Progress towards states of inner peace and intuitive wisdom
“Silence is such a profound and deep experience of human existence that only when we have understood silence can we understand the inspiration that has ever flowed to humanity from the minds and mouths of the great rishis, sages and prophets.” – Swami Veda Bharati
Silence is one of the primary practices prescribed in the Himalayan tradition to help sadhakas purify mind and emotions and to progress towards states of inner peace and intuitive wisdom.
Silence can be defined as practicing the independence of the mind. It is non-dependence on external objects of identification, non-dependence on worldly experiences and their objects. Then wisdom flows naturally. Knowledge is dropped, wisdom begins.
We long for that silence. We go for excursions in the woods. We sit by flowing streams. When you sit down by that quiet flowing stream and do not wish to get up, it is so peaceful and quiet here. We forget that it is our inner silence that is calling us. That which is our origin. That which is our end.
Practice of silence is a very refined art. Practice of silence is a very intricate science. It is not simply closing your mouth and not wagging your gossiping, back biting tongue. In the traditions of yoga there is a word, tapas. It is used very commonly. An intense endeavor, ascetic endeavor till you sweat. Not necessarily from the pores of your body but your mind sweats and frees itself of all its impurities. We are all afraid of this tapas. We are all afraid of intense endeavor. We are afraid of long-term commitments but if you make a long-term commitment to discover the secrets of the depths of silence there is nothing else that is left to achieve. I assure you of that.
Silence programmes and retreats are also organised every year in SRSG. Visiting sadhakas are offered one, two, three, four weeks or even more of guided practice led by a spiritual guide well versed in the practice of silence.
Sadhakas are given the choice to join for short retreat or long retreat depending on their experience.
Retreat in Silence – 3/5/7/10 days
After having completed basic courses in the methods for correct sitting, breathing and beginning meditation, and with the approval of the faculty, a sadhaka may decide to undertake a period of guided silence. Those without prior experience are advised to begin with a practice of a short duration, between three and ten days to firm up their resolve and begin to establish a more tranquil mind field.
Immersion in Silence – 21/40 Days
After having completed introductory level silence retreats of durations between three and ten days, and with the approval of the silence guide/and or the Ashram Pramukh, a sadhaka may deepen his/her silence practice with a retreat between 21 and 40 days.
These longer and deeper guided silent sadhana practices may be contingent upon prior systematic and thorough experience in the basic practices of the Himalayan Tradition.
Surrender in Silence – 90 Days
After having deepened one’s level of inner quietude and stillness through the completion of shorter silence periods up to 40 days, often more than once, and having worked on one’s own emotional purification, sadhakas who wish to continue to be nurtured through their silence may request for undertaking a supervised observance for a period of 90 days or even a longer under the guidance of a spiritual guide and or the Ashram Pramukha.
Such an intense silence practice is often planned and prepared for years ahead of the actual retreat.