Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Mouna means to measure. Mouna is not silence. It means measurement. When you speak, speak measured speech. When you think, think measured thoughts. You have to measure everything, and to measure, you have to be silent for some time.

Christ measured himself for forty days and then the devil came, yet that measurement, that mouna of Christ was absolute, passionless, desireless, thoughtless, just absorbed in contemplation. Our mouna is more geared to speech as we don’t know any other definition of it, or any other way to practise it. Mouna is a way of stilling the activity of the senses and the mind. When you are able to still the activities of the senses and mind, the mind becomes empty and the heart becomes full.

There is a new word in the west – mindfulness. According to yoga, yogic training and any spiritual tradition, be it Buddhist or Indian, the mind has to be emptied and not filled. No spiritual tradition speaks of mindfulness, but of mind emptiness and heart-fullness. In mindfulness and heart-emptiness, there is no bhava, no sentiment, no feeling, no emotion, no sensitivity – nothing; and the mind is just cluttered because it is full.

Mouna or silence leads to mind emptiness, and when the mind is empty, the heart is filled with the luminosity of spirit. Before the luminosity can become absolute, the baddies, the negatives, become nervous and try to entice you. It happened to Buddha and it happens to all of us every day. Nobody here is free from enticement. Buddha and Christ were free. They were living the state of mouna, the silence where their senses and mind were in absolute peace and harmony.

The process begins with speech and when speech is conquered then thoughts are conquered. When thoughts are conquered, then you will conquer the next and the next . . . There is a progression. To still the senses and the mind, you need to empty the mind and fill the heart. We should keep that as our target. Let us welcome the New Year with hope and faith. Let us derive the learnings from the year that has gone by and say farewell to it with love in the heart, for due to the experience of the last year, we are what we are today.

31 December 2019, Ganga Darshan