- June 27, 2016
- Posted by: Aditya Kumar
- Category: Philosophy
The other day I happened to read a passage written by the Late Khushwant Singh titled “The Power of Silence”. Written in 1987, when the digital age was still in its infancy and the pressures of a materialistic world consequent upon accelerated economic development accompanied by an exponentially multiplied purchasing power were just beginning to manifest themselves, the piece of prose is remarkable for its foresight and clarity of thought and acquires renewed focus almost three decades later in a contemporary scenario.
The pressures of the modern age, the disintegration of the joint family system and rise of nuclear families, a remarkable and tectonic shift from the spiritual to the materialistic, gradual but perceptual loss of familial support, increased pressures of the modern day work environment leading to renewed focus on the need to maintain a work-life balance, the onset of the digital revolution manifesting itself in a 24/7 connectivity with correspondingly high stress levels and a myriad of related social, occupational and environmental factors have only reinforced the need to look at restoring the mental health and balance of society.
These days when increased reference is being made to life changing techniques and therapies such as Meditation, Vipasana, Pranic healing and other psychological, psychosomatic techniques to help stabilize the troubled mind, the role of the Power of Silence immediately reinforces itself. While not belittling the effects of such therapies, practiced in controlled environments, under requisite supervision and guidance with adequate and due safeguards bereft of any radical interventions, there is a need to look internally and the efforts that the self can make to attain mental peace.
While dwelling on the Power of Silence, Khushwant Singh refers not only to the external environment having a modicum of stability with Nil or dramatically reduced physical noise levels but also on the need to declutter the mind and rid itself of internal noise and tribulations. Keeping the pace of the external environment in mind with its accompanying stratospheric levels of stress and strains, it is imperative to reach a state of trance where the mind is cleansed of any debilitating thought processes and stands in an empty decluttered state. Such a process, all the more necessary while going to sleep, should also be resorted to repeatedly, periodically as and when possible even during regular working and working hours. Gradually developing the requisite thought process and aligning our mental eco-system to the same by individual efforts would be of utmost benefit. Attempts at periodically silencing the mind would only serve to exponentially benefit a person’s lifestyle in all its dimensions. In the modern wired world there is also an important need to take frequent Digital Holidays by severely curtailing ones’ technological dependency and periodical switching of all devices – mobiles, laptops, tablets, PCs and the like on which we have become critically dependent. It needs to be understood that technology has to be used merely as an aid and not as something critically determining the course of our lives. The steps outlined would lead not only to mental detoxification but, if practiced consistently, also lead to a positive effect on the physical state and output.
To conclude it is topical to quote Plutarch, also quoted by Khushwant Singh, in the mentioned passage “We learn speech from men, silence from the Gods”. The ability to periodically silence one’s mind, divorce it from external stimuli and give it a semblance of stillness would only, overtime, go a long way in reducing societal tensions and help settling troubled minds. For it is not for nothing that our forefathers said “Where speech is silver, silence is golden”. Periodically silencing our mind would only lead to mental stability which is the ultimate deliverance.