On Practicing and Becoming Silent
(Vinod Anand)

The existence that one is able to experience— see, hear, smell, taste and touch — through the five senses is essentially a product of reverberations, a play of nada or sound. The body and mind of an individual are also reverberations. But they are not ends in themselves — they are just the outer peel of a possibility. Most people do not go beyond the peel; they sit on the threshold their whole lives. But the purpose of a doorway is to enter. To experience that which is beyond this doorway, the practice of silence, is referred to as ‘maun’. The English word ‘silence’ doesn’t really say much. In Sanskrit, there are many words for silence, the most significant being ‘maun’ and ‘nishabd’. Maun means you don’t speak; it is an attempt to create nishabd meaning “that which is not sound”, beyond body, mind and all creation. Beyond sound does not mean absence of sound, but transcending sound. Existence is reverberation of energy. All vibrations in our experience translate into sound. Every form has a corresponding sound. This complex amalgamation of sounds is what we experience as creation. The basis of all sound is nishabd. Maun is an attempt to transit from being a piece of creation to the source of creation. This attribute-less, dimension-less, boundless state of existence and experience is the aspiration of yoga: union. Nishabd suggests nothingness that has negative connotation. You would probably understand it better if you put a hyphen between no and thing; no-thing. Sound is of surface, silence is of the core that is total absence of sound; absence of reverberation, life, death, creation; absence of creation in one’s experience leads to enormous beyond life and death, is referred to as silence or nishabd. You cannot do this; you can only become this. There is a difference between practicing silence and becoming silence. If you are practicing something, you are not that. Consciously aspiring for silence, there is a possibility of becoming silence. Mauni Amavasya is the second after the winter solstice or the one before Mahashivaratri. During Amavasya, sprouting of seeds and plant growth slows down. The sap in a plant faces an uphill task to reach the top and so too in a human being with a vertical spine. During these three months, from solstice to Mahashivaratri, the phase one of Uttarayana, in latitudes ranging from 0 to 33°N, the impact of both full moon and new moon is in an enhanced state. Yogic traditions have various processes of making use of this assistance that nature offers. One of these is to maintain silence from Mauni to Mahashivaratri. This period is of a much greater significance this year as it marks the 12-year solar cycle and there is a great influence upon all water bodies and water vortexes. Not to forget that our body is the most intimate water body that we know, it being over 70% water. Cycles of the solar and lunar systems are the basic concept of time in human experience. The choice of either riding the cycles of time or be trapped in endless cycles of time is the choice one has to make. This time and day offers a great opportunity to transcend.

Author's Bio: 


Born in 1939, and holding Master’s Degree both in Mathematics (1959) and Economics (1961), and Doctorate Degree in Economics (1970), Dr. Vinod K.Anand has about forty five years of teaching, research, and project work experience in Economic Theory (both micro and macro), Quantitative Economics, Public Economics, New Political Economy, and Development Economics with a special focus on economic and social provisions revolving around poverty, inequality, and unemployment issues, and also on informal sector studies. His last assignment was at the National University of Lesotho (Southern Africa) from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that he was placed as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of North-West in the Republic of South Africa, and University of Allahabad in India, Professor at the National University of Lesotho, Associate Professor at the University of Botswana, Gaborone in Botswana, and at Gezira University in Wad Medani, Sudan, Head, Department of Arts and Social Sciences, Yola in Nigeria, Principal Lecturer in Economics at Maiduguri University in Nigeria, and as Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria. Professor Anand has by now published more than 80 research papers in standard academic journals, authored 11 books, supervised a number of doctoral theses, was examiner for more than twenty Ph.D. theses, and has wide consultancy experience both in India and abroad, essentially in the African continent. This includes holding the position of Primary Researcher, Principal Consultant etc. in a number of Research Projects sponsored and funded by Universities, Governments, and International Bodies like, USAID, IDRC, and AERC. His publications include a variety of themes revolving around Economic Theory, New Political Economy, Quantitative Economics, Development Economics, and Informal Sector Studies. His consultancy assignments in India, Nigeria, Sudan, Botswana, and the Republic of South Africa include Non-Directory Enterprises in Allahabad, India, Small Scale Enterprises in the Northern States of Nigeria, The Absolute Poverty Line in Sudan, The Small Scale Enterprises in Wad Medani, Sudan, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in Botswana, The Place of Non-Formal Micro-Enterprises in Botswana, Resettlement of a Squatter Community in the Vryburg District of North West Province in the Republic of South Africa, Trade and Investment Development Programme for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises: Support for NTSIKA in the Republic of South Africa, and Development of the Manufacturing Sector in the Republic of South Africa’s North West Province: An Approach Based on Firm Level Surveys. Professor Anand has also extensively participated in a number of conferences, offered many seminars, participated in a number of workshops, and delivered a variety of Refresher Lectures at different venues both in India and abroad. Dr. Anand was placed at the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla in the State Himachal Pradesh, India as a Fellow from 2001 to 2003, and had completed a theoretical and qualitative research project/monograph on the Employment Profile of Micro Enterprises in the State of Himachal Pradseh, India.