When Silence is the best Philosophy


Silence, unmoved and rising,
Silence, unmoved and sheltering,
Silence, unmoved and permanent,
Silence, unmoved and brilliant,
Silence, broad and immense like the Ganga,
Silence, unmoved and increasing,
Silence, white and shining like the Moon,
Silence, the Essence of Siva.

– Sivavakkiyar

There was a young aspirant who wished to learn the meaning of life so he travelled to meet the most famous philosophers of his age. The first philosopher gave a very great and lengthy explanation on the meaning of life. The aspirant was suitably impressed and awed by the magnificence of his deliberations. However, straight away this theory was criticised by another philosopher. He cogently pointed out many deficiencies in his system; instead he pointed out another philosophy, which he argued was far superior. Like this several philosophers came to argue their case for having the best philosophy. Some said truth could not be discovered in this life, others said that truth was in a particular book. However, with so many conflicting philosophy’s the aspirant just became confused.

The aspirant decided to travel deep into the forest where he came across a yogi deep in meditation. His face expressed a countenance of deep equanimity, peace and, contemplation. Eagerly the aspirant asked the yogi what was the meaning of life. To this question, the yogi did not flicker even an eyelid, but continued in his deep meditation. The aspirant was disappointed, but remained inspired by the consciousness of the yogi. The next day he came back and his repeated question, the yogi maintained his silence. It was then that the aspirant realised the meaning of life could never be explained in words.  At this point he began to learn meditation himself.

In my deep silence I never become a victim to ignorance,
the greatest calamity that can befall any human being.
In my growing silence I am convinced that even as a man on this earth I shall be able to reach heights, transcendental, divine.
My glowing silence alone can accelerate my
Godward march.

– Sri Chinmoy

– My Silence, from Songs of the Soul

When silence is the best philosophy

1. Dealing with Criticism.

The world is full of critics – there has never been a shortage of critics! If you ever try to do something new you will definitely attract critics. The words of critics can take away all our inspiration and leave us wondering how to respond. However, if we can respond with silence, we maintain a great dignity. The critic wishes to provoke us, but by maintaining silence we are showing that it is beneath our dignity to respond to their false criticisms. It is like they are trying to give us something, but by refusing to accept their gift, the negativity remains with them. By maintaining silence we remain completely detached from their negativity. We can just concentrate on doing the right thing.

Criticism takes away
The very life-breath
Of our peace-heart.

– Sri Chinmoy

2. Stupid Ideas.

Suppose a friend or colleague comes up with an idea for a project. However, we feel that this idea is both unworkable and unpractical. If the idea is foolish we can waste much time and valuable energy in pointing out its weakness. However, instead of trying to show how it is unworkable, we can maintain silence. We will neither argue against it nor work for it. By maintaining silence we require the proponent of the argument to make it work. 9 times out 10 they will not be able to make it happen. Thus, the plan falls of its own accord and we have done nothing other than maintain silence on it.  

3. Inner Peace and Relaxation

Is there anybody who would not appreciate more inner peace? Life is stressful, and it seems difficult to be able to relax and be at peace. However, it is quite possible to detach ourselves from the worries and anxieties endemic in modern life. The key is the ability to maintain silence for a few minutes each day. Here silence does not just mean outer silence; real silence means silence in our mind. This requires us to control our thoughts. If we can maintain silence in our mind, we will feel great inner peace no matter what is happening in the outer life.

4. Gossip

Some humans love to gossip and point out the bad habits of other people. When others start to gossip it is easy to get drawn in. Before we know it, we are criticising our friends and work colleagues. If others were gossiping about us we would feel bad and miserable, yet here we are doing it ourselves. When people start gossiping, it is best to maintain silence. If we become known as someone who does not gossip and spread unkind words about people we will greater respect.  

Photo by Ranjit Swanson, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries

51 thoughts on “When Silence is the best Philosophy”

  1. In the beginning, they say, there was the WORD.

    Before the WORD what?


    SILENCE was, is and will be the mother of the WORD.

  2. gossip can lead to death. the best thing to do is remain silent, or you will be accused of gossiping.

  3. This is more than a comment..it is advice needed!
    I have transgressed my own self, lost dignity and self-respect amongst those near and dear.Im going through a divorce, been angry for betraying myself, now living as a single parent while ex reclaimed his status in society,i helped him,how do i reclaim dignity without the shame guilt betrayal i have allowed myself to fall into…how does justice prevail, my son is 4years, ive not worked since then and its created a huge sense of dis-ease within.Lost cofidence, my dadpast away, i have been very passive but now very aggressive..appreciate some advice, married man who protected girl he chose not to marry due to family loyalty, now my behaviour and responses pass blame onto me. Finances and home contentious issue, do i walk away from it all, stand for justice and prove my innocence, while he blames a woman. i take resp for my actions however he had no intention to be sincere and emotionally i could not cope

  4. silence is not only the absense of words but also the stillness of mind,its the best way to communicate in aspects of situations where words are never needed to settle down cicumstances.Our mind becomes calmly settled in silence than when we use words to communicate something sensitively. Thank you

  5. Hi
    silence is the only thing that makes our selves happy. there is English proverb which says: “a parking dog don’t bite”. this means that talkative peole don’t have time to think or at least to preview his mind first before he/she start to print to the others. so silence is the only way that saves your time, dignity, personality and also keeps your relations connected.

  6. good views on gossiping .it is an evil to talk ill of others on their back. no one in this world is perfect ,first see your own mistakes than pin point others

  7. I am going through biggest failure of my life, i got married to a person whome i loved deeply, my married life was great, due to recession my hubby lost the job, he tool some loan on my name, he made again big loss in the business, I am working lady,, so i took it as challenge and told my husband to be strong. i cleared most of the loan. after 6 years of our marriage, 4 and half year my husband was idle, not working, not doing anything, i asked my friend to help me for his job, he refered him in good company he got job and settled, now his behaviour towards me is totally changed, today he told me, i have not done anything for him, so he dont need me, he treats me like i am burden for him, my status is just kam wali or if he need me in the night. Not more than that.
    I thought i will go for divorce, but i have two sisters, for their marriage i need to be quite, cant tell my parents, day by day i am loosing my mental status, Can anyone give me some kind of suggestion where atleast till my sisters marriage i will be able to manage him. I am going through lots of changes in my life…

    Please help me,,

  8. Life is not a bed of roses. Marriage takes a big deal to happen, sustain and win. Try finding out if your perceptions are real, talk to the person involved. Discuss what are the factors that are refraining him in connecting to you like earlier.
    Believe in this:
    “The evil you do remains with you: The good you do, comes back to you!” Do good & Remain Blessed!
    So for whatever good you have done, just remember that it gets counted some where else, feel good for what you have done and don’t seek appreciation or gratitude. It will come to you when you are not expecting it.
    Quiting from life, relationship, job is always the last solution and probably easiest of all for the time being. But being in there, working to make it work, waiting to see success all takes immense courage, time and efforts.
    The biggest success of your life is you got married to a person you loved. So feel blessed for that. Count on the blessings and keep the troubles in mind and fight them. Appreciate the other person for what he has done all through the years, you will receive the same.

    All the best!!!

  9. I deal with anger everyday but i tried hold my temper but explode with terrible rage.I feel so frustrated by life and poverty that is the main problem with my life.I when calm some peop[le make me angry and pick on me.

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