New Age Islam
Mon Jun 17 2024, 06:18 AM

Spiritual Meditations ( 14 Jan 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

The art of silence

By Muzaffar Ali


January 12th, 2011

Silence is broken by needs, with the act of asking, with the urge of wanting...

Betalab vo de raha hai chup raho

kuchh kaha to baat khaali jayegi

(Without asking, you are being given,

if you ask, your words may go blank) mumbled a Sufi faqir calligrapher, who was challenged by his speech.

The Indian-Eastern wisdom was a subtle way of achieving the impossible without visible effort. It was a way of making the unimaginable happen. Many a times this phenomenon could not be explained so it was called a “miracle”.

Bhika baat agham ki, kahan sunan ki nahi

Jo jaane so kahe nahi, jo kahe so jaane nahi

(Bhika, the truth is, not said or heard. Those who know do not say, and those who say, know not...)

The art of silence is the act of not asking. It is the state of knowing. A state of Ching-jing Wu-wei, sitting and doing nothing. It is the acuteness of perception without the bitterness of not achieving it in a given time scale

But is it possible today?

The Industrial Revolution changed the perception of reality by subjugating societies to their needs. The notion of fulfilling these needs was a false sense of freedom, a way of expressing oneself without truly getting what one wants.

Instead, objects of desire began to distract one from truth, from inner wisdom.

Modern marketing explored needs. Made them dynamic and aligned them with a mass production and mass consumption process. The Hidden Persuaders (Vance Packard) and the Subliminal Seduction (Wilson Bryan Key) took their art to perfection on a global scale. “The Medium became the Message” and this became the truth for the modern civilisation. A truth that materially made the impossible possible.

Today, modern communication has achieved a way of entering the “no entry” zone of the human psyche.

But along with it, the one thing that the commercialized and industrialized cultures and societies have done is to create blockages, traffic jams, congestions and a high rate of obsolescence of ideas and concepts.

In the Eastern sense, the relationship between human dependence and human independence is the area that can be truly understood through the art of silence.

From the art of silence we evolve the etiquette of listening... hearing... of samaat. From hearing, we open the passage to the soul.

Mechanical sounds do not allow the opening of the soul passage, but only the body passage.

The art of silence leads to many art forms as it opens the door to the soul.

 Muzaffar Ali is a filmmaker and painter. He is the executive director and secretary of

the Rumi Foundation. He can be contacted at

Source: Deccan Chronicle