This chapter is the English translation of Gujarati Book
               Title   -  Sadhak and Sathi
               Author  -  Shri Atmanandji (Dr. Soneji)

      CHAPTER - 7


      Silence is abandonment of speech, conversation etc.  with a
      right knowledge and spiritual advancement in view.  This is a
      very important part of spiritual progress.  It is being analyzed
      here, not only in its conventional meaning, but in a very wide
      perspective, so as to be useful to the aspirant.

      Silence is resorted for enhancement to meditate on the doctrines
      heard from great preceptors or received from the study of
      scriptures.  Sadhakas (aspirants) of all stages can cultivate it
      according to their own capabilities.  Sadhakas in the elementary
      and middle stages should resort to as much control of speech as
      possible, so that much physical and mental energy gets
      accumulated.  This accumulated energy can now be advantageously
      applied for the purposes of self-study and self analysis.  The
      success in Sadhana can thus be accomplished more speedily by
      using this spared energy for spiritual progress which might have
      been otherwise wasted in mundane pursuits of happiness.


      Only the human soul can acquire the capacity of such intricate
      and highly disciplined and balanced speech.  No other
      creature or being has the power of such highly developed
      speech.  Such a power of speech as this which has been
      acquired by good deeds of past (Punya), should be so
      well utilized as to be conducive to the welfare of one's
      own self as well as of others.

      If we are not in a position to help those suffering from various
      causes like diseases, distress, pangs of separation from kith
      and kin or such other calamities, we could at least heartily
      console them by soft, soothing, beneficial and pleasing words.
      Such an excellent and remarkable use of the power of speech can
      be rightly designated as `silence', since such a use of speech
      is not for less important purposes, but for benevolence of
      everyone concerned.


      We come across many people in society who are talkative.
      It is always wise not to initiate talk which is
      not conducive to our betterment, or any noble purpose.
      Criticizing others, using abusive words, indulging in idle
      or wicked talk, uttering words that offend and hurt others,
      busying oneself in self praise - all these mean sheer waste
      of our power of speech.  Persons endowed with a sense of
      discrimination, should abandon this with conscious effort.


      Since ancient time, silence is worshipped as an important
      component of spiritual discipline.  Initially, the practice
      of this virtue may commence with some three hours of
      silence at noon time, say on Sunday or any other suitable
      day.  This practice may be enhanced by routines, the vow
      daily from 8.00 p.m. to 8.00 a.m. the next day.  During
      these hours, the exceptions could be made for prayers,
      uttering a hymn of praise for adoration of God.  The vow of
      continuous silence for three to seven days is very helpful
      during the course of intensive meditation and scripture
      writing.  Thus is practiced the vow of silence by different
      aspirants, according to their circumstances and the various
      stages of their spiritual advancements.

      Only through deep contemplation and the practice of
      silence, is it possible to become a genuine ascetic (Monk).
      Spiritual progress (Samadhi) is attained only by right restraint
      on speech and breaking through the chain of indecisions and
      doubts.  Advanced aspirants should therefore, constantly praise
      self-steadiness (Atma-sthirata) together with silence during

      Lord Mahavira, after the renunciation of the worldly life,
      observed silence for twelve and a half years.  Mahatma Gandhi
      used to observe silence on every Monday.  Yogi Shri Maharshi
      Aurbindo observed silence for seventeen years.  Ramana Maharshi
      very often inspired those desirous of self-knowledge, to search
      after "Who am I?"  in a state of silence.  He too passed much of
      his time in a state of silence.  The immense utility of the
      practice of silence is thus witnessed in the lives of all these
      great men.

      In the present days, many monks resort to the practice of
      silence from evening to sunrise.


      On the basis of factual evidence mentioned above, now the
      aspirant who has essentially understood the rarity, utility,
      and excellence of good speech will certainly embark upon
      the genuine practice of silence or only the scrupulous use of
      his speech.  Through the medium of this practice, energy of
      the soul that was so far being externally wasted, is now
      fruitfully utilized in accomplishing control of the senses
      and the mind.  This self-control will substantially
      contribute towards success in various stages of
      concentration of the mind by making it introvert and steady
      and eventually culminating in the highest transcendental
      meditation or a thoughtless state (Nirvikalpa Samadhi).

      The practice of silence is thus of invaluable assistance in
      the experiment of internal conversation of the self with
      one's true self.


      1. Speech is great, but silence is greater still.  Silence is
         the holy temple of our divine thoughts.  If speech is silver,
         silence is gold, if speech is human, silence is divine.

      2. Silence is the best and the most unique art of conversation.

      3. Silence is the best speech.  If you must speak, speak the
         minimum.  Do not speak two words, if one is enough.

      4. The ego gets wiped out in the state of silence.  Once this
         happens, who will speak and who will ponder?  (all duals have

      5. Silence is an excellent means for self-betterment, but only
         rarely does one of us make good use of it.



      A Jain monk Lalluji Swami was one of the foremost of the
      devotees of Shrimad Rajchandra.  He was the founder of Shrimad
      Rajchandra Ashram at Agas near Anand in the state of Gujarat,

      He passed the four months of the rainy season in 1893 at Bombay
      in order to have close contact with his spiritual teacher
      Shrimad Rajchandra.  Shrimad Rajchandra prescribed the reading
      and study of the verses of "Samadhi- Shataka."  On the first
      page of the book Shrimand wrote the famous Mantra, "the Jiva
      (soul) attains to supreme knowledge (Kevala-jnana) when one is
      merged in the nature of Atma (soul)."

      When the four months of the rainy season was nearly over, Shri
      Lalluji Swami submitted, "I have no interest in external things.
      When shall I attain to the stage of being identified with the

      Shrimad replied, "You require me to preach you."

      Lulluji submitted, "Then please preach."

      In reply Shrimad Rajchandra remained silent.  He thus preached
      silence.  It was with this preaching that Shri Lalluji Swami
      went to another city Surat from Bombay.  He observed silence for
      three years.  In this observance of silence, the only exceptions
      were necessary conversation with other monks and spiritual
      discourses with Shrimad.  Shri Lalluji Swami very often stated
      in his sermons that this observance of silence was of immense
      benefit to him.


      Mahatma Gambhirnath was a Bengali scholar and saint of the
      nineteenth century who settled in Himalayas for his
      spiritual uplift (Sadhna).

      Once Mahatma Gambhirnath was seated in the meditation in the
      peaceful atmosphere of Himalayas, some Bengali gentlemen visited
      him just with the idea of his Darshan (to see) and to have the
      benefit of noble company.  They sat for a while and then humbly
      requested the Mahatma to deliver some preaching, for the uplift
      of their souls.  The visitors submitted that they had come from
      far off distances and would feel unhappy if a sermon were not
      delivered.  The Mahatma stated, "Observe and ponder."

      Meeting with genuine Mahatmas has one great reward.  It is
      to fill to the brim of our hearts with their holy, simple,
      happy personality.  Their silence asks us to open our
      internal eyes and devotedly to have Darshan of Atma (soul), the
      God in this temple of the body.  Thus silence consists of the
      purport of countless scriptures.


      The railway train was running at full speed from Calcutta to
      Delhi.  In one compartment, two British passengers were talking
      in English.  Pointing at one monk (Sadhu), travelling in the
      same compartment, one British passenger was telling the other,
      "Look, what a deception!  With such youthful age, healthy body,
      and full capacity to work, this man became monk to get free food
      and to loiter anywhere.  There are thousands of such monks in
      this country and people feed them in blind faith."

      Criticism of this sort went on for a long time, but the monk
      (Sanyasi) sitting on the opposite seat was pondering deeply
      with a calm posture.

      When the train arrived at one station and halted, the station
      master saw the monk (Sanyasi), bowed down before him and asked
      in English, "What can I do in your service, Sir?"

      The Sanyasi answered in English, "One glass of water will
      be enough.  I want nothing else."

      The two British passengers observed that the Sanyasi spoke
      in such pure English.  They felt surprised.  They never
      knew that the Sanyasi was educated.  They had abused the
      Sanyasi so much and still there was not a word by way of
      reaction.  His posture was the same, full of happiness as

      The passengers inquired of him, "Well sir, why did you
      not react to our criticism?"

      He replied, "Brothers, I remain engrossed only in the
      thoughts of my life's work.  I do not enter into any kind
      of disputes."

      The peaceful posture and Sadhana of the vow of silence
      brought about a lot of regard on part of those two British

      This Sanyasi was Swami Vivekananda, the chief disciple of the
      great monk Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans.  He was a great
      socio-religious leader of the nineteenth century.  He became
      famous for his unique speech in the World Religions Conference
      in 1893 in Chicago, U.S.A.

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