All great spiritual masters give instruction in silence. This silence is not absence of speech but a force-field emitted the Master which bathes the disciple and dissolves his/her questions. This eternal silence whose vibrations issue forth from the Master is the Para Vak (i.e. transcendental speech) discussed in the previous post Vedic Vak: four levels of sound.
Ramana Maharshi answered a Kashmiri man’s questions using Para Vak
Major Chadwick reports the following episode: “A gentleman from Kashmir came to the Ashram with his servant who could not speak a word of any other language except his native Kashmiri. One night when the Hall was almost dark except for the pale glimmer of a single hurricane lantern, the servant came into the Hall and stood before Bhagavan in a respectful manner jabbering something rapidly in his own language. Bhagavan said nothing, but lay quietly gazing at him. After a while the servant saluted and left the Hall. Next morning his master came to Bhagavan and complained, ‘Bhagavan, you never told me you could speak Kashmiri, was it fair?’
‘Why, what do you mean?’ asked Bhagavan. ‘I know not a single word of your language.’
Bhagavan asked the gentleman how he had got hold of this absurd idea and the latter explained: ‘Last night my servant came to you and asked you several questions in his language. He tells me that you answered him in the same language and cleared his doubts.’
‘But I never opened my mouth,’ Bhagavan replied.”
The Mother answered an Italian man’s questions using Para Vak
…this morning I received that Italian, he started speaking, making gestures, telling me things – NOT ONE sound reached my ears … yet I knew perfectly well what he was saying. And I answered him in the same way, without speaking. I didn’t feel it was someone else talking to me and that I was answering him: it was a totality of movements more or less conscious of themselves, a totality and an exchange, an interchange of movements more or less conscious of themselves, with some vibrations more conscious, some less conscious, but the whole thing very living, very active. But then, in order to speak, I would have had to put myself in the ordinary consciousness in which the Italian was over there and I was here – but it didn’t mean anything any more, it wasn’t true. So there was something answering within, very actively, very distinctly, and all of it went on together (gesture showing movements of consciousness or waves of vibrations), and at the same time, there was a consciousness – a very, very vast consciousness – which was watching it all [those exchanges of vibrations] and exerting a sort of control, a very, very slight but very precise control, so as to put each vibration in its place.
The Mother, Mother’s Agenda: December 11, 1963
Ramana Maharshi expatiates on how this eternal silence – Para Vak – works
“Silence is ever-speaking; it is a perennial flow of language; it is interrupted by speaking. These words obstruct that mute language. There is electricity flowing in a wire. With resistance to its passage, it glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan. In the wire it remains as electric energy. Similarly also, silence is the eternal flow of language, obstructed by words. What one fails to know by conversation extending to several years can be known in a trice in Silence, or in front of Silence – e.g., Dakshinamurti, and his four disciples. That is the highest and most effective language.”
Elsewhere it is stated: “Silence is never-ending speech. Vocal speech obstructs the other speech of silence. In silence one is in intimate contact with the surroundings. The silence of Dakshinamurti removed the doubts of the four sages. Mouna vyakhya prakatita tatvam (Truth expounded by silence). Silence is said to be exposition. Silence is so potent.
For vocal speech, organs of speech are necessary and they precede speech. But the other speech lies even beyond thought. It is in short transcendent speech or unspoken word, para vak.”
On 20th July 1936 Ramana had the following talk:
A visitor asked: “What is mouna (silence)?”
M.: “Mouna is not closing the mouth. It is eternal speech.”
D.: “I do not understand.”
M.: “That state which transcends speech and thought is mouna.”