‘Bahya’ means the outside, and the contrary is the ‘antar’, meaning the inner. Additionally, ‘mounam’ is the serene silent state and ‘mathanam’ is the turbulence experienced. The seekers often resort to external silence and attempt to focus concentration the inner way. We have number of guiding lights in the recent century or more who had resorted to physical silence, especially after number of years of teaching and guiding. These names are familiar to the seekers. The question arises is the divinity experienced person why resorts to the physical silence and especially when they have huge experience to share and ‘make others like them’ akin to ‘lamp lighting another lamp’.
Years of teaching and prevailing about the necessity of rising above the physical world’s chains and mental bondages may not sound palatable to the followers is one possibility. Simple exhortation to focus on ‘who am I’ or who is trying to observe may not strike positive chord with the followers. A statement that is immensely profound that the ‘seer is trying to see the seer’ is difficult. Insights are difficult to be transferred or even transmitted. The insight should come from one’s ‘in’ and ‘experienced’ by the seeker. The seeker shall be shown the direction and the right path to pursue, but the actual ‘walking’ must to be done by the seeker only.
From the seeker’s perspective, there is a huge ‘antar mathanam’, inner turbulence. This could be because of various pulls and pressures due to the embeddedness in this material world. Not many can ‘break free’ and pursue one’s path, not bothered about their connections. Even the next meal may not be a certainty and body facing the heat and dust challenges of the weather and withering away must be internalised.
External silence helps one from further getting enmeshed. This helps one in atleast partially withdrawing oneself and focus on the ‘goal’. Minimising the distractions help may be the answer. But the ultimate state comes when the inner turbulence just settles down, one is not perturbed, or even distracted by happenings. Then, serenity seems to be the state everywhere. After the long journey, the pursuit stops. Journey became the goal. There is serenity after the chaos. One becomes the melody of life.
Prof S Ainavolu is a Mumbai-based teacher of tradition and management. Views are personal. www.ainavolu.in/blog