Silence exists within oneself. We can be in a forest and have a clamour of thoughts within us. The first ashram of the Bihar School of Yoga was near a railway track in Munger. The track has goods trains running on it, and they had steam engines. It was noisy and every hour the quiet would be pierced with a shrieking engine whistle.
Then the clanging of the goods trains would start. Then the electricity would go off and the buzzing of the flies and mosquitoes would start. Swami Satyanananda Saraswati would say that we had to absorb the sounds and practice our sadhana. I used to come every day from my home as Swamiji had said that I should become a Yoga Teacher. I used to find the noise in my home with my twin sons loud. This was far noisier. However I found that once I started my practice I became unaware of the loud noises. I would complain bitterly when the electricity went off at home. It was hot, mosquitoes were biting me and the flies were so irksome. At the ashram nothing upset me. It was the same thing for all the international visitors coming from Europe, Australia and South America. I never heard a complaint.
Silence is external
I was reading excerpts from Swamiji’s book and he said that if you cannot gain divine knowledge while you are at home, then you cannot gain it anywhere else. I understood the truth of it. If your mind is quiet, then it is possible for you to walk the spiritual path. He also said that you become tamasic if you are alone and indulge in long silences. The silence is external, what is going on in your mind, what are you chattering with. You are reinforcing your thoughts and also a negative thought starts a new karma. What was happening at the ashram was we were learning to work with our thoughts, making ourselves a witness and acquiring equilibrium. We did not start out with thinking that I am becoming balanced.
I just followed the teacher’s instructions, when practicing an asana, I closed my eyes and visualized myself practicing and counted my breath, inhalation 5, exhalation 5. I found that now my sons could destroy the house and if I was practicing my sadhana, I was not mad or disturbed. I realised noise is a part of life and the noise is in my mind. Remember the golden words of our Gurus, be aware of your breath and be a witness.
Aim Hrim Klim