Vow of Silence – Practice and Benefits


The organ of speech seriously distracts the mind. ”Speech is the fourth ‘foot’ of Mind-Soul, because it is by means of the ‘foot’ of speech that the mind approaches the notable objects such as cow, goat, etc. Therefore speech is like a foot of mind. In the same manner, nose is a ‘foot’, because it is through nose that the mind approaches objects of smell. Similarly, the eye is a ‘foot’; the ear is another ‘foot’. This constitutes the four-footed character of the Mind-Soul.” (Chhandogya Upanishad).

Miscellaneous talking is a very bad habit. It distracts the mind. It keeps the mind always outgoing and makes a man nonspiritual. A vow of silence must be practiced once a week. Much energy is wasted in talking. Do not allow anything to come out from the mind through the organ of speech. Observe a vow of silence. This will help you. Considerable peace follows Silence. The speech energy becomes transmuted into spiritual energy (Ojas). Thoughts become much decreased. Will becomes stronger. Now you have shut out a big source of disturbance. You will rest now in peace. Meditate on God or Soul now in right earnest.

Spiritual aspirants must observe Silence for some hours daily. Be careful in the selection of your words before you speak. Think thrice before you speak. Consider what effect the words will produce on the feeling of others. Observe Silence for a couple of years. It is penance of speech.

Do not argue unnecessarily. Argument brings about hostility, heated feelings and wastage of energy. Every man has got his own views, his own opinion, ideas, sentiments, beliefs and convictions. It is very difficult to change the views of others. Do not try to convince others. When you are an aspirant, when you are gathering facts and knowledge from the study of sacred lore, do not argue with others till your thoughts have become mature and steady.

Imagination in the mind always exaggerates. Exaggeration is a modification of lie. Aspirants should not exaggerate. They should utter words with mathematical and scientific precision.

An aspirant is asked to give up company and observe Silence, because on account of Like, he will multiply acquaintance; on account of Dislike, he will incur the displeasure of others by uttering some unpleasant words. There is a sword in the tongue. Words are like arrows. They injure the feelings of others. By observing Silence and giving up company, one can control the speech and remove Like. Then the mind will become calm.

There are fifteen flaws that arise from company. An aspirant should, therefore, preferably remain alone during the period of Practice. The flaws of company are: (1) Misunderstanding, (2) Ill-feeling, (3) Displeasure, (4) Like-Dislike, (5) Jealousy, (6) Vampirism, (7) Attachment, (8) Mental sharing of pain of another man, (9) Criticisms of others, (10) Soulless topics, (11) Habit of talking, (12) Outgoing thought waves, (13) Idea and Karma of duality, (14) Slavish mentality and weak will, (15) Contempt. Love little, but love long.

When you take a vow of silence, never assert from within very often, ‘I won’t talk’. This will produce a little heat in the brain, because the mind wants to revenge on you. Simply once make a determination and then remain quiet. Attend to other affairs. Do not be thinking always, ‘I won’t talk, I won’t talk.’

In the beginning, when you observe Silence, you will find some difficulty. There will be a severe attack of thought waves. Various kinds of thoughts will arise and force you to break the silence. There are all vain imaginations and deceptions of the mind. Be bold. Concentrate all energies on One. Make the mind fully occupied. The desire for talk and company will die. You will get peace.

Silence of the Mind

Silence of the mind is far superior to Silence of speech. Silence should come of itself. It must be natural. Forced Silence is only wrestling with the mind. It is an effort. If you live in Truth, Silence will come of itself. Then only will there be absolute peace. What is wanted is natural Silence and mental purity. Physical purity has no meaning. In a liberated soul, purity comes of itself as he is absorbed in Soul, when he is in the seventh stage of knowledge.

Reference

Mind – Its Mysteries and Control by Sri Swami Sivananda

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7 thoughts on “Vow of Silence – Practice and Benefits

  1. I am interested to see a reference in the Upanishad to “Mind-Soul” because, assome might be aware, I have coined the word Moul to conveniently express this!

  2. I am interested to see a reference in the Upanishad to “Mind-Soul” because, as some might be aware, I have coined the word Moul to conveniently express this!

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