Osho on silence

Osho – Silence has been praised down the ages as one of the most important factors for inner transformation; but silence alone is neither enough nor beneficial. Silence alone can be tremendously harmful. Silence alone is a negative state, it can make you more dead than you are. It can destroy the joy of inner being, it can be an obstruction for the growth of a celebrating soul.

Silence is beautiful only if it is rooted in awareness; if it is not rooted in awareness, then it is utterly empty. With awareness silence has a depth, a plenitude, a fulfillment, a contentment, an overflowing joy. With awareness silence blooms, releases great fragrance; without awareness the silence is utterly empty and dark, dismal, sad.

Silence can be either of the cemetery or of a sunrise. Silence can be of a bird on the wing, or it can be that of a corpse. Both are silences, but diametrically opposite. The silence of a corpse has to be avoided, the silence of a flower has to be imbibed. The silence of the flower will make you a flower, the silence of the corpse will make you a corpse. Both look the same from the outside. Don’t be deceived by appearances — always look for the essential, for the very core.

Two things can appear similar from the outside and may be just the opposite of each other. The seeker has to be very cautious, very conscious on each step; because the false is easy to attain. It is very easy to become dead, and very difficult to be overflowing with life.

That’s why millions of monks and nuns have followed a false path — they have become silent. You can go to the monasteries and you will find people who are silent, but their silence has the taste of death. Their silence is not the silence of a song, of a dance; their silence is not divine. In fact they have fallen rather than risen higher, soaring upwards. They have fallen so much, they have become just dead rocks. Their silence has not been a transformation, it has been a suicide. And because it has not been a soaring up high, you will find all kinds of foolishnesses still in it, waiting for their opportunity, for their moment to explode. The foolish person can become silent. It may deceive many, they may think, “He has arrived.” But he is simply hiding his foolishness, his stupidity, his unconsciousness behind a beautiful facade of silence.

An ancient Sufi parable says:
Four persons decided to go into silence. They moved into a cave; they wanted to live in silence for three months, because they had heard so much about it — they had become so much intrigued. They were so ambitious to gain something out of it. It was not understanding that had brought them to the cave. It was greed, it was desire, ambition.

Hence within minutes everything was exposed. Just within minutes the first man said, “I wonder whether I have put the candle out or not? It will be a sheer wastage, there is nobody in the house.”
The second one said, “You fool! You have spoken! And we have taken the vow of silence.”
The third one laughed and said, “You are a greater fool! If he had spoken, what was the need for you to speak?”
And the fourth one said, “Thank God, I am the only one who has not spoken yet.”

Just by being silent nothing changes, you remain the same. Transformation comes through awareness. Awareness brings a silence of its own, very alive, throbbing with eternity, full of a song. It is not sad and not serious because it is not dead, it has a dance to it. It is tremendously beautiful, it is positive, existential. It does not make you just a hollow thing. It makes you so full that you start overflowing with joy. You become so fulfilled that you cannot contain your contentment within yourself, you have to share it. You become a cloud full of rainwater. You have to shower it.

But out of a hundred so-called seekers, it is only once in a while that a rare seeker comes to know the difference between the real silence and the unreal silence. How can the fool within you be dropped by being silent? Yes, it will not be expressed, but it will be there. In fact it will become more and more powerful — unexpressed it will accumulate energy. And any moment, any opportunity, and you will show it; you will be unable to hide it forever.

Source – Osho Book “The Dhammapada, Vol7”

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