Chapter 8: The Great Doubt
The first question:
Why should silence be threatening?
Silence is great death, the greatest that one can pass through. The ordinary death is nothing compared to it, because in the ordinary death you still carry the seed of being reborn. The ordinary death is not real death. One dies really in silence - that is utter death. Hence the fear. Zen calls it “The Great Death.”
Why call it death? - because when you are silent, you are not. You are only when you are noisy; you are only when the mind is full of garbage; you are only when mind is mad. In madness you are: in health you disappear.
Neurosis is very substantially needed for the ego to exist. Once the neurosis is gone, the chattering mind disappeared, you are not. Not that nothing is; something is, but you cannot identify yourself with that something. Something unknown, never known before, never even dreamed about, something utterly unfamiliar, something very disconnected from you, discontinuous with you - hence the fear.
In silence you commit suicide. That’s what sannyas is all about.
In India we have the same word for death and for ultimate meditation - samadhi. Samadhi has two meanings: death and the ultimate attainment of super-consciousness. Very significant, indicates two aspects of that ultimate silence. On one hand you die - as you have always been you will never be again. That old man simply evaporates. It is not modified, it is not continuous in any way. It has nothing to do with the new consciousness that arises in you. The new is absolutely new.
So on one hand you die, on the other hand a new kind of life, the life of egolessness, starts. That is not the life of humility, remember. Egolessness has nothing to do with humility or humbleness. Humbleness, humility, are again the ways of the same ego, subtle ways. A really egoless man is neither arrogant nor humble. If you find somebody humble, then he is just standing upside down; it is the same ego doing shirshasan - headstand.
Arrogance can become humbleness. But when the ego disappears, it simply disappears leaving no trace behind - not even of humbleness. Hence the fear. One trembles to take the jump. It is committing suicide.
You ask: “Why should silence be threatening?”