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The spirit of silence

Being silent for long periods decreases trouble and hinderance as one goes about one's business.

india Updated: Dec 12, 2006 16:42 IST

In this world of increasing noise and clamour, what could the value of silence possibly be? I found the following insightful thoughts going a-begging and would like to bring them to the notice of HT readers.

“Your silence restores your body as a nest energises birds at rest,” said Rabindranath Tagore, while Mahatma Gandhi had this to say: "Silence helps in winning over anger to the extent that no other thing can.”

Bhartrihari, the ancient Sanskrit poet, opined, “Silence is an illiterate’s jewel in a gathering of scholars," which I felt was truly inspiring.

Ramdhari Singh Dinkar was fond of the quote, “Speech is silver but silence is golden," which strengthened my resolve to acquire the practice of silence.

Writer Haribhau Upadhyaya’s observation, “Silence that is born of fear is animal-like while silence owing to discipline is divine,” triggered the spark of spirituality in me.

My thoughts went inevitably to saint Kabir Das’s stanza, with apologies for the translation, always difficult in English: “Arguments and discourse lead to a lot of poison/Speech leads to a great nuisance/But silence bears everyone’s speech/And lends time for a soul to connect with the Supreme.”

With my new soul-consciousness, I recalled my own evolution since my youth. As a schoolboy I was an extrovert with the habit of loud speech who would burst guffaws for no rhyme or reason. By the time I arrived at college, I had become a very talkative person. But what saved me eventually was my habit of going to the library during free periods. I became a bookworm, browsing through any spiritual tome that came my way.

Yet, what could silence give me? I found that it could conserve energy that helped in solving vexing problems. Moreover, if one kept silent through long periods of time, one could get along with one’s business without trouble or hindrance. Calmness has always paid rich dividends.

First Published: Dec 12, 2006 16:42 IST