Chapter 31: From Sound to Inner Silence
I have heard that in the first world war, for the first time in America rationing was created. Thomas Edison was a very great scientist, but he was very poor so he had to stand in the queue for his ration card. And he was such a great man that no one ever used his name before him. There was no need to use his name for himself, and no one else would use his name because he was so much respected. Everyone would call him Professor, so he had forgotten what was his name.
He was standing in the queue, and when his name was called, when it was asked who Thomas Alva Edison was, he just stared blankly. Again the name was called, then someone who was a neighbor to Edison said to him, “Why are you standing? Your name is being called. It is your name, Professor.” Then he became aware and he said, “But how can I recognize it? No one calls me Edison. It has been so long. they just call me Professor.”
You never use your own name. Only others use it - you have heard it used by others. But it has gone deep, very deep. It has penetrated like an arrow into your unconscious. If you yourself use it, then it becomes a mantra. And for two reasons it helps: one, when you use your own name, if your name is “Ram” and you use “Ram, Ram, Ram.,” suddenly you feel as if you are using someone else’s name - as if it is not yours. Or if you feel that this IS yours, you feel that there is a separate entity within you which is using it. It may belong to the body, it may belong to the mind, but he who is calling “Ram, Ram.” becomes a witness.
You have always called others’ names. When you call your own name it looks as if it belongs to someone else, not to you, and it is a very revealing phenomenon. You can become a witness to your own name, and with the name your whole life is involved. Separated from the name, you are separated from your whole life. And this name has penetrated deep within you because everyone has called you this from your very birth, you have always heard this. So use this sound, and with this sound you can go to the very depths to which the name has gone.
In the old days we gave everyone a name of God - everyone. Someone was Ram, someone was Narayan, someone was Krishna, someone was Vishnu, or something like that. They say all the Mohammedan names are the names of God - all the Mohammedan names! And all over the world that was the practice, to give a name which is really a name of God.
This was for good reasons. One reason was this technique - because if your name can be used as a mantra it will serve you a double purpose. It will be your name - and you have heard it so much, so many times, and all your life it has penetrated deep. Then also, it is the name of God. So go on repeating it inside, and suddenly you will become aware that “This name is different from me.” Then by and by this name will have a sanctity of its own. You will remember any day that “Narayan” or “Ram,” this is God’s name. Your name has turned into a mantra.
Use it! This is very good! You can try many things with your name. If you want to be awakened at five o’clock in the morning, no alarm is so exact as your own name. Just repeat thrice inside, “Ram, you have to be awake by five o’clock sharp.” Repeat it three times, and then just fall asleep. You will be awakened at five o’clock because “Ram,” your name, is very deep in the unconscious.