One of the most unique features that distinguish human beings from the rest of the living beings on mother earth is their ability to communicate through sounds with the use of words. It is the words that form the most powerful medium of expression. God’s gift of words to mankind is just a medium to transfer his thought process to all born on this magnificent planet called earth.
The Vedas have always emphasized that the power of the word is unlimited that goes way beyond the infinite sky and the galaxies. However, you will be really surprised to know that there is something much more powerful, probably millions of times more with depths that seem to be fathomless…..its the sound of silence.
It was after years of meticulous ‘mauns’ (Observing Silent Fasts) I understood that the immense strength of silence comes from the fact that it is completely devoid of the burden of words. A silent fast is the cleanser of body, mind and soul. The sound of silence and its effects are galactic. The immediate effect can be seen in the thought process of the individual that increases multifold. Little that he knows that soon his creativity knows no bounds, his artistic inclination touches new heights, his reservoir of energy flows incessantly and slowly cleanses his body, mind and soul.
These silent fasts find their roots and origin in the ‘navtratras’ which means ‘shakti aradhana’ or the worship of power. Essentially there are four navratras in a year. Each has its own connotation and importance. In totality they account for 40 days in a year. Two of these are ‘Jaagrit’ or well known to the layman while the other two are ‘Gupt’ or closed and not to commonly known. They also have another meaning to it. During the ‘Gupt mauns’, the learned assimilate all their energies and meditate discretely towards enhancing them to be able to then utilize them for a better and higher cause for the needy. So, this is essentially a time to sow the seeds for greater energies and greater abilities to serve mankind.
The ‘Jaagrit mauns’ its time to reap what has already been sown in the ‘Gupt mauns’. The assimilated energies are now utilized to worship and for the betterment of the human race.
I would go into a maun on all the four navratras in a year, and after years of following that diligently now I do that twice a year.
Here is a little insight into the 4 Navratras that occur in a year
1. Chaitra Shukla Pratipada – Shukla Dashmi: This marks the beginning of the summer season and the new year (According to the Hindu lunar calendar). A ‘Jaagrit’ navratra by nature this Basantic Navratri is the second most popular navratra. Durga iAashaads worshipped in the form of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and is known as Shree.
2. Aashaad Shukla Pratipada – Shukla Dashmi: This navratri welcomes the ‘Varsha Ritu’ or the Rainy Season bringing a relief to the parched and dry earth that yearns for relief bringing about a sense of relief and joy all around. This is a discrete navratra.
3. Ashwani Shukla Pratipada – Shukla Dashmi: Also known as the Shardiya navratra, this is the most popular navratra which is celebrated all over India in vivid forms with differing connotations. This is the time for ‘maha puja’ when Durga is worshipped as Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kaali. It also stands to rid darkness and welcome the winter season and marks the harvest of the wheat crop.
4. Maagh Shukla Pratipada – Shukla Dashmi. This is the strongest and the most difficult of the navratras and is ‘Gupt’ or discrete in nature. Durga is worshipped as Ma Shaarde or Ma Saraswati, the Goddess of art and enlightenment. This navratra blossoms when the spring blossoms and there is love in the air. It is said that it is during this time that the Gods from the heaven descend to the earth to romance. I guess that is why valentines day is also celebrated around this time.
Having told you about all the navratras, this is almost the end of my maun on day one of this Chaitra navratra. The feeling and sound of silence has been overwhelming. Go on and experience the new high that a maun can make you feel, even if it is for a very short span of time, even an hour or two. You will be amazed with the healing touch of this sound of silence!