Sunday, 19 December 2010


"The stars of midnight shall be so dear,
For her and she shall lean her ear,
In many a secret place;
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound,
Shall pass into her face".

Despite our love for silence that Wordsworth and others wrote endless verses about, the fact is that sounds and noise never leave us. We want to hear, we want to be heard.

As soon as a child is born, we want to hear him or her make a sound..any sound. For, unless you make a sound, there is no proof that you are alive.

Is life a cacophony in which the louder you are the more powerful you become? Or, is the reverse true? Despite all the shibboleths such as 'silence is gold', we commonly associate silence with the meloncholic, sad and poignant. Happiness and joys, on the other hand, have sounds...happy sounds.

"Hontho ko si chuke to zamane ne yeh kaha,
Yeh chup si kyun lagi hai aji kuchh to boliye"
(The moment I sewed up my lips, the world asked me:
Why does silence reign? Speak something at least."

According to the Hindu religion silence within and without is the attainment of greatest joy. The Hindu philosophy has it that even thoughts make sound. And, if you can shut off all sounds, even those of thoughts, you are one with your God.

And yet, we never want to be silent. Honking, crackers, screeches, shouts, loud speakers and even blasts become parts of our life. We go as far away from tasting life as from the true flavour of tea by adding sugar.

There is so much to be heard in silence but we become immune to it. Here is how Wordsworth described it:

"THE world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:

Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!"

"See it with your heart, 'tis mere joy" said he. Guru Nanak too described it as a music that can't be heard with the worldly senses given to man.

"Chup hai dhartii, chup hain chaand sitaare,
Mere dil kii dhadakan tujhako pukaare."
(The Earth is silent (my love)
And so are the moon and the stars,
The only sound that is there,
Is that of my heart beat calling you."

No, silence can't be sad or stifling or melancholic.
Silence is the beginning of the condition,
In which you hear sounds you had never heard before.

Try it.

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