Meditation Techniques

FIFTEEN PORTALS TO THE SUPREME *Meditation Techniques* *from Aparokṣānubhūti*

4. Maunam

Silence is golden and a silent mind is meditative, but can silence itself become meditation?

यस्माद्वाचो निवर्तन्ते अप्राप्य मनसा सह।
मौनं योगिभिर्गम्यं तद्भवेत्सर्वदा बुधः॥॥ १०७ ॥

वाचो यस्मान्निवर्तन्ते तद् वक्तुं केन शक्यते।
प्रो यदि वक्तव्यः सोऽपि शब्द विवर्जितः॥
॥ १०८ ॥

इति वा तद्भवेन्मौनं सतां सहज संज्ञितम्।
गिरा मौनं तु बालानां प्रयुक्तं ब्रह्मवादिभिः॥
॥ १०९ ॥

107-109. The wise should always be one with that Silence wherefrom words, together with the mind, turn back, unable to reach it, but which is attainable by the Yogins. Who can describe That (i.e, Truth) whence words turn away? (So beyond a point silence is inevitable while describing the Truth). Or if the phenomenal world were to be described even that is beyond words. This, to give an alternate definition, may also be termed Silence, known among the sages as our Natural State. The observance of silence by restraining speech, on the other hand, is ordained by the teachers of Truth for the ignorant.

There are four levels of speech (vāṇī):

1. Parā Vāņī – Supreme Speech: It is the unmanifest source from which all sounds and words

2. Pasyanti Vani – Seen Speech: When an idea takes shape, the words vaguely gather, giving a more concrete form to the idea. We begin to ‘see’ the idea, hence pasyanti.

3. Madhyamā Vani — Middle Speech: Just before we mutually speak, the words have crystallised and are clear and in syntax.

4. Vaikhari Väni — Articulate Speech: Finally, the words are enunciated with the help of the vocal chords.Not uttering the words, i.e. not expressing the vaikhari vāni is called 'verbal silence' (girā maunam). Speech is an important way of self-expression. But to keep silent is also important, as it is then that we listen, learn and grow. Bhartrhari says, "The creator made silence as a good cover to hide our foolishness (which would otherwise be exposed through words), to be used especially in a gathering of the wise."

svāyattam-ekānta-bitaṁ vidhātrā vinirmitam chāndanam ajñātāyāh, višesatah sarvavidām samāje vibūsanam mounam apanditānām.
(Niti satakam)Quarrels end when one becomes silent. One avoids the sin of lying, angry words or insults by keeping quiet. We conserve energy which gets dissipated in fruitless talk by observing silence (vrtha ālāpa -- sramaṁ maunataḥ). It is therefore said, "Silence is the best solution -- sabse badī cupa," and "One should attain everything by silence -- mounena sarvārthaṁ sādhayet.”

Om. Swamini Vimalananda.