets the message in a way it can understand. It is not actually words that the soul is using. The soul is offering and scattering its light and the physical is receiving it in the way that it convinces itself. The physical mind wants to become convinced in order to say something or feel something within. Unless the mind is convinced it is not satisfied. So when we hear the soul talking in human language, it is actually the mind that is receiving the soul's light in a way convincing to itself.
Question: How can I know silence?Sri Chinmoy: You can know silence only when you become silence. And how can you become silence? You can become silence only when you feel that the Creator in you has a special purpose. He is creating you for his own manifestation on earth.
Question: How can the voice of someone who has passed to another plane be made audible for everyone to hear?Sri Chinmoy: The actual human voice of someone who has passed to another plane is not what you hear. The soul is only bringing to the fore a voice so that your physical mind can be convinced. The soul can identify itself with the voice of someone who lived on earth two hundred, three hundred or four hundred years ago. It is very easy for the soul. The soul can do it in the twinkling of an eye. But the soul has to adopt a specific voice, so that the physical mind of the person who hears it will understand it and believe it. Nevertheless, this is done by the soul, not by the imaginative mind of the person who is receiving the message. The soul wants to convey the message, so it first identifies with the voice of that person when he was on the physical plane and then brings down the voice in order to be convincing.
But suppose you want to hear the voice of the Christ or of someone else with whom you had no earthly contact. Perhaps you have never seen your grandfather and you are hearing his voice. Now, you have never seen him and you have never heard his voice. But your soul or his soul can easily contact the physical plane of your grandfather and bring down accurately his voice to convince you. If it is a divine person you want to hear, then naturally your soul will go and bring the most accurate voice from the physical incarnation of the person and offer you the message so that your physical mind is convinced. Of course, the human physical mind is blind and ignorant and can easily be fooled by other forces. But the divine Force is not going to fool anybody; the real spiritual Master is not going to fool anybody, although a fake Master will. And the soul, which is our divine part, can never deceive us. It is like a real mother. A mother will not deceive her child. If the mother is drinking milk, the mother will give real milk to the child and not something false. So the soul's light will offer the real message to the person who wants to hear the voice.
Question: Would you describe the relationship between sound and soul?Sri Chinmoy: The relationship between sound and soul is the relationship between the cage and the bird. The bird is the soul and the sound is the cage. Now when the soul-bird is inside the sound, inside the body, inside the cage, it will reach for its own manifestation. For its own manifestation the soul uses the cage, and for its own realisation the sound uses the bird.
Question: Does our outer silence help us to establish true inner silence?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, to some extent it does. But in outer silence we have to know if the mind is really silent. Otherwise only the body is silent while the mind is constantly moving here, there and everywhere. This is of no use. But if the body consciousness itself is not offering its capacity or light to the sound-world, then it is a great help. At that time the body that is outwardly silent becomes a kind of reflection of the inner silence, or let us say, the result of our inner silence. If you have the seed you can have the fruit and because you have the fruit there is the seed. The culmination of the seed is the fruit and the source of the fruit is the seed. The source will always be there and the movement of the source will also always be there. Otherwise the source is incomplete and the movement is incomplete — the race is incomplete.
I saw in the silenceIn the desert-silence
I saw God the Warrior.
In the forest-silence
I saw God the Lover.
In the mountain-silence
I saw God the Dreamer.
In the ocean-silence
I saw God the Awakener.
In the sky-silence
I saw God the Liberator.
Question: What is the spiritual essence of Beethoven's sound-creation-manifestation?Sri Chinmoy: The spiritual essence of Beethoven's sound-creation-manifestation is that the outer life can be harmonised, liberated and fulfilled by the soul's conscious guidance of the physical in us. Even if the outer life starts from the darkest ignorance, it has its hope. First it has hope, then it has the certainty of its total transformation, illumination and perfection.
When Beethoven's music starts, it gives the feeling of a mad elephant, first striking this side, then that side. We can imagine it striking one wall, then moving to the other side and striking another wall, but it is moving, moving, constant movement. Then the movement, after getting a few blows, after breaking heads here and there, goes towards the goal. Whether we call it soulful movement, vital movement or something else, it eventually reaches the goal.
Question: What is sound to the musician?Sri Chinmoy: To the musician, sound is his own child. It is like a flower to the garden: a garden without a flower is useless. Similarly, the musician is useless without his beautiful inner child. The musician and sound are like the Creator and the creation. They are inseparable and indispensable to each other.
Question: What is the sound of the aspiring heart?Sri Chinmoy: The sound of the aspiring heart is constant self-giving. This self-giving is God-becoming. While offering himself, the supreme lover has to feel this sound as something indispensable in his relationship with God the Supreme Beloved.
We have to feel that the sound of the aspiring heart is embodying the eternal treasure which is God's manifestation on the strength of his identification. And at the same time we have to feel that the heart not only embodies the Supreme Beloved in us but is itself the Beloved. Sound is the child in us, the lover in us, that is running towards the Supreme Beloved. This child is always full of life energy and always running towards the Goal, its Father and Mother.
Question: What do we expect from our sound-lives and silence-lives?Sri Chinmoy: From our sound-life we expect God-manifestation from our silence-life we expect God-realisation. Sound-life is very often misunderstood because there are those who feel that when we try to manifest God, it is only for the expansion of our own ego. And again, silence-life is also misunderstood when we try to lead only a silence-life and do not offer anything to the world at large. When we totally cut off our connection with the world around us we are misunderstood. When we are in silence-life we have to feel that we are expecting Peace, Light and Bliss. And when we are in the sound-life we have to feel that the time has come for us to offer the things that we have achieved and received: Peace, Light and Bliss in abundant measure. First we learn, then we give. Silence-life is learning; sound-life is giving.
Question: What sound most closely approaches silence?Sri Chinmoy: Subtle art is the sound that most closely approaches silence, the Silence-Height. There is also another sound which is very, very close to the Silence-Height and that is the earth-transforming sound of the seeker's dedicated and surrendered service.
Question: How can I discriminate a soulful sound from other sounds?Sri Chinmoy: When it is a soulful sound there is immediate joy and immediate self-expansion. This self-expansion is not egocentric; it is something divine, something supreme, something universal. A soulful sound is like music that is produced for all. With it the 'I' goes away. In soulful sound there is no 'I'. it is all 'we'. Other sounds are produced by the individual for the individual, but a soulful sound is produced by the Universal in us, by the Eternal in us, by the Absolute in us. The soulful sound is of Eternity and for Infinity and Immortality. This is how we distinguish the soulful sound from other sounds. Other sounds have their originality in individuality, but soulful sounds have their originality in universality.
Question: How can our sound-life most effectively serve our aspiration?Sri Chinmoy: Here we have to know what we mean by sound-life. If we take sound-life to mean our sense of dedication to the Supreme, the supreme Cause, then we have to know that there is only one way it can serve our aspiration. It can serve our aspiration by teaching us to lose our expectations. If we expect something in return then our aspiration will not be effective. We shall give to our heart's content, unconditionally. But the moment we expect something from the world and think, "Oh, we have done so much for the world, the world has not given us anything in return," then our aspiration will not be effective at all. Sometimes we do not expect anything beforehand. First we give and then after giving we start to expect. I give you one dollar and then I feel that since I have given you a dollar you have to give me a dollar back. Sometimes even before I give you the dollar I feel that whether I give it to you or not you have to give a dollar to me. This kind of expectation we have. And whenever there is expectation, frustration is bound to follow.
So sound-life can only make our aspiring life effective and fruitful if we do not expect anything from our dedication. We know that if the child gives his capacity of one dollar to the mother, the mother in return will give her capacity, which is hundreds of dollars. But if the child has given one cent or ten cents and expects it back from the mother, she may give two cents or she may not give at all. The mother may think that the child is only giving so that he can get something more from her in return. The mother then will tell the child to wait for the time when everything is his. She will feel that it is wrong for the child to give her a cent so that he can get five cents or ten cents in return. She will tell the child, "You give me what you have, that's all. Then it is my duty to give you what I have."
Question: There is much sound which shatters the inner silence. Should this type of sound be avoided?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, in the beginning this sound must be avoided, but there comes a time when your inner being is surcharged with indomitable strength. At that time the sound has to be accepted, challenged and transformed. If anything in us or around us is not transformed, then our own transformation will remain incomplete; neither earth's transformation nor God's Satisfaction will be complete.
Question: We know that the inner light's purpose is to illumine and transform us. What is the purpose of the inner sound, the soundless sound?Sri Chinmoy: The purpose of the soundless sound is God-revelation and God-manifestation. It embodies God all the time, but it has to reveal and manifest Him. It has reached its first goal, but the second and third goals are not yet reached. Revelation is the second goal and manifestation the third and ultimate Goal. But there is no end even to this ultimate Goal. You can say that it has reached something but it has not yet stopped reaching something else. When we aspire we realise something. But our aspiration does not end; on the contrary, it only begins again for a higher realisation. So, to come back to your question, the main purpose of the soundless sound is God-manifestation in God's own Way at God's choice Hour.
Question: What is the essential difference between sound and silence?Sri Chinmoy: There is no essential difference between sound and silence provided they are the divine Sound and the divine Silence. The divine Sound is God-manifestation and the divine Silence is God-realisation. God in His highest Height is Silence. God in His universal Form is Sound. So if we are speaking of the divine, then we have to know there is no difference; it is like the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. But if it is all false silence and false sound, then it is only the song of self-deception.
Question: What does God's Music sound like?Sri Chinmoy: God's Music is heard by each individual according to his own capacity of receptivity. God plays the same music, but it will sound one way to one person and totally different to another. When a professor gives a talk, there will be many students in the same classroom. One student will understand the professor's talk in a way totally different from another. Because of his inner capacity, the best student in the class will understand much more than the worst student in the class. God's Music is heard, valued, understood and felt in a specific way according to the listener's own capacity of receptivity
Question: What sound can I make that will most please and fulfil the Supreme?Sri Chinmoy: You have already started making the sound that pleases the Supreme most. Do you know what that sound is? That is the sound of self-giving, devoted, cheerful, soulful and unconditional self-giving.
Again, there can be no end to your inner and outer progress. Do you know why? The reason is very simple: the supreme Dreamer in you is constantly in your heart of aspiration-plane and in your life of dedication-train dreaming His cosmic Dream in order to manifest His Divinity's Light, Eternity's Height and Infinity's Love here on earth.
I give birthI give birth to thunder-noise
When I challenge the pride
I give birth to silence-voice
When I sleep in the heart
Of my aspiration-light.
Question: Guru, I would like to ask you one last question. How can I get rid of my sound-life during my meditation and acquire inner peace? Could you elaborate on the inner peace?Sri Chinmoy: The outer world needs peace. Now, how can we have outer peace? Can we have that peace by making friends with the whole world? No. We may have many friends, even true friends, bosom friends, but that does not mean that we will have peace in the outer world. I assure you that even if the whole outer world becomes friendship itself and everyone is ready to offer help, there will be no peace in the outer world. Outer peace will come into existence only when we discover inner peace. This inner peace is something which we already have. It is not something that we have to invent; it is something we have to discover.
God gave us this inner peace the moment our soul entered into the world. But what happens? Once we have entered into the world, our conscious mind pays more importance to the outer world of temptation; the result is that temptation takes us to its dearest child, frustration. It is there that we lose all our inner peace. If there were no interference from temptation in our lives, then we would have peace.
This temptation covers everything, and inside this temptation is fear, worry, doubt and other negative forces. And the worst, the mightiest force that temptation cherishes inside us is attachment. When we are attached we are lost, but when we are devoted we are fulfilled. When we focus our attention on something bright, pure, divine, this is devotion. We are devoted to the divine qualities within us and around us. But attachment is something else. We are attached to the body, to the finite. When we are attached, we take things part by part, little by little, and there we remain. We are attached to an infinitesimal portion of something. The very cry of our attachment starts with an absolutely minute particle. Then naturally it tries to grow. Today I am attached to one thing, tomorrow I am attached to two things or many things. But when we are devoted, we are devoted to the infinite Light, infinite Peace; everything is in infinite measure. It is like a flood. We enter into the flood to lose our very existence in the flood of Light, the flood of Reality, the flood of Plenitude.
Now we are saying that we need peace in the outer world; hence we have to invent outer peace. Now, how can we invent outer peace? Even in the material world in order to invent something we need some substance. When a scientist invents something, his mind, his brain, his inner capacity all come to the fore. Here we see the necessity of everything that the man has or embodies in order to invent something. But in the case of peace the same person needs only one instrument: inner peace. If this inner peace is not brought to the fore, then the man can never have peace in the outer life. If the inner peace does not come to the fore and make the outer circumstances peaceful, the peace that we may see in the outer life will be like a counterfeit coin. Friendship, amity and harmony in society will not have an abiding substance if the inner peace is wanting. Everything will last indefinitely if we can use inner peace as our most powerful instrument to guide the outer life, the world that we see around us.
How can we have this inner peace? We can have it just by crying, crying for inner peace, Now, how can we cry for the inner peace? It is not easy to cry sincerely. How can we cry sincerely? We can cry by looking at our own image. If we cannot perceive our face without a mirror, we must stand in front of a mirror and see how helpless, how hopeless we are. We will see that millions of thoughts come and float right on our face. Now at this point, we must not be depressed. What we have to do is feel, "Is this my face? Is this my lot? Is this what I actually look like? I want to change my face, my fate; but how? By feeling tremendous inner confidence that I am God's child. Until now, I have allowed myself to be eaten away by ignorance. Now I will not allow anything or anybody to devour me. I will only allow God to devour me. Let Him eat me up." When we can have that kind of offering or feeling in our life, that we are ready to be eaten by God, piece by piece, each drop of blood, then we will see that a cry automatically comes. When we are ready to give, there comes a cry: "God, take me; what I have and what I am, take me. What I have is absolute ignorance, within and without. What I am right now is Your infinite Consolation and Your infinite Compassion and my very limited determination. The only thing I have is a bundle of ignorance on my shoulders." If we can offer everything at the Feet of God, then God enters into us with His Infinity. When we see Infinity entering into us, it is the cry of fulfilment that we see within and without.
So, let us cry. Let us feel at every moment the crying need for something that we do not have, that we do not know how to embody. In the inner world we have everything: Peace, Light, Bliss, God. But in the outer world we are lacking these very things. If we can pay more attention to the inner world, naturally the presiding deities of the inner world will be more pleased with us. Then, they will tell us to use them, they will be at our disposal. If we are really devoted to the inner life, spiritual life, we must sincerely and soulfully invoke the inner guidance, the inmost Pilot, the Supreme. We have every right to invoke His Light, His Peace, His Bliss; and He, with His deepest Joy and Concern will fulfil our aspiration. He is eager, He is crying twenty-four hours a day at every moment to please us. But we are not trying to be pleased. Even if we feel that it is not enough, let us now try to be pleased with the thing that He offers us; whatever He gives let us take with utmost gratitude.
WhisperingsThe whisper of temptation
Took him to hell.
There he saw his animal face.
The whisper of aspiration
Took him to Heaven.
There he saw his God-Face.
The whisper of realisation
Took him to the world of Silence.
There he became the Endless Race.
Editor's prefaceThis book consists of a lecture and searching questions and illumining answers on the subject of Sound and Silence. The God-realised Master Sri Chinmoy answered these questions, which were put to him by his disciples of the San Francisco Sri Chinmoy Centre.