Dissolving into the Soundless
Speech is of the society, words are of the mind, sounds are of nature, the soundless is of the beyond. Thus, if one gets identified with one’s own speech, he will belong to society.
If he gets identified with his words, he will belong to the mind. If he gets identified with the sounds, he will belong to nature. If one dissolves in the soundless silence, to him alone the realms of the beyond will yield.
What we call “society” is essentially a conversation. It is only because of constant conversation – some kind of communication, expression of thoughts, emotions, and ideas – that there is something you can refer to as a society.
If there no conversation or communication, or essentially, if there is no speech, there would be no society. For most people, it is so difficult to be silent because silence is a way of shifting from being a social being into an individual being.
The term “social being” is just a polite expression for calling you a crowd. It is only the individual who can perceive, transcend and be enlightened because society is not a reality, it is just a conversation, a cacophony of speech.
Conversation, speech and social systems formed only because the human mind could invent a word. A word is not a reality. Neither is the mind. Sound is a reality. There are all kinds of sounds in nature. But a word is not a reality.
In India, because we have over 1300 languages and dialects in close proximity, it happens quite often that one word in one language means some sacred object, but in another language, it means a filthy thing. A word is a made-up thing.
A sound is not a made-up thing. Sound is a certain reality. Sound can be a vehicle to penetrate the nature of nature itself, but words do not get you anywhere because they are just made up in your mind.
Sound is a reality in which you are constantly enveloped. What you call “form” is just another level of sound. Because of the constant usage of words and more complex formations of words, which we call sentences, language, conversation, and literature, the mind has become so full of words that the very existential reality is obscured.
Patanjali’s definition of yoga is “Chitta vritti nirodha.” This means, “When all the modifications of your mind are gone, that is yoga.” When the fluctuations of your mind are gone, that is yoga.
The fluctuations of your mind are essentially caused by the words that you generate. Generating words means you make up meanings for meaningless sounds.
If you ride the words, you will be full of bull. If you ride the sounds, you could explore different aspects of nature. Being filled with forms is not everything, but it is one step closer than being lost in words.
The existence that one is able to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch through the five senses is essentially a product of reverberations, a play of sound or nada.
The body and mind of a human being are also reverberations. But body and mind are not an end in themselves – they are just the outer peel of a possibility. Most people do not go beyond the peel; they sit on the threshold of the doorway their whole lives. But the purpose of a doorway is to enter.
To experience that which is beyond this doorway, the practice of silence is referred to as maun.
The English word “silence” doesn’t really say much. In the Sanskrit language, there are many words for silence. “Maun” and “nishabdh” are two significant ones.
“Maun” means silence as we generally know it – you don’t speak; it is an attempt to create nishabdh. “Nishabdh” means soundlessness or beyond sound. That which is beyond sound is that which is beyond the play of forms and the five elements. That which is beyond sound is the final passage to that which is the very source of creation.
Sound is essentially in your mind. Whatever sound may be happening, if you are asleep, it does not matter.
The entire murky mind is simply because of the sounds that you generate, which take the shape of words, and you attach meanings to meaningless sounds.
If all the sounds die down if you stop attaching meanings to the words, if everything falls down, then it will be crystal clear, soundless.
(Ranked amongst the fifty most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and a New York Times bestselling author Sadhguru has been conferred the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 2017, the highest annual civilian award, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service)
The views expressed by the author are personaL