When the attendant monks returned, the “Master of Silence” scolded them thus: “Where have you been all this time? A while ago I was embarrassed to death, and almost ruined, by an inquisitive pilgrim!”
The same happened to Baba Chuktananda Paramhansa. People would ask, he would sit silently, he would look here and there, or up or down, or would close his eyes, and I would explain to them what he meant. And in those three days, by and by, I became secondary; Chuktananda became more important, I was just an interpreter. And people found great peace showering from Chuktananda.
People are stupid! Either they start clinging to the word, to the letter, or, if somehow they drop the word, the letter, they start clinging to the opposite.
But truth is neither in words nor in silence. Truth is a transcendence. Truth is a transcendence of duality. Silence is part of the dual game of the mind. Mind is not only words. remember. Between two words there is a small gap where mind is silent. Mind is both – words and silence crisscrossing. Each word is followed by silence, and each silence is followed by a word.
When you are thinking, one thought comes, then a gap. Otherwise one thought will be overlapped by another, there will be a great confusion – the gap is needed. Then comes another thought. It is just like when you stand on the road watching traffic. One car passes by, then a gap passes! You don’t see the gap because you can’t see the gap. One car passes by, then a gap passes, and then another car. If there is no gap, there will be a clash between two cars, there will be an accident. The gap is always there. The gap is as much part of the traffic as the cars.
Exactly the same is the case with mind. Words, noise, so-called silence, are both parts of the mind.
There is another kind of silence which has nothing to do with mind. That silence is not absence of noise, it is presence of the unknowable – a totally different quality: not the absence of noise, but the presence of God, or the presence of the whole. That silence is not a dead silence; that silence is very much alive, vibrating, full of joy, showering bliss all around, overflowing with love. And you can see the difference.
When a person is simply silent in the sense of no word, absence, you will see dullness. You will see a kind of sleep surrounding him. You will see a kind of stupidity, a torpor. This kind of man will not be intelligent. You can find this kind of paramhansa in many places in India. To be a humbug mahatma is so easy. You don’t have to do much. Even if you can keep silent – at least in the daytime – that will do. Not a big practice, a small thing.
Silence that is absence is dull; silence that is presence of the divine, God, truth, Tao, or whatsoever name you like, has a totally different quality to it. It blooms, it blooms in a thousand and one flowers. It has a fragrance, it is young, it is fresh; it is not dull and dead. It is not the silence of the cemetery. It is the silence where life is happening, but happening very silently.