From Sound to Soundlessness
25th February 1894 is the birth date of Meher Baba, an Indian Mystic, revered as an enlightened being world-wide. His teachings are contained in the two books Discourses and God Speaks. Meher Baba remained in silence for the last 45 years of his life.
Osho says Meher Baba was a real saint, an authentic sage, one of the greatest mystics of all the ages. He helped many people attain to Enlightenment. But did not get any Nobel Prize for it! Rather he was condemned. Meher Baba, Raman Maharishi, J. Krishnamurti are people who reached to the highest peak of consciousness; they belong to the same category as Gautam Buddha.
Osho has spoken extensively on Meher Baba in His discourses. Osho says whenever enlightenment happens, either a person becomes absolutely silent or he bursts into song. These are the two possibilities. When Meher Baba attained, he became silent. Then his whole life he remained silent. When Meera attained she started dancing and singing. Kabir’s life is that of song. But remember, in his song there is silence. And in Meher Baba’s silence, there is song. If you listen attentively to Meher Baba’s silence, you will be full of a song, you will feel it showering on you. And if you listen to Kabir silently, you will see that his song is nothing but a message for silence.
PUTTING THE FINGERS IN THE EARS, HEAR THE SOUND OF SOUNDS.
This absence of sound is a very subtle experience. What will it give to you? The moment there are no sounds, you fall back upon yourself. With sounds we move away, with sounds we move to the other.
Try to understand this: with sounds we are related to the other, we communicate with the other.
So even a blind man is not in so much difficulty as a man who cannot speak, who is dumb. Observe a person who is dumb: he looks inhuman. A blind man never looks inhuman, but a dumb person looks inhuman; the face gives a feeling of something which is not human. And a dumb person is in more difficulty than a blind man. With the blind man the problem is that he cannot see, but he can communicate. He can become a part of a greater humanity, he can become a part of a society, of a family; he can love, he can speak. A dumb man is suddenly out of society. He cannot speak, he cannot communicate, he cannot express.
Try to imagine yourself in an air-conditioned glass room, a soundproof room. No sound can enter to you, and you cannot scream, you cannot do anything to express yourself, the sound will not go out. In a glass room you can see the whole world moving around you, but neither can you speak to them nor can they speak to you. You will feel hopelessly frustrated, and the whole thing will become a nightmare. A dumb man is in a nightmare continuously. Without communicating he is not part of humanity. Without expression he cannot flower. He cannot reach anyone and no one can reach him. He is with you and far away, and the gap is unbridgeable.
If sound is the vehicle to move to the other, then soundlessness becomes the vehicle to move to oneself. With sound you communicate with the other; with soundlessness you fall down into your own abyss, into yourself. That is why so many techniques use soundlessness to move within. Become absolutely dumb and deaf — even if only for a few moments — and you cannot go anywhere else than to yourself. Suddenly you will find that you are standing within; no movement will be possible. That is why silence was practiced so much. In it, all the bridges for moving to the other are broken.
Gurdjieff used to give long silent periods to his disciples, and then he would insist that not only was language not to be used, but there was to be no communication, no gesture — neither with the eyes nor the hands. No communication was to be used. Silence means NO communication. So he would force the group to live in a house — twenty, thirty or forty people in one bungalow, in one house — and than he would say, “Remain here in this house as if you are alone. You cannot go out.” Forty persons would be there, and he would say, “Move in the house, live in the house as if you are alone. No communication! Do not recognize that the other is, not even by the eyes. Move completely as if you are the only person residing in the house.” With three months of living in this way, absolutely dumb and deaf, with no possibility of communicating, there would be no possibility to move out…
Meher Baba stayed continuously for forty years in silence. What was he doing in silence? Really, you cannot do anything in silence because every act is somehow related with others. Even in imagination, if you do something you will have to imagine others; you cannot do it alone. If you are absolutely alone, action becomes impossible. Even the imagination to act becomes impossible. Acting is related to others. If you drop language inside, all doing drops. You are, but you are not doing anything. Meher Baba would tell his disciples, by writing a note, “On this particular date I am going to break my silence,” and then he would not break it. This continued for forty years, and then he died in silence. What was the problem? Why should he say, “Now, this year, on this day, on this date, I am going to speak?” And why should he postpone it again? What was happening inside? Why would he not keep his promise?
Once you know silence for such a long time, you cannot fall back to sounds again; it becomes impossible. There is a rule, and he didn’t follow the rule so he could not come back. There is a rule that one should not remain silent for more than three years. Once you cross the limit, you cannot come back to the world of sounds. You may try, but it is impossible. It is easy to move from sounds to silence, but it is very difficult to move from silence to sounds. Beyond three years many things simply become impossible. The mechanism cannot function the same way again. It has to be used continuously; at the most, one can remain silent for three years. Beyond that, if you remain silent the mechanism which can produce sounds and words cannot be used again, it becomes dead.
Secondly, the person becomes so much silent remaining with himself alone that it will now be a misery to communicate. Then to say something to someone will be like talking to a wall, because the person who has remained silent for such a long time knows that you cannot understand whatsoever he is saying. Regardless of what he is saying, he knows he is not saying that which he wants to say. The whole thing has gone. After such a deep silence, he cannot move again to the world of sounds. So Meher Baba tried and tried, but he couldn’t bring himself to speak again. He wanted to say something, and he had something worth saying, but the mechanism and the movements necessary to come back to a lower realm were impossible. Thus, he died without saying what he wanted to say.
It will be helpful to understand this: whatsoever you are doing, always go on doing the opposite with it. Go on changing to the opposite always. Remain silent for a few hours, then talk. Do not become fixed in anything — you will be more alive and more moving. Do meditation for a few days, and then stop suddenly and do everything that can create tension in you. Then move again to meditation. Go on moving between the opposites, you will be more alive and dynamic. Do not get fixed. Once you get fixed, you will not be able to move to the other extreme, and the ability to move to the other extreme means life. If you are not able to move, you are already dead. This movement is very good.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1
Chapter title: From words to pure sounds to being
22 January 1973 pm in Woodlands, Bombay
Osho has spoken on Mystics like Dadu, Farid, Gurdjieff, J. Krishnamurti, Kabir, Nanak, Meher Baba, Patanjali, Swami Ram Teerth, Rumi, Sahajo, Sai Baba, Saraha, Socrates, Tilopa, Zarathustra and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses: