"SILENCE is the prayer." By prayer we always mean a communication, something said to the Divine, but the Upanishads say that whatsoever you may say will not be prayer. Prayer is not something to be done. You cannot do it. It is not an act; it is not your doing. So, really, you cannot "do" prayer, you can only be a prayer. It is not related with any of your doings. It is a certain state of your being.
So the first thing to be understood is that man has two dimensions in Existence: one is his being, the other is his doing. Prayer is not part of the second. You cannot do it, and the prayer that is done will be false, inauthentic. You can be: prayer belongs to the dimension of being.
The body cannot do prayer, cannot be in prayer. The mind cannot do prayer, cannot be in prayer.
The body is meant to do something; it is the vehicle of action. The mind is also a vehicle of action.
Thinking is doing: it is action. So you cannot do anything with your body which can become prayer, neither can you do anything with your mind which can be called prayer, because these are both parts of the dimension of doing, action. Prayer happens beyond body and mind. So if your body is in total inactivity, passive, and your mind is nullified, empty, only then is prayer possible.
This sutra says, "Silence is prayer." When mind is not working, when body is not active, it is silent.
One thing to be understood is that silence is not part of mind. So whenever we say, "He has a silent mind," it is nonsense. A mind can never be silent. The very being of mind is anti-silence. Mind is sound, not silence. So when we say, "He has a silent mind," it is wrong. If he is really silent, then we must say that he has no mind.
A "silent mind" is a contradiction in terms. If mind is there. it cannot be silent; and if it is silent, it is no more. That is why Zen monks use the term "no-mind", never "silent mind". No-mind is silence! And the moment there is no-mind you cannot feel your body, because mind is the passage through which body is felt. If there is no-mind, you cannot feel that you are a body; body disappears from consciousness. So in prayer there is neither mind nor body - only pure Existence. That pure Existence is indicated by silence - mouna.
How to attain to this prayer, to this silence? How to be in this prayer, in this silence? Whatsoever you can do will be useless; that is the greatest problem. For a religious seeker this is the greatest problem, because whatsoever he can do will lead nowhere - because doing is not relevant. You can sit in a particular posture: that is your doing. You must have seen Buddha's posture. You can sit in Buddha's posture: that will be a doing. For Buddha himself this posture happened. It was not a cause for his silence; rather, it was a by-product.
When the mind is not, when the being is totally silent, the body follows like a shadow. The body takes a particular posture - the most relaxed possible, the most passive possible. But you cannot do otherwise. You cannot take a posture first and then make silence follow. Because we see a Buddha sitting in a particular posture, we think that if this posture is followed then the inner silence will follow. This is a wrong sequence. For Buddha the inner phenomenon happened first, and then this posture followed.
Look at it through your own experience: when you get angry, the body takes a particular posture, your eyes become blood-red, your face takes a particular expression. Anger is inside, and then the body follows. Not only outwardly: inwardly also, the whole chemistry of the body changes. Your blood runs fast, you breathe in a different way, you are ready to fight or take flight. But anger happens first, then the body follows.
Start from the other pole: make your eyes red, create fast breathing, do whatsoever you feel is done by the body when anger is there. You can act, but you cannot create anger inside. An actor is doing the same every moment. When he is acting a role of love, he is doing whatsoever is done by the body when love happens inside - but there is no love. The actor may be doing better than you.
but love will not follow. He will be more apparently angry than you in real anger, but it is just false.
Nothing is happening inside.
Whenever you start from without, you will create a false state. The real always happens first in the center, and then the waves reach to the periphery. That is why this sutra says that prayer is silence.
The innermost center is in prayer. Start from there.
But that is very difficult. The difficulty arises for so many reasons. The first is that you have never known silence, so the word is meaningless really. You have heard the word, you know what it means, but you do not really know what the experience of silence is, so it connotes nothing. The word falls on our ears; we believe that we understand, but nothing is understood. The actual word is unknown to us as far as experience is concerned, only the sound of the word is known.
Mulla Nasrudin was practising silence in a mosque with three other friends. It was a religious day, and they had taken a vow to be silent for twenty-four hours. This was to be their prayer. "Silence is prayer": they had heard this.
Just five or ten minutes after they started, the first man said, "I wonder whether I have locked my house or not!"
The second one said, "What are you doing? You have broken the silence and now you will have to start again!"
The third one said, "You fool! You have also broken it."
Mulla Nasrudin was the fourth. He said, "Praise be to Allah! I am the only one who has not broken the silence yet."
They have heard the word "silence". They have heard that silence is prayer.
Why does this happen? When someone else was breaking the silence everyone was aware, but when someone was himself breaking it he was not aware. Why? Because to them, to talk, to utter something, was breaking the silence. Really, you never hear whatsoever you say. When someone else says it, you hear it. You are so accustomed to your own sound and voice, you do not know what you are saying, that you are talking.
Another difficulty is that you are constantly talking inside, so when you utter something outwardly there is no difference for you. Inwardly, you were already talking. Now you have uttered something outwardly, but as far as you are concerned nothing has changed, nothing has happened. But when someone else utters something, for you something new has happened. He was silent before and now he has uttered something. If you yourself are talking within, then when you utter something you will not be aware. Someone else may become aware that now you have broken silence.
You are aware of others because inwardly you are constantly talking with yourself. A monologue, a continuous monologue is there. Awake or asleep, you are continuously talking. This continuous talk has become such a habit that you have not known any interval. When you are not talking inwardly, when you are talking with others, you feel relieved, relaxed, because when you are talking with others you are relieved of the duty of talking to yourself. And that is such a boring thing - to talk with oneself. You already know what you are going to say, and still you have to continue.
No one else can be such a bore to you as you yourself are. You have told a particular thing to yourself millions of times, and again and again you are telling it. You are not very inventive. You go on in circles saying the same thing again and again. Watch! Watch for twenty-four hours and note down what you are saying to yourself. Then you will feel a weird feeling and strange, to see that you have been saying the same thing continuously all your life.
Even in a single day, you go on repeating yourself. This has become just a habit, deep-rooted.
And when something becomes a deep-rooted habit, you are not aware of it. It becomes automatic.
The robot part of your body takes it and continues it. That is why silence is very difficult, because silence really means breaking the monologue within. It is not a question of not talking to someone else. mouna, silence, is not really concerned with others. Deep down it is concerned with your own monologue.
Not to talk with yourself is very difficult, so we will have to Find out reasons why we talk with ourselves. Why do we go on talking with ourselves in the first place? If you observe, then you can find out the cause. The cause is that nothing is complete in our lives; everything is incomplete.
You were eating, and then you were thinking about your office. So eating will not be satisfied; it will not be fulfilled; you will not feel content. It remains incomplete.
You eat hastily. You fill your stomach and you run to your office. A process has remained incomplete.
Then when you are in your office, you begin to think about your wife, about your children, about a thousand things; then you are not in the office. The whole day, you have been there and still you were not there. The work in the office has remained incomplete, and now you have come to your house. Now you are thinking about your office. You are with your wife, but you are not - you are absent.
It is a rare phenomenon that a husband is present with his wife - rare! And it hurts much because the wife can feel it. The husband also feels that the wife is not present. No one is present; everything is incomplete. The mind has to continue the thing which you have left incomplete, and so many things are incomplete. So mind goes on continuously in circles, completing things that you have left incomplete.
Do you remember anything which you have completed? Do you have any moment in your life, any experience, which you can say is complete, total? If you have any experience which is complete, the mind will never go back to it. There is no need. There is no need! It is absolutely useless. The mind simply tries to complete everything. The mind has a tendency to complete. And this is necessary; otherwise life will be impossible.
So this constant monologue within is really a part of your wrong living - incomplete living. Nothing is finished, and you go on making new beginnings. Then the mind goes on becoming piled up with incomplete things. They will never be completed, but they will create a burden on the mind - a constant burden, a growing burden, an increasing burden - and that creates the monologue.
That is why the older you grow, the more the monologue grows with you. And old men begin to talk aloud Really, the burden is so much that the control is lost. So look at old men. They will be sitting, and their legs will be working, and they will be talking, and they will be making gestures. What are they doing? You think they have gone crazy, that they are old and now they have become stupid.
No, that is not the case. They have had a long incomplete life, and now death is coming nearer and mind is in haste, trying to complete everything. And it seems impossible! So if you really want to break this monologue, which means silence, then try to complete everything that you are doing.
And do not start new things - you will go crazy. Finish whatsoever you are doing, all the very small things.
You are taking a bath: make it complete. How to make it complete? Be there! Your presence will do it. Be there, enjoy it, live it, feel it. Be sensitive to the water falling on you, be saturated. Come out of your bath doing it completely, totally. Otherwise the bath will follow you. It will become a shadow; it will go with you. You are eating: then eat! Then forget everything! Then nothing exists in the world except your present act. Whatsoever you are doing, do it so completely so unhurriedly, so patiently, that the mind is saturated and becomes content. Only then leave it. Three months of continuous awareness about doing your acts completely will give you some intervals in your monologue. Then, for the first time, you will become aware that this monologue was a by-product of incomplete living.
Buddha has used the term "right living". He has shown an eight-fold path. In those eight principles, one is "right living". Right living means total living; wrong living means incomplete living.
If you are angry, then be really angry. Be authentically angry; make it complete. Suffer it! There is no harm in suffering because suffering brings much wisdom. There is no harm in suffering because only through suffering does one transcend it. Suffer it! But be authentically angry.
What are you doing? You are angry and you are smiling. Now the anger will follow you. You can deceive the whole world, but you cannot deceive yourself, you cannot deceive your mind. The mind knows very well that the smile was false. Now anger will continue inside; that will become a monologue. Then whatsoever you have not said you will have to say within. Whatsoever you have not done you will imagine as done. Now you will create a dream. You will fight with your enemy, with the object of your anger. The mind is helping you in completing a certain thing.
But that, too, is impossible because you are doing other things. Even this can be helpful: close your room - you were not angry; the situation was such that you could not be - close your room and now be angry, but do not continue the monologue. Act it out. There is no necessity to act it out on someone: a pillow will do. Fight with it, act your anger out, express it, but let it be authentic, real.
Let it be real, and then you will feel a sudden relaxation inside. Then the monologue will drop, it will break. There will be an interval, a gap. That gap is silence.
So the first thing: break the monologue. And you can do it only if your living becomes a right, complete living. Never be incomplete. Release the inner madness. Not only one whole life: many whole lives that were incomplete is our situation.
When you love, you are doing a thousand things simultaneously. Then love becomes false. Now psychologists say that if you are loving someone and a thought crosses your mind, you have missed love. You are far away from your love object. There is a gap; the communion is broken. When two lovers are really in love, there is nothing else, simply love - nothing else! They are playing with each other's bodies, absolutely absorbed in it. The whole world has dropped out of their consciousness; nothing is there. Then love is complete. And then they will not become sex maniacs. Then their minds will not be perverted minds.
Psychologists say that Don Juans like Byron, or others who go on changing their love objects, are really incapable of love. It is reported that Byron loved sixty women in his life, and his life was very short. And these are known cases. No one knows how many really. He was expelled from society because everyone became afraid. And he was such a beautiful person - but why this madness?
One may think that he was a great lover. That was not the case. He was not a lover at all!
Psychologists say he was not a lover at all. He was a maniac, just a perverted mind. He could not complete any love, and before any love could be consummated, completed, he had started another.
It is reported that he was forced to marry a girl. Of course, he was forced because he was not ready.
How could he marry? The next day he would run after another woman. After he was forced, he was coming out of the church - the bells were ringing and the guests were still there - he was coming down the steps with his wife's hand in his hand, and suddenly he stopped; he let go of-the hand. A woman was crossing the street. His eyes followed the woman. Being an honest man in a way, he said to his wife, "Now you do not mean anything to me. That woman has become everything."
He suffered, because love is a growth. Love is a long growth. It grows, and the more it grows, the deeper it goes. Butterfly minds cannot grow in love. That is impossible because the love never acquires roots. Before the love can acquire roots, they have moved. This type of mind will suffer, because it cannot love and it cannot get love. Nothing is ever completed; nothing ever becomes ripe. Then the whole life will just be lived in wound - incomplete wounds - and this happens in every field.
You have never loved, you have never been angry, you have never acted spontaneously. You have not really eaten, you have not slept totally, you have not done anything with your total being in it, with your total involvement in it. You have always been doing something else simultaneously.
Bokuju was asked, "What is your SADHANA? (spiritual practice)? What are you doing here in this lonely forest? What are you doing?" Bokuju said, "I have no sadhana; I have no method. When I feel hungry I eat; when I do not feel hungry I fast. When I feel that the hut has become cold, I move out into the sun. When the sun is too much to bear, I move into the shadows of the trees. But wherever I am, I am total. When I feel sleepy, I drop down into sleep. This is all I am doing here."
The man said, "But this is nothing. Everyone is doing the same!"
Bokuju said, "If everyone were doing the same, the world would be quite a different place - silent, peaceful, loving. Then there would be no need to ask for Liberation. This very world would be a MOKSHA."
No one is doing it. Bokuju's answer seems very simple, but it is not. It is very arduous. It is difficult just to sleep and not dream, because dreaming means there has been an incomplete day. It is now being completed in the dream. Whatsoever you have left incomplete in the day will be completed in the dream. So if you have been a good man, if you have tried to be a good man and the goodness was not natural to you, not something spontaneous but something forced, then in the dream you will move to the other extreme. If you have been honest with effort, then in the dream you will deceive someone. Then everything is complete.
Now psychologists say that if dreaming stops you will go mad, because dreaming releases much nonsense which you have left incomplete. And unless it is completed, it cannot evaporate: it cannot evaporate from your being. They say dreaming is the daily catharsis. So if you have not slept well, you will feel uneasy. It is not because you have not slept, it is because you could not dream.
Now they say sleep is not so essential. A man can live without sleep for many days, even for months and years. They say it is not so necessary. Dreaming is necessary, and you cannot dream without sleep; that is why sleep is needed. So sleep is needed only for dreaming.
But why is dreaming needed? You wanted to kill someone and you have not killed: you will kill him in your dream. That will relax your mind. In the morning you will be fresh: you have killed. I am not saying to go and kill so that you will not need any dream. But remember this: if you want to kill someone, close your room, meditate on the killing, and consciously kill him. When I say "kill him", I mean kill a pillow; make an effigy and kill it. That conscious effort, that conscious meditation, will give you much insight into yourself.
Remember one thing: make every moment complete. Live every moment as if there is no other moment to come. Then only will you complete it. Know that death can occur at any moment. This may be the last. Feel that "If I have to do something, I must do it here and now, COMPLETELY!"
I have heard a story about a Greek general. The king was somehow against him. There was a court conspiracy, and it was the general's birthday. He was celebrating it with his friends. Suddenly, in the afternoon, the king's manager came and he said to the general, "Excuse me, it is hard to tell you, but the king has decided that this evening, by six o'clock, you are to be hanged. So be ready by six o'clock."
Friends were there; music was there. There was drinking, eating and dancing. It was his birthday.
This message changed the whole atmosphere. They became sad. But the general said, "Now do not be sad, because this is going to be the last part of my life. So let us complete the dance we were dancing and let us complete the feast we were having. I have no possibility now, so we cannot make it complete in the future. And do not send me off in this sad atmosphere, otherwise my mind will long again and again, and the stopped music and the halted festivity will become a burden on my mind. So let us complete it. Now is no time to stop it."
Because of him, they danced, but it was difficult. He alone danced more vigorously; he alone became more festive. But the whole group was simply mot there. His wife was weeping, but he continued to dance, he continued to talk with his friends. And he was so happy that the messenger went back to the king and he said, "That man is rare. He has heard the message, but he is not sad.
And he has taken it in a very different way - absolutely inconceivable. He is laughing and dancing and he is festive and he says that because there moments are his last and there is no future now, he cannot waste them: he must live them."
The king himself came to see what was happening there. Everyone was sad, weeping. Only the general was dancing, drinking, singing. The king asked, "What are you doing?"
The general said, "This has been my life principle - to be aware continuously that death is possible any moment. Because of this principle I have lived every moment as much as was possible. But, of course, you have made it so clear today. I am grateful because until now I was only thinking that death is possible any moment. It was just a thinking. Somewhere, lurking behind, the thought was there that it was not going to be just the next moment. The future was there, but you dropped the future completely for me. This evening is the last. Life now is so short, I cannot postpone it."
The king was so happy, he became a disciple to this man. He said, "Teach me! This is the alchemy.
This is how life should be lived; this is the art. So I am not going to hang you, but be my teacher.
Teach me how to live in the moment."
We are postponing. That postponing becomes an inner dialogue, an inner monologue. Do not postpone. Live right here and now. And the more you live in the present, the less you will need this constant "minding", this constant thinking. The less you will need it! This is there because of postponing, and we go on postponing everything. We always live in the tomorrow which never comes and which cannot come; it is impossible. That which comes is always today, and we go on sacrificing today for tomorrow which is nowhere. Then the mind goes on thinking of the past which you have destroyed, which you have sacrificed for something which has not come. And then it goes on postponing for further tomorrows. That which you have missed, you go on thinking you will catch somewhere in the future.
You are not going to catch it! This constant tension between past and future, this constant missing of the present, is the inner noise. Unless it stops you cannot fall into that silence which is prayer. So the first thing: try to be total in every moment.
The second thing: your mind is so noisy because you always go on thinking that others are creating it, that you are not responsible. So you go on thinking that in a better world - with a better wife, with a better husband, with better children, with a better house, in a better locality - everything will be good and you will be silent. You think you are not silent because everything around is wrong, so how can you be?
If you think in this way, if this is your logic, then that better world is never to come. Everywhere this is the world, everywhere these are the neighbours, and everywhere these are the wives and these are the husbands and these are the children. You can create an illusion that somewhere heaven exists, but everywhere it is hell. With this type of mind, everywhere is hell. This mind is hell!
One day Mulla Nasrudin and his wife came to their home, to their house, late in the night. The house had been burglarized, so the wife began to scream and cry. Then she said to Mulla, "You are at fault!
Why didn't you check the lock before we left?"
And by then the whole neighbourhood had come around. It was such a sensation! Mulla's house had been burglarized! Everyone joined in the chant. One neighbour said, "I was always expecting it.
Why didn't you expect it before? You are so careless!" The second said, "Your windows were open.
Why didn't you close them before you left the house?" The third one said, "Your locks appear to be faulty. Why didn't you replace them?" And everyone was pouring faults on Mulla Nasrudin.
Then he said, "One minute please! I am not at fault"
So the whole neighbourhood said in a chorus, "Then who do you think is at fault if you are not?"
Then Mulla said, "What about the thief?"
The mind goes on throwing the blame on someone else. The wife throws it on Mulla Nasrudin, the whole neighbourhood on Mulla Nasrudin, and the poor man cannot throw it on anyone present, so he says, "What about the thief?"
We go on throwing the blame on others. This gives you an illusory feeling that you are not wrong:
someone else somewhere is wrong - X-Y-Z. And this attitude is one of the basic attitudes of our mind. In everything someone else is wrong, and whenever we can find a scapegoat we are at ease, then the burden is thrown. For a religious seeker, this mind is of no help: this is a hindrance. This mind is the hindrance. We must realize that whatsoever the situation is, whatsoever the case is with you, you are responsible, no one else.
If you are responsible, then something is possible. If someone else is responsible, then nothing is possible. This is a basic conflict between the religious mind and the non-religious mind., The nonreligious mind always thinks that something else is responsible. Change the society, change the circumstances, change economic conditions, change the political situation, change something, and everything will be okay.
We have changed everything so many times, and nothing is okay. The religious mind says that whatsoever the situation, if this is your mind, then you will be in hell, you will be in misery. You won't be able to attain silence.
Put the responsibility on yourself. Be responsible, because then something can be done. You can only do something with yourself. You cannot change anyone in this world: you can only change yourself. That is the only revolution possible.
The only transformation possible is one's own, but that can be considered only when we feel that we are responsible. Why are you so noisy within? Why so much anxiety within? You are responsible.
This is the first step. Then you cannot go and change the causes. The cause must be within; only then can it be changed.
In a similar situation to one which makes you uneasy, someone else may not be uneasy at all. A Buddha in the same situation will pass through it differently - unscratched. Why? Why are you so disturbed by such situations? You were ready. You were just waiting for the situation. Someone is angry against you; you also become angry. You say it is because he did something. You say, "He created the stimulus; I only heard it. I was not angry: he made me angry."
But religious analysis is different. Religion says that anger is always yours. There was anger there to be stimulated. He stimulated it, of course, but something was within you - the energy, the tendency, the habit to be angry was there. That is why he could stimulate it. If there had been no energy, no stored up anger, no repressed anger, no habit, then whatsoever he was doing would not have touched you at all. It touched you because you were ready to be touched. You were ready to explode; he simply created the situation and helped you. He was your helper! If there had been no one to create the situation, you would have created it yourself. You needed it! You needed it very badly!
Remember this when you become angry again. Analyze the whole thing, meditate on it, and then you will know that you were already getting ready. You were prepared and you were waiting, and this man who aroused your anger simply gave you a chance.
There was a case against Mulla Nasrudin in a court. Suddenly, without any reason, he had beaten his boy and then gone out of the house. So the magistrate asked, "What was the reason? Why did you do this suddenly? There was no fight; there was nothing. Why suddenly did you do this?"
The Mulla said, "I was standing by the door, and the door was open, and the street was vacant and there was no traffic. The stick was just handy, and the wife was looking toward the house, so I thought I should not miss the opportunity."
You will create opportunities if they are not given to you. You will not miss them: you will create them. If you become aware of this phenomenon, then something can be done. Then it is within your control to do something. The source is within, but you go on projecting it outside. Then you cannot do anything. If you go on projecting the causes outwardly, then you are helpless. What can you do?
If someone stimulates you, creates anger in you, what can you do? You are just a helpless victim.
The second thing: remember, you are responsible for whatsoever you are. Even if someone gives you a chance, he gives you a chance to express yourself. It is always you who is ultimately, finally, responsible. Why this emphasis on one's own responsibility? Because if I am responsible, I will stop reacting. You do something, I react. Reaction is really a slavery. You are manipulating me. You can make me happy, you can make me miserable: then you are my master, I am your slave. If you smile at me, I am happy. Just a glance of angry eyes at me, and I am miserable. Then you are my master. If I think that you are responsible, then you remain my master and I remain your slave. If I am responsible, then you may go on smiling or you may do whatsoever you like. I will not react according to you: I will act according to me.
Mulla was sitting at a prayer-meeting in a mosque. His shirt was rather short and the man behind him thought it looked unseemly, so he pulled it down. Suddenly, immediately, Mulla pulled the shirt of the man in front of him. The man asked, "What are you doing?"
He said, "Don't ask me. This man behind me started the whole thing. I am not responsible. I have simply reacted. If this is the way a mosque prayer is done, I have to follow."
You go on doing things because someone is doing them to you. You go on passing them on. You may not be aware of it. Are you aware that when you are telling something to your children you are simply repeating whatsoever was told by your father to you? This is Mulla Nasrudin. Are you aware of it? The way you are behaving with your wife is the way you saw your father behaving with your mother. You are just passing things on. You are no one - just a passage. What are you doing?
When you are with your servant, have you observed the way you behave? Is this not the way your boss behaves with you in the office? What are you doing? You are just a part of a long chain.
Then you cannot be silent. How can you be silent? You are being pulled and manipulated from everywhere, and you are just vulnerable to everything, every nonsense. If someone is angry, you say, "I simply reacted. Why was he angry with me?" Why? He was angry; it was his business. How are you related? But now you feel it a duty, and whatsoever is being done to you, you will do the same religiously.
Remember, you are not a slave and no one has imposed this slavery on you. It is self-imposition.
Throw it! Be a master! Only then can you be silent. Only a master can be silent. And when I say "master", I mean a person who acts from within - who is not reacting. We are always reacting; there is no action in our lives. The moment you can act, you will feel a deep silence within - because now you have become a master. No one can disturb you. Now you are not helpless.
Buddha is passing. Someone abuses him. He listens to it, and then he turns to Ananda and says, "Ananda, this was a long debt. Now it is paid. In some life I must have abused him. Now no more chain. Thank you, friend," Buddha said to that man. "Now the account is closed. I am not going to react." Buddha says, "Reaction is rebirth. If you react, you will have to be born again and again because you are in a chain. Accounts are not closed. Everything is open."
The day Buddha died, he gathered all his monks. Ten thousand monks were there. He said, "Now this body is to drop, so do you want to ask anything? Because now, no more can I be. No more will I be in this world!"
So someone asked, "Why? Why are you leaving us?"
Buddha said, "Now everything is paid. The whole account is closed. I was waiting only for the account to be closed completely. Now nothing is left; I am a master. I have transcended the chain.
Now I am no more amidst you."
So a third point: become a master. Whatsoever you are doing, do it as an action, never as a reaction.
Resist the temptation to react. That is the only evil, the only sin - to react. Laugh if you feel to laugh, but do not laugh as a reaction. Weep if you are feeling to weep, but do not weep as a reaction. Stop reactions! Act! If these three things are there, you will drop into the silence which is prayer.
This sutra says, "Silence is the prayer - mounam stutihi." When you are silent, with no monologue within, no anxiety within, no reactions within, with nothing incomplete or suspended, everything complete and finished, you become a space, just a space - infinite, because all the boundaries are your reactions, all the boundaries are your anxieties, all the boundaries of your being are just your madhouses. When you are silent, you are infinite space.
But why does this sutra call it prayer? Why bring prayer in? Better to call it meditation. Why call it prayer? When you are silent, it is meditation. Why bring prayer in? It is not brought unnecessarily - because when you become an infinite space, the Divine descends in you. You have called, you have invoked. When you are totally silent, you have become a host. Now the Divine guest can come. And only in this emptiness, in this silence, in this nothingness, can the Divine guest come. This is the only invitation, the only invocation. This is the only prayer.
Prayer means asking for the Divine to come, asking the Divine to be a guest to you. Words won't do, invitations won't do. Whatsoever you do - cry, weep - it won't do. First become a host. Silence is becoming a host. Now you are ready. Now there is no need to pray, now there is no need to request.
No invitation is needed - the Divine descends. When you are silent the Divine is there.
It will be better to say it in other terms: the Divine is always there, but you cannot feel it because you are not silent. The guest is there, but the host is asleep. The guest is there, but the host is unaware. The guest has already come before the host, but the host is wandering somewhere else.
That wandering is the mind.
Have you observed that your mind is a wandering? Mind means wandering. You are not here: that is what mind means. You are somewhere else. If you are here, then there is no mind, then there is no wandering. Mind cannot be in the present: it can only be in the past or in the future. Mind can never be here-now. It can only be there-then. It is a wandering. When you are a mind you are wandering somewhere else, but the guest is present always.
Buddha was asked when he became Enlightened, "What have you gained?"
He said, "Nothing - because whatsoever I now feel as a gain was already there, only I was unaware.
So it would be better to say, I should say, that I have not gained anything. Rather, I have lost much.
I have lost my 'self' which was there too much really - which was there TOO MUCH! I have lost my self and I have gained that which was always, eternally present."
One has to come back to his home. This homecoming is silence, this returning to your home is silence. And the rishi says that it is prayer, because when you are silent the invitation has reached.
You have invoked. You have prayed! And in prayer many things are implied. If you pray, and if it is really a prayer, then there is no gap between your prayer and the answer to your prayer. If there is a gap, it means that the prayer was false.
If you are silent, the Divine is there; there is no gap. If you are silent and you find that the Divine is not there, remember, you are not silent. Even this thought that "the Divine should come to me", creates disturbance.
Buddha has said that even the longing for the Divine is a disturbance. Then you are not totally silent.
You are asking, and you have moved. You have wandered, you have gone away. If you are asking for freedom, for eternal life, for immortality, for Heaven, for anything, if you are longing, you have wandered. Total silence means total acceptance of whatsoever is - of that which is. So the last thing to be understood: silence basically means total acceptance.
Non-acceptance creates noise in the mind, in the being. Whenever you say no to anything, your mind begins to move and work. Whenever you say yes, your mind stops. "No" is the starter, "yes" is the stopper. astik means a theist. In Sanskrit the word astik, theist, means one who has said a total and final yes to everything. Now he will never say no. Now this yes is ultimate. No going back!
Acceptance means you accept whatsoever is the case. If there is anger, you accept it. If there is suffering, you accept it. If there is lust, greed, you accept it. If there is anxiety, worry, you accept it.
You accept everything! and, then, how is it possible to be disturbed? When one accepts everything, disturbance is impossible. So in the last analysis, silence means total acceptance.
Buddha has given it a name: he calls it TATHATA - suchness. He says that whatsoever is, is.
Whatsoever is, IS! Accept it, and then you are silent. Say no, deny, reject, try to change, and you have created disturbance. This silence is prayer and this silence cannot be created, cannot be forced.
In life, all that is valuable, all that is of any value at all, is always a consequence of many, many things. You cannot approach it directly. For example, happiness: you cannot approach it directly.
And those who try to achieve happiness directly will become most unhappy - and only because of their effort. When you are doing something, totally absorbed in it, happiness happens.
A painter painting: he has forgotten himself completely in the act. He is totally there. He is no more, really. Really, a great painter never paints. Painting happens! Just as we say it rains, "it paints".
Van Gogh was asked once, "Which of your paintings is the best?"
And Van Gogh said, "But I have never painted anything. I cannot say. and if you insist, then I can say only this one which is being painted JUST NOW! But I am not the painter: the painting is happening.
The painter is not there. The painter has ceased!"
Van Gogh can have a happiness not of the world. A singer, a dancer, can have a happiness which doesn't belong to this world. But that is really a consequence of something else.
Silence is also a consequence of many things - of right living, of right action, of right acceptance, of being a right host. Then suddenly, silence happens. It is there - it has always been there.