Sea of Stormy Passions, Sea of Serene Silences (a poem, a narration and more)

Home » Sea of Stormy Passions, Sea of Serene Silences (a poem, a narration and more)

“The moment of the experience is one thing and the expression of this experience is another.”

~ The Mother, CWM, Vol. 5, p. 322


I think at various points in our lives we have all heard the sounds of silence. But have you heard silence speak like this

Jon Hassell, the American trumpet player and composer, gives a whole new sound to the silences in his album titled Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street. At least that’s the experience I get every time I listen to it.

I was first introduced to this music through a World Music collaboration he had done about 20 years ago with the noted Indian bansuri player Pandit Ronu Majumdar and American guitarist Ry Cooder. That album, titled Hollow Bamboo is a must-listen for all world music lovers.

As I listen to the sounds of silence in this piece of music again, I am reminded of the Mother’s words: 

“…if you want to listen to music, you must create an absolute silence in your head, you must not follow or accept a single thought, and must be entirely concentrated, like a sort of screen which receives, without movement or noise, the vibration of the music. That is the only way, there is no other, the only way of hearing music and understanding it.”

~ The Mother, CWM, Vol. 8, pp. 235-236

One must be present to the experience. To experience the listening in silence. To experience the silence of the music.

One must allow the silence to enter into oneself, deep. To let the notes take one smoothly into that silent space where one is alone with oneself. At that point it does not matter at all what instrument, what genre of music one is listening to. It is not even about the sound then, but what is being expressed through the sounds. Or more importantly, through the silences between the notes.

“…what I mean is that there is an inner condition in which the external form is not the most important thing; it is the origin of the music, the inspiration from beyond, which is important; it is not purely the sounds, it is what the sounds express.”

~ The Mother, CWM, Vol. 5, p. 69

This is when we must allow the experience to be assimilated within. We must be in silence. And let the silence of the music take us deeper. Deeper. We must let the moments go by… silently, quietly. Without trying to mentalize whatever is happening within.

“…when you have an experience, you must never, during the period of the experience, try to understand what it is, for you immediately cause it to vanish, or you deform it and take away its purity…”

~ The Mother, CWM, Vol. 8, p. 236

A Silent Prayer

Listen, O Heart, my friend, 
Listen to the Silence.
Of the deeps of the Heart
Listen, my friend, in silence.

Not easy with the noises,
I hear you say.
But if you wish to grow,
You must seek a way.

Gentle and Calm,
Sweet and Tender,
The Sounds of Silence
Can almost go under.

Unheard, buried deep under the noises
Of ordinarily sugary anything-ness,
Meant only for the hearts attuned
To the sweet silences of everything-ness.

Sing unheard melodies of the heart
To the Sweet Silence within
Like a Silent Prayer,
To a Presence high and within.

Be still, really still.
And pray in silence,
Let the noises be,
You pray for silence.

May this Silent Prayer
Reach across the open sea,
Cross the waves of Stormy Passions
To the Serene Depths and set free.

“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter;”

~ John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn

Silence heals. Silence recharges. Those unheard melodies with that special sweetness bring mystique and magic to otherwise mundane life. But as they say, both the god and the devil are in details. What if the sweetness of those unheard melodies is not of the silence that hides pearl-like at the depth of the sea, but is rather mixed up with the noises of the waves on the surface? What if the sweet musical voice that you have been yearning and aspiring to hear hides behind, way behind the music of your own noisy parts which imitates the Silent Sounds of the Divine Music but is in actuality nothing like that?

These and other musings like these led me to look for relevant passages, letters and conversations of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, which have been curated for this issue on Silence and Solitude.

In this Issue

Let us begin by meditating on a sonnet by Sri Aurobindo, titled The Word of the Silence.

The Word of the Silence

Narrated by Beloo Mehra

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For the silence to settle in, in each part of oneself, intense sādhana is called for. A lifetime of tapasyā may not be enough, and yet to attain a silent mind is the first step towards true knowledge and experience of the Divine, reminds Sri Aurobindo. But for the Mahayogi, the Maharishi Sri Aurobindo, the realization of Silent Brahman came in three days, rather one, as he described in several letters to his disciples.

Despite our well-intentioned efforts to quieten ourselves, often we get caught in the voices of what Sri Aurobindo refers to to as “the gods of the heart, the gods of the mind, the gods of desire, the gods of sense.” These voices sneak in inevitably as long as all these parts within aren’t completely purified. While these voices alter and distort the Voice of the Supreme, yet as Sri Aurobindo tells us, it is through these voices also we are being led according to our unique natures and temperaments. 

We invite you to enjoy two beautiful poems by Nirodbaran which perfectly address two key points concerning Silence. His ‘Soul’s Silence’ speaks of that deep yearning of a sādhaka for a profound and constant silence. And the other titled ‘One Moment’ reminds us how ephemeral that moment of deep Silence can be in which we connect with the Divine. 


Silence is all, say the sages. But Sri Aurobindo in his poem ‘Silence is All’ asks – has the Cosmic Scribe not also written of the Word, Thought, & Light? Watch a video inspired by this delightful poem. Also read a few letters of Sri Aurobindo in which throws light on the rightful place of and the right attitude toward solitude and retirement from external activity in the path of Integral Yoga.

As mentioned in our previous issue, we now hope to incorporate one offering in Hindi in every issue. In the current issue, in a piece titled हृदय में ज्ञान का दीप मौन में ही जलता है, Dimple Chhabra reflects on the need to cultivate a deep inner silence if we aspire to grow in deeper knowledge and get closer to the Divine.

We are also happy to feature a thought-provoking and timely article submitted by two young authors. Anshika Agrawal and Kaushik Reddy caution us about the perpetual noise of social media and its power to make us forget the value of silent reflection. They urge us to seek answer to a crucial question of our time: how to be human in the age of social media.

We shall further explore this theme of Silence and Solitude in our next month’s issue. Till then, we hope our readers will enjoy going through the present offerings.

As always, we offer this work at the lotus feet of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

In gratitude,

Beloo Mehra (for Renaissance Editorial Team)

~ Design: Beloo Mehra

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