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Chapter 25: From Words to Pure Sounds to Being

So for the first time it was understood that if you are constantly hearing something and it stops, you will hear the absence of it. So do not think that you will simply not hear it. You will hear the absence, the negative part of it will be heard. If I look at you, and then if I close my eyes, I see your negative. If you look at the window and then close your eyes you will see the negative of the window, and the negative can be so forceful that if you suddenly look at the wall the negative will be projected on the wall. You will be seeing the negative.

Just as there are negatives of photographs, there are negative sounds. Not only can the eyes see the negative, the ears can even hear the negative. So when you close your ears, you hear the negative world of sounds. All the sounds have stopped. Suddenly a new sound is heard. This sound is the absence of sound. A gap has come in. You are missing something, and then you hear this absence.

Or, by putting the fingers in the ears, hear the sound of sounds.

That negative sound is known as the sound of sounds - because it is not really a sound, but its absence. Or, it is a natural sound, because it is not created by anything.

All sounds are created. The sound you hear when you close your ears is not a created sound. If the whole world becomes absolutely silent, then you will hear the silence also. Pascal is reported to have said, “The moment I think about the infinite cosmos, the silence of the infinite cosmos makes me very much afraid.” The silence makes him afraid because sounds are only on the earth. Sounds need atmosphere. The moment you go beyond the earth’s atmosphere there are no sounds - only absolute silence. That silence you can create even on the earth, if you close both of your ears completely. Then you are on the earth, but you have moved; you have dropped below sounds.

Astronauts are being trained for many things, and one thing is to be in the silence. They have to be trained in silent chambers so that they become accustomed to soundlessness; otherwise they will go mad. Many problems face them, and this is one of the deepest problems: how to be away from the human world of sounds. Then you become isolated.

If you are lost in the forest and you hear a certain word, you may not know the source but you are less afraid. Someone is there! You are not alone! In soundlessness, you are alone. In a crowd, if you close both of your ears totally and move in, you are alone. The crowd has disappeared, because it was through sounds that you could know others were there.

Putting the fingers in the ears, hear the sound of sounds.

This absence of sound is a very subtle experience. What will it give to you? The moment there are no sounds, you fall back upon yourself. With sounds we move away, with sounds we move to the other. Try to understand this: with sounds we are related to the other, we communicate with the other.