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A Homily on Silence!

Our world is fast shrinking, thanks to the Internet, mobile phones, sat dishes and high-speed planes. Now, in this small village, people can simply stick their necks out from their windows and shout at each other, hurling curses and complaining at the world’s deplorable situation. Those with shady characters would stand behind their fences or hedges and gossip or even plot on how to overthrow this or that government through violence or terror.

 

Maybe you have heard about territorial imperative among animals. It means ‘don’t touch my turf or else’. Every animal owns a turf to protect and defend as its own hunting ground for food and sex. Any other animal from the same or even different species can cross the border only at its own risk.

Humankind also has a similar turf. It’s called a country, a nation, a government or a party. You get nearer to one of these with the intention of destroying or disrupting and you know what your end will be.

Now, in this shrinking world everybody has the same front and back yard. This is the place where justice has to be maintained or else. People are hungry and angry. And what’s more, some people feel very uncomfortable in a crowded place, especially if across the street are living some very rich people. The rich feel threatened, and the poor feel neglected in an unjust neighborhood.

This situation is sure to invite trouble, and the only means the poor has at his disposal are small arms and much anger. So he will be tempted to recourse to asymmetrical war, like blowing up a 100-storey building with a weapon that he has just designed in his underground lab. It is the democratization of war and violence: Death by the people, from the people, and for the people.

In the past, even injustice was too far in time and space to tackle. Colonialists tormented their subjects with impunity from their capitals in Europe. The African slaves suffered from injustices originating in America. Everything was far and wide, scattered and complicated.

In a shrinking world, however, the context and the paradigms are changing fast. At first we saw through a dark glass, but now we know who the culprit is and who the fanatic or the confused is.

It’s time we had established a police force to guard our global village against fanatics of all shapes and stamps. Scratch any pious-looking person, and you will find a fanatic smoldering with hate.

The establishment of world legislature to dispense with justice and a court room to punish the recalcitrant is more urgent than ever. Offending nations should be dragged by their ears and made to stand before the law.

Short of this, our small village will one fine morning simply burn up in a flash and its smoke will swirl up to the stars testifying before more intelligent aliens in other planets of humankind’s astounding ignorance, blind fanaticism, unbound greed, and foolishness.

And now since it is the season of the Great Fast, I would like to make a short statement about silence.

Is the universe silent? Stellar explosions, a billion or trillion times more powerful than the mightiest nuclear device of our time, take place without the least noise in outer space, because the latter is devoid of air, a medium through which sound waves can travel. But, this doesn’t mean that the universe is quiet and calm. Far from it. Just use a radio telescope and you can have an electronic and cosmic version of the Tower of Babel.

However, according to Hindus and Buddhists, if there is any sound in the whole universe, it is the sound which goes Aummmm or Ommmmm. A primal sound. A holy sound. Probably a cosmic equivalent of Allah’u’Akbar!
By silence, however, is meant an inner peace which comes out of self-satisfaction, self-composure and self-assurance. Silence is peace, submission to transcendental laws and commandments. Silence is allegiance to higher personal aspirations and goals.

People talk about how to spend holidays abroad and flaunt their newly bought gadgets by way of inflating their egos. Sometimes things get too much out of control and the ego gets the better of the senses and you have precious lives lost in vain, and hopes and dreams broken to pieces. They sing Silent Night, Holy Night in a way that is neither silent nor holy. They forget that God’s holy messengers come to this world to bring inner and outer silence, peace and quietude.

Noise is the product of fear. Atomic bomb is used in war, but in peace the quieter version which is nuclear powered electricity is used instead.

When the real peace which is born from within is manifested externally, every part of our being becomes silent; our desire, our aspirations, hopes, wishes and dreams. Otherwise we are not silent. We are like the dormant volcano which bids its time. And where there is no silence you have the noisy ego roaming in total liberty.

The best music in the universe is the music of silence, and this is heard from none else except from your inner self. Keep quiet and try to listen. What you will eventually hear is an ancient music from deep inside yourself: the music of your existence, the sound of your being. And where does this music come from? From nowhere. It has always been there inside you. If you have not heard it before, it was because your ego tried to stand as an obstacle between yourself and the music.

With a clear conscience, you can hear forever.

What is ego? It is the part of us that clamors for recognition, for self-assertion, and it is at the same time very uncertain of itself. That’s why it wants to make noise and when not heard wants to destroy.

The real self, or as some call it the higher or universal ego, on the other hand, is sure of itself and therefore prefers to keep silent and knows full well that it lacks nothing. It asks for nothing and believes in sharing and giving rather than in acquisition and appropriation.

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