Tuesday, September 26, 2006


CAUTION: This post, begun at 2 AM, was written after an unsuccessful attempt to sleep. You have been warned. Let only the brave continue. ;)


Silence, as Gratiano reminds us in Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice', is but the garb, and perhaps only refuge, of the fool. Indeed, not only would the world be a less noisy place but it would also benefit by escaping from the cacophonous voices of poor intellect.

Does that advocate no voice to be raised which is concerned atheistic or heterotypic? Separate issue and, of course, highly debatable.

Returning to the matter at hand, Gratiano's suggestion reminded me of Lao Tzu's quote: "Silence is a source of great strength". We've all observed and heard or read of great personalities who are reticent in their day to day dealings.

And why even go to China? We've got our very own Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, who regulary (once a week, if I'm not mistaken) used to observe 'Maun Vrat'. [Of course, these days, even Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living propagates the idea of 'maun vrat'.]

Silence is also the sound of love. The closest that I've heard any song come to expressing this particular moment is Ronan Keating's 'You say it best (when you say nothing at all)' [...all day long I can hear people talking out loud, but when you hold me near..you drown out the crowd...]. It is that one moment of silence, that meeting of the eyes that conveys a million messages of love that tells you that Cupid has indeed struck with his sweet arrow.

Silence, however, is also the sound of anger. Ever noticed the person who never shouts at the top of his voice when angry? Personal experience and counsel of wiser people warn me that these are the ones who're more 'dangerous' or likely to cause harm. They are like mountains which though appear silent, carry the the hot lava of anger and destruction just beneath the surface, waiting to explode....at the appropriate moment.

Silence is grief. Grief of having lost a loved one, of having lost after putting everything at stake, of failing in an exam, of losing a war, of......

However, Silence is also a moment of strength. A moment to reflect. A moment to introspect. Silence is like the great ocean, which though appears to be quiet above, is the source of life and activity beneath.

A final word...

Silence reminds me of a moment from (here we go again) The Bhagavad Gita. After putting forth his views on the imminent war and the hopelessness of the situation (as he sees it), Arjuna throws down his weapons and sits down despondent at the back of his chariot. I'm not certain if Lord Krishna smiles at this moment, but that certainly was the image that flashed across my mind's eye when I'd read the English translation of The Gita by Dr. Radhakrishnan. However, Dr. Radhakrishnan mentions, that this is a moment of truth. The moment of silence separates the despairing Arjuna's grievings and Krishna's friendly help in the form of the 'Divine Song'. Was it mere coincidence that there was a moment of silence here, or did Vasudeva deliberately allow it to separate the question and the subsequent explanation? Perhaps, as the author mentions, the moment of silence existed since 'great thoughts arise from a quiet mind'.


arpz said...

being used to express emotions described above , and many more emotions as well with a silent moment, I must say , a chatterbox like me sure knows the value of it.

Silence indeed is golden , but speech at the appropriate point of time is also invaluable.

multisubj yb said...


shweta said...

i can hear "SILENCE" ...wat abt u ...????

coffee said...

even i can hear silence now :)

Shekhar said...

arpz: And btw, silent is what most of your posts leave me, as I have already confessed.

multisubj yb: Thanks a lot. Was looking for a blog like this for a long time. Thanks a million.

shweta: I guess everyone can hear silence...one only needs to quieten the devil inside first. ;)

coffee: :)