Reflexions, Daily News and Analysis, 2006

A visiting philosopher once asked the Buddha, “Without words, without the wordless, will you tell me the truth?” Buddha kept silent. After a while, the philosopher rose gently, thanked the Buddha and left. Ananda, a senior disciple of the Enlightened One, enquired, “O Blessed one, what has this philosopher attained?” Buddha replied, “A good horse runs even at the shadow of a whip!” Indeed, the pure being of awareness from which we have emerged as sparks of a great fire, is silent. The stuff we have sprung from is made of deep tranquility. The deeper we go into this silent zone, the more profound are the verses that spring from our lips. Its one spell is more sacred than years of worship.

When the body is silenced, rest ensues. When the mind is silenced, peace ensues. When the momentum of karma is stilled through the extinction of desire and attachment, joy ensues. Silence—not the one that disguises internal noise, but a spontaneous swelling of bliss—is indeed the way to freedom. Attaining this domain of stillness is not complicated. It does not lie in intellectual reasoning, philosophical debates or occult experiences. Just as logic cannot guide you to the land of mysticism, no amount of contemplation can take you closer to stillness. Silence is the only way to silence.

When one is willing to still desire, the path of silence becomes accessible. Steady the body through the practice of kayasthairya, or staying in a posture longer and longer. Keep a watch over your thoughts. “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded. But once mastered, no one can help you as much,” says the Dhammapada.