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Silence -the Essential Discipline
A talk given by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari at the inaguration of the Hyderabad meditation hall, 1st March, 2006, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is amazing how much can be done with not so much money, even less time, provided there is a devoted team to undertake the work. This hall, this beautiful hall, vishaal [vast] hall is a product of such devotion, coupled with determination to produce for the Master something, you see. If abhyasis work thinking that everything that they do is their guru dakshina [token of gratitude] to the great Master, their work will be not only excellent but will be easy, will be fruitful and [completed] in minimum time. We only think guru dakshina is money. Guru dakshina is everything that we do. Every breath that we take, we must give to our Master because with Him, from Him, comes our life. You know, one breath if it stops, that is the end of life. Rich man can become poor overnight; poor man can become rich overnight. But devotion grows only when we are dedicated to the purpose of our existence, which is the evolution of our soul, our lives, to the highest possible limits open to mankind. And all this is a testimony to the devotion of our team, to whom I must offer my congratulations for this magnificent effort. Brother Srinivasa Rao deserves to be especially congratulated because (quiet, unassuming as he is) he is a leading spirit here and I wish him very, very long years of life in the service of the great Master Babuji Maharaj.
All of you should learn to put your work at the feet of the great Master. Even when you eat, if you eat in constant remembrance, you will eat less, digest more and be more healthy. We should not restrict our sadhana only to the meditation hall. Our sadhana must be everywhere. I remember on one occasion, some abhyasi asked [Babuji] whether we can do our meditation even sitting in the toilet or constant remembrance in the toilet. He said, Constant remembrance means constant remembrance' all the time wherever you may be. So there are no exceptions: in the toilet, at the dining table, in bed. Constant remembrance always. Even in your relationship with your wife, if you have constant remembrance, that relationship also becomes something sanctified by the spiritual force and not just a matter of animal lust.
But constant remembrance can come only after years of meditation when the love for the Master grows and we prefer to remember Him rather than meditate. In fact, when your meditation has reached a certain stage and constant remembrance has begun, then meditation drops off. It is like the first stage of a rocket. Then the second stage takes over. Our brother Perumal, if he is here, will be able to explain this more scientifically. You know, every rocket has several stages: first stage, rocket falls; second stage First stage rocket is the sadhana, you know, dhyana [meditation], cleaning, everything. Second stage is constant remembrance. With that becomes possible the growth of devotion ( shraddha ) . So, love and shraddha together now work and then we become unconscious of ourselves and remember only Him all the time, and we become what Babuji wants us to become: like robots working for Him, by Him, with His will. So that is the way our spirituality must progress.
Another thingthese meditation halls must be places of silence. Our people, especially here and further north from Andhra, are very noisy. We must learn to be quiet. We must learn to preserve silence, which Babuji Maharaj said is the language of God. Suppose you are shouting and screaming here and He wants to convey a message to you through your higher consciousness? You will not hear it. I must insist that people that come in the hall must enter silent and go out silent. That is the first aspect of discipline. It should not be necessary for our girls to announce twenty-five times for silence, or for me to shout. I hope you will take this to heart and next time I come, I must be looking to see whether there are abhyasis or not, because there is so much silence nishabdham . I must be surprised, Why this silence? Why this sannaata? as they say in Hindi. Especially the womenwomen are always more noisy. This is not a fish market; we are not buying vegetables here. We are here with the divine purpose of meditation and slowly that silence must pervade throughout the campusin the dining hall, in the sleeping tents.
As much silence as possible is good. If the rishis [sages] of yore went to the forest to meditate, I think it was more for silence than for anything else. They left behind the clamour and the noise of cities and went away where they could just close their eyes and meditate, which they called tapasya [askesis]. Then when God comes, you know His presence, you feel His presence. And when He says, Bhakta [devotee] , you awake, you open your eyes and there is the Lord before you.
Spirituality is very easy if you are disciplined, and the fundamental discipline of silence is most essential. Until you are silenced, I will not accept that you are true abhyasis. You may have meditated for fifty yearsit does not matter. Meditation is not counted by the number of years that you have done it. Wisdom does not grow because of the number of years you are in school or college because then every failure would be the wisest man. Isn't it? Three years in first standard, six years in second standard, four years in third standard. How many years has he studied? Twenty-five yearshigh school. Tarvaata ? [Later?] It is going on, sir. Oh, he must be very wise! Why? Because he has been in school and college for so many years! My son is only five years [in school]. Avuna? [Isn't it?] [A murmur of assent from the abhyasis.] Thank you.
So you see, silence will make you listen to your heart from where the great Lord can speak to us if He wishes, and the first sign of success is silence in our assemblies. That is the first sign of discipline. That is a very commendable achievement in itself, because from that the road over the mountain starts. Otherwise you are still going from Hyderabad to Rishikesh on the plains and pretending that it is difficult. That is no use. So please do not make us have to shout to you for silence. Next time I come, I want what they call pin-drop' silence. If you drop a pin, you must be able to hear it.
I pray that this hall may serve its purpose to the ever-increasing numbers of Andhra people who will come here, meditate here and achieve their goal through such beautiful meditation halls that are springing up all over this country. Once again, congratulations to our team and to all of you abhyasis who have contributed whatever you have contributed to it.