October 27, 2011

On a mailing list to which I belong, the subject of silence came up….the list is of people who have studied at IIM, Ahmedabad and the architect of the campus, Louis Kahn, was a man who understood silence:

As Vasu mentioned it in his email:

“I was reading about a book about silence and the author mentioned Kahn as an architect who understood silence.

He went on to talk about how he has moved to a remote location in Ohio, where one would expect a rural silence…and yet, the sound of the lawn-mowers every weekend makes a huge racket!

Silence is something worth reflecting on. Especially in India (whether rural or urban), silence is something one very rarely finds. Civilization seems to be accompanied by noise, chatter and sounds….perhaps one of the reasons why I like going into the forests of my country is the prevailing silence,which is still relative, because the jungle has its own sounds!

Our places of worship and meditation usually are places of silence. It is, perhaps, in silence, that one can look into one’s soul, introspect, and conduct a spiritual journey. One may not miss the lack of silence, but surely, it will tell on one’s mind and thoughts…quite apart from damaging one’s hearing, noise can be deeply disturbing to the pysche.

One of the most haunting songs I know is “Sound of Silence” from the movie “The Graduate”….and in singing that song, the silence is broken, what an irony!

Silence is the still pool of reflection in which we can see into our souls. As I begin a process of introspection to try and solve my problems, I muse on silence…as the firecrackers burst in quick crescendo, and I wonder how much further each succeeding generation of humanity must go in search of the simple, calming aid that silence is.

We may complain about noise, but for many of us, a total lack of sounds could actually be traumatic; lack of noise equals lack of activity, and as D’s dad said, we are human doings, not human beings. We find it difficult to handle silence…perhaps because, to us, silence reminds us of that eternal silence that awaits us beyond life.

But this is, surely, not true….silence is the music of the soul, and every one of us, at some point or another, seeks a silent place in which to realize, confront, comfort,and resolve ourselves.