On the way to India in August of 1989, I spent ten days at our Himalayan Institute near Hamburg in West Germany. It is a center that has grown tremendously in less than ten years under the dynamic leadership of Wolfgang Bischoff. This time he had prepared 50 students to study with me, and the enjoyment of teaching was all mine. One evening all the Ashram members – residents of the Institute – gathered at Wolfgang's house. One of the questions they asked was: "We came to live at this Institute ashram with the hope of studying, practicing meditation, and living peacefully; instead, we have to work hard day and night to keep the Institute growing. Why is that?"
When you work on purifying yourself, that purity naturally overflows the bounds of your personality and inundates all those around you. Your silence cools the world, when there is sufficient silence within you. You cannot blame others for conditions in your personal life, else you will also blame others for the collective life of the planet.
Mantras are units of sound contained in a combination of syllables or words. The universe is composed of the single energy of which two beams are sound and light. One does not become activated without the other, especially in the inner spiritual space. The sound units that are called mantras are not ones that are passed on from ear to ear; that is their only physical manifestation.
The beginning point of all social change and the ending point of all social change is in oneself.
So integrating it all into oneself and daily giving oneself some time for contemplating these issues – not on how to bring change in the society, or how to bring change in the economics, or how to bring change in the social structures of education – but where to bring change in oneself.
Why do we sleep? The great Shankacharya says that everyone is ananda. Being of bliss. You know these three words that we often use? Sat Chit Ananda. I’m sure everyone has heard those words. Sat chit ananda, sat chit ananda. Sat the being, the very being. Chit, awareness, awareness of being, consciousness of being or just the force called consciousness. And ananda, purnam, completeness, bliss, totality of bliss. All the pleasures of the world are little sparks of that fire of ananda. All the pleasures of the world are just drops of the ocean of ananda, and every drop is trying to experience what it feels like to be the whole ocean. Every drop that is you and I, every drop is trying to feel, trying to see what it would be like to be the whole ocean of that joy and bliss.
There is a book: "Dakshinamurti Stotra". It is only ten verses, composed by the great Shankaracharya. They are a hymn in the honor of God as teacher, who is often shown in iconography in a beautiful forest, for the great ancient ashrams were in forests, filled with the sounds of birds and animals. At such a place, where the beasts of prey have ceased all violence, he is pictured as sitting under a great sheltering vata tree, that sends down branches and spreads out. Shankaracharya, but a youth, sitting in silence, surrounded by elderly-looking disciples, his silence is his speech, and all the disciple's questions are answered. All their doubts vanish.
Silence is such a profound and deep experience of human existence that only when we have understood silence would we understand all the inspiration that has ever flowed to humanity from the minds and mouths of its great saints and sages. To understand silence as an act, as a habit of mind, is to know a person's disposition and most natural urge. We can look to the monks or "silent ones" of our society for example; however, even a householder with an active life can learn the art of "speaking" while in silence. Such a paradox has a very clear lesson.
This is a brief, preliminary version of Yoga-nidra (not a full Yoga-nidra). It is a way of taking quick rests during the day for a few minutes. It may be done sitting in a chair, resting on a sofa, or lying down.
Silence is such a profound and deep experience of human existence that only when we have understood silence can we understand all the inspiration that has ever flowed to humanity from the minds and mouths of its adults, the great rishis, sages and prophets. The word mantra is connected with 'man' through the verb root man, which means to think, to mentate, to contemplate, to meditate. So that `man' means the meditating species. The word `man' means the meditating species and the word mantra means that which becomes the core of his meditation. The Sanskrit word for silence which is mauna. It is the act, the habit, the nature and disposition of a muni, silent meditating contemplative one. And these words mauna for silence and muni, the monk, the one whose disposition it is to be silent, these words are also derived from the same verb, man. Man, to meditate. So that the highest man is muni.