Anand Somen, silence usually is understood to be something negative, something empty, an absence of sound, of noises. This misunderstanding is prevalent because very few people have ever experienced silence. All that they have experienced in the name of silence is noiselessness. But silence is a totally different phenomenon. It is utterly positive. It is existential, it is not empty. It is overflowing with a music that you have never heard before, with a fragrance that is unfamiliar to you, with a light that can only be seen by the inner eyes. It is not something fictitious; it is a reality, and a reality which is already present in everyone -- just we never look in. All our senses are extrovert. Our eyes open outside, our ears open outside, our hands move outside, our legs... all our senses are meant to explore the outside world.
But there is a sixth sense also, which is asleep because we have never used it. And no society, no culture, no educational system helps people to make the sixth sense active.
That sixth sense, in the East, is called "the third eye." It looks inwards. And just as there is a way of looking in, so there is a way of hearing in, so there is a way of smelling in.
Just as there are five senses moving outward, there are five counter-senses moving inward. In all, man has ten senses, but the first sense that starts the inner journey is the third eye, and then other senses start opening up.
Your inner world has its own taste, has its own fragrance, has its own light. And it is utterly silent, immensely silent, eternally silent. There has never been any noise, and there will never be any noise. No word can reach there, but you can reach. The mind cannot reach there, but you can reach because you are not the mind. The function of the mind is again to be a bridge between you and the objective world, and the function of the heart is to be a bridge between you and yourself.
The silence that I have been talking about is the silence of the heart. It is a song in itself, without words and without sounds. It is only out of this silence that the flowers of love grow. It is this silence that becomes the garden of Eden. Meditation, and only meditation, is the key to open the doors of your own being.
You are asking, "A while ago you said something about silence which startled me in my sleepiness. I had simply thought of it as just an absence -- an absence of noises. But you were saying it had positive qualities, a positive sound. And in my meditations, I have noticed a distinction between a silence in my body and a silence in my mind."
Your experiences are true. The body knows its own silence -- that is its own well-being, its own overflowing health, its own joy. The mind also knows its silence, when all thoughts disappear and the sky is without any clouds, just a pure space. But the silence I am talking about is far deeper.
I am talking about the silence of your being.
These silences that you are talking about can be disturbed. Sickness can disturb the silence of your body, and death is certainly going to disturb it. A single thought can disturb the silence of your mind, the way a small pebble thrown into the silent lake is enough to create thousands of ripples, and the lake is no longer silent. The silence of the body and the mind are very fragile and very superficial, but in themselves they are good.
To experience them is helpful, because it indicates that there may be even deeper silences of the heart.
And the day you experience the silence of the heart, it will be again an arrow of longing, moving you even deeper.
Your very center of being is the center of a cyclone. Whatever happens around it does not affect it; it is eternal silence. Days come and go, years come and go, ages come and pass, lives come and go, but the eternal silence of your being remains exactly the same -- the same soundless music, the same fragrance of godliness, the same transcendence from all that is mortal, from all that is momentary.
It is not your silence.
You are it.
It is not something in your possession; you are possessed by it, and that's the greatness of it. Even you are not there, because even your presence will be a disturbance.
The silence is so profound that there is nobody, not even you. And this silence brings truth, and love, and thousands of other blessings to you. This is the search, this is the longing of all the hearts, of all those who have a little intelligence.
But remember, don't get lost in the silence of the body, or the silence of the mind, or even the silence of the heart. Beyond these three is the fourth. We, in the East, have called it simply "the fourth," turiya. We have not given it any name. Instead of a name we have given it a number, because it comes after three silences -- of the body, of the mind, of the heart -- and beyond it, there is nothing else to be found.
So, don't misunderstand. Most of the people... for example, there are people who are practicing yoga exercises. Yoga exercises give a silence of the body, and they are stuck there. Their whole life, they practice, but they know only the most superficial silence.
Then there are people who are doing concentrations like transcendental meditation, of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It can give you a silence which will be only of the mind. Just by repeating a name or a mantra... the very repetition creates in its wake, a silence in the mind. But it is not meditation, and it is not transcendental.
And there are Sufis who know the third, which is the deepest of the three. But still it is not the goal, the target; your arrow is still falling short. It is very deep because Sufis know the heart more than anybody else. For centuries they have been working on the heart, just as yogis have been working on the body, and people of concentration and contemplation have been working on the mind.
The Sufis know the immense beauty of love. They radiate love, but still the home has not been reached. You have to remember the fourth. Unless you reach the fourth, continue the journey.
People misunderstand very easily. Just a little bit of experience and they think they have arrived. And mind is very clever to rationalize.
There is a Sufi story about Mulla Nasruddin. The Mulla hears a commotion in the street outside his house in the middle of the night. His wife tells him to go down, and after many arguments he puts a blanket on his shoulders and goes down to the street. There were many people in the street and a lot of noise, and in the crowd somebody steals his blanket.
The Mulla goes home naked, and his wife asks him, "What was that all about?" The Mulla says, "It seems to be about my blanket, because as they got the blanket they all disappeared. They were just waiting for the blanket. And I was telling you `Don't force me to go there.' Now I have lost my blanket and I have come naked. It was none of our business."
He has found a rationalization, and it looks logical, that as they got his blanket they all disappeared. And the poor Mulla thinking that perhaps that was the whole problem....
"Their argument and their noise just in front of my house in the middle of the night, and my foolish wife persuaded me finally to lose my blanket!"
Mind is continuously rationalizing, and sometimes it may appear that what it is saying is right, because it gives arguments for it. But one has to beware of one's own mind, because in this world nobody can cheat you more than your own mind. Your greatest enemy is within you, just as your greatest friend is also within you.
The greatest enemy is just your first encounter, and your greatest friend is going to be your last encounter -- so don't be prevented by any experience of the body or the mind or the heart. Remember always one of the famous statements of Gautam Buddha. He used to conclude his sermons every day with the same two words, charaiveti, charaiveti." Those two simple words -- just one word repeated twice -- means "Don't stop; go on, go on."
Never stop until the road ends, until there is nowhere else to go -- charaiveti, charaiveti.
Anand Tarika, have you ever heard me? I have been constantly telling you that the personality has to be dropped so that your individuality can be discovered. I have been insisting that the personality is not you; it is a mask people have put over you. It is not your authentic reality, it is not your original face. And you are asking me, "Is it really worth putting any energy into improving my personality?"
Put your energy into destroying your personality. Put your energy into discovering your individuality. And make the distinction very clear: individuality is that which you have brought from your very birth. Individuality is your essential being, and personality is what the society has made of you, what they wanted to make of you.
No society up to now has been able to give freedom to their children to be themselves. It seems risky. They may prove rebellious. They may not follow the religion of their forefathers; they may not think the great politicians are really great; they may not trust in your moral values. They will find their own morality, and they will find their own lifestyle. They will not be replicas, they will not repeat the past; they will be beings of the future.
This has created fear that they may go astray. Before they go astray, every society tries to give them a certain direction how to live, a certain ideology of what is good and what is evil, a certain religion, a certain holy scripture. These are ways to create the personality, and the personality functions like an imprisonment. You are asking me, Tarika, that you want to improve this personality. Are you your own enemy?
But this is not only you. Millions of people in the world know only their personality; they don't know that there is anything more than personality. They have completely forgotten themselves, and they have forgotten even the way to reach themselves. They have all become actors, hypocrites. They have become puppets in the hands of the priests, of the politicians, of the parents; they are doing things which they never want to do and they are not doing things which they are hankering to do.
Their life is split in such a diametrically opposite way that they can never be at peace.
Their nature will assert itself again and again, will not leave them at peace. And their so- called personality will go on repressing it, forcing it deeper into the unconscious. This conflict divides you and your energy -- and a house divided cannot stand long. This is the whole misery of human beings -- why there is not much dance, much song, much joyfulness.
People are so much engaged in warfare with themselves. They don't have energy, and they don't have time to do anything else except fight with themselves. Their sensuality they have to fight, their sexuality they have to fight, their individuality they have to fight, their originality they have to fight. And they have to fight for something which they don't want to be, which is not part of their nature, which is not their destiny. So they can pretend to be false for a time -- again the real asserts.
Their whole life goes on, up and down, and they cannot figure out who really they are:
the repressor or the repressed? the oppressor or the oppressed? And whatever they do, they cannot destroy their nature. They can certainly poison it; they can certainly destroy its joy, they can destroy its dance, they can destroy its love. They can make their life a mess, but they cannot destroy their nature completely. And they cannot throw away their personality, because their personality carries their forefathers, their parents, their teachers, their priests, their whole past. It is their heritage; they cling to it.
My whole teaching is, don't cling to personality. It is not yours, and it is never going to be yours. Allow your nature full freedom. And respect yourself, be proud of being yourself, whatever you are. Have some dignity! Don't be destroyed by the dead.
People who have been dead for thousands of years are sitting on your head. They are your personality -- and you want to improve on them? So call a few more dead! Graves have to be searched for... bring out more skeletons, surround yourself with all kinds of skeletons. You will be respected by the society. You will be honored, rewarded; you will have great prestige, you will be thought to be a saint. But living with the dead, surrounded by the dead, you will not be able to laugh -- it will be so out of place -- you will not be able to dance, you will not be able to sing, you will not be able to love.
Personality is a dead thing. Drop it! -- in a single blow, not in fragments, not slowly, today a little bit and then tomorrow a little bit, because life is short and tomorrow is not certain.
The false is false. Discard it totally!
Every real human being has to be a rebel... rebel against whom? -- against his own personality.
The Japanese-American was a long-time customer at this Greek restaurant, because he had discovered that they made specially tasty fried rice. Each evening he would come in the restaurant, and he would order "flied lice." This always caused the Greek restaurant owner to nearly roll on the floor with laughter. Sometimes he would have two or three friends stand nearby just to hear the Japanese customer order his "flied lice."
Eventually the customer's pride was so hurt that he took a special diction lesson just to be able to say "fried rice" correctly. The next time he went to the restaurant he said very plainly, "Fried rice, please."
Unable to believe his ears, the Greek restaurant owner said, "Sir, would you repeat that?"
The Japanese-American replied, "You heard what I said, you flucking Gleek!"
How long can you go on pretending? The reality is going to come up some day or other, and it is better that it comes sooner.
There is no need, Tarika, to improve your diction! Just drop that whole personality thing.
Just be yourself. Howsoever raw and howsoever wild it appears to be in the beginning, soon it starts having its own grace, its own beauty.
And the personality... you can go on polishing it, but it is just polishing a dead thing which is going to destroy not only your time, your energy, your life, but also the people who are around you.
We are all affecting each other. When everybody is doing something, you also start doing it. Life is very contagious; everybody is improving his personality -- that's why the idea has arisen in your mind.
But my people are not doing that. My people are not a herd, not a mob. They are respectful of themselves, and they are respectful of others. They are proud of their freedom and they want everybody else to be free, because their freedom has given them so much love and so much grace. They would like everybody else in the world to be free, loving and graceful.
This is possible only if you are original -- not something put together, not something false, but something that grows within you, which has roots in your being, which brings flowers in its time. And to have one's own flowers is the only destiny, is the only significant way of life.
But the personality has no roots; it is plastic, it is phony. Dropping it is not difficult; it needs just a little courage. And my feeling of thousands of people is that everybody has that much courage, just people are not using it. Once you start using your courage, sources which are dormant become active, and you become capable of having more courage, of more rebelliousness.
You become a revolution in yourself.
A man who is a revolution unto himself is a joy to see, because he has fulfilled his destiny. He has transcended the ordinary mob, the sleeping crowd.
Deva Premal, it is good news that you are feeling a little plant growing inside you.
Naturally it will be, in the beginning, very delicate and very fragile. And your feeling is right, that you "have to take immense care of this little flower just starting to open, not to water it too much, nor too little, nor to expose it too much to the wind."
All that is needed are three things.
When your consciousness starts growing, you need more meditation. And there is no limit to meditation, so you need not be worried that meditation can be too much and can kill the flower. Meditation is always too little, because there is always too much ahead of you, and meditation will make the fragile and delicate flower more and more strong.
You need a silent being.
Caring too much can be dangerous, it can become an anxiety. Being worried too much that you should water less or you should water more, that you may expose it to the winds, to the sun, to the rain too much or too little... caring can become a tremendous turmoil in your being, and your very caring can destroy the flower. Instead of caring, you need a more silent, more conscious, more peaceful being, which will give a strength to something new that is growing in you.
Secondly, care is not enough; love is needed. Care is more a technical word; love is totally different. Care needs a certain education. Care is just like a nurse who knows what has to be done, what is right to be done -- but there is no love in her heart, she functions technically.
Love is more like a mother, who may not know the art of nursing, but she need not know.
Love is enough unto itself. Love is a mysterious phenomenon; it knows what is needed. It simply knows without any education.
So what you need is meditation, love, and the third thing -- which you may not have thought of at all -- a joyous life, because all that is great in you only grows when joy is showering on it. It grows only when you are in a space of blissfulness, when there is laughter, there is song and there is dance.
And I know perfectly your fear. You say, "Please tell me how to take care of this little plant." I will not say how to take care, because I don't want you to become a nurse. I want you to become a mother. I want you to be love, not technical knowledge, because these flowers don't need technical knowledge.
You are afraid, "since in this moment, it would still be very easy for me to destroy it."
That danger is very real. When something inside you grows it brings new responsibilities, because now you need more meditation, you need more love, you need more joy.
This flower inside you can become a burden to you if you don't understand the language of meditation, the language of love, the language of blissfulness. You can destroy the flower by your own hands, just to get rid of the responsibility. But this flower is not only responsibility: it is also your growth, your maturity.
This flower is not something separate from you.
It is your own being.
To destroy it means to commit suicide.
But your question is more concerned about the technicalities of care, and I would like you to change the focus.
Inner growth does not need any technical knowledge, any technical expertise. All that it needs is very simple and very joyful, and it is not a burden. Meditation will make you lighter, less loaded with all kinds of rubbish. Love will also give you new skies, new freedoms. Blissfulness will give you wings to move into those new skies and new spaces.
But the question carries the implication that for centuries in the West the mind has become technically oriented. It has created great technology, great science, but it has destroyed man completely. The house is full of all kinds of gadgets, just the master of the house has disappeared, is lost in the gadgets.
The East has never been technically oriented; it is more concerned with values than with techniques. For example, in the East if somebody is sick, then the wife will not be ready for her husband or her lover to be taken care of by a nurse. It simply will not come to her mind. This is the time when she is needed, and if love cannot heal, then no other technique is going to heal. It is not a question of expertise.
In the West the same situation will have a totally different response. The wife or the husband would like to call a nurse to take care. And he seems, or she seems, to be more logical because the nurse is trained in taking care; She knows the know-how.
But in the East it is almost inconceivable that love can be replaced by expertise of any kind. Expertise can be called in only when there is no love, when the wife feels it is a burden and it is a good chance to get rid of this fellow... call a nurse. And she has good reason; every logic is in her support. The doctor will support her, that this is a very loving decision. But the reality is just the opposite; it is not a loving decision.
So don't ask me about how to take care. Ask me how to be more meditative, how to be more loving, how to be more joyful, because that which is growing within you needs nourishment -- and your meditation will give it nourishment, your joy will give it warmth, your love will give it dignity.
A man, narrowly reared by a widowed mother, got married. He telephoned back to his mother from the honeymoon hotel to say that he knew there was something he had to do in bed, but he did not know what it was.
"Why," said his mother, "you put your... eh, that is, you put the hardest part of yourself in the place where your wife wee-wees."
At midnight the hotel rang the fire brigade for help. "We have got a young man with his head jammed in a chamber pot."
Avoid technical knowledge!
Prem Prabhati, everybody is born as one single individual, but by the time he is mature enough to participate in life he has become a crowd. It is not anything special that you are feeling; it is almost the case with everybody. The only difference is that you are becoming aware of it, which is good. People are not aware of it.
If you just sit silently and listen to your mind, you will find so many voices. You will be surprised, you can recognize those voices very well. Some voice is from your grandfather, some voice is from your grandmother, some voice is from your father, some voice is from your mother, some voice is from the priest, from the teacher, from the neighbors, from your friends, from your enemies. All these voices are jumbled up in a crowd within you, and if you want to find your own voice, it is almost impossible; the crowd is too thick.
In fact, you have forgotten your own voice long before. You were never given freedom enough to voice your opinions. You were always taught obedience. You were taught to say yes to everything that your elders were saying to you. You were taught that you have to follow whatever your teachers or your priests are doing. Nobody ever told you to search for your own voice -- "Have you got any voice of your own or not?"
So your voice has remained very subdued and other voices are very loud, very commanding, because they were orders and you had followed them -- in spite of yourself.
You had no intention to follow, you could see that this is not right. But one has to be obedient to be respected, to be acceptable, to be loved.
Naturally only one voice is missing in you, only one person is missing in you, and that is you; otherwise there is a whole crowd. And that crowd is constantly driving you mad, because one voice says, "Do this," another voice says, "Never do that! Don't listen to that voice!" And you are torn apart.
This whole crowd has to be withdrawn. This whole crowd has to be told, "Now please leave me alone!" The people who have gone to the mountains or to the secluded forests were really not going away from the society; they were trying to find a place where they can disperse their crowd inside. And those people who have made a place within you are obviously reluctant to leave.
But if you want to become an individual in your own right, if you want to get rid of this continuous conflict and this mess within you, then you have to say goodbye to them -- even when they belong to your respected father, your mother, your grandfather. It does not matter to whom they belong. One thing is certain: they are not your voices. They are the voices of people who have lived in their time, and they had no idea what the future was going to be. They have loaded their children with their own experience; their experience is not going to match with the unknown future.
They are thinking they are helping their children to be knowledgeable, to be wise, so their life can be easier and more comfortable, but they are doing just the wrong thing. With all the good intentions in the world, they are destroying the child's spontaneity, his own consciousness, his own ability to stand on his feet, and to respond to the new future which their old ancestors had no idea of.
He is going to face new storms, he is going to face new situations, and he needs a totally new consciousness to respond. Only then is his response is going to be fruitful; only then can he can have a victorious life, a life that is not just a long, long drawn-out despair, but a dance from moment to moment, which goes on becoming more and more deep to the last breath. He enters into death dancing, and joyously.
Prabhati, it is good that you are becoming aware that it seems you are more than one person. Everybody is! And by becoming aware, it is possible to get rid of this crowd.
Be silent, and find your own self.
Unless you find your own self, it is very difficult to disperse the crowd, because all those in the crowd are pretending, "I am your self." And you have no way to agree, or disagree.
So don't create any fight with the crowd. Let them fight amongst themselves -- they are quite efficient in fighting amongst themselves. You, meanwhile, try to find yourself. And once you know who you are, you can just order them to get out of the house -- it is actually that simple! But first you have to find yourself.
Once you are there, the master is there, the owner of the house is there. And all these people, who have been pretending to be masters themselves, start dispersing. A man who is not a crowd is truly the "superman" of which we have been talking as Zarathustra's great hope.
The man who is himself, unburdened of the past, discontinuous with the past, original, strong as a lion and innocent as a child... he can reach to the stars, or even beyond the stars; his future is golden.
Up to now people have always been talking about the golden past. My people have to learn the language of the golden future.
There is no need for you to change the whole world; just change yourself and you have started changing the whole world, because you are part of the world. If even a single human being changes, his change will radiate in thousands and thousands of others. He will become a triggering point for a revolution which can give birth to the superman.
The Golden Future