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Silence and Activity

Thursday July 14 2005 11:29 IST

By Karmayogi

One is opposed to the other. Where there is activity, there is no Silence; where there is Silence, there is no activity. Sri Aurobindo says Silence sustains activity. Further, He says all those who have reached a little of that inner Silence know the surging waves of energy that are welling up from that immobile reservoir of SILENCE. During a discussion of the history of the USA along the lines of the Theory of Social Evolution, the author of that study asked the group a question: We see America is dynamic. If Sri Aurobindos words are true, we must discover the silence behind the ocean-like activity on that continent. An American member of the team asked the questioner to recall the physical silence of the American cities as against the noisy roads of India. Westerners, on landing in India, are aware of many things as part of a cultural shock, as anyone entering another culture feels. Of all these things, the din of noise in our towns, at home and everywhere is noticeable to them. America has no noise pollution.

On the roads in America, the noise of the car horn is rarely heard. On our roads, it is the opposite. In not using the horn, the American driver has to exercise a great INNER restraint. The organisation of traffic must be far more efficient than here. It is an inner efficiency, which arises from an inner calm. An audience waiting for the speaker is vociferous, is what we know. In the West, the audience waits in silence. An inner restraint makes the inner silence possible. It is a spiritual principle that silence is more efficacious than the spoken word. OM symbolises that Silence. An American judge at the trial of war criminals in Nuremberg was given a house and three servants. He felt guilty about having any servants and wanted to dispense with them. He was used to working all by himself.

That is the American tradition. In the early days of the settlers, a person travelled to a god-forsaken place and started life. He would have absolutely no help apart from his family, if he had one. Usually a family would come to someone who had already set up in a place. Security first, family next, was the rule for settlers unless they had come to some vacant place with a family. Thus, man withdraws into himself. At work, he had no companion to speak with. After work, he fell plump into his bed often filling himself with liquor. He went into a stupor to get up the next morning and work. It is not spiritual seclusion and spiritual tapas. Mother called work the best prayer of the body. He was all by himself to accomplish. Friends or family were acquired after he succeeded. The enforced silence of his being alone with no one to consult generated the Silence out of, which issued the gigantic dynamism whose work America is today. Americans who come to work directly fall into their work after a Hello or a Hi. That is the maximum of their speech while at work.

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