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== Silence in the Physical ==
 
== Silence in the Physical ==
  
''What is meant by the "silence of the physical consciousness" and how can one remain in this silence?''
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''Q. What is meant by the "silence of the physical consciousness" and how can one remain in this silence?''
  
The physical consciousness is not only the consciousness of our body, but of all that surrounds us as well all that we perceive with our senses. It is a sort of apparatus for recording and transmission which is open to all the contacts and shocks coming from outside and responds to them by reactions of pleasure and pain which welcome or repel. This makes in our outer being a constant activity and noise that we are only partially aware of, because we are so accustomed to them.
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''A.'' The physical consciousness is not only the consciousness of our body, but of all that surrounds us as well all that we perceive with our senses. It is a sort of apparatus for recording and transmission which is open to all the contacts and shocks coming from outside and responds to them by reactions of pleasure and pain which welcome or repel. This makes in our outer being a constant activity and noise that we are only partially aware of, because we are so accustomed to them.
 
But if through meditation or concentration we turn inward or upward, we can bring down into ourselves or raise up from the depths calm, quiet, peace and finally silence. It is a concrete, positive silence (not the negative silence of the absence of noise), immutable so long as it remains, a silence one can experience even in the outer tumult of a hurricane or battlefield. This silence is synonymous with peace and it is all-powerful; it is the perfectly effective remedy for the fatigue, tension and exhaustion arising from that internal over-activity and noise which generally escape our control and cease neither by day nor night.
 
But if through meditation or concentration we turn inward or upward, we can bring down into ourselves or raise up from the depths calm, quiet, peace and finally silence. It is a concrete, positive silence (not the negative silence of the absence of noise), immutable so long as it remains, a silence one can experience even in the outer tumult of a hurricane or battlefield. This silence is synonymous with peace and it is all-powerful; it is the perfectly effective remedy for the fatigue, tension and exhaustion arising from that internal over-activity and noise which generally escape our control and cease neither by day nor night.
This is why the first thing required when one wants to do Yoga is to bring down and establish in oneself the calm, the peace, the silence. (The Mother, 15 October 1959) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/15-october-1959#p2</ref>
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This is why the first thing required when one wants to do Yoga is to bring down and establish in oneself the calm, the peace, the silence. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/15-october-1959#p2</ref>
  
 
If the peace and silence continue to come down, they usually become so intense as to seize the physical mind also after a time. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/concentration-and-meditation#p79</ref>
 
If the peace and silence continue to come down, they usually become so intense as to seize the physical mind also after a time. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/concentration-and-meditation#p79</ref>
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= Why is Silence Important? =
 
= Why is Silence Important? =
  
In silence lies the greatest devotion. (The Mother, 6 April 1972) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/6-april-1972#p1</ref>
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In silence lies the greatest devotion. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/6-april-1972#p1</ref>
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<center>~</center>
  
 
In a quiet silence strength is restored. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/silence#p10</ref>
 
In a quiet silence strength is restored. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/silence#p10</ref>
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<center>~</center>
  
 
Silence: the ideal condition for progress. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/silence#p1</ref>
 
Silence: the ideal condition for progress. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/silence#p1</ref>
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<center>~</center>
  
 
Integral silence: the source of true force. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/strength-force-and-power#p4</ref>
 
Integral silence: the source of true force. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/strength-force-and-power#p4</ref>
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<center>~</center>
  
 
In silence lies the source of the highest inspirations. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/letters-to-a-young-sadhak-xii#p8</ref>
 
In silence lies the source of the highest inspirations. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/letters-to-a-young-sadhak-xii#p8</ref>
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Silence in the vital: a powerful help for inner peace. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/the-vital#p26</ref>
 
Silence in the vital: a powerful help for inner peace. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/the-vital#p26</ref>
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<center>~</center>
  
 
In the silence of our heart there is always peace and joy. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/silence#p8</ref>
 
In the silence of our heart there is always peace and joy. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/silence#p8</ref>
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Practise silence of mind, it gives power of understanding.  <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/the-mind#p85</ref>   
 
Practise silence of mind, it gives power of understanding.  <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/the-mind#p85</ref>   
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<center>~</center>
  
 
It is only in mental silence that you can hear the voice without distorting it—be very peaceful.  <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/the-mind#p92</ref>
 
It is only in mental silence that you can hear the voice without distorting it—be very peaceful.  <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/the-mind#p92</ref>
  
To take this step towards the new creation, one must learn to silence the mind and rise above into Consciousness. (The Mother, 2 April 1972) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/2-april-1972#p1</ref>
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<center>~</center>
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To take this step towards the new creation, one must learn to silence the mind and rise above into Consciousness. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/2-april-1972#p1</ref>
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<center>~</center>
  
 
Wait quietly for the exact indication; all mental intervention and decisions are arbitrary. The clear indication comes in the silence of the mind.  <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/the-mind#p89</ref>   
 
Wait quietly for the exact indication; all mental intervention and decisions are arbitrary. The clear indication comes in the silence of the mind.  <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/the-mind#p89</ref>   
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It is in quietness, peace and silence that the spiritual forces act.  <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/quiet#p26</ref>  
 
It is in quietness, peace and silence that the spiritual forces act.  <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/quiet#p26</ref>  
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<center>~</center>
  
 
In peace and silence the Eternal manifests. Let nothing trouble you and the Eternal will manifest. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/peace#p19</ref>
 
In peace and silence the Eternal manifests. Let nothing trouble you and the Eternal will manifest. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/peace#p19</ref>
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<center>~</center>
  
 
The quietude and silence which you feel and the sense of happiness in it are indeed the very basis of successful sadhana. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/peace#p4</ref>
 
The quietude and silence which you feel and the sense of happiness in it are indeed the very basis of successful sadhana. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/peace#p4</ref>
  
Besides, for inner growth, I do not believe that words are necessary. In silence all our help is there at its most powerful. (The Mother, 6 September 1939) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/6-september-1939#p3</ref>
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<center>~</center>
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Besides, for inner growth, I do not believe that words are necessary. In silence all our help is there at its most powerful. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/6-september-1939#p3</ref>
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<center>~</center>
  
 
It is in silence that the soul best expresses itself. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/silence#p22</ref>
 
It is in silence that the soul best expresses itself. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/silence#p22</ref>
  
If you, in your consciousness, reach a state of silence, you perceive your state of silence everywhere, but others don't necessarily perceive it. You perceive it because you are in that state. (The Mother, 24 August 1955) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/24-august-1955#p42</ref>
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<center>~</center>
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If you, in your consciousness, reach a state of silence, you perceive your state of silence everywhere, but others don't necessarily perceive it. You perceive it because you are in that state. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/24-august-1955#p42</ref>
  
 
''' For Problem Solving '''
 
''' For Problem Solving '''
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If the calm and silence are perfectly established in the physical, then if inertia comes it is itself something quiet and unaggressive, not bringing such disturbances. But to get rid of inertia altogether a strong dynamic calm is needed. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/difficulties-of-the-physical-nature#p28</ref>
 
If the calm and silence are perfectly established in the physical, then if inertia comes it is itself something quiet and unaggressive, not bringing such disturbances. But to get rid of inertia altogether a strong dynamic calm is needed. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/difficulties-of-the-physical-nature#p28</ref>
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<center>~</center>
  
 
If the physical being has felt and assimilated the silence and peace, then inertia ought not to rise up. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/difficulties-of-the-physical-nature#p29</ref>
 
If the physical being has felt and assimilated the silence and peace, then inertia ought not to rise up. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/difficulties-of-the-physical-nature#p29</ref>
  
''Sweet Mother,''
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<center>~</center>
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''Q. Sweet Mother,''
  
 
''There are moments when I feel it would be better to sit silently instead of reading or doing something else. But I am afraid of wasting time. What should I do?''
 
''There are moments when I feel it would be better to sit silently instead of reading or doing something else. But I am afraid of wasting time. What should I do?''
  
It all depends on the quality of the silence—if it is a luminous silence, full of force and conscious concentration, it is good. If it is a tamasic and unconscious silence, it is harmful. (The Mother, 10 June 1963) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/10-june-1963#p1,p2,p3</ref>
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''A.''It all depends on the quality of the silence—if it is a luminous silence, full of force and conscious concentration, it is good. If it is a tamasic and unconscious silence, it is harmful. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/10-june-1963#p1,p2,p3</ref>
  
 
== Silence for Working ==
 
== Silence for Working ==
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<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
In silence lies the greatest receptivity. And in an immobile silence the vastest action is done. (The Mother, 19 December 1971) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/19-december-1971#p1</ref>
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In silence lies the greatest receptivity. And in an immobile silence the vastest action is done. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/19-december-1971#p1</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
Whatever has been done in the world has been done by the very few who can stand outside the action in silence; for it is they who are the instruments of the Divine Power. They are dynamic agents, conscious instruments; they bring down the forces that change the world. Things can be done in that way, not by a restless activity. In peace, in silence and in quietness the world was built; and each time that something is to be truly built, it is in peace and silence and quietness that it must be done. It is ignorance to believe that you must run from morning to night and labour at all sorts of futile things in order to do something for the world. (The Mother, 26 May 1929) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/26-may-1929#p28</ref>
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Whatever has been done in the world has been done by the very few who can stand outside the action in silence; for it is they who are the instruments of the Divine Power. They are dynamic agents, conscious instruments; they bring down the forces that change the world. Things can be done in that way, not by a restless activity. In peace, in silence and in quietness the world was built; and each time that something is to be truly built, it is in peace and silence and quietness that it must be done. It is ignorance to believe that you must run from morning to night and labour at all sorts of futile things in order to do something for the world. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/26-may-1929#p28</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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== Silence for Receptivity ==
 
== Silence for Receptivity ==
  
In silence lies the greatest receptivity. And in an immobile silence the vastest action is done. (The Mother, 19 December 1971) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/19-december-1971#p1</ref>
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In silence lies the greatest receptivity. And in an immobile silence the vastest action is done. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/19-december-1971#p1</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
Silence and a modest, humble, attentive receptivity; no concern for appearances or even any anxiety to be—one is quite modestly, quite humbly, quite simply the instrument which of itself is nothing and knows nothing, but is ready to receive everything and transmit everything. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/10/aphorism-4#p6 http://incarnateword.in/cwm/10/aphorism-4#p6</ref>
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Silence and a modest, humble, attentive receptivity; no concern for appearances or even any anxiety to be—one is quite modestly, quite humbly, quite simply the instrument which of itself is nothing and knows nothing, but is ready to receive everything and transmit everything. [Based on Aphorism 4—I am not a Jnani,1 for I have no knowledge except what God gives me for His work. How am I to know whether what I see be reason or folly? Nay, it is neither; for the thing seen is simply true and neither folly nor reason.]<ref>https://incarnateword.in/cwm/10/aphorism-4#p5</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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== Silence for Education ==  
 
== Silence for Education ==  
  
I met an Indian who was a great Gita enthusiast and a very great lover of silence. He used to say, "When I go to my disciples, if they are in the right state I don't need to speak. So we observe silence together, and in the silence something is realised. But when they are not in a good enough state for this, I speak a little, just a little, to try to put them in the right state. And when they are in a worse state still, they ask questions!" (The Mother, 4 April 1956) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/4-april-1956#p13</ref>
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I met an Indian who was a great Gita enthusiast and a very great lover of silence. He used to say, "When I go to my disciples, if they are in the right state I don't need to speak. So we observe silence together, and in the silence something is realised. But when they are not in a good enough state for this, I speak a little, just a little, to try to put them in the right state. And when they are in a worse state still, they ask questions!" <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/4-april-1956#p13</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
It is very difficult to put one's mind into repose. The majority of men get up very tired, more tired than when they went to sleep. One must learn how to quieten one's mind, make it completely blank, and then when one wakes up, one feels refreshed. One must relax the whole mind in the pure white silence, then one has the least number of dreams. (The Mother, 22 April 1953) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/22-april-1953#p5</ref>
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It is very difficult to put one's mind into repose. The majority of men get up very tired, more tired than when they went to sleep. One must learn how to quieten one's mind, make it completely blank, and then when one wakes up, one feels refreshed. One must relax the whole mind in the pure white silence, then one has the least number of dreams. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/22-april-1953#p5</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
Generally, when you have what you call dreamless sleep, it is one of two things; either you do not remember what you dreamt or you fell into absolute unconsciousness which is almost death—a taste of death. But there is the possibility of a sleep in which you enter into an absolute silence, immobility and peace in all parts of your being and your consciousness merges into Sachchidananda. You can hardly call it sleep, for it is extremely conscious. In that condition you may remain for a few minutes, but these few minutes give you more rest and refreshment than hours of ordinary sleep. You cannot have it by chance; it requires a long training. (The Mother, 21 April 1929) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/21-april-1929#p11</ref>
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Generally, when you have what you call dreamless sleep, it is one of two things; either you do not remember what you dreamt or you fell into absolute unconsciousness which is almost death—a taste of death. But there is the possibility of a sleep in which you enter into an absolute silence, immobility and peace in all parts of your being and your consciousness merges into Sachchidananda. You can hardly call it sleep, for it is extremely conscious. In that condition you may remain for a few minutes, but these few minutes give you more rest and refreshment than hours of ordinary sleep. You cannot have it by chance; it requires a long training. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/21-april-1929#p11</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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=== Effective Rest ===  
 
=== Effective Rest ===  
  
To relieve tension, ten minutes of real calm, inner and outer, are more effective than all the remedies in the world. In silence lies the most effective help. (The Mother, 30 January 1939) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/30-january-1939#p8</ref>
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To relieve tension, ten minutes of real calm, inner and outer, are more effective than all the remedies in the world. In silence lies the most effective help. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/30-january-1939#p8</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
The rest must not be one which goes down into the inconscience and tamas. The rest must be an ascent into the Light, into perfect Peace, total Silence, a rest which rises up out of the darkness. Then it is true rest, a rest which is an ascent. (The Mother, 31 August 1955) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/31-august-1955#p21</ref>
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The rest must not be one which goes down into the inconscience and tamas. The rest must be an ascent into the Light, into perfect Peace, total Silence, a rest which rises up out of the darkness. Then it is true rest, a rest which is an ascent. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/31-august-1955#p21</ref>
  
 
=== Rest in Silence ===
 
=== Rest in Silence ===
  
There is nothing wrong in having intervals of passive peace without anything happening—they come naturally in the sadhana as a basis for fresh action when the nature is ready for it. It is only the vital attitude that turns it into a disharmony, because somewhere in its being there is not the assent to or participation in the peace and passivity. To be able often to rest, repose in all the being outspread in the silent Brahman is an indispensable thing for the Yogi. But the vital wants always fuss, action, to feel that it is somebody doing something, getting on, having progress, on the move. The counterpart to this rajasic fuss is inertia. If the whole being can widen itself out, rest satisfied in the silence, then progressively inertia fades out and gives place to śama. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/variations-in-the-intensity-of-experience#p32</ref>
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There is nothing wrong in having intervals of passive peace without anything happening—they come naturally in the sadhana as a basis for fresh action when the nature is ready for it. It is only the vital attitude that turns it into a disharmony, because somewhere in its being there is not the assent to or participation in the peace and passivity. To be able often to rest, repose in all the being outspread in the silent Brahman is an indispensable thing for the Yogi. But the vital wants always fuss, action, to feel that it is somebody doing something, getting on, having progress, on the move. The counterpart to this rajasic fuss is inertia. If the whole being can widen itself out, rest satisfied in the silence, then progressively inertia fades out and gives place to ''śama''. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/variations-in-the-intensity-of-experience#p32</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
There is a greater power in silence than in words, however forceful. The greatest transformations have been achieved in the silence of concentration. (The Mother, 2 November 1970) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/2-november-1970#p1</ref>
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There is a greater power in silence than in words, however forceful. The greatest transformations have been achieved in the silence of concentration. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/2-november-1970#p1</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
You see, for those who are sincere, sincere and very—how to put it?—very straight in their aspiration, there is a marvellous help, there is an absolutely living, active consciousness which is ready to... to respond to any attentive silence. You could do six years' work in six months, but there should... there should not be any pretension, there should not be anything which tries to imitate, there should be no wanting to put on airs. There should... you should be truly, absolutely honest, pure, sincere, conscious that... you exist only by what comes from above. Then... then... then you could advance with giant strides. (The Mother, 11 November 1967) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/11-november-1967#p159</ref>
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You see, for those who are sincere, sincere and very—how to put it?—very straight in their aspiration, there is a marvellous help, there is an absolutely living, active consciousness which is ready to... to respond to any attentive silence. You could do six years' work in six months, but there should... there should not be any pretension, there should not be anything which tries to imitate, there should be no wanting to put on airs. There should... you should be truly, absolutely honest, pure, sincere, conscious that... you exist only by what comes from above. Then... then... then you could advance with giant strides. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/11-november-1967#p159</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
Now, there is a greater depth of pain which leaves you in an absolute silence and opens the inner doors to greater depths which can put you in immediate touch with the Divine. But this indeed is not expressed in words. It changes your consciousness; but usually a long time elapses before one can say anything about it. (The Mother, 20 October, 1954) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/20-october-1954#p71</ref>
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Now, there is a greater depth of pain which leaves you in an absolute silence and opens the inner doors to greater depths which can put you in immediate touch with the Divine. But this indeed is not expressed in words. It changes your consciousness; but usually a long time elapses before one can say anything about it. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/20-october-1954#p71</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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== Establish Silence in Mind ==
 
== Establish Silence in Mind ==
  
If you try to silence your mind directly, it is a hard job, almost impossible; for the most material part of the mind never stops its activity—it goes on and on like a non-stop recording machine. It repeats all that it records and unless there is a switch to stop it, it continues and continues indefinitely. If, on the other hand, you manage to shift your consciousness into a higher domain, above the ordinary mind, this opening to the Light calms the mind, it does not stir any longer, and the mental silence so obtained can become constant. Once you enter into this domain, you may very well never come out of it—the external mind always remains calm. (The Mother, 8th March 1951) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/8-march-1951#p4</ref>
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If you try to silence your mind directly, it is a hard job, almost impossible; for the most material part of the mind never stops its activity—it goes on and on like a non-stop recording machine. It repeats all that it records and unless there is a switch to stop it, it continues and continues indefinitely. If, on the other hand, you manage to shift your consciousness into a higher domain, above the ordinary mind, this opening to the Light calms the mind, it does not stir any longer, and the mental silence so obtained can become constant. Once you enter into this domain, you may very well never come out of it—the external mind always remains calm. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/8-march-1951#p4</ref>
  
''How can we establish a settled peace and silence in the mind?''
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''Q. How can we establish a settled peace and silence in the mind?''
  
(After a silence) I mean that this exclusiveness is a habit. However, when one has done a little yoga seriously, one knows very well that one can think here (Mother shows the centre of the forehead between the eyebrows, then the right side, then the left) one can think here, one can think here, one can think in front and, as I was saying just now, one can think much higher—up but naturally, one thinks that all thought-phenomena, concentration, are produced in the brain—and when one thinks up above, here (Mother shows the space above the head), one thinks much better than when one thinks here. It is only that one has never tried to do otherwise. Not "never tried", there are quite a number of people who have tried and have succeeded. (The Mother, 8 September 1954) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/8-september-1954#p55</ref>
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''A.'' (After a silence) I mean that this exclusiveness is a habit. However, when one has done a little yoga seriously, one knows very well that one can think here (Mother shows the centre of the forehead between the eyebrows, then the right side, then the left) one can think here, one can think here, one can think in front and, as I was saying just now, one can think much higher—up but naturally, one thinks that all thought-phenomena, concentration, are produced in the brain—and when one thinks up above, here (Mother shows the space above the head), one thinks much better than when one thinks here. It is only that one has never tried to do otherwise. Not "never tried", there are quite a number of people who have tried and have succeeded. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/8-september-1954#p55</ref>
  
 
''' Active Method (Used by Sri Aurobindo) '''
 
''' Active Method (Used by Sri Aurobindo) '''
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<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
Ah! First you must will it, and then you must say, as to people who make a lot of noise, "Keep quiet, be quiet, be quiet!"; you must do this when the mind comes along with all its suggestions and all its movements. You must tranquillise it, pacify it, make it silent. The first thing is not to listen to it. Most of the time, as soon as all these come, all these thoughts, one looks, seeks to understand, one listens; then naturally that imbecile believes that you are very much interested: it increases its activity. You must not listen, must not pay attention. If it makes too much noise, you must tell it: "Be still! Now then, silence, keep quiet!" without making a lot of noise yourself, you understand? You must not imitate those people who begin shouting: "Keep quiet", and make such a noise themselves that they are even noisier than the others! (The Mother, 19 May 1954) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/19-may-1954#p45</ref>
+
Ah! First you must will it, and then you must say, as to people who make a lot of noise, "Keep quiet, be quiet, be quiet!"; you must do this when the mind comes along with all its suggestions and all its movements. You must tranquillise it, pacify it, make it silent. The first thing is not to listen to it. Most of the time, as soon as all these come, all these thoughts, one looks, seeks to understand, one listens; then naturally that imbecile believes that you are very much interested: it increases its activity. You must not listen, must not pay attention. If it makes too much noise, you must tell it: "Be still! Now then, silence, keep quiet!" without making a lot of noise yourself, you understand? You must not imitate those people who begin shouting: "Keep quiet", and make such a noise themselves that they are even noisier than the others! <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/19-may-1954#p45</ref>
  
 
== Silence in Education ==
 
== Silence in Education ==
  
It would be interesting to formulate or to elaborate a new method of teaching for children, to take them very young. It is easy when they are very young. We need people—oh! we would need remarkable teachers—who have, first, an ample enough documentation of what is known so as to be able to answer every question, and at the same time, at least the knowledge, if not the experience—the experience would be better—of the true intuitive intellectual attitude, and—naturally the capacity would be still more preferable—at least the knowledge that the true way of knowing is mental silence, an attentive silence turned towards the truer Consciousness, and the capacity to receive what comes from there. The best would be to have this capacity; at least, it should be explained that it is the true thing—a sort of demonstration—and that it works not only from the point of view of what must be learned, of the whole domain of knowledge, but also of the whole domain of what should be done: the capacity to receive the exact indication of how to do it; and as you go on, it changes into a very clear perception of what must be done, and a precise indication of when it must be done. At least the children, as soon as they have the capacity to think—it starts at the age of seven, but at about fourteen or fifteen it is very clear—the children should be given little indications at the age of seven, a complete explanation at fourteen, of how to do it, and that it is the only way to be in relation with the deeper truth of things, and that all the rest is a more or less clumsy mental approximation to something that can be known directly. (The Mother, 5 April 1967) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/5-april-1967#p24</ref>
+
It would be interesting to formulate or to elaborate a new method of teaching for children, to take them very young. It is easy when they are very young. We need people—oh! we would need remarkable teachers—who have, first, an ample enough documentation of what is known so as to be able to answer every question, and at the same time, at least the knowledge, if not the experience—the experience would be better—of the true intuitive intellectual attitude, and—naturally the capacity would be still more preferable—at least the knowledge that the true way of knowing is mental silence, an attentive silence turned towards the truer Consciousness, and the capacity to receive what comes from there. The best would be to have this capacity; at least, it should be explained that it is the true thing—a sort of demonstration—and that it works not only from the point of view of what must be learned, of the whole domain of knowledge, but also of the whole domain of what should be done: the capacity to receive the exact indication of how to do it; and as you go on, it changes into a very clear perception of what must be done, and a precise indication of when it must be done. At least the children, as soon as they have the capacity to think—it starts at the age of seven, but at about fourteen or fifteen it is very clear—the children should be given little indications at the age of seven, a complete explanation at fourteen, of how to do it, and that it is the only way to be in relation with the deeper truth of things, and that all the rest is a more or less clumsy mental approximation to something that can be known directly. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/5-april-1967#p24</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
''Mother, now there is one question, another important question. You have often told us that it is only in the inner silence that we can find the true answer to a question. What is the best way to make the children discover how this silence is established? Is this how consciousness is substituted for knowledge?''
+
''Q. Mother, now there is one question, another important question. You have often told us that it is only in the inner silence that we can find the true answer to a question. What is the best way to make the children discover how this silence is established? Is this how consciousness is substituted for knowledge?''
 
 
<center>~</center>
 
  
You see, in this system of classes where everyone is sitting down, the teacher is there and they have a limited time in which to do the work, it is not possible. It is only if you have absolute freedom that you can establish the silence when you need to be silent. But when all the students are in class and the teacher is in class... when the teacher is establishing the silence in himself, all the students... then it is not possible. He can establish the silence at home, at night, the day before, to prepare himself for the next day, but you cannot... It cannot be an immediate rule. Naturally, when you are at the very top of the scale and you are used to keeping your mind absolutely silent, you cannot help it; but you have not reached that point, none of you. So it is better not to speak about it. So I think that during the... Especially with this system, classes with a fixed time, with a fixed number of students, with a fixed teacher, and a fixed subject... you must be active while you are there. (The Mother, 11 November 1967) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/11-november-1967#p149</ref>
+
''A.''You see, in this system of classes where everyone is sitting down, the teacher is there and they have a limited time in which to do the work, it is not possible. It is only if you have absolute freedom that you can establish the silence when you need to be silent. But when all the students are in class and the teacher is in class... when the teacher is establishing the silence in himself, all the students... then it is not possible. He can establish the silence at home, at night, the day before, to prepare himself for the next day, but you cannot... It cannot be an immediate rule. Naturally, when you are at the very top of the scale and you are used to keeping your mind absolutely silent, you cannot help it; but you have not reached that point, none of you. So it is better not to speak about it. So I think that during the... Especially with this system, classes with a fixed time, with a fixed number of students, with a fixed teacher, and a fixed subject... you must be active while you are there. (The Mother, 11 November 1967) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/11-november-1967#p149</ref>
  
 
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One thing could be done once, at least once: you set a subject, like that, from the course of subjects, you set it and tell them, "For a quarter of an hour we shall remain silent, silent; no noise, no one should make any noise. We shall remain silent for a quarter of an hour. For a quarter of an hour try to remain completely silent, still and attentive, and then we shall see in a quarter of an hour what comes out of it." You can reduce it to five minutes to begin with, three minutes, two minutes, it doesn't matter. A quarter of an hour is a lot, but you should do... try that... see. Some of them will start to fidget. Very few children, perhaps, know how to keep still; or else they fall asleep—but it doesn't matter if they fall asleep. You could try that at least once, see what happens: "Let's see! Who will answer my question after ten minutes' silence? And not ten minutes which you will spend trying to get hold of everything you may know mentally about the subject, no, no—ten minutes during which you will be just like this, blank, still, silent, attentive... attentive and silent." (The Mother, 11 November 1967) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/11-november-1967#p156</ref>
+
One thing could be done once, at least once: you set a subject, like that, from the course of subjects, you set it and tell them, "For a quarter of an hour we shall remain silent, silent; no noise, no one should make any noise. We shall remain silent for a quarter of an hour. For a quarter of an hour try to remain completely silent, still and attentive, and then we shall see in a quarter of an hour what comes out of it." You can reduce it to five minutes to begin with, three minutes, two minutes, it doesn't matter. A quarter of an hour is a lot, but you should do... try that... see. Some of them will start to fidget. Very few children, perhaps, know how to keep still; or else they fall asleep—but it doesn't matter if they fall asleep. You could try that at least once, see what happens: "Let's see! Who will answer my question after ten minutes' silence? And not ten minutes which you will spend trying to get hold of everything you may know mentally about the subject, no, no—ten minutes during which you will be just like this, blank, still, silent, attentive... attentive and silent." <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/11-november-1967#p156</ref>
  
 
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== Receptivity in Silence ==
 
== Receptivity in Silence ==
  
... one should never think and plan beforehand what one ought to say or write. One should simply be able to silence one's mind, to turn it like a receptacle towards the higher Consciousness and express as it receives it, in mental silence, what comes from above. That would be true spontaneity. (The Mother, 29 August 1956) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/29-august-1956#p7</ref>
+
... one should never think and plan beforehand what one ought to say or write. One should simply be able to silence one's mind, to turn it like a receptacle towards the higher Consciousness and express as it receives it, in mental silence, what comes from above. That would be true spontaneity. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/29-august-1956#p7</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
''(Another child) Mother, when you speak we try to understand with the mind, but when you communicate something in silence, on what part of the being should we concentrate?''  
+
''Q. ... Mother, when you speak we try to understand with the mind, but when you communicate something in silence, on what part of the being should we concentrate?''  
  
It is always better, for meditation—you see, we use the word "meditation", but it does not necessarily mean "moving ideas around in the head", quite the contrary—it is always better to try to concentrate in a centre, the centre of aspiration, one might say, the place where the flame of aspiration burns, to gather in all the energies there, at the solar plexus centre and, if possible, to obtain an attentive silence as though one wanted to listen to something extremely subtle, something that demands a complete attention, a complete concentration and total silence. And then not to move at all. Not to think, not to stir, and make that movement of opening so as to receive all that can be received, but taking good care not to try to know what is happening while it is happening, for if one wants to understand or even to observe actively, it keeps up a sort of cerebral activity which is unfavourable to the fullness of the receptivity—to be silent, as totally silent as possible, in an attentive concentration, and then be still. (The Mother, 5 June 1957) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/5-june-1957#p19</ref>
+
''A.''It is always better, for meditation—you see, we use the word "meditation", but it does not necessarily mean "moving ideas around in the head", quite the contrary—it is always better to try to concentrate in a centre, the centre of aspiration, one might say, the place where the flame of aspiration burns, to gather in all the energies there, at the solar plexus centre and, if possible, to obtain an attentive silence as though one wanted to listen to something extremely subtle, something that demands a complete attention, a complete concentration and total silence. And then not to move at all. Not to think, not to stir, and make that movement of opening so as to receive all that can be received, but taking good care not to try to know what is happening while it is happening, for if one wants to understand or even to observe actively, it keeps up a sort of cerebral activity which is unfavourable to the fullness of the receptivity—to be silent, as totally silent as possible, in an attentive concentration, and then be still. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/5-june-1957#p19</ref>
  
It is a discipline to be followed. For a long time one may try and not succeed, but as soon as one succeeds in making a "mirror", still and attentive, one always obtains a result, not necessarily with a precise form of thought but always with the sensations of a light coming from above. And then, if one can receive this light coming from above without entering immediately into a whirl of activity, receive it in calm and silence and let it penetrate deep into the being, then after a while it expresses itself either as a luminous thought or as a very precise indication here (Mother indicates the heart), in this other centre. (The Mother, 23 July 1958) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/23-july-1958#p10</ref>
+
It is a discipline to be followed. For a long time one may try and not succeed, but as soon as one succeeds in making a "mirror", still and attentive, one always obtains a result, not necessarily with a precise form of thought but always with the sensations of a light coming from above. And then, if one can receive this light coming from above without entering immediately into a whirl of activity, receive it in calm and silence and let it penetrate deep into the being, then after a while it expresses itself either as a luminous thought or as a very precise indication here (''Mother indicates the heart''), in this other centre. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/23-july-1958#p10</ref>
  
 
It is an admirable state; it is perfect peace of mind. There is no longer any need to accumulate acquired knowledge, received ideas which have to be memorised; it is no longer necessary to clutter one's brain with thousands and thousands of things in order to have at one's command, when the time comes, the knowledge that is needed to perform an action, to impart a teaching, to solve a problem. The mind is silent, the brain is still, everything is clear, quiet, calm; and at the right moment, by divine Grace a drop of light falls into the consciousness and what needs to be known is known. Why should one care to remember—why try to retain that knowledge? On the day or at the moment that it is needed one will have it again. At each second one is a blank page on which what must be known will be inscribed—in the peace, the repose, the silence of a perfect receptivity. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/10/aphorism-4#p4</ref>
 
It is an admirable state; it is perfect peace of mind. There is no longer any need to accumulate acquired knowledge, received ideas which have to be memorised; it is no longer necessary to clutter one's brain with thousands and thousands of things in order to have at one's command, when the time comes, the knowledge that is needed to perform an action, to impart a teaching, to solve a problem. The mind is silent, the brain is still, everything is clear, quiet, calm; and at the right moment, by divine Grace a drop of light falls into the consciousness and what needs to be known is known. Why should one care to remember—why try to retain that knowledge? On the day or at the moment that it is needed one will have it again. At each second one is a blank page on which what must be known will be inscribed—in the peace, the repose, the silence of a perfect receptivity. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/10/aphorism-4#p4</ref>
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<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
Behind the common idea that a Yogi can know all things and answer all questions is the actual fact that there is a plane in the mind where the memory of everything is stored and remains always in existence. All mental movements that belong to the life of the earth are memorised and registered in this plane. Those who are capable of going there and care to take the trouble, can read in it and learn anything they choose. But this region must not be mistaken for the supramental levels. And yet to reach even there you must be able to silence the movements of the material or physical mind; you must be able to leave aside all your sensations and put a stop to your ordinary mental movements, whatever they are; you must get out of the vital; you must become free from the slavery of the body. Then only you can enter into that region and see. But if you are sufficiently interested to make this effort, you can arrive there and read what is written in the earth's memory. (The Mother, 23 June 1929) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/23-june-1929#p9</ref>
+
Behind the common idea that a Yogi can know all things and answer all questions is the actual fact that there is a plane in the mind where the memory of everything is stored and remains always in existence. All mental movements that belong to the life of the earth are memorised and registered in this plane. Those who are capable of going there and care to take the trouble, can read in it and learn anything they choose. But this region must not be mistaken for the supramental levels. And yet to reach even there you must be able to silence the movements of the material or physical mind; you must be able to leave aside all your sensations and put a stop to your ordinary mental movements, whatever they are; you must get out of the vital; you must become free from the slavery of the body. Then only you can enter into that region and see. But if you are sufficiently interested to make this effort, you can arrive there and read what is written in the earth's memory. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/23-june-1929#p9</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
No, you don't understand. To go to that place, at the time of going you must be able to completely silence the mind (and all the other things I have mentioned), but just for going there. For example, you decide: "Now, I am going to read such and such a chapter of earth's history", then you lounge comfortably in an easy-chair, you tell people not to disturb you, you go within yourself and completely stop your mind, and you send your mental messenger to that place.... It is preferable to have someone who can guide you there, because otherwise you can lose your way and go elsewhere! And then you go. It is like a very big library with many many small compartments. So you find the compartment corresponding to the information you wish to have. You press a button and it opens. And inside it you find a scroll as it were, a mental formation which unrolls before you like a parchment, and you read. And then you make a note of what you have read and afterwards return quietly into your body with the new knowledge, and you may transcribe physically, if you can, what you have found, and then you get up and start your life as before.... This may take you ten minutes, it may take one hour, it may take half an hour, it depends upon your capacity, but it is important to know the way, as I said, in order not to make a mistake. (The Mother, 30 September 1953) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/30-september-1953#p6</ref>
+
No, you don't understand. To go to that place, at the time of going you must be able to completely silence the mind (and all the other things I have mentioned), but just for going there. For example, you decide: "Now, I am going to read such and such a chapter of earth's history", then you lounge comfortably in an easy-chair, you tell people not to disturb you, you go within yourself and completely stop your mind, and you send your mental messenger to that place.... It is preferable to have someone who can guide you there, because otherwise you can lose your way and go elsewhere! And then you go. It is like a very big library with many many small compartments. So you find the compartment corresponding to the information you wish to have. You press a button and it opens. And inside it you find a scroll as it were, a mental formation which unrolls before you like a parchment, and you read. And then you make a note of what you have read and afterwards return quietly into your body with the new knowledge, and you may transcribe physically, if you can, what you have found, and then you get up and start your life as before.... This may take you ten minutes, it may take one hour, it may take half an hour, it depends upon your capacity, but it is important to know the way, as I said, in order not to make a mistake. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/30-september-1953#p6</ref>
  
 
== Silence in Self-Observation ==
 
== Silence in Self-Observation ==
  
The best is to keep silent and look well at things, and little by little you make notes within yourself and keep the record without pronouncing any judgement. When you are able to keep all that within you, quietly, without agitation and present it very calmly before the highest part of your consciousness, with an attempt to maintain an attentive silence, and wait, then perhaps, slowly, as if coming from a far distance and from a great height, something like a light will manifest and you will know a little more of truth. (The Mother, 20 January 1951) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/20-january-1951#p23</ref>
+
The best is to keep silent and look well at things, and little by little you make notes within yourself and keep the record without pronouncing any judgement. When you are able to keep all that within you, quietly, without agitation and present it very calmly before the highest part of your consciousness, with an attempt to maintain an attentive silence, and wait, then perhaps, slowly, as if coming from a far distance and from a great height, something like a light will manifest and you will know a little more of truth. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/20-january-1951#p23</ref>
  
 
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== Silence in Communication ==
 
== Silence in Communication ==
  
Listen in a total silence of your whole being—mental, vital and physical. (The Mother, 6 July 1933) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/6-july-1933#p6</ref>
+
Listen in a total silence of your whole being—mental, vital and physical. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/17/6-july-1933#p6</ref>
  
 
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So long as you have to draw your understanding from the forms of words, you are likely to fall into much confusion about the true sense; but if in a silence of your mind you can rise into the world from which ideas descend to take form, at once the real understanding comes. If you are to be sure of understanding one another, you must be able to understand in silence. There is a condition in which your minds are so well attuned and harmonised together that one perceives the thought of the other without any necessity of words. But if there is not this attunement, there will always be some deformation of your meaning, because to what you speak the other mind supplies its own significance. I use a word in a certain sense or shade of its sense; you are accustomed to put into it another sense or shade. Then, evidently, you will understand, not my exact meaning in it, but what the word means to you. This is true not of speech only, but of reading also. If you want to understand a book with a deep teaching in it, you must be able to read it in the mind's silence; you must wait and let the expression go deep inside you into the region where words are no more and from there come slowly back to your exterior consciousness and its surface understanding. But if you let the words jump at your external mind and try to adapt and adjust the two, you will have entirely missed their real sense and power. There can be no perfect understanding unless you are in union with the unexpressed mind that is behind the centre of expression. (The Mother, 26 May 1929) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/26-may-1929#p21</ref>
+
So long as you have to draw your understanding from the forms of words, you are likely to fall into much confusion about the true sense; but if in a silence of your mind you can rise into the world from which ideas descend to take form, at once the real understanding comes. If you are to be sure of understanding one another, you must be able to understand in silence. There is a condition in which your minds are so well attuned and harmonised together that one perceives the thought of the other without any necessity of words. But if there is not this attunement, there will always be some deformation of your meaning, because to what you speak the other mind supplies its own significance. I use a word in a certain sense or shade of its sense; you are accustomed to put into it another sense or shade. Then, evidently, you will understand, not my exact meaning in it, but what the word means to you. This is true not of speech only, but of reading also. If you want to understand a book with a deep teaching in it, you must be able to read it in the mind's silence; you must wait and let the expression go deep inside you into the region where words are no more and from there come slowly back to your exterior consciousness and its surface understanding. But if you let the words jump at your external mind and try to adapt and adjust the two, you will have entirely missed their real sense and power. There can be no perfect understanding unless you are in union with the unexpressed mind that is behind the centre of expression. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/26-may-1929#p21</ref>
  
 
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It is possible. Perhaps the one who is silent will understand the other who is not!... But when there is this full accord, even if it is not permanent, when you are with someone and follow a thought far enough to come out of the external agitation, if the other too has followed the same thought, you may find yourselves suddenly agreeing without having spoken or made any effort towards that. Generally the silence comes to both at the same time or almost the same time—it is as though you slid into the silence. Of course, it may happen also that one continues to make a noise in his head, while the other has stopped, but the one who has stopped has a much greater chance of understanding what is happening to the other! (The Mother, 19 March 1951) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/19-march-1951#p20</ref>
+
It is possible. Perhaps the one who is silent will understand the other who is not!... But when there is this full accord, even if it is not permanent, when you are with someone and follow a thought far enough to come out of the external agitation, if the other too has followed the same thought, you may find yourselves suddenly agreeing without having spoken or made any effort towards that. Generally the silence comes to both at the same time or almost the same time—it is as though you slid into the silence. Of course, it may happen also that one continues to make a noise in his head, while the other has stopped, but the one who has stopped has a much greater chance of understanding what is happening to the other! <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/19-march-1951#p20</ref>
  
 
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== Concentrating together in Silence ==
 
== Concentrating together in Silence ==
  
''These rare moments of silence and the effort to concentrate together―if not to meditate―are they not an opportunity to receive your force and to open ourselves a little more to you and to Sri Aurobindo, helping to form our collective soul?''
+
''Q. These rare moments of silence and the effort to concentrate together―if not to meditate―are they not an opportunity to receive your force and to open ourselves a little more to you and to Sri Aurobindo, helping to form our collective soul?''
  
Concentrating together is indeed a very good thing and helps you to become conscious. But it cannot be imposed. I advise you and them to organise this moment of silence daily for all those who want to participate, but without imposing anything on the others. It is not compulsory but it is good. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/13/community-affairs#p144,p146</ref>
+
''A.'' Concentrating together is indeed a very good thing and helps you to become conscious. But it cannot be imposed. I advise you and them to organise this moment of silence daily for all those who want to participate, but without imposing anything on the others. It is not compulsory but it is good. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/13/community-affairs#p144,p146</ref>
  
 
== Silence in Aspiration ==
 
== Silence in Aspiration ==
  
An aspiration for all that is essentially true, real, perfect. And this aspiration must be free from words, simply a silent attitude, but extremely intense and unvacillating. Not a word must be allowed the right to enter there and disturb it. It must be like a column of vibrations of aspiration, which nothing can touch—and in total silence—and therein, if something comes down, what descends (and will be clothed in words in your mind and in sounds in your mouth) will be the Word. But nothing less than this will do. (The Mother, 7 April 1954) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/7-april-1954#p32</ref>
+
An aspiration for all that is essentially true, real, perfect. And this aspiration must be free from words, simply a silent attitude, but extremely intense and unvacillating. Not a word must be allowed the right to enter there and disturb it. It must be like a column of vibrations of aspiration, which nothing can touch—and in total silence—and therein, if something comes down, what descends (and will be clothed in words in your mind and in sounds in your mouth) will be the Word. But nothing less than this will do. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/7-april-1954#p32</ref>
  
 
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''How can one silence the mind, remain quiet, and at the same time have an aspiration, an intensity or a widening? Because as soon as one aspires, isn't it the mind that aspires?''
+
''Q. How can one silence the mind, remain quiet, and at the same time have an aspiration, an intensity or a widening? Because as soon as one aspires, isn't it the mind that aspires?''
  
No; aspiration, as well as widening and intensity, comes from the heart, the emotional centre, the door of the psychic or rather the door leading to the psychic.
+
''A.'' No; aspiration, as well as widening and intensity, comes from the heart, the emotional centre, the door of the psychic or rather the door leading to the psychic.
 
The mind by its nature is curious and interested; it sees, it observes, it tries to understand and explain; and with all this activity, it disturbs the experience and diminishes its intensity and force.
 
The mind by its nature is curious and interested; it sees, it observes, it tries to understand and explain; and with all this activity, it disturbs the experience and diminishes its intensity and force.
On the other hand, the more quiet and silent the mind is, the more can aspiration rise up from the depths of the heart in the fullness of its ardour. (The Mother, 17 September 1959) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/17-september-1959#p2</ref>
+
On the other hand, the more quiet and silent the mind is, the more can aspiration rise up from the depths of the heart in the fullness of its ardour. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/17-september-1959#p2</ref>
  
 
=== Concentrating Upwards in Aspiration ===
 
=== Concentrating Upwards in Aspiration ===
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<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
Ah! From the practical point of view, you must be in a state of inner silence, with a mental activity exclusively occupied with forming the thing you want to do, the progress you want to accomplish, that is to say, the mental construction you need for your work. And your capacity for observation—it is infinitely preferable, I could say absolutely indispensable, to use it to observe your field of action, the processes you employ for your action, the results obtained, the principle you can arrive at from the experience, the knowledge you can obtain, indeed, all these things... but not to turn back on yourself and look at yourself acting. (The Mother, 19 January 1955) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/19-january-1955#p26</ref>
+
Ah! From the practical point of view, you must be in a state of inner silence, with a mental activity exclusively occupied with forming the thing you want to do, the progress you want to accomplish, that is to say, the mental construction you need for your work. And your capacity for observation—it is infinitely preferable, I could say absolutely indispensable, to use it to observe your field of action, the processes you employ for your action, the results obtained, the principle you can arrive at from the experience, the knowledge you can obtain, indeed, all these things... but not to turn back on yourself and look at yourself acting. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/19-january-1955#p26</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
We have said that there is only one safety, never to act except in harmony with the divine Will. There is one question: how to know that it is the divine Will which makes you act? I replied to the person who put to me this question ... that it is not difficult to distinguish the voice of the Divine: one cannot make a mistake. You need not be very far on the path to be able to recognise it; you must listen to the still, small peaceful voice which speaks in the silence of your heart. (The Mother, 8 February 1951) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/8-february-1951#p17</ref>
+
We have said that there is only one safety, never to act except in harmony with the divine Will. There is one question: how to know that it is the divine Will which makes you act? I replied to the person who put to me this question ... that it is not difficult to distinguish the voice of the Divine: one cannot make a mistake. You need not be very far on the path to be able to recognise it; you must listen to the still, small peaceful voice which speaks in the silence of your heart. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/8-february-1951#p17</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
It is possible only when one has had the experience of complete silence in the mental region and when the spiritual force with its light and power descends through the mind and makes it act directly without its following its usual method of analysis, deduction, reasoning. All these faculties which are usually considered the normal activities of the mind, must be stopped, and yet the spiritual Light, Knowledge and Power must be able to transform them into a channel of direct expression, without using these means to express themselves. (The Mother, 17 September 1958) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/17-september-1958#p8</ref>
+
It is possible only when one has had the experience of complete silence in the mental region and when the spiritual force with its light and power descends through the mind and makes it act directly without its following its usual method of analysis, deduction, reasoning. All these faculties which are usually considered the normal activities of the mind, must be stopped, and yet the spiritual Light, Knowledge and Power must be able to transform them into a channel of direct expression, without using these means to express themselves. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/17-september-1958#p8</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
I said once that, to speak usefully for ten minutes, you should remain silent for ten days. I could add that, to act usefully for one day, you should keep quiet for a year! Of course, I am not speaking of the ordinary day-to-day acts that are needed for the common external life, but of those who have or believe that they have something to do for the world. And the silence I speak of is the inner quietude that those alone have who can act without being identified with their action, merged into it and blinded and deafened by the noise and form of their own movement. (The Mother, 26 May 1929) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/26-may-1929#p30</ref>
+
I said once that, to speak usefully for ten minutes, you should remain silent for ten days. I could add that, to act usefully for one day, you should keep quiet for a year! Of course, I am not speaking of the ordinary day-to-day acts that are needed for the common external life, but of those who have or believe that they have something to do for the world. And the silence I speak of is the inner quietude that those alone have who can act without being identified with their action, merged into it and blinded and deafened by the noise and form of their own movement. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/26-may-1929#p30</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
One can have a quiet mind without being in a complete state of silence; one can carry on an activity without being disturbed. The ideal is to be able to act without coming out of the mental quietude. One can do everything while keeping the mind quiet, and what one does is better done. (The Mother, 7 December 1966) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/7-december-1966#p7</ref>
+
One can have a quiet mind without being in a complete state of silence; one can carry on an activity without being disturbed. The ideal is to be able to act without coming out of the mental quietude. One can do everything while keeping the mind quiet, and what one does is better done. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/7-december-1966#p7</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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=== Listening ===
 
=== Listening ===
  
We say something that is quite clear, but the way in which it is understood is stupefying! Each sees in it something else than what was intended or even puts into it something that is quite the contrary of its sense. If you want to understand truly and avoid this kind of error, you must go behind the sound and the movement of the words and learn to listen in silence. (The Mother, 12 March 1951) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/12-march-1951#p9</ref>
+
We say something that is quite clear, but the way in which it is understood is stupefying! Each sees in it something else than what was intended or even puts into it something that is quite the contrary of its sense. If you want to understand truly and avoid this kind of error, you must go behind the sound and the movement of the words and learn to listen in silence. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/12-march-1951#p9</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
It is a matter of attention. If you concentrate your attention on what is being said, with the will to understand it correctly, the silence is created spontaneously—it is attention that creates the silence. (The Mother, 12 March 1951) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/12-march-1951#p12</ref>
+
It is a matter of attention. If you concentrate your attention on what is being said, with the will to understand it correctly, the silence is created spontaneously—it is attention that creates the silence. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/12-march-1951#p12</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
If you don't do that, you are wasting your time, and, into the bargain, wasting mine. That's a proved fact. I thought I had already told you this several times, but still perhaps I didn't tell you clearly enough. If you come here, come with the intention of listening in silence. What happens you will know later; the effect of this silent attitude you will recognise later; but for the moment, the only thing to do is to be like this (gesture), silent, immobile, attentive, concentrated. (The Mother, 25 July 1956) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/25-july-1956#p14</ref>
+
If you don't do that, you are wasting your time, and, into the bargain, wasting mine. That's a proved fact. I thought I had already told you this several times, but still perhaps I didn't tell you clearly enough. If you come here, come with the intention of listening in silence. What happens you will know later; the effect of this silent attitude you will recognise later; but for the moment, the only thing to do is to be like this (gesture), silent, immobile, attentive, concentrated. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/25-july-1956#p14</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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=== Listening to Music in Silence ===
 
=== Listening to Music in Silence ===
  
I don't know if any of you are so fond of music as to know how to hear it. But if you want to listen to music, you must create an absolute silence in your head, you must not follow or accept a single thought, and must be entirely concentrated, like a sort of screen which receives, without movement or noise, the vibration of the music. That is the only way, there is no other, the only way of hearing music and understanding it. If you admit in the least the movements and fancies of your thought, the whole value of the music escapes you. Well, to understand a teaching which is not quite of the ordinary material kind but implies an opening to something more deep within, this necessity of silence is far greater still. If, instead of listening to what you are told, you begin to jump on the idea in order to ask another question or even to discuss what is said under the false pretext of understanding better, all that you are told passes like smoke without leaving any effect. (The Mother, 25 July 1956) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/25-july-1956#p12</ref>
+
I don't know if any of you are so fond of music as to know how to hear it. But if you want to listen to music, you must create an absolute silence in your head, you must not follow or accept a single thought, and must be entirely concentrated, like a sort of screen which receives, without movement or noise, the vibration of the music. That is the only way, there is no other, the only way of hearing music and understanding it. If you admit in the least the movements and fancies of your thought, the whole value of the music escapes you. Well, to understand a teaching which is not quite of the ordinary material kind but implies an opening to something more deep within, this necessity of silence is far greater still. If, instead of listening to what you are told, you begin to jump on the idea in order to ask another question or even to discuss what is said under the false pretext of understanding better, all that you are told passes like smoke without leaving any effect. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/25-july-1956#p12</ref>
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
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=== Resting in Silence ===
 
=== Resting in Silence ===
  
In any case one thing you can do in all security is, before going to sleep, to concentrate, relax all tension in the physical being, try... that is, in the body try so that the body lies like a soft rag on the bed, that it is no longer something with twitchings and cramps; to relax it completely as though it were a kind of thing like a rag. And then, the vital: to calm it, calm it as much as you can, make it as quiet, as peaceful as possible. And then the mind also—the mind, try to keep it like that, without any activity. You must put upon the brain the force of great peace, great quietude, of silence if possible, and not follow ideas actively, not make any effort, nothing, nothing; you must relax all movement there too, but relax it in a kind of silence and quietude as great as possible. (The Mother, 2 March 1955) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/2-march-1955#p10</ref>
+
In any case one thing you can do in all security is, before going to sleep, to concentrate, relax all tension in the physical being, try... that is, in the body try so that the body lies like a soft rag on the bed, that it is no longer something with twitchings and cramps; to relax it completely as though it were a kind of thing like a rag. And then, the vital: to calm it, calm it as much as you can, make it as quiet, as peaceful as possible. And then the mind also—the mind, try to keep it like that, without any activity. You must put upon the brain the force of great peace, great quietude, of silence if possible, and not follow ideas actively, not make any effort, nothing, nothing; you must relax all movement there too, but relax it in a kind of silence and quietude as great as possible. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/2-march-1955#p10</ref>
  
 
== Different Practices ==
 
== Different Practices ==
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=== Nearness to Someone Who Has Achieved Silence ===
 
=== Nearness to Someone Who Has Achieved Silence ===
  
There is another phenomenon which is considered spiritual, but which is spiritual only indirectly: it is when you find yourself near someone who has controlled his thought and achieved mental silence. You suddenly feel this silence coming down into yourself and something which was impossible for you half an hour earlier suddenly becomes a reality. This is a rather unusual phenomenon. (The Mother, 22 January 1951) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/15/22-january-1951#p16</ref>
+
There is another phenomenon which is considered spiritual, but which is spiritual only indirectly: it is when you find yourself near someone who has controlled his thought and achieved mental silence. You suddenly feel this silence coming down into yourself and something which was impossible for you half an hour earlier suddenly becomes a reality. This is a rather unusual phenomenon. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/15/22-january-1951#p16</ref>
 
 
 
 
  
 
= Few Helpful Activities and Qualities =
 
= Few Helpful Activities and Qualities =
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=== Witness Without Involvement ===
 
=== Witness Without Involvement ===
  
''What is the meaning of “the mental witness”?''
+
''Q. What is the meaning of “the mental witness”?''
 +
 
  
The witness we have spoken about several times already, only here it is in the mind.
+
''A.'' The witness we have spoken about several times already, only here it is in the mind.
  
 
There are witnesses everywhere. It is a capacity of the being to detach itself, to stand back and look at what is happening, as when one looks at something happening in the street or when one looks at others playing and does not himself play, one remain seated, looking at the others moving but does not move. That’s how it is.
 
There are witnesses everywhere. It is a capacity of the being to detach itself, to stand back and look at what is happening, as when one looks at something happening in the street or when one looks at others playing and does not himself play, one remain seated, looking at the others moving but does not move. That’s how it is.
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= Impediments in Attaining Silence =
 
= Impediments in Attaining Silence =
  
''' Fear '''
+
==Fear==
  
I have seen many cases in which Sri Aurobindo had given silence to somebody, had made his mind silent, and that person came back to him in a kind of despair, saying: "But I have become stupid!" For his thought was no longer excited. (The Mother, 30 January 1957) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/30-january-1957#p12</ref>
+
I have seen many cases in which Sri Aurobindo had given silence to somebody, had made his mind silent, and that person came back to him in a kind of despair, saying: "But I have become stupid!" For his thought was no longer excited. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/30-january-1957#p12</ref>
  
 
A silence, an entry into a wide or even immense or infinite emptiness is part of the inner spiritual experience; of this silence and void the physical mind has a certain fear, the small superficially active thinking or vital mind a shrinking from it or dislike,—for it confuses the silence with mental and vital incapacity and the void with cessation or non-existence: but this silence is the silence of the spirit which is the condition of a greater knowledge, power and bliss, and this emptiness is the emptying of the cup of our natural being, a liberation of it from its turbid contents so that it may be filled with the wine of God; it is the passage not into non-existence but to a greater existence. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/the-divine-life#p16</ref>
 
A silence, an entry into a wide or even immense or infinite emptiness is part of the inner spiritual experience; of this silence and void the physical mind has a certain fear, the small superficially active thinking or vital mind a shrinking from it or dislike,—for it confuses the silence with mental and vital incapacity and the void with cessation or non-existence: but this silence is the silence of the spirit which is the condition of a greater knowledge, power and bliss, and this emptiness is the emptying of the cup of our natural being, a liberation of it from its turbid contents so that it may be filled with the wine of God; it is the passage not into non-existence but to a greater existence. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/the-divine-life#p16</ref>
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You must dismiss the fear of the concentration. The emptiness you feel coming on you is the silence of the great peace in which you become aware of your self, not as the small ego shut up in the body, but as the spiritual self wide as the universe. Consciousness is not dissolved; it is the limits of the consciousness that are dissolved. In that silence thoughts may cease for a time, there may be nothing but a great limitless freedom and wideness, but into that silence, that empty wideness descends the vast peace from above, light, bliss, knowledge, the higher Consciousness in which you feel the oneness of the Divine. It is the beginning of the transformation and there is nothing in it to fear. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-universal-or-cosmic-consciousness#p37</ref>
 
You must dismiss the fear of the concentration. The emptiness you feel coming on you is the silence of the great peace in which you become aware of your self, not as the small ego shut up in the body, but as the spiritual self wide as the universe. Consciousness is not dissolved; it is the limits of the consciousness that are dissolved. In that silence thoughts may cease for a time, there may be nothing but a great limitless freedom and wideness, but into that silence, that empty wideness descends the vast peace from above, light, bliss, knowledge, the higher Consciousness in which you feel the oneness of the Divine. It is the beginning of the transformation and there is nothing in it to fear. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-universal-or-cosmic-consciousness#p37</ref>
  
''' Resistance to Face Themselves'''
+
==Resistance to Face Themselves==
  
In making a noise? Because they like to deaden themselves. In silence they have to face their own difficulties, they are in front of themselves, and usually they don't like that. In the noise they forget everything, they become stupefied. So they are happy. (The Mother, 26 January 1955) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/26-january-1955#p13</ref>
+
In making a noise? Because they like to deaden themselves. In silence they have to face their own difficulties, they are in front of themselves, and usually they don't like that. In the noise they forget everything, they become stupefied. So they are happy. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/26-january-1955#p13</ref>
  
''' Interference of Lower Nature '''
+
==Interference of Lower Nature==
  
 
The descent of the peace is often one of the first major positive experiences of the sadhana. In this state of peace the normal thought-mind (buddhi) is apt to fall silent or abate most of its activity and, when it does, very often either this vital mind can rush in, if one is not on one's guard, or else a kind of mechanical physical or random subconscient mind can begin to come up and act; these are the chief disturbers of the silence. Or else the lower vital mind can try to disturb; that brings up the ego and passions and their play. All these are signs of elements that have to be got rid of, because if they remain and other of the higher powers begin to descend, Power and Force, Knowledge, Love or Ananda, those lower things may come across with the result that either the higher consciousness retires or its descent is covered up and the stimulation it gives is misused for the purposes of the lower nature. This is the reason why many sadhaks after having big experiences fall into the clutch of a magnified ego, upheavals, ambition, exaggerated sex or other vital passions or distortions. It is always well therefore if a complete purification of the vital can either precede or keep pace with the positive experience—at least in natures in which the vital is strongly active. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/28/the-mind#p48</ref>
 
The descent of the peace is often one of the first major positive experiences of the sadhana. In this state of peace the normal thought-mind (buddhi) is apt to fall silent or abate most of its activity and, when it does, very often either this vital mind can rush in, if one is not on one's guard, or else a kind of mechanical physical or random subconscient mind can begin to come up and act; these are the chief disturbers of the silence. Or else the lower vital mind can try to disturb; that brings up the ego and passions and their play. All these are signs of elements that have to be got rid of, because if they remain and other of the higher powers begin to descend, Power and Force, Knowledge, Love or Ananda, those lower things may come across with the result that either the higher consciousness retires or its descent is covered up and the stimulation it gives is misused for the purposes of the lower nature. This is the reason why many sadhaks after having big experiences fall into the clutch of a magnified ego, upheavals, ambition, exaggerated sex or other vital passions or distortions. It is always well therefore if a complete purification of the vital can either precede or keep pace with the positive experience—at least in natures in which the vital is strongly active. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/28/the-mind#p48</ref>
  
''' External Interference '''
+
==External Interference==
  
To try to solve this problem ascetics used to go away into forests and sit under a tree; there, of course, they had not to fear any contagion from other human beings. But it is very difficult to go to the very end of this resolution, for it quickly gets known that a saint is sitting under a tree in meditation, and immediately everybody rushes there! Not only does he not escape from the difficulty, but he increases it, for there is not a thing more dangerous than to teach others. You know just a little and you begin to teach others, and you are immediately compelled to say more than you know, because people put questions to you which you cannot answer, unless you are a hero of silence. In the world, those who want to pass themselves off as spiritual teachers—when people come and ask them something they do not know, they invent it. (The Mother, 5 February 1951) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/5-february-1951#p12</ref>
+
To try to solve this problem ascetics used to go away into forests and sit under a tree; there, of course, they had not to fear any contagion from other human beings. But it is very difficult to go to the very end of this resolution, for it quickly gets known that a saint is sitting under a tree in meditation, and immediately everybody rushes there! Not only does he not escape from the difficulty, but he increases it, for there is not a thing more dangerous than to teach others. You know just a little and you begin to teach others, and you are immediately compelled to say more than you know, because people put questions to you which you cannot answer, unless you are a hero of silence. In the world, those who want to pass themselves off as spiritual teachers—when people come and ask them something they do not know, they invent it. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/5-february-1951#p12</ref>
  
''' Lack of Control '''
+
==Lack of Control==
  
 
Man is the first animal on earth to be able to use articulate sounds. Indeed, he is very proud of this capacity and exercises it without moderation or discernment. The world is deafened with the sound of his words and sometimes one almost misses the harmonious silence of the plant kingdom. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/the-four-austerities-and-the-four-liberations#p34</ref>
 
Man is the first animal on earth to be able to use articulate sounds. Indeed, he is very proud of this capacity and exercises it without moderation or discernment. The world is deafened with the sound of his words and sometimes one almost misses the harmonious silence of the plant kingdom. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/the-four-austerities-and-the-four-liberations#p34</ref>
  
=== Misconception that one will Lose their Ability to Think ===
+
== Misconception that one will Lose their Ability to Think ==
  
 
I emphasise this fact because there are quite a few people who, when mental silence has been transmitted to them by occult means, are immediately alarmed and afraid of losing their intelligence. Because they can no longer think, they fear they may become stupid! But to cease thinking is a much higher achievement than to be able to spin out thoughts endlessly and it demands a much greater development. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/conjugate-verses#p90</ref>
 
I emphasise this fact because there are quite a few people who, when mental silence has been transmitted to them by occult means, are immediately alarmed and afraid of losing their intelligence. Because they can no longer think, they fear they may become stupid! But to cease thinking is a much higher achievement than to be able to spin out thoughts endlessly and it demands a much greater development. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/conjugate-verses#p90</ref>
  
=== Abolishing the Ego - Getting Rid of Moral Egoism ===
+
== Abolishing the Ego - Getting Rid of Moral Egoism ==
  
 
First of all, you must want to do it, and there are very few people who want to. And that is exactly what they say, it is this justification of their way of being, "That is the way I am made, I can't do otherwise. And then, if I change this, if I change that or if I do without this thing or if I get rid of that other, I shall no longer exist!" And if one doesn't say this openly, one thinks it…. One pushes it away in certain very obvious things; for example, if there is something good and someone rushes forward to make sure of having it first, even jostling his neighbour then here one becomes quite aware that this is not very elegant, so one begins to suppress these crudities, one makes a big effort—and one becomes highly self-satisfied: "I am not selfish, I give what is good to others, I don't keep it for myself", and one begins to get puffed up. And so one is filled with a moral egoism which is much worse than physical egoism, for it is conscious of its superiority.
 
First of all, you must want to do it, and there are very few people who want to. And that is exactly what they say, it is this justification of their way of being, "That is the way I am made, I can't do otherwise. And then, if I change this, if I change that or if I do without this thing or if I get rid of that other, I shall no longer exist!" And if one doesn't say this openly, one thinks it…. One pushes it away in certain very obvious things; for example, if there is something good and someone rushes forward to make sure of having it first, even jostling his neighbour then here one becomes quite aware that this is not very elegant, so one begins to suppress these crudities, one makes a big effort—and one becomes highly self-satisfied: "I am not selfish, I give what is good to others, I don't keep it for myself", and one begins to get puffed up. And so one is filled with a moral egoism which is much worse than physical egoism, for it is conscious of its superiority.
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And then there are those who have left everything, given up everything, who have left their families, distributed their belongings, gone into solitude, who live an ascetic life, and who are terribly conscious of their superiority, who look down at poor humanity from the height of their spiritual grandeur—and they have, these people, such a formidable ego that unless it is broken into small bits, never, never will they see the Divine. So it is not such an easy task. It takes a lot of time. And I must tell you that even when the work is done, it must always be begun again. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/19-april-1951#p8</ref>
 
And then there are those who have left everything, given up everything, who have left their families, distributed their belongings, gone into solitude, who live an ascetic life, and who are terribly conscious of their superiority, who look down at poor humanity from the height of their spiritual grandeur—and they have, these people, such a formidable ego that unless it is broken into small bits, never, never will they see the Divine. So it is not such an easy task. It takes a lot of time. And I must tell you that even when the work is done, it must always be begun again. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/19-april-1951#p8</ref>
  
=== Downward Pull of Imperfections ===
+
== Downward Pull of Imperfections ==
  
 
… the spiritual emergence has to wait at each step for the instruments to be ready; next, as the spiritual formation emerges, it is mixed inextricably with the powers, motives, impulses of an imperfect mind, life and body,—there is a pull on it to accept and serve these powers, motives and impulses, a downward gravitation and perilous mixture, a constant temptation to fall or deviation, at least a fettering, a weight, a retardation; there is a necessity to return upon a step gained in order to bring up something of the nature which hangs back and prevents a farther step; finally, there is, by the very character of mind in which it has to work, a limitation of the emerging spiritual light and power and a compulsion on it to move by segments, to follow one line or another and leave altogether or leave till later on the achievement of its own totality. This hampering, this obstacle of the mind, life and body,—the heavy inertia and persistence of the body, the turbid passions of the life-part, the obscurity and doubting incertitudes, denials, other-formulations of the mind,—is an impediment so great and intolerable that the spiritual urge becomes impatient and tries rigorously to quell these opponents, to reject the life, to mortify the body, to silence the mind and achieve its own separate salvation, spirit departing into pure spirit and rejecting from it altogether an undivine and obscure Nature.  <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/the-evolution-of-the-spiritual-man#p10</ref>
 
… the spiritual emergence has to wait at each step for the instruments to be ready; next, as the spiritual formation emerges, it is mixed inextricably with the powers, motives, impulses of an imperfect mind, life and body,—there is a pull on it to accept and serve these powers, motives and impulses, a downward gravitation and perilous mixture, a constant temptation to fall or deviation, at least a fettering, a weight, a retardation; there is a necessity to return upon a step gained in order to bring up something of the nature which hangs back and prevents a farther step; finally, there is, by the very character of mind in which it has to work, a limitation of the emerging spiritual light and power and a compulsion on it to move by segments, to follow one line or another and leave altogether or leave till later on the achievement of its own totality. This hampering, this obstacle of the mind, life and body,—the heavy inertia and persistence of the body, the turbid passions of the life-part, the obscurity and doubting incertitudes, denials, other-formulations of the mind,—is an impediment so great and intolerable that the spiritual urge becomes impatient and tries rigorously to quell these opponents, to reject the life, to mortify the body, to silence the mind and achieve its own separate salvation, spirit departing into pure spirit and rejecting from it altogether an undivine and obscure Nature.  <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/the-evolution-of-the-spiritual-man#p10</ref>
  
=== Inferior Mentality ===
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== Inferior Mentality ==
  
 
When the inner action proceeds after the silence, even if it be then a more predominatingly intuitive thought and movement, the old powers will yet interfere, if not from within, then by a hundred suggestions from without, and an inferior mentality will mix in, will question or obstruct or will try to lay hold on the greater movement and to lower or darken or distort or minimise it in the process. Therefore the necessity of a process of elimination or transformation of the inferior mentality remains always imperative,—or perhaps both at once, an elimination of all that is native to the lower being, its disfiguring accidents, its depreciations of value, its distortions of substance and all else that the greater truth cannot harbour, and a transformation of the essential things our mind derives from the supermind and spirit but represents in the manner of the mental ignorance. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/24/the-intuitive-mind#p5</ref>
 
When the inner action proceeds after the silence, even if it be then a more predominatingly intuitive thought and movement, the old powers will yet interfere, if not from within, then by a hundred suggestions from without, and an inferior mentality will mix in, will question or obstruct or will try to lay hold on the greater movement and to lower or darken or distort or minimise it in the process. Therefore the necessity of a process of elimination or transformation of the inferior mentality remains always imperative,—or perhaps both at once, an elimination of all that is native to the lower being, its disfiguring accidents, its depreciations of value, its distortions of substance and all else that the greater truth cannot harbour, and a transformation of the essential things our mind derives from the supermind and spirit but represents in the manner of the mental ignorance. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/24/the-intuitive-mind#p5</ref>
  
=== Interference by Mental Forces ===
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== Interference by Mental Forces ==
  
 
The danger of the mental forces is that when the higher consciousness descends they tend (unless there is a deep silence) to become active in the consciousness for forming ideas of a mental type which can always be misapplied. First, there should be a basis of entire calm, peace and silence—if there is activity, it should be that of a knowledge coming down and the mind silent receiving it accurately. This you can easily have, provided the mind is quiet. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/descent-and-the-lower-nature#p14</ref>
 
The danger of the mental forces is that when the higher consciousness descends they tend (unless there is a deep silence) to become active in the consciousness for forming ideas of a mental type which can always be misapplied. First, there should be a basis of entire calm, peace and silence—if there is activity, it should be that of a knowledge coming down and the mind silent receiving it accurately. This you can easily have, provided the mind is quiet. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/descent-and-the-lower-nature#p14</ref>
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== Meditation and Silence ==
 
== Meditation and Silence ==
  
Among people who meditate there are some who know how to meditate, who concentrate not on an idea, but in silence, in an inner contemplation in which they say they reach even a union with the Divine; and that is perfectly all right. There are others, just a few, who can follow an idea closely and try to find exactly what it means; that too is all right. Most of the time people try to concentrate and enter into a kind of half sleepy and, in any case, very tamasic state. They become some kind of inert thing; the mind is inert, the feeling is inert, the body is immobile. They can remain like that for hours, for there is nothing more durable than inertia! All this that I am telling you now—these are experiences of people I have met. And these people, when they come out of their meditation, sincerely believe they have done something very great. But they have simply gone down into inertia and unconsciousness. (The Mother, 13 May 1953) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/13-may-1953#p5</ref>  
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Among people who meditate there are some who know how to meditate, who concentrate not on an idea, but in silence, in an inner contemplation in which they say they reach even a union with the Divine; and that is perfectly all right. There are others, just a few, who can follow an idea closely and try to find exactly what it means; that too is all right. Most of the time people try to concentrate and enter into a kind of half sleepy and, in any case, very tamasic state. They become some kind of inert thing; the mind is inert, the feeling is inert, the body is immobile. They can remain like that for hours, for there is nothing more durable than inertia! All this that I am telling you now—these are experiences of people I have met. And these people, when they come out of their meditation, sincerely believe they have done something very great. But they have simply gone down into inertia and unconsciousness. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/13-may-1953#p5</ref>  
  
 
<center>~</center>
 
<center>~</center>
  
That is, instead of being in a state of tension, instead of making a tremendous effort to silence the inner machine and be able to concentrate your thought upon what you want, when you do it quite simply, naturally, without effort, automatically, and you decide to meditate for some reason or other, what you want to see, learn or know remains in your consciousness and all the rest disappears as by a miracle; everything falls quiet in you, all your being becomes silent, your nerves are altogether soothed, your consciousness is wholly concentrated—naturally, spontaneously—and you enter with an intense delight into a yet more intense contemplation. (The Mother, 17 February 1951) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/17-february-1951#p36</ref>
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That is, instead of being in a state of tension, instead of making a tremendous effort to silence the inner machine and be able to concentrate your thought upon what you want, when you do it quite simply, naturally, without effort, automatically, and you decide to meditate for some reason or other, what you want to see, learn or know remains in your consciousness and all the rest disappears as by a miracle; everything falls quiet in you, all your being becomes silent, your nerves are altogether soothed, your consciousness is wholly concentrated—naturally, spontaneously—and you enter with an intense delight into a yet more intense contemplation. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/17-february-1951#p36</ref>
  
 
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Latest revision as of 13:54, 9 June 2020

Read Summary of Silence

Contents

What is Silence?

Silence: the condition of the being when it listens to the Divine. [1]

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Silence is the absence of all motion of thought or other vibration of activity. [2]

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The stilling of this current, running, circling, repeating thought-mind is the principal part of that silencing of the thought which is one of the most effective disciplines of Yoga. [3]

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Silence is always good; but I do not mean by quietness of mind entire silence. I mean a mind free from disturbance and trouble, steady, light and glad so as to be open to the Force that will change the nature. [4]

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The stillness of the mind means, first, the falling to rest of the habitual thought movements, thought formations, thought currents which agitate this mind-substance. That repose, vacancy of movement, is for many a sufficient mental silence. [5]

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It is in silence or quietude that we feel most firmly the Something that is behind the world shown to us by our mind and senses. [6]

Silence as it is Different From Related States

The words “peace, calm, quiet, silence” have each their own shade of meaning, but it is not easy to define them.

Peace—śānti.

Calm—sthiratā.

Quiet—acañcalatā.

Silence—niścala-nīravatā.

Quiet is a condition in which there is no restlessness or disturbance.

Calm is a still, unmoved condition which no disturbance can affect—it is a less negative condition than quiet.

Peace is a still more positive condition; it carries with it a sense of settled and harmonious rest and deliverance.

Silence is a state in which either there is no movement of the mind or vital or else a great stillness which no surface movement can pierce or alter. [7]

~

Silence of the mind, peace or calm in the mind are three things that are very close together and bring each other. [8]

Quietude

Quiet is rather negative—it is the absence of disturbance. [9]

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The first step is a quiet mind—silence is a farther step, but quietude must be there, and by a quiet mind I mean a mental consciousness within which sees thoughts arrive to it and move about, but does not itself feel that it is thinking or identify itself with the thoughts or call them its own. Thoughts, mental movements may pass through it as wayfarers appear and pass from elsewhere through a silent country—the quiet mind observes them or does not care to observe them but in either case does not become active or lose its quietude.

~

Silence is more than quietude; it can be gained by banishing thought altogether from the inner mind keeping it voiceless or quite outside; but more easily it is established by a descent from above—one feels it coming down, entering and occupying, or surrounding the personal consciousness which then tends to merge itself in the vast impersonal silence. [10]

Calm

Calm is a positive tranquillity which can exist in spite of superficial disturbances. [11]

~

It is not necessary [in a calm mind] that there should be no thought. When there is no thought, it is silence. But the mind is said to be calm when thoughts, feelings, etc. may pass through it, but it is not disturbed. It feels that the thoughts are not its own; it observes them perhaps; but it is not perturbed by anything. [12]

Peace

Peace is a calm deepened into something that is very positive amounting almost to a tranquil waveless Ananda. [13]

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The silence and peace are themselves part of the higher consciousness—the rest comes in the silence and peace. [14]

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When the mind is silent, there is peace and in peace all things that are divine can come. When there is not the mind, there is the Self which is greater than the mind. [15]

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It is from the Silence that the peace comes; when the peace deepens and deepens, it becomes more and more the Silence. [16]

Continence of Speech

First condition, know how to keep silent. And not only keep your tongue quiet, but silence your mind, keep the head silent. If you wish to have a true, sincere experience upon which you can build, you must know how to be silent, otherwise you have nothing but what you fabricate yourself, which is equivalent to zero. All that one can say is, "Heavens, what a fashioner my mind is!" [17]

~

Already someone has told me, quite rightly, that while practising this half-silence, or at any rate this continence of speech, one achieves quite naturally the mastery of numerous difficulties in one's character and also one avoids a great many frictions and misunderstandings. This is true. [18]

~

To remain in silence as much as possible is good for a time. But entire retirement is seldom found to be helpful—the lower movements may remain quiescent owing to want of stimulus from outside, but do not disappear. For that you must be able to get an inner quietude and a mastery over the outer movements which will resist any atmosphere. [19]

Inner Silence

It is really an inner silence that is needed—a something silent within that looks at outer talk and action but feels it as something superficial, not as itself and is quite indifferent and untouched by it. It can bring forces to support speech and action or it can stop them by withdrawal or it can let them go on and observe without being involved or moved. [20]

~

To make yourself blank in meditation creates an inner silence; it does not mean that you have become nothing or have become a dead and inert mass. Making yourself an empty vessel, you invite that which shall fill it. It means that you release the stress of your inner consciousness towards realisation. The nature of the consciousness and the degree of its stress determine the forces that you bring into play and whether they shall help and fulfil or fail or even harm and hinder. [21]

~

This condition you had of the inner being and its silence, separated from the surface consciousness and its little restless workings, is the first liberation, the liberation of Purusha from Prakriti, and it is the fundamental experience. The day when you can keep it, you can know that the Yogic consciousness has been founded in you. This time it has increased in intensity, but it must also increase in duration. [22]

~

The condition you describe shows precisely the growth of this inner silence. It has to fix itself eventually as the basis of all spiritual experience and activity. It does not matter if one does not know what is going on within behind the silence. For there are two conditions in the Yoga, one in which all is silent and there is no thought, feeling or movement even though one is acting outwardly as others do—another in which a new consciousness becomes active bringing knowledge, joy, love and other spiritual feelings and inner activities, but yet at the same time there is a fundamental silence or quietude. Both are necessary in the development of the inner being. The absolutely silent state, which is one of lightness, voidness and release, prepares the other and supports it when it comes. [23]

~

Remain very quiet, open your mind and your heart to Sri Aurobindo's influence and mine, withdraw deep into an inner silence (which may be had in all circumstances), call me from the depths of this silence and you will see me standing there in the centre of your being. [24]

~

All experiences come in the silence but they do not come all pell-mell in a crowd at the beginning. The inner silence and peace have first to be established. [25]

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In silence, the consciousness grows. It aspires to know You more and more perfectly. [26]

~

Silence and Yoga

Philosophy knows nothing about peace and silence or the inner and outer vital. These things are discovered only by Yoga. [27]

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Obviously to live in the silent Brahman, the best way is to live within where one can have the silence and resist all outward pulls. [28]

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But Yoga is not a mental field, the consciousness which has to be established is not a mental, logical or debating consciousness—it is even laid down by Yoga that unless and until the mind is stilled, including the intellectual or logical mind, and opens itself in quietude or silence to a higher and deeper consciousness, vision and knowledge, sadhana cannot reach its goal. [29]

Descent of Peace

There are two movements that are necessary—one is the ascent through the increasing of peace and silence to its source above the mind,—that is indicated by the tendency of the consciousness to rise out of the body to the top of the head and above where it is easy to realise the Self in all its stillness and liberation and wideness and to open to the other powers of the Higher Consciousness. The other is the descent of the peace, silence, the spiritual freedom and wideness and the powers of the higher consciousness as they develop into the lower down to the most physical and even the subconscient. To both of these movements there can be a block—a block above due to the mind and lower nature being unhabituated (it is that really and not incapacity) and a block below due to the physical consciousness and its natural slowness to change. Everybody has these blocks but by persistent will, aspiration or abhyāsa they can be overcome. [30]

~

I have said that the most decisive way for the Peace or the Silence to come is by a descent from above. In fact, in reality though not always in appearance, that is how they always come;—not in appearance always, because the sadhak is not always conscious of the process; he feels the peace settling in him or at least manifesting, but he has not been conscious how and whence it came. Yet it is the truth that all that belongs to the higher consciousness comes from above, not only the spiritual peace and silence, but the Light, the Power, the Knowledge, the higher seeing and thought, the Ananda come from above. [31]

~

If your consciousness rises above the head, that means that it goes beyond the ordinary mind to the centre above which receives the higher consciousness or else towards the ascending levels of the higher consciousness itself. The first result is the silence and peace of the Self which is the basis of the higher consciousness; this may afterwards descend into the lower levels, into the very body. [32]

~

The silence in the head and heart and the emptiness are both necessary and desirable. When they are there, the consciousness finds them natural and they give it the sense of lightness and release; that is why the thoughts or speech of the old kind are foreign to it and when they come give fatigue. This silence and emptiness must grow, so that the higher consciousness with its knowledge, light, Ananda, peace can come down in it and progressively replace the old things. They must indeed occupy not only head and heart but the whole body. [33]

~

Descents of peace are good, but an increasingly stable quietude and silence of the mind is something more valuable. When that is there then other things can come—usually one at a time, light or strength and force or knowledge or ananda. [34]

Release of the Spirit

What one feels first [in the silence] is the pure existence of the self, without any idea, characteristic or movement—existence pure and simple, Sat Brahman—or else one feels that and a vast peace and wideness. Afterwards other things are felt such as Ananda, but always with this as the basis. [35]

~

There is no distinction between the Self and the spirit. The psychic is the soul that develops in the evolution—the spirit is the Self that is not affected by the evolution, it is above it—only it is covered or concealed by the activity of mind, vital and body. The removal of this covering is the release of the spirit—and it is removed when there is a full and wide spiritual silence. [36]

~

But for the knowledge of the Self it is necessary to have the power of a complete intellectual passivity, the power of dismissing all thought, the power of the mind to think not at all which the Gita in one passage enjoins. This is a hard saying for the occidental mind to which thought is the highest thing and which will be apt to mistake the power of the mind not to think, its complete silence for the incapacity of thought. But this power of silence is a capacity and not an incapacity, a power and not a weakness. It is a profound and pregnant stillness. Only when the mind is thus entirely still, like clear, motionless and level water, in a perfect purity and peace of the whole being and the soul transcends thought, can the Self which exceeds and originates all activities and becomings, the Silence from which all words are born, the Absolute of which all relativities are partial reflections manifest itself in the pure essence of our being. In a complete silence only is the Silence heard; in a pure peace only is its Being revealed. Therefore to us the name of That is the Silence and the Peace. [37]

Identification with the Divine

It is in the silence of complete identification with the Divine that true understanding is obtained. [38]

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None can say to the Divine, "I have known Thee", and yet all carry Him in themselves, and in the silence of their soul can hear the echo of the Divine's voice. [39]

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In the perfect silence of the contemplation all widens to infinity, and in the perfect peace of that silence the Divine appears in the resplendent glory of His light. [40]

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Truth is above mind; it is in silence that one can enter into communication with it. [41]

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Silence all outside noise, aspire for the Divine's help; open integrally to it then it comes and surrender to its action, and it will effectively bring about your transformation. [42]

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It is obviously in the silence of the mind that it is possible to perceive the Divine Command. The true way of knowing is above words and thoughts. [43]

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Feeling alone in the midst of human beings is the sign that you are beginning to feel the need to find in your own being contact with the Divine Presence. So you must concentrate in silence and try to enter deep within to discover the Divine Presence in the depths of your consciousness, beyond all mental activity. [44]

Silence in the Physical

Q. What is meant by the "silence of the physical consciousness" and how can one remain in this silence?

A. The physical consciousness is not only the consciousness of our body, but of all that surrounds us as well all that we perceive with our senses. It is a sort of apparatus for recording and transmission which is open to all the contacts and shocks coming from outside and responds to them by reactions of pleasure and pain which welcome or repel. This makes in our outer being a constant activity and noise that we are only partially aware of, because we are so accustomed to them. But if through meditation or concentration we turn inward or upward, we can bring down into ourselves or raise up from the depths calm, quiet, peace and finally silence. It is a concrete, positive silence (not the negative silence of the absence of noise), immutable so long as it remains, a silence one can experience even in the outer tumult of a hurricane or battlefield. This silence is synonymous with peace and it is all-powerful; it is the perfectly effective remedy for the fatigue, tension and exhaustion arising from that internal over-activity and noise which generally escape our control and cease neither by day nor night. This is why the first thing required when one wants to do Yoga is to bring down and establish in oneself the calm, the peace, the silence. [45]

If the peace and silence continue to come down, they usually become so intense as to seize the physical mind also after a time. [46]

Certainly, peace, purity and silence can be felt in all material things—for the Divine Self is there in all. [47]

Subconscient

As for the subconscient that is best dealt with when the opening of the consciousness to what comes down from above is complete. Then one becomes aware of the subconscient as a separate domain and can bring down into it the silence and all else that comes from above. [48]

Silence and the Supramental Consciousness

The silence of the mind does not of itself bring in the supramental consciousness; there are many states or planes or levels of consciousness between the human mind and the Supermind. The silence opens the mind and the rest of the being to greater things, sometimes to the cosmic consciousness, sometimes to the experience of the silent Self, sometimes to the presence or power of the Divine, sometimes to a higher consciousness than that of the human mind; the mind's silence is the most favourable condition for any of these things to happen. In this Yoga it is the most favourable condition (not the only one) for the Divine Power to descend first upon and then into the individual consciousness and there do its work to transform that consciousness, giving it the necessary experiences, altering all its outlook and movements, leading it from stage to stage till it is ready for the last (supramental) change. [49]

~

Every kind of realisation—infinite self, cosmic consciousness, the Mother's Presence, Light, Force, Ananda, Knowledge, Sachchidananda realisation, the different layers of consciousness up to the Supermind—all these can come in the silence which remains but ceases to be blank. [50]

Why is Silence Important?

In silence lies the greatest devotion. [51]

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In a quiet silence strength is restored. [52]

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Silence: the ideal condition for progress. [53]

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Integral silence: the source of true force. [54]

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In silence lies the source of the highest inspirations. [55]

Silence of Vital

Silence in the vital: a powerful help for inner peace. [56]

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In the silence of our heart there is always peace and joy. [57]

Silence of Mind

Practise silence of mind, it gives power of understanding. [58]

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It is only in mental silence that you can hear the voice without distorting it—be very peaceful. [59]

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To take this step towards the new creation, one must learn to silence the mind and rise above into Consciousness. [60]

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Wait quietly for the exact indication; all mental intervention and decisions are arbitrary. The clear indication comes in the silence of the mind. [61]

Silence for Sadhana

It is in quietness, peace and silence that the spiritual forces act. [62]

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In peace and silence the Eternal manifests. Let nothing trouble you and the Eternal will manifest. [63]

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The quietude and silence which you feel and the sense of happiness in it are indeed the very basis of successful sadhana. [64]

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Besides, for inner growth, I do not believe that words are necessary. In silence all our help is there at its most powerful. [65]

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It is in silence that the soul best expresses itself. [66]

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If you, in your consciousness, reach a state of silence, you perceive your state of silence everywhere, but others don't necessarily perceive it. You perceive it because you are in that state. [67]

For Problem Solving

When one has learned to silence the mind at will and to concentrate it in receptive silence, then there will be no problem that cannot be solved, no mental difficulty whose solution cannot be found. When it is agitated, thought becomes confused and impotent; in an attentive tranquillity, the light can manifest itself and open up new horizons to man's capacity. [68]

To Get Rid of Inertia

If the calm and silence are perfectly established in the physical, then if inertia comes it is itself something quiet and unaggressive, not bringing such disturbances. But to get rid of inertia altogether a strong dynamic calm is needed. [69]

~

If the physical being has felt and assimilated the silence and peace, then inertia ought not to rise up. [70]

~

Q. Sweet Mother,

There are moments when I feel it would be better to sit silently instead of reading or doing something else. But I am afraid of wasting time. What should I do?

A.It all depends on the quality of the silence—if it is a luminous silence, full of force and conscious concentration, it is good. If it is a tamasic and unconscious silence, it is harmful. [71]

Silence for Working

It is only in silence that anything great can be done. [72]

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All speech and action comes prepared out of the eternal Silence. [73]

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For the action is based on the silence and by the silence it is free. [74]

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In silence lies the greatest receptivity. And in an immobile silence the vastest action is done. [75]

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In the silence of the heart, you will receive the command. [76]

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To know how to observe in silence is the source of skillfulness. [77]

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In concentration and silence we must gather strength for the right action. [78]

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The dynamic action when it comes acts without disturbing the silence and peace. There is the vast peace and silence and in that the Force or the Will works to do what is necessary—in that also is the action of Agni or the psychic. [79]

~

Whatever has been done in the world has been done by the very few who can stand outside the action in silence; for it is they who are the instruments of the Divine Power. They are dynamic agents, conscious instruments; they bring down the forces that change the world. Things can be done in that way, not by a restless activity. In peace, in silence and in quietness the world was built; and each time that something is to be truly built, it is in peace and silence and quietness that it must be done. It is ignorance to believe that you must run from morning to night and labour at all sorts of futile things in order to do something for the world. [80]

~

In any case, as the perfect man would combine in himself the silence and the activity, so also would the completely conscious soul reach back to the absolute freedom of the Non-Being without therefore losing its hold on Existence and the universe. [81]

~

I am going to give you two examples to make you understand what true spontaneity is. One—you all know about it undoubtedly—is of the time Sri Aurobindo began writing the Arya, in 1914. It was neither a mental knowledge nor even a mental creation which he transcribed: he silenced his mind and sat at the typewriter, and from above, from the higher planes, all that had to be written came down, all ready, and he had only to move his fingers on the typewriter and it was transcribed. It was in this state of mental silence which allows the knowledge—and even the expression—from above to pass through that he wrote the whole Arya, with its sixty-four printed pages a month. This is why, besides, he could do it, for if it had been a mental work of construction it would have been quite impossible. [82]

~

For me, for what I am trying to do, action in silence is always much more important.... The force which is at work is not limited by words, and this gives it an infinitely greater strength, and it expresses itself in each consciousness in accordance with its own particular mode, which makes it infinitely more effective. A certain vibration is given out in silence, with a special purpose, to obtain a definite result, but according to the mental receptivity of each person it is expressed in each individual consciousness exactly in the form which can be the most effective, the most active, the most immediately useful for each individual; while if it is formulated in words, this formula has to be received by each person in its fixity—the fixity of the words given to it—and it loses much of its strength and fullness of action because, first, the words are not always understood as they are said and then they are not always adapted to the understanding of each one. [83]

~

As for calm and silence, there is no need of the supramental to get that. One can get it even on the level of Higher Mind which is the next above the human intelligence. I got these things in 1908, twenty-seven years ago and I can assure you they were solid enough and marvellous enough without any need of supramentality to make it more so! Again, a calm that "seems like motion" is a phenomenon of which I know nothing. A calm or silence which can support or produce action—that I know and that is what I have had—the proof is that out of an absolute silence of the mind I edited the Bande Mataram for four months and wrote 6½ volumes of the Arya, not to speak of all the letters and messages etc. etc. I have written since. If you say that writing is not an action or motion but only something that seems like it, a jugglery of the consciousness,—well, still out of that calm and silence I conducted a pretty strenuous political activity and have also taken my share in keeping up an Asram which has at least an appearance to the physical senses of being solid and material! [84]

Silence for Receptivity

In silence lies the greatest receptivity. And in an immobile silence the vastest action is done. [85]

~

Silence and a modest, humble, attentive receptivity; no concern for appearances or even any anxiety to be—one is quite modestly, quite humbly, quite simply the instrument which of itself is nothing and knows nothing, but is ready to receive everything and transmit everything. [Based on Aphorism 4—I am not a Jnani,1 for I have no knowledge except what God gives me for His work. How am I to know whether what I see be reason or folly? Nay, it is neither; for the thing seen is simply true and neither folly nor reason.][86]

~

This kind of revelation [knowledge by revelation] can only occur in a silent mind—at least in a mind that is at rest, completely quiet and still, otherwise they do not come. Or if they come, you do not notice them, because of all the noise you are making. And of course, they help this quiet, this silence, this receptivity to become better and better established. This feeling of something so still—but not closed, still but open, still but receptive—is something which becomes established through repeated experiences. There is a great difference between a silence that is dead, dull, unresponsive and the receptive silence of a quietened mind. [87]

Silence for Knowledge

With words one can at times understand, but only in silence one knows. [88]

~

Or else, one may have an experience which is almost its very opposite but which comes to the same thing. Suddenly one plunges into a depth, one moves away from the thing one perceived, it seems distant, superficial, unimportant; one enters an inner silence or an inner calm or an inward vision of things, a profound feeling, a more intimate perception of circumstances and things, in which all values change. And one becomes aware of a sort of unity, a deep identity which is one in spite of the diverse appearances. (The Mother, 26 December 1956) [89]

~

Naturally, all these discussions (or exchanges of opinion) are purely mental and have no value from the viewpoint of the Truth. Each mind has its way of seeing and understanding things, and even if you could unite and bring together all these ways of seeing, you would still be very far from attaining the Truth. It is only when, in the silence of the mind, you can lift yourself above thought, that you are ready to know by identity. [90]

~

For a knowledge from above begins to descend, frequently, constantly, then uninterruptedly, and to manifest in the mind's quietude or silence; intuitions and inspirations, revelations born of a greater sight, a higher truth and wisdom, enter into the being, a luminous intuitive discrimination works which dispels all darkness of understanding or dazzling confusions, puts all in order; a new consciousness begins to form. [91]

~

If intellectual culture is carried to its furthest limit, it leads the mind to the unsatisfactory acknowledgement that it is incapable of knowing the Truth and, in those who aspire sincerely, to the necessity of being quiet and opening in silence to the higher regions which can give you knowledge. [92]

Silence for Education

I met an Indian who was a great Gita enthusiast and a very great lover of silence. He used to say, "When I go to my disciples, if they are in the right state I don't need to speak. So we observe silence together, and in the silence something is realised. But when they are not in a good enough state for this, I speak a little, just a little, to try to put them in the right state. And when they are in a worse state still, they ask questions!" [93]

~

A minimum of silence is necessary. I know that the most undisciplined children are usually the most intelligent. But to be tamed they must feel the pressure of an intelligence that is more powerful than their own. And for that, one must be able not to come down to their level, and above all know how to remain unaffected by what they do. In fact, it is a yogic problem. [94]

~

It is true that the guru himself is subject to the same rule of silence with regard to what concerns him personally. In Nature everything is in movement; thus, whatever does not move forward is bound to fall back. The guru must progress even as his disciples do, although his progress may not be on the same plane. And for him too, to speak about his experiences is not favourable: the greater part of the dynamic force for progress contained in the experience evaporates if it is put into words. But on the other hand, by explaining his experiences to his disciples, he greatly helps their understanding and consequently their progress. It is for him in his wisdom to know to what extent he can and ought to sacrifice the one to the other. It goes without saying that no boasting or vainglory should enter into his account, for the slightest vanity would make him no longer a guru but an imposter. [95]

Silence for Sleep

The only cure for insomnia is to get rid of the need for sleep by knowing how to obtain mental silence at will. When you can obtain silence at will, you must put your body into a position of absolute repose, stretched out comfortably on the bed; then you go within yourself until there is perfect mental silence and enter a state that is something like a very deep sleep. [96]

~

But even before reaching this point, silence in itself is supremely useful, because in most people who have a somewhat developed and active mind, the mind is never at rest. During the day, its activity is kept under a certain control, but at night, during the sleep of the body, the control of the waking state is almost completely removed and the mind indulges in activities which are sometimes excessive and often incoherent. This creates a great stress which leads to fatigue and the diminution of the intellectual faculties. [97]

~

It is very difficult to put one's mind into repose. The majority of men get up very tired, more tired than when they went to sleep. One must learn how to quieten one's mind, make it completely blank, and then when one wakes up, one feels refreshed. One must relax the whole mind in the pure white silence, then one has the least number of dreams. [98]

~

Generally, when you have what you call dreamless sleep, it is one of two things; either you do not remember what you dreamt or you fell into absolute unconsciousness which is almost death—a taste of death. But there is the possibility of a sleep in which you enter into an absolute silence, immobility and peace in all parts of your being and your consciousness merges into Sachchidananda. You can hardly call it sleep, for it is extremely conscious. In that condition you may remain for a few minutes, but these few minutes give you more rest and refreshment than hours of ordinary sleep. You cannot have it by chance; it requires a long training. [99]

~

The sleep you describe in which there is a luminous silence or else the sleep in which there is Ananda in the cells, these are obviously the best states. The other hours, those of which you are unconscious, may be spells of a deep slumber in which you have gone out of the physical into the mental, vital or other planes. You say you were unconscious, but it may simply be that you do not remember what happened; for in coming back there is a sort of turning over of the consciousness, a transition or reversal, in which everything experienced in sleep except perhaps the last happening of all or else one that was very impressive, recedes from the physical awareness and all becomes as if a blank. There is another blank state, a state of inertia, not truly blank, but heavy and unremembering; but that is when one goes deeply and crassly into the subconscient; this subterranean plunge is very undesirable, obscuring, lowering, often fatiguing rather than restful, the reverse of the luminous silence. [100]

Effective Rest

To relieve tension, ten minutes of real calm, inner and outer, are more effective than all the remedies in the world. In silence lies the most effective help. [101]

~

The fact is that like all the other parts of the human being, the mind too needs rest and it will not have this rest unless we know how to provide it. The art of resting one's mind is something to be acquired. Changing one's mental activity is certainly one way of resting; but the greatest possible rest is silence. And as far as the mental faculties are concerned a few minutes passed in the calm of silence are a more effective rest than hours of sleep. [102]

~

The rest must not be one which goes down into the inconscience and tamas. The rest must be an ascent into the Light, into perfect Peace, total Silence, a rest which rises up out of the darkness. Then it is true rest, a rest which is an ascent. [103]

Rest in Silence

There is nothing wrong in having intervals of passive peace without anything happening—they come naturally in the sadhana as a basis for fresh action when the nature is ready for it. It is only the vital attitude that turns it into a disharmony, because somewhere in its being there is not the assent to or participation in the peace and passivity. To be able often to rest, repose in all the being outspread in the silent Brahman is an indispensable thing for the Yogi. But the vital wants always fuss, action, to feel that it is somebody doing something, getting on, having progress, on the move. The counterpart to this rajasic fuss is inertia. If the whole being can widen itself out, rest satisfied in the silence, then progressively inertia fades out and gives place to śama. [104]

~

Silence for Progress

Silence: the ideal condition for progress. [105]

~

It is only in silence that a true progress can be made; it is only in silence that one can rectify a wrong movement; it is only in silence that one can be of help to somebody else. [106]

~

There is a greater power in silence than in words, however forceful. The greatest transformations have been achieved in the silence of concentration. [107]

~

Certain silences are revelations and are more expressive than words. [108]

~

It is only in perfect quietness and silence, free from all prejudices and preferences, that the consciousness can perceive the truth. [109]

~

In order to allow at all to the higher Light an adequate entry and force of working, it is necessary to acquire a power for quietude of the nature, to compose, tranquillise, impress a controlled passivity or even an entire silence on mind and heart, life and body. [110]

~

You see, for those who are sincere, sincere and very—how to put it?—very straight in their aspiration, there is a marvellous help, there is an absolutely living, active consciousness which is ready to... to respond to any attentive silence. You could do six years' work in six months, but there should... there should not be any pretension, there should not be anything which tries to imitate, there should be no wanting to put on airs. There should... you should be truly, absolutely honest, pure, sincere, conscious that... you exist only by what comes from above. Then... then... then you could advance with giant strides. [111]

~

Now, there is a greater depth of pain which leaves you in an absolute silence and opens the inner doors to greater depths which can put you in immediate touch with the Divine. But this indeed is not expressed in words. It changes your consciousness; but usually a long time elapses before one can say anything about it. [112]

~

The peace and silence must settle deep in, so deep that whatever comes from outside can only pass over the surface without troubling the settled calm within—it is good also that the meditation comes of itself. It means that the Yoga-Force is beginning to take up the sadhana. [113]

~

It is necessary in order to develop a deeper consciousness and outlook on things that understands in silence the movements of Nature in oneself and others and is not moved or disturbed or superficially interested and drawn into an external movement. [114]

How to Practice Silence?

Silence... Oh! It is better to practise it than to talk about it. [115]

~

To silence the mind it is not enough to throw back each thought as it comes, that can only be a subordinate movement. One must get back from all thought and be separate from it, a silent consciousness observing the thoughts if they come, but not oneself thinking or identified with the thoughts. Thoughts must be felt as outside things altogether. It is then easier to reject thoughts or let them pass without their disturbing the quietude of the mind. [116]

Prerequisites for Attaining Silence

Remember first that an inner quietude, caused by the purification of the restless mind and vital, is the first condition of a secure sadhana. Remember, next, that to feel the Mother's presence while in external action is already a great step and one that cannot be attained without a considerable inner progress. Probably, what you feel you need so much but cannot define is a constant and vivid sense of the Mother's force working in you, descending from above and taking possession of the different planes of your being. That is often a prior condition for the twofold movement of ascent and descent; it will surely come in time. These things can take a long time to begin visibly, especially when the mind is accustomed to be very active and has not the habit of mental silence. When that veiling activity is there, much work has to be carried on behind the mobile screen of the mind and the sadhak thinks nothing is happening when really much preparation is being done. If you want a more swift and visible progress, it can only be by bringing your psychic to the front through a constant self-offering. Aspire intensely, but without impatience. [117]

Establish Silence in Mind

If you try to silence your mind directly, it is a hard job, almost impossible; for the most material part of the mind never stops its activity—it goes on and on like a non-stop recording machine. It repeats all that it records and unless there is a switch to stop it, it continues and continues indefinitely. If, on the other hand, you manage to shift your consciousness into a higher domain, above the ordinary mind, this opening to the Light calms the mind, it does not stir any longer, and the mental silence so obtained can become constant. Once you enter into this domain, you may very well never come out of it—the external mind always remains calm. [118]

Q. How can we establish a settled peace and silence in the mind?

A. (After a silence) I mean that this exclusiveness is a habit. However, when one has done a little yoga seriously, one knows very well that one can think here (Mother shows the centre of the forehead between the eyebrows, then the right side, then the left) one can think here, one can think here, one can think in front and, as I was saying just now, one can think much higher—up but naturally, one thinks that all thought-phenomena, concentration, are produced in the brain—and when one thinks up above, here (Mother shows the space above the head), one thinks much better than when one thinks here. It is only that one has never tried to do otherwise. Not "never tried", there are quite a number of people who have tried and have succeeded. [119]

Active Method (Used by Sri Aurobindo)

There is an active method by which one looks to see where the thoughts come from and finds they come not from oneself, but from outside the head as it were; if one can detect them coming, then, before they enter, they have to be thrown away altogether. This is perhaps the most difficult way and not all can do it, but if it can be done it is the shortest and most powerful road to silence. [120]

~

The principal business of our mind is either a response of acceptance or refusal to these thought-waves (as also vital waves, subtle physical energy waves) or this giving a personal-mental form to thought-stuff (or vital movements) from the environing Nature Force. It was my great debt to Lele that he showed me this. "Sit in meditation," he said, "but do not think, look only at your mind; you will see thoughts coming into it; before they can enter throw them away from you till your mind is capable of entire silence." I had never heard before of thoughts coming visibly into the mind from outside, but I did not think of either questioning the truth or the possibility, I simply sat down and did it. In a moment my mind became silent as a windless air on a high mountain summit and then I saw a thought and then another thought coming in a concrete way from outside; I flung them away before they could enter and take hold of the brain and in three days I was free. From that moment, in principle, the mental being in me became a free Intelligence, a universal Mind, not limited to the narrow circle of personal thought or a labourer in a thought-factory, but a receiver of knowledge from all the hundred realms of being and free too to choose what it willed in this vast sight-empire and thought-empire. [121]

Stillness of the Mind

This pure stillness of the mind is indeed always the required condition, the desideratum, but for bringing it about there are more ways than one. It is not, for instance, only by an effort of the mind itself to get clear of all intrusive emotion or passion, to quiet its own characteristic vibrations, to resist the obscuring fumes of a physical inertia which brings about a sleep or a torpor of the mind instead of its wakeful silence, that the thing can be done. This is indeed an ordinary process of the Yogic path of knowledge; but the same end can be brought about or automatically happen by other processes—for instance, by the descent from above of a great spiritual stillness imposing silence on the mind and heart, on the life stimuli, on the physical reflexes. A sudden descent of this kind or a series of descents accumulative in force and efficacy is a well-known phenomenon of spiritual experience. Or again one may start a mental process of one kind or another for the purpose which would normally mean a long labour and yet may pull down or be seized midway, or even at the outset, by an overmind influx, a rapid intervention or manifestation of the higher Silence, with an effect sudden, instantaneous, out of all proportion to the means used at the beginning. One commences with a method, but the work is taken up by a Grace from above, by a response from That to which one aspires or by an irruption of the infinitudes of the Spirit. It was in this last way that I myself came by the mind's absolute silence, unimaginable to me before I had the actual experience. [122]

~

Ah! First you must will it, and then you must say, as to people who make a lot of noise, "Keep quiet, be quiet, be quiet!"; you must do this when the mind comes along with all its suggestions and all its movements. You must tranquillise it, pacify it, make it silent. The first thing is not to listen to it. Most of the time, as soon as all these come, all these thoughts, one looks, seeks to understand, one listens; then naturally that imbecile believes that you are very much interested: it increases its activity. You must not listen, must not pay attention. If it makes too much noise, you must tell it: "Be still! Now then, silence, keep quiet!" without making a lot of noise yourself, you understand? You must not imitate those people who begin shouting: "Keep quiet", and make such a noise themselves that they are even noisier than the others! [123]

Silence in Education

It would be interesting to formulate or to elaborate a new method of teaching for children, to take them very young. It is easy when they are very young. We need people—oh! we would need remarkable teachers—who have, first, an ample enough documentation of what is known so as to be able to answer every question, and at the same time, at least the knowledge, if not the experience—the experience would be better—of the true intuitive intellectual attitude, and—naturally the capacity would be still more preferable—at least the knowledge that the true way of knowing is mental silence, an attentive silence turned towards the truer Consciousness, and the capacity to receive what comes from there. The best would be to have this capacity; at least, it should be explained that it is the true thing—a sort of demonstration—and that it works not only from the point of view of what must be learned, of the whole domain of knowledge, but also of the whole domain of what should be done: the capacity to receive the exact indication of how to do it; and as you go on, it changes into a very clear perception of what must be done, and a precise indication of when it must be done. At least the children, as soon as they have the capacity to think—it starts at the age of seven, but at about fourteen or fifteen it is very clear—the children should be given little indications at the age of seven, a complete explanation at fourteen, of how to do it, and that it is the only way to be in relation with the deeper truth of things, and that all the rest is a more or less clumsy mental approximation to something that can be known directly. [124]

~

Q. Mother, now there is one question, another important question. You have often told us that it is only in the inner silence that we can find the true answer to a question. What is the best way to make the children discover how this silence is established? Is this how consciousness is substituted for knowledge?

A.You see, in this system of classes where everyone is sitting down, the teacher is there and they have a limited time in which to do the work, it is not possible. It is only if you have absolute freedom that you can establish the silence when you need to be silent. But when all the students are in class and the teacher is in class... when the teacher is establishing the silence in himself, all the students... then it is not possible. He can establish the silence at home, at night, the day before, to prepare himself for the next day, but you cannot... It cannot be an immediate rule. Naturally, when you are at the very top of the scale and you are used to keeping your mind absolutely silent, you cannot help it; but you have not reached that point, none of you. So it is better not to speak about it. So I think that during the... Especially with this system, classes with a fixed time, with a fixed number of students, with a fixed teacher, and a fixed subject... you must be active while you are there. (The Mother, 11 November 1967) [125]

~

A moment of silence and concentration is always good for all the children. But the prayer should not be compulsory. Those who want to do it will be encouraged. I suggest that you put up a notice-board in the classroom with these words written on it in large letters:

“Mother is always here amongst us to help us and guide us.”

Most of the children will understand, and some are capable of feeling. [126]

~

One thing could be done once, at least once: you set a subject, like that, from the course of subjects, you set it and tell them, "For a quarter of an hour we shall remain silent, silent; no noise, no one should make any noise. We shall remain silent for a quarter of an hour. For a quarter of an hour try to remain completely silent, still and attentive, and then we shall see in a quarter of an hour what comes out of it." You can reduce it to five minutes to begin with, three minutes, two minutes, it doesn't matter. A quarter of an hour is a lot, but you should do... try that... see. Some of them will start to fidget. Very few children, perhaps, know how to keep still; or else they fall asleep—but it doesn't matter if they fall asleep. You could try that at least once, see what happens: "Let's see! Who will answer my question after ten minutes' silence? And not ten minutes which you will spend trying to get hold of everything you may know mentally about the subject, no, no—ten minutes during which you will be just like this, blank, still, silent, attentive... attentive and silent." [127]

~

If you want my help, it is not by accepting one principle of action and rejecting another that you can have it, but by concentrating before the class, by establishing silence and peace in your heart (and in your head too, if possible) and by calling my presence with a sincere aspiration that I should be behind all your actions, not in the way you think that I would act (for that can only be an arbitrary opinion and therefore necessarily wrong), but in silence and calm and inner spontaneity. This is the only true way of getting out of your difficulty. [128]

~

And if you do not want your body to fail you, avoid wasting your energies in useless agitation. Whatever you do, do it in a quiet and composed poise. In peace and silence is the greatest strength. [129]

Receptivity in Silence

... one should never think and plan beforehand what one ought to say or write. One should simply be able to silence one's mind, to turn it like a receptacle towards the higher Consciousness and express as it receives it, in mental silence, what comes from above. That would be true spontaneity. [130]

~

Q. ... Mother, when you speak we try to understand with the mind, but when you communicate something in silence, on what part of the being should we concentrate?

A.It is always better, for meditation—you see, we use the word "meditation", but it does not necessarily mean "moving ideas around in the head", quite the contrary—it is always better to try to concentrate in a centre, the centre of aspiration, one might say, the place where the flame of aspiration burns, to gather in all the energies there, at the solar plexus centre and, if possible, to obtain an attentive silence as though one wanted to listen to something extremely subtle, something that demands a complete attention, a complete concentration and total silence. And then not to move at all. Not to think, not to stir, and make that movement of opening so as to receive all that can be received, but taking good care not to try to know what is happening while it is happening, for if one wants to understand or even to observe actively, it keeps up a sort of cerebral activity which is unfavourable to the fullness of the receptivity—to be silent, as totally silent as possible, in an attentive concentration, and then be still. [131]

It is a discipline to be followed. For a long time one may try and not succeed, but as soon as one succeeds in making a "mirror", still and attentive, one always obtains a result, not necessarily with a precise form of thought but always with the sensations of a light coming from above. And then, if one can receive this light coming from above without entering immediately into a whirl of activity, receive it in calm and silence and let it penetrate deep into the being, then after a while it expresses itself either as a luminous thought or as a very precise indication here (Mother indicates the heart), in this other centre. [132]

It is an admirable state; it is perfect peace of mind. There is no longer any need to accumulate acquired knowledge, received ideas which have to be memorised; it is no longer necessary to clutter one's brain with thousands and thousands of things in order to have at one's command, when the time comes, the knowledge that is needed to perform an action, to impart a teaching, to solve a problem. The mind is silent, the brain is still, everything is clear, quiet, calm; and at the right moment, by divine Grace a drop of light falls into the consciousness and what needs to be known is known. Why should one care to remember—why try to retain that knowledge? On the day or at the moment that it is needed one will have it again. At each second one is a blank page on which what must be known will be inscribed—in the peace, the repose, the silence of a perfect receptivity. [133]

Knowing in Silence

But the timeless self knowledge of this Eternal is beyond mind; it is a supramental knowledge superconscient to us and only to be acquired by the stilling or transcending of the temporal activity of our conscious mind, by an entry into Silence or a passage through Silence into the consciousness of eternity. [134]

~

"In Silence is wisdom"—it is in the inner silence of the mind that true knowledge can come; for the ordinary activity of the mind only creates surface ideas and representations which are not true knowledge. Speech is usually only the expression of the superficial nature—therefore to throw oneself out too much in such speech wastes the energy and prevents the inward listening which brings the word of true knowledge. [135]

~

Behind the common idea that a Yogi can know all things and answer all questions is the actual fact that there is a plane in the mind where the memory of everything is stored and remains always in existence. All mental movements that belong to the life of the earth are memorised and registered in this plane. Those who are capable of going there and care to take the trouble, can read in it and learn anything they choose. But this region must not be mistaken for the supramental levels. And yet to reach even there you must be able to silence the movements of the material or physical mind; you must be able to leave aside all your sensations and put a stop to your ordinary mental movements, whatever they are; you must get out of the vital; you must become free from the slavery of the body. Then only you can enter into that region and see. But if you are sufficiently interested to make this effort, you can arrive there and read what is written in the earth's memory. [136]

~

No, you don't understand. To go to that place, at the time of going you must be able to completely silence the mind (and all the other things I have mentioned), but just for going there. For example, you decide: "Now, I am going to read such and such a chapter of earth's history", then you lounge comfortably in an easy-chair, you tell people not to disturb you, you go within yourself and completely stop your mind, and you send your mental messenger to that place.... It is preferable to have someone who can guide you there, because otherwise you can lose your way and go elsewhere! And then you go. It is like a very big library with many many small compartments. So you find the compartment corresponding to the information you wish to have. You press a button and it opens. And inside it you find a scroll as it were, a mental formation which unrolls before you like a parchment, and you read. And then you make a note of what you have read and afterwards return quietly into your body with the new knowledge, and you may transcribe physically, if you can, what you have found, and then you get up and start your life as before.... This may take you ten minutes, it may take one hour, it may take half an hour, it depends upon your capacity, but it is important to know the way, as I said, in order not to make a mistake. [137]

Silence in Self-Observation

The best is to keep silent and look well at things, and little by little you make notes within yourself and keep the record without pronouncing any judgement. When you are able to keep all that within you, quietly, without agitation and present it very calmly before the highest part of your consciousness, with an attempt to maintain an attentive silence, and wait, then perhaps, slowly, as if coming from a far distance and from a great height, something like a light will manifest and you will know a little more of truth. [138]

~

Thus a division is created between the mind that thinks and wills and the mind that observes and the Purusha becomes the witness only; he sees, he understands the process and laws of his thought, but detaches himself from it. Then as the master of the sanction he withdraws his past sanction from the tangle of the mental undercurrent and the reasoning intellect and causes both to cease from their importunities. He becomes liberated from subjection to the thinking mind and capable of the utter silence. [139]

~

It is quite possible for thoughts to pass without disturbing the silence—but for that you must be perfectly detached from the thoughts and indifferent to them. [140]

Silence in Communication

Listen in a total silence of your whole being—mental, vital and physical. [141]

~

For it is one of the powers of this inner consciousness to bring about what it sees to be the right thing by simply communicating in entire silence to the consciousness of another. That is the true way of acting—through the power of the inner consciousness, its knowledge, vision and will. [142]

~

There are some who have the flow of speech by nature and those who are very vital cannot do without it. But the latter case (not being able to do without it) is obviously a disability from the spiritual point of view. There are also certain stages in the sadhana when one has to go inward and silence is at that time very necessary while unnecessary speech becomes a dispersion of the energies or externalises the consciousness. It is especially this chat for chat's sake tendency that has to be overcome. [143]

~

If you want to be an instrument of the Truth, you must always speak the truth and not falsehood. But this does not mean that you must tell everything to everybody. To conceal the truth by silence or refusal to speak is permissible, because the truth may be misunderstood or misused by those who are not prepared for it or who are opposed to it—it may even be made a starting point for distortion or sheer falsehood. But to speak falsehood is another matter. Even in jest it should be avoided, because it tends to lower the consciousness. [144]

~

So long as you have to draw your understanding from the forms of words, you are likely to fall into much confusion about the true sense; but if in a silence of your mind you can rise into the world from which ideas descend to take form, at once the real understanding comes. If you are to be sure of understanding one another, you must be able to understand in silence. There is a condition in which your minds are so well attuned and harmonised together that one perceives the thought of the other without any necessity of words. But if there is not this attunement, there will always be some deformation of your meaning, because to what you speak the other mind supplies its own significance. I use a word in a certain sense or shade of its sense; you are accustomed to put into it another sense or shade. Then, evidently, you will understand, not my exact meaning in it, but what the word means to you. This is true not of speech only, but of reading also. If you want to understand a book with a deep teaching in it, you must be able to read it in the mind's silence; you must wait and let the expression go deep inside you into the region where words are no more and from there come slowly back to your exterior consciousness and its surface understanding. But if you let the words jump at your external mind and try to adapt and adjust the two, you will have entirely missed their real sense and power. There can be no perfect understanding unless you are in union with the unexpressed mind that is behind the centre of expression. [145]

~

It is possible. Perhaps the one who is silent will understand the other who is not!... But when there is this full accord, even if it is not permanent, when you are with someone and follow a thought far enough to come out of the external agitation, if the other too has followed the same thought, you may find yourselves suddenly agreeing without having spoken or made any effort towards that. Generally the silence comes to both at the same time or almost the same time—it is as though you slid into the silence. Of course, it may happen also that one continues to make a noise in his head, while the other has stopped, but the one who has stopped has a much greater chance of understanding what is happening to the other! [146]

~

If you are not alone and live with others, cultivate the habit of not externalising yourself constantly by speaking aloud, and you will notice that little by little an inner understanding is established between yourself and others; you will then be able to communicate among yourselves with a minimum of words or even without any words at all. This outer silence is most favourable to inner peace, and with goodwill and a steadfast aspiration, you will be able to create a harmonious atmosphere which is very conducive to progress. [147]

~

If only people did remain a little quiet before speaking, acting or writing, much trouble could be avoided. So many things are said uselessly, they bring misunderstandings and bad feelings which could have been saved with silence. [148]

Concentrating together in Silence

Q. These rare moments of silence and the effort to concentrate together―if not to meditate―are they not an opportunity to receive your force and to open ourselves a little more to you and to Sri Aurobindo, helping to form our collective soul?

A. Concentrating together is indeed a very good thing and helps you to become conscious. But it cannot be imposed. I advise you and them to organise this moment of silence daily for all those who want to participate, but without imposing anything on the others. It is not compulsory but it is good. [149]

Silence in Aspiration

An aspiration for all that is essentially true, real, perfect. And this aspiration must be free from words, simply a silent attitude, but extremely intense and unvacillating. Not a word must be allowed the right to enter there and disturb it. It must be like a column of vibrations of aspiration, which nothing can touch—and in total silence—and therein, if something comes down, what descends (and will be clothed in words in your mind and in sounds in your mouth) will be the Word. But nothing less than this will do. [150]

~

The cure is not in trying to wake up the mind but in turning it, immobile and silent, upward towards the region of intuitive light, in a steady and quiet aspiration, and to wait in silence, for the light to come down and flood your brain which will, little by little, wake up to this influence and become capable of receiving and expressing the intuition. [151]

~

Q. How can one silence the mind, remain quiet, and at the same time have an aspiration, an intensity or a widening? Because as soon as one aspires, isn't it the mind that aspires?

A. No; aspiration, as well as widening and intensity, comes from the heart, the emotional centre, the door of the psychic or rather the door leading to the psychic. The mind by its nature is curious and interested; it sees, it observes, it tries to understand and explain; and with all this activity, it disturbs the experience and diminishes its intensity and force. On the other hand, the more quiet and silent the mind is, the more can aspiration rise up from the depths of the heart in the fullness of its ardour. [152]

Concentrating Upwards in Aspiration

It is quite certain that to create absolute silence is of all things the most difficult, for many things of which one was not aware, become enormous! There were all kinds of suggestion, movements, thoughts, formations which went on as though automatically in the outer consciousness, almost outside the consciousness, on the frontiers of consciousness; and as soon as one wants to be absolutely silent, one becomes aware of all these things which go on moving, moving, moving and make a lot of noise and prevent you from being silent. That is why it is better to remain very quiet, very calm and at the same time very attentive to something which is above you and to which you aspire, and if there is this kind of noise passing like that around you (Mother moves her hands around her head), not to pay attention, not to look, not to heed it. If there are thoughts which go round and round and round like this (gestures), which come and go, do not look, do not pay attention, but concentrate upwards in a great aspiration which one may even formulate—because often it helps the concentration—towards the light, the peace, the quietude, towards a kind of inner impassiveness, so that the concentration may be strong enough for you not to attend to all that continues to whirl about all around. But if suddenly you say, "Ah, there's some noise! Oh, here is a thought!", then it is finished. You will never succeed in being quiet. Have you never seen those people who try to stop a quarrel by shouting still louder than the ones who are quarrelling? [153]

~

Above all words, above all thoughts in the luminous silence of an aspiring faith give yourself totally, unreservedly, absolutely to the Supreme Lord of all existences and He will do of you what He wants you to be. [154]

Silence, Activity and Action

It is not possible for the spontaneous silent condition to last always at once, but that is what must grow in one till there is a constant inner silence—a silence which cannot be disturbed by any outward activity or even by any attempt at attack or disturbance. [155]

~

Ah! From the practical point of view, you must be in a state of inner silence, with a mental activity exclusively occupied with forming the thing you want to do, the progress you want to accomplish, that is to say, the mental construction you need for your work. And your capacity for observation—it is infinitely preferable, I could say absolutely indispensable, to use it to observe your field of action, the processes you employ for your action, the results obtained, the principle you can arrive at from the experience, the knowledge you can obtain, indeed, all these things... but not to turn back on yourself and look at yourself acting. [156]

~

We have said that there is only one safety, never to act except in harmony with the divine Will. There is one question: how to know that it is the divine Will which makes you act? I replied to the person who put to me this question ... that it is not difficult to distinguish the voice of the Divine: one cannot make a mistake. You need not be very far on the path to be able to recognise it; you must listen to the still, small peaceful voice which speaks in the silence of your heart. [157]

~

The Gita promises us freedom for the spirit even in the midst of works and the full energies of Nature, if we accept subjection of our whole being to that which is higher than the separating and limiting ego. It proposes an integral dynamic activity founded on a still passivity; a largest possible action irrevocably based on an immobile calm is its secret,—free expression out of a supreme inward silence. [158]

~

The Supreme pours Himself out of an eternal peace, poise and silence into an eternal activity, free and infinite, freely fixing for itself its self-determinations, using infinite quality to shape out of it varied combination of quality. We have to go back to that peace, poise and silence and act out of it with the divine freedom from the bondage of qualities but still using qualities even the most opposite largely and flexibly for the divine work in the world. [159]

~

It is possible only when one has had the experience of complete silence in the mental region and when the spiritual force with its light and power descends through the mind and makes it act directly without its following its usual method of analysis, deduction, reasoning. All these faculties which are usually considered the normal activities of the mind, must be stopped, and yet the spiritual Light, Knowledge and Power must be able to transform them into a channel of direct expression, without using these means to express themselves. [160]

~

I said once that, to speak usefully for ten minutes, you should remain silent for ten days. I could add that, to act usefully for one day, you should keep quiet for a year! Of course, I am not speaking of the ordinary day-to-day acts that are needed for the common external life, but of those who have or believe that they have something to do for the world. And the silence I speak of is the inner quietude that those alone have who can act without being identified with their action, merged into it and blinded and deafened by the noise and form of their own movement. [161]

~

It is in the silence of the mind that the strongest and freest action can come, e.g. the writing of a book, poetry, inspired speech etc. When the mind is active it interferes with the inspiration, puts in its own small ideas which get mixed up with the inspiration or starts something from a lower level or simply stops the inspiration altogether by bubbling up with all sorts of mere mental suggestions. So also intuitions or action etc. can come more easily when the ordinary inferior movement of the mind is not there. It is also in the silence of the mind that it is easiest for knowledge to come from within or above, from the psychic or from the higher consciousness. [162]

~

The recurrence of the experience of the receding away of thoughts, the cessation of the thought-generating mechanism and its replacement by the mental self-space, is normal and as it should be; for this silence or at any rate the capacity for it has to grow until one can have it at will or even established in an automatic permanence. For this silence of the ordinary mind-mechanism is necessary in order that the higher mentality may manifest, descend, occupy by degrees the place of the present imperfect mentality and transform the activities of the latter into its own fuller movements. The difficulty of its coming when you are at work is only at the beginning—afterwards when it is more settled one finds that one can carry on all the activities of life either in the pervading silence itself or at least with that as the support and background. The silence remains behind and there is the necessary action on the surface or the silence is our wide self and somewhere in it an active Power does the works of Nature without disturbing the silence. It is therefore quite right to suspend the work while the visitation of the experience is there—the development of this inner silent consciousness is sufficiently important to justify a brief interruption or pause. [163]

Working in Silence

Work is always best done in silence except so far as it is necessary to speak for the work itself. Conversation is best kept for leisure hours. So nobody should object to your silence during work. [164]

~

One can have a quiet mind without being in a complete state of silence; one can carry on an activity without being disturbed. The ideal is to be able to act without coming out of the mental quietude. One can do everything while keeping the mind quiet, and what one does is better done. [165]

~

What has to happen is that this inner consciousness should be always there not troubled by any disturbance with the constant silence, inner happiness, calm quietude, etc., while the outer consciousness does what is necessary in the way of work etc. or, what is better, has that done through it—it is the latter experience that you have some days as someone pushing the work with so much continuous force without your feeling tired. [166]

~

It is precisely by action in silence that we can best do our work much more than by speech or writing, which can only be subordinate and secondary. For in this Yoga those will succeed best who know how to obey and follow the written and spoken word, but can also bear the silence and feel in it and receive (without listening to other voices or mistaking mental and vital suggestions and impulsions for the divine Truth and the divine Will) help, support and guidance. [167]

Listening

We say something that is quite clear, but the way in which it is understood is stupefying! Each sees in it something else than what was intended or even puts into it something that is quite the contrary of its sense. If you want to understand truly and avoid this kind of error, you must go behind the sound and the movement of the words and learn to listen in silence. [168]

~

It is a matter of attention. If you concentrate your attention on what is being said, with the will to understand it correctly, the silence is created spontaneously—it is attention that creates the silence. [169]

~

If you don't do that, you are wasting your time, and, into the bargain, wasting mine. That's a proved fact. I thought I had already told you this several times, but still perhaps I didn't tell you clearly enough. If you come here, come with the intention of listening in silence. What happens you will know later; the effect of this silent attitude you will recognise later; but for the moment, the only thing to do is to be like this (gesture), silent, immobile, attentive, concentrated. [170]

~

All the other senses undergo a similar transformation. All that the ear listens to, reveals the totality of its sound body and sound significance and all the tones of its vibration and reveals also to the single and complete hearing the quality, the rhythmic energy, the soul of the sound and its expression of the one universal spirit. There is the same internality, the going of the sense into the depths of the sound and the finding there of that which informs it and extends it into unity with the harmony of all sound and no less with the harmony of all silence, so that the ear is always listening to the infinite in its heard expression and the voice of its silence. [171]

Listening to Music in Silence

I don't know if any of you are so fond of music as to know how to hear it. But if you want to listen to music, you must create an absolute silence in your head, you must not follow or accept a single thought, and must be entirely concentrated, like a sort of screen which receives, without movement or noise, the vibration of the music. That is the only way, there is no other, the only way of hearing music and understanding it. If you admit in the least the movements and fancies of your thought, the whole value of the music escapes you. Well, to understand a teaching which is not quite of the ordinary material kind but implies an opening to something more deep within, this necessity of silence is far greater still. If, instead of listening to what you are told, you begin to jump on the idea in order to ask another question or even to discuss what is said under the false pretext of understanding better, all that you are told passes like smoke without leaving any effect. [172]

~

To hear it one should make oneself as silent and passive as possible. And if, in the mental silence, a part of the being can take the attitude of the witness who observes without reacting or participating, then one can take account of the effect which the music produces on the feelings and emotions; and if it produces a state of deep calm and of semi-trance, then that is quite good. [173]

~

In the same way as one can share the emotions of another person by sympathy, spontaneously, by an affinity more or less deep, or else by an effort of concentration which ends in identification. It is this last process that one adopts when one listens to music with an intense and concentrated attention, to the point of checking all other noise in the head and obtaining a complete silence, into which fall, by drop, the notes of the music whose sound alone remains; and with the sound all the feelings, all the movements of emotion can be perceived, experienced, felt as if they were produced in ourselves. [174]

Reading in Silence

In a general and almost absolute way, if you truly wish to profit from these readings, as from all of Sri Aurobindo's writings, the best method is this: having gathered your consciousness and focused your attention on what you are reading, you must establish a minimum of mental tranquillity—the best thing would be to obtain perfect silence—and achieve a state of immobility of the mind, immobility of the brain, I might say, so that the attention becomes as still and immobile as a mirror, like the surface of absolutely still water. Then what one has read passes through the surface and penetrates deep into the being where it is received with a minimum of distortion. Afterwards—sometimes long afterwards—it wells up again from the depths and manifests in the brain with its full power of comprehension, not as knowledge acquired from outside, but as a light one carried within. [175]

~

In any case, I advise always to read a little at a time, keeping the mind as tranquil as one can, without making an effort to understand, but keeping the head as silent as possible, and letting the force contained in what one reads enter deep within. This force received in the calm and the silence will do its work of light and, if needed, will create in the brain the necessary cells for the understanding. Thus, when one re-reads the same thing some months later, one perceives that the thought expressed has become much more clear and close, and even sometimes altogether familiar. [176]

~

Take one of Sri Aurobindo's books. Read a sentence or two. Then remain silent and concentrated to understand the deeper meaning. Try to concentrate deeply enough to obtain mental silence and begin again daily until you obtain a result. [177]

~

I can't say that the reading of literature equips one better to understand Sri Aurobindo. On the contrary, it can be a hindrance. For, the same words are used and the purpose for which they are used is so different from the purpose for which Sri Aurobindo has made use of them, the manner in which they have been put together to express things is so different from Sri Aurobindo's that these words tend to put one off from the light which Sri Aurobindo wants to convey to us through them. To get to Sri Aurobindo's light we must empty our minds of all that literature has said and done. We must go inward and stay in a receptive silence and turn it upward. Then alone we get something in the right way. At the worst, I have seen that the study of literature makes one silly and perverse enough to sit in judgment on Sri Aurobindo's English and find fault with his grammar! [178]

Cooking and Eating

All quarrels in the place where food is prepared make food indigestible. The cooking must be done in silence and harmony. [179]

~

It is much better to eat the meal in silence or at any rate in quietness. [180]

Resting in Silence

In any case one thing you can do in all security is, before going to sleep, to concentrate, relax all tension in the physical being, try... that is, in the body try so that the body lies like a soft rag on the bed, that it is no longer something with twitchings and cramps; to relax it completely as though it were a kind of thing like a rag. And then, the vital: to calm it, calm it as much as you can, make it as quiet, as peaceful as possible. And then the mind also—the mind, try to keep it like that, without any activity. You must put upon the brain the force of great peace, great quietude, of silence if possible, and not follow ideas actively, not make any effort, nothing, nothing; you must relax all movement there too, but relax it in a kind of silence and quietude as great as possible. [181]

Different Practices

Regular Practice of Controlling Thoughts

This work of mental purification should be done very regularly in order to secure a complete control over one’s actions. For this purpose, it is good to set apart some time every day when one can quietly go over one's thoughts and put one's synthesis in order. Once the habit is acquired, you can maintain control over your thoughts even during work and action, allowing only those which are useful for what you are doing to come to the surface. Particularly, if you have continued to cultivate the power of concentration and attention, only the thoughts that are needed will be allowed to enter the active external consciousness and they then become all the more dynamic and effective. And if, in the intensity of concentration, it becomes necessary not to think at all, all mental vibration can be stilled and an almost total silence secured. In this silence one can gradually open to the higher regions of the mind and learn to record the inspirations that come from there. [182]

Dhammapada Method

They (small Buddhist sects) sit down for a few hours in the day and even at night and quiet their mind. This is for them the key to all realisation—a quiet mind that knows how to keep quiet for hours together without roving. You must not believe however that it is a very easy thing to do, but they have no other object. They do not concentrate upon any thought, they do not try to understand better, to know more, nothing of the kind; for them the only way is to have a quiet mind and sometimes they pass through years and years of effort before they arrive at this result—to silence the mind, to keep it absolutely silent and still; for, as it is said here in the Dhammapada, if the mind is unbalanced, then this constant movement of ideas following one another, sometimes without any order, ideas contradicting and opposing each other, ideas that speculate on things, all that jostles about in the head, makes holes in the roof, as it were. So through these holes all undesirable movements enter into the consciousness, as water enters into a house with a leaky roof. [183]

Practice of Samata (Equanimity)

Not to be disturbed by either joy or grief, pleasure or displeasure by what people say or do or by any outward things is called in Yoga a state of samata, equality to all things. It is of immense importance in sadhana to be able to reach this state. It helps the mental quietude and silence as well as the vital to come. It means indeed that the vital itself and the vital mind are already falling silent and becoming quiet. The thinking mind is sure to follow. [184]

Becoming Conscious

This simply means that one suddenly comes under the influence of a higher force of which one is not conscious; one is conscious only of the effect, but not of the cause. That's all. It's nothing more than that. If you were conscious you would know what makes you silent, what makes you meditate, what kind of force has entered into you or acts upon you or influences you and puts you in the silence. But as you are not conscious, you are aware only of the effect, the result, that is, the silence that comes into you. (The Mother, 24 August 1955) [185]

Nearness to Someone Who Has Achieved Silence

There is another phenomenon which is considered spiritual, but which is spiritual only indirectly: it is when you find yourself near someone who has controlled his thought and achieved mental silence. You suddenly feel this silence coming down into yourself and something which was impossible for you half an hour earlier suddenly becomes a reality. This is a rather unusual phenomenon. [186]

Few Helpful Activities and Qualities

Willpower

What the sadhaka has to do is to be careful to reject and hush these outsiders, so that during the meditation at least the peace and quietude of the mind and vital may be complete. This can be done best if you keep a strong and silent will. [187]

Being Spontaneous

And if one carries this a little further, one should never think and plan beforehand what one ought to say or write. One should simply be able to silence one's mind, to turn it like a receptacle towards the higher Consciousness and express as it receives it, in mentalsilence, what comes from above. That would be true spontaneity. [188]

Reading

There is a world of ideas without form and it is there that you must enter if you want to seize what is behind the words. So long as you have to draw your understanding from the forms of words, you are likely to fall into much confusion about the true sense; but if in a silence of your mind you can rise into the world from which ideas descend to take form, at once the real understanding comes. If you are to be sure of understanding one another, you must be able to understand in silence. There is a condition in which your minds are so well attuned and harmonised together that one perceives the thought of the other without any necessity of words. But if there is not this attunement, there will always be some deformation of your meaning, because to what you speak the other mind supplies its own significance. I use a word in a certain sense or shade of its sense; you are accustomed to put into it another sense or shade. Then, evidently, you will understand, not my exact meaning in it, but what the word means to you. This is true not of speech only, but of reading also. If you want to understand a book with a deep teaching in it, you must be able to read it in the mind's silence; you must wait and let the expression go deep inside you into the region where words are no more and from there come slowly back to your exterior consciousness and its surface understanding. But if you let the words jump at your external mind and try to adapt and adjust the two, you will have entirely missed their real sense and power. There can be no perfect understanding unless you are in union with the unexpressed mind that is behind the centre of expression. [189]

Witness Without Involvement

Q. What is the meaning of “the mental witness”?


A. The witness we have spoken about several times already, only here it is in the mind.

There are witnesses everywhere. It is a capacity of the being to detach itself, to stand back and look at what is happening, as when one looks at something happening in the street or when one looks at others playing and does not himself play, one remain seated, looking at the others moving but does not move. That’s how it is.

In all the parts of the being there is one side which can do this: put itself at the back, remain quiet and look, without participating. This is what is called the witness. One has many witnesses inside oneself, and often one is a witness without even being aware of it. And if you develop this, it always gives you the possibility of being quiet and not being affected by things. One detaches oneself from them, looks at them as at a dramatic scene, without participating in it. This does not change things very much. [190]

Impediments in Attaining Silence

Fear

I have seen many cases in which Sri Aurobindo had given silence to somebody, had made his mind silent, and that person came back to him in a kind of despair, saying: "But I have become stupid!" For his thought was no longer excited. [191]

A silence, an entry into a wide or even immense or infinite emptiness is part of the inner spiritual experience; of this silence and void the physical mind has a certain fear, the small superficially active thinking or vital mind a shrinking from it or dislike,—for it confuses the silence with mental and vital incapacity and the void with cessation or non-existence: but this silence is the silence of the spirit which is the condition of a greater knowledge, power and bliss, and this emptiness is the emptying of the cup of our natural being, a liberation of it from its turbid contents so that it may be filled with the wine of God; it is the passage not into non-existence but to a greater existence. [192]

~

You must dismiss the fear of the concentration. The emptiness you feel coming on you is the silence of the great peace in which you become aware of your self, not as the small ego shut up in the body, but as the spiritual self wide as the universe. Consciousness is not dissolved; it is the limits of the consciousness that are dissolved. In that silence thoughts may cease for a time, there may be nothing but a great limitless freedom and wideness, but into that silence, that empty wideness descends the vast peace from above, light, bliss, knowledge, the higher Consciousness in which you feel the oneness of the Divine. It is the beginning of the transformation and there is nothing in it to fear. [193]

Resistance to Face Themselves

In making a noise? Because they like to deaden themselves. In silence they have to face their own difficulties, they are in front of themselves, and usually they don't like that. In the noise they forget everything, they become stupefied. So they are happy. [194]

Interference of Lower Nature

The descent of the peace is often one of the first major positive experiences of the sadhana. In this state of peace the normal thought-mind (buddhi) is apt to fall silent or abate most of its activity and, when it does, very often either this vital mind can rush in, if one is not on one's guard, or else a kind of mechanical physical or random subconscient mind can begin to come up and act; these are the chief disturbers of the silence. Or else the lower vital mind can try to disturb; that brings up the ego and passions and their play. All these are signs of elements that have to be got rid of, because if they remain and other of the higher powers begin to descend, Power and Force, Knowledge, Love or Ananda, those lower things may come across with the result that either the higher consciousness retires or its descent is covered up and the stimulation it gives is misused for the purposes of the lower nature. This is the reason why many sadhaks after having big experiences fall into the clutch of a magnified ego, upheavals, ambition, exaggerated sex or other vital passions or distortions. It is always well therefore if a complete purification of the vital can either precede or keep pace with the positive experience—at least in natures in which the vital is strongly active. [195]

External Interference

To try to solve this problem ascetics used to go away into forests and sit under a tree; there, of course, they had not to fear any contagion from other human beings. But it is very difficult to go to the very end of this resolution, for it quickly gets known that a saint is sitting under a tree in meditation, and immediately everybody rushes there! Not only does he not escape from the difficulty, but he increases it, for there is not a thing more dangerous than to teach others. You know just a little and you begin to teach others, and you are immediately compelled to say more than you know, because people put questions to you which you cannot answer, unless you are a hero of silence. In the world, those who want to pass themselves off as spiritual teachers—when people come and ask them something they do not know, they invent it. [196]

Lack of Control

Man is the first animal on earth to be able to use articulate sounds. Indeed, he is very proud of this capacity and exercises it without moderation or discernment. The world is deafened with the sound of his words and sometimes one almost misses the harmonious silence of the plant kingdom. [197]

Misconception that one will Lose their Ability to Think

I emphasise this fact because there are quite a few people who, when mental silence has been transmitted to them by occult means, are immediately alarmed and afraid of losing their intelligence. Because they can no longer think, they fear they may become stupid! But to cease thinking is a much higher achievement than to be able to spin out thoughts endlessly and it demands a much greater development. [198]

Abolishing the Ego - Getting Rid of Moral Egoism

First of all, you must want to do it, and there are very few people who want to. And that is exactly what they say, it is this justification of their way of being, "That is the way I am made, I can't do otherwise. And then, if I change this, if I change that or if I do without this thing or if I get rid of that other, I shall no longer exist!" And if one doesn't say this openly, one thinks it…. One pushes it away in certain very obvious things; for example, if there is something good and someone rushes forward to make sure of having it first, even jostling his neighbour then here one becomes quite aware that this is not very elegant, so one begins to suppress these crudities, one makes a big effort—and one becomes highly self-satisfied: "I am not selfish, I give what is good to others, I don't keep it for myself", and one begins to get puffed up. And so one is filled with a moral egoism which is much worse than physical egoism, for it is conscious of its superiority.

~

And then there are those who have left everything, given up everything, who have left their families, distributed their belongings, gone into solitude, who live an ascetic life, and who are terribly conscious of their superiority, who look down at poor humanity from the height of their spiritual grandeur—and they have, these people, such a formidable ego that unless it is broken into small bits, never, never will they see the Divine. So it is not such an easy task. It takes a lot of time. And I must tell you that even when the work is done, it must always be begun again. [199]

Downward Pull of Imperfections

… the spiritual emergence has to wait at each step for the instruments to be ready; next, as the spiritual formation emerges, it is mixed inextricably with the powers, motives, impulses of an imperfect mind, life and body,—there is a pull on it to accept and serve these powers, motives and impulses, a downward gravitation and perilous mixture, a constant temptation to fall or deviation, at least a fettering, a weight, a retardation; there is a necessity to return upon a step gained in order to bring up something of the nature which hangs back and prevents a farther step; finally, there is, by the very character of mind in which it has to work, a limitation of the emerging spiritual light and power and a compulsion on it to move by segments, to follow one line or another and leave altogether or leave till later on the achievement of its own totality. This hampering, this obstacle of the mind, life and body,—the heavy inertia and persistence of the body, the turbid passions of the life-part, the obscurity and doubting incertitudes, denials, other-formulations of the mind,—is an impediment so great and intolerable that the spiritual urge becomes impatient and tries rigorously to quell these opponents, to reject the life, to mortify the body, to silence the mind and achieve its own separate salvation, spirit departing into pure spirit and rejecting from it altogether an undivine and obscure Nature. [200]

Inferior Mentality

When the inner action proceeds after the silence, even if it be then a more predominatingly intuitive thought and movement, the old powers will yet interfere, if not from within, then by a hundred suggestions from without, and an inferior mentality will mix in, will question or obstruct or will try to lay hold on the greater movement and to lower or darken or distort or minimise it in the process. Therefore the necessity of a process of elimination or transformation of the inferior mentality remains always imperative,—or perhaps both at once, an elimination of all that is native to the lower being, its disfiguring accidents, its depreciations of value, its distortions of substance and all else that the greater truth cannot harbour, and a transformation of the essential things our mind derives from the supermind and spirit but represents in the manner of the mental ignorance. [201]

Interference by Mental Forces

The danger of the mental forces is that when the higher consciousness descends they tend (unless there is a deep silence) to become active in the consciousness for forming ideas of a mental type which can always be misapplied. First, there should be a basis of entire calm, peace and silence—if there is activity, it should be that of a knowledge coming down and the mind silent receiving it accurately. This you can easily have, provided the mind is quiet. [202]

~

Only, when there is the peace and the mental silence, the vital mind tries to rush in and occupy the place or else the mechanical mind tries to raise up for the same purpose its round of trivial habitual thoughts. What the sadhaka has to do is to be careful to reject and hush these outsiders, so that during the meditation at least the peace and quietude of the mind and vital may be complete. This can be done best if you keep a strong and silent will. That will is the will of the Purusha behind the mind; when the mind is at peace, when it is silent one can become aware of the Purusha, silent also, separate from the action of the nature. [203]

~

The difficulty is that the things in the atmosphere come in even if one does not speak with people. There are always mind waves moving about. It is a mastery that has to be developed, beginning with a power of silence, exclusion, non-response. [204]

More on Silence

Fighting in Silence

Fight, while thy hands are free, with thy hands and thy voice and thy brain and all manner of weapons. Art thou chained in the enemy's dungeons and have his gags silenced thee? Fight with thy silent all besieging soul and thy wide-ranging will-power and when thou art dead, fight still with the world-encompassing force that went out from God within thee. [205]

Thoughts and Silence

Those who are at the bottom of the scale, who have never trained their minds, find it necessary to speak in order to think. It happens even that it is the sound of their voice which enables them to associate ideas; if they do not express them, they do not think. At a higher level there are those who still have to move words about in their heads in order to think, even though they do not utter them aloud. Those who truly begin to think are those who are able to think without words, that is to say, to be in contact with the idea and express it through a wide variety of words and phrases. There are higher degrees—many higher degrees—but those who think without words truly begin to reach an intellectual state and for them it is much easier to make the mind quiet, that is to say, to stop the movement of associating the words that constantly move about like passers-by in a public square, and to contemplate an idea in silence. [206]

~

In the entirely silent mind there is usually the static sense of the Divine without any active movement. But there can come into it all higher thought and aspiration and movements. There is then no absolute silence but one feels a fundamental silence behind which is not disturbed by any movement. [207]

~

It is not necessary [in a calm mind] that there should be no thought. When there is no thought, it is silence. But the mind is said to be calm when thoughts, feelings, etc. may pass through it, but it is not disturbed. It feels that the thoughts are not its own; it observes them perhaps; but it is not perturbed by anything. [208]

~

It must have been the descent of the higher silence, the silence of the Self or Atman. In this silence one perceives, but the mind is not active,—things are sensed, but without any responsive connection or vibration. The silent Self is there as a separate reality, not bound or involved in the activity of Nature, aloof, detached and self-existent. Even if thoughts come across this silence, they do not disturb it; the Self is separate from the thinking mind also. In this connection the feeling "I think" is a survival from the old consciousness; in the full silence what one feels is "thought occurs in me"—the identification with thoughts as well as with the perception of objects ceases. [209]

Meditation and Silence

Among people who meditate there are some who know how to meditate, who concentrate not on an idea, but in silence, in an inner contemplation in which they say they reach even a union with the Divine; and that is perfectly all right. There are others, just a few, who can follow an idea closely and try to find exactly what it means; that too is all right. Most of the time people try to concentrate and enter into a kind of half sleepy and, in any case, very tamasic state. They become some kind of inert thing; the mind is inert, the feeling is inert, the body is immobile. They can remain like that for hours, for there is nothing more durable than inertia! All this that I am telling you now—these are experiences of people I have met. And these people, when they come out of their meditation, sincerely believe they have done something very great. But they have simply gone down into inertia and unconsciousness. [210]

~

That is, instead of being in a state of tension, instead of making a tremendous effort to silence the inner machine and be able to concentrate your thought upon what you want, when you do it quite simply, naturally, without effort, automatically, and you decide to meditate for some reason or other, what you want to see, learn or know remains in your consciousness and all the rest disappears as by a miracle; everything falls quiet in you, all your being becomes silent, your nerves are altogether soothed, your consciousness is wholly concentrated—naturally, spontaneously—and you enter with an intense delight into a yet more intense contemplation. [211]

Read Summary of Silence

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