Silence: A Vehicle to move to Oneself

Osho on Sound and Silence


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.

I do not know whether you have observed or not, but in society those who can talk much become prominent; those who can communicate their thoughts easily become leaders — religious, political, literary, any type. Those who can communicate their thoughts, those who can talk efficiently, they become leaders. Why? They can reach more people, they can reach to greater masses. Have you ever heard of any dumb person becoming a leader? You can find a blind man becoming a leader; there is no problem. And sometimes he may become a great leader, because all that his eyes are not doing, all those energies will be transferred to his ears. But a dumb man cannot become a leader in any walk of life. He cannot communicate, he cannot become social. Society is a language. Language is basic to social existence — to relationship. If you leave language, you are alone. The world may be filled with millions, but if you lose language you are alone.

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.

Gurdjieff advised his disciples to have sudden changes. He would insist on fasting and then he would say, “Now eat as much as you can.” Then suddenly he would say, “Go on a fast.” Then again he would say, “Start eating.” He would say, “Be awake for a few days and nights continuously, then fall asleep for a few nights.” This movement between the polar opposites gives you a dynamism, an aliveness.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1 Chapter #25

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:

  1. Sermons in Stones
  2. Come Come Yet Again Come
  3. The Hidden Splendour
  4. Beyond Enlightenment
  5. The New Dawn
  6. The Sword and The Lotus
  7. The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty
  8. Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
  9. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 1
  10. The Path of Love
  11. The Book of Wisdom
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