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75th Anniversary Celebration
of Gurudev's Arrival in Puri

Gurudev at Karar Ashram

Dear Divine Kriyavans,


During the month of February we will continue to follow in the footsteps of our beloved Gurudev, Shri Paramahamsa Hariharananda, as he followed his spiritual path at the Karar Ashram in Puri. For Brahmachari Rabinarayan, the years of 1938 to 1948 were dedicated for his spiritual sadhana. Gurudev often said, "Seclusion is the price of greatness"; and many of these years were spent in silence and seclusion.  


The masters are living examples for how to live our own lives, and in this email we will explore how we can use the disciplines of silence and seclusion to the benefit of our own practice and spiritual evolution.



This month we will explore how to use the disciplines of silence and seclusion to benefit our practice and our spiritual evolution.

Excerpt from River of Compassion


"Brahmachari Rabinarayan was making up his mind to take the vow of silence. Swami Sevanandaji tried to dissuade him from such an austere practice by describing how difficult it is. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that, "Among all the secret knowledge, I am the silence." Outer silence can be a little easier, but to stay inwardly silent is extremely difficult. In both outer and inner silence one can easily enter into the state of deep meditation, and this is what Brahmachari Rabinarayan wanted. Ultimately, the determination and will power of the young brahmachari impressed Swamiji, who finally granted his request.  


Rabinarayan remained in silence and seclusion, occasionally breaking the silence for a few minutes only in order to progress on the path of meditation and realization. In spite of his vow, he never neglected his participation in the ashram activities and gardening. During this period of silence (mauna), service (seva), and spiritual practice (sadhana), he received wonderful guidance from Swami Satyanandaji, Shrimat Bhupendranath Sanyal Mahasaya, Anandamoyee Ma, and many other spiritual personalities. Gradually, his meditation became deeper and more vibrant, his mind more and more absorbed in the superconscious and cosmic conscious states. He had a beautiful aura and peaceful countenance, with eyes radiating yogic brilliance....
During his period of silence, Brahmachari Rabinarayan occasionally came out to work in the garden. Rabinarayan's presence, even silent, thus enhanced the beauty and raised the spiritual vibrations of the ashram. True seekers and their spiritual practice are the forces that account for the divine atmosphere of an ashram."  




This excerpt from River of Compassion tells of how Brahmachari Rabinarayan was granted the opportunity to proceed with a life of silence and seclusion at the Karar Ashram, but it also speaks to both outer and inner silence.  


In meditation it is relatively easy to withdraw to a quiet spot or to insert ear plugs to achieve outer silence, but inner silence is more difficult and is what we need to enter the depths of who we really are.   


Want more? In an excerpt from Words of Wisdom, Gurudev talks of his period of seclusion, and how the decision to go into seclusion was received by others. He then relates his experience of giving an impromptu discourse several years later during a foundation day celebration of Karar Ashram in which several hundred devotees, disciples, and visitors came to hear him talk.  

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10, Verse 38 


dando damayatam asmi
nitir asmi jigisatam
maunam cai 'va 'smi guhyanam
j˝anam j˝anavatam aham

I am the power in the rulers. I am the wise policy for those who want victory.
Of all the secrets, I am silence. I am the wisdom of all knowers of wisdom.

maunam cai 'va 'smi guhyanam: "Of all the secrets, I am silence." Ordinary silence means not talking, but real silence is to be free from all thoughts - the state of inner tranquility. This state is perceived in paravastha during meditation. Mouna means gaining control over the tongue. The tongue always wants to speak. The more one talks, the more there is trouble. In Psalm 39:1, it says, "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin, I will put a muzzle on my mouth, as long as the wicked are in my presence." To maintain inner silence is the secret of all spiritual practice.

Baba Prajnananandaji also provides us commentary on this same verse in this excerpt from The Torah, the Bible and Kriya Yoga. He writes:

Silence helps a spiritual aspirant overcome difficulties in the world and in spiritual life. Silence is a golden attribute. In extreme silence, truth is revealed. It is crucial for a sincere seeker to maintain silence from time to time. Good company and contemplation cause rapid spiritual evolution. Silence brings forth inner strength and reinforces inner tranquility. Silence is the most sincere prayer. Deep communion with God is done in silence.

Speech is not spirituality. If a word is needed, it should be expressed with love and truthfulness. Proper understanding brings spiritual awakening. Speak slowly, sweetly, and divinely. Every word that comes out of the mouth should be a prayer to God.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10, Verse 38 addresses inner silence as a state of inner tranquility and God-communion. In his commentary, Gurudev also speaks of silence as the means to control our tongue and to, "Think hundred times before you speak."

Baba Prajnananandaji also provides us commentary on this same verse in this excerpt from The Torah, the Bible and Kriya Yoga.

Avoidance of quiet has become endemic to a whole way of life for people who pride themselves on keeping busy. Silence needs to be regulated into one's life and to flow like a secret river between one's soul and the outer expression of that soul.   
The Silence of the Mind  (from Daily Reflections) 


We need to focus our attention on the workings of our mind. Examine how it runs here and there, never standing still, and how it creates a continuous flow of unceasing thoughts. Eventually, our goal is to still that turbulent flow, focusing first on fewer and fewer thoughts, until we can keep our attention concentrated on only one thought. In meditation, we try to still the mind, bringing it from one thought to the complete cessation of thought. It is only in absolute silence that we can come to realize God.


Being outwardly silent helps us to bring our attention inward; from there we can begin to control the noise of the mind and explore the depths of who we really are. Baba Prajnananandaji explains about the silence of the mind in his book Daily Reflections

The purpose of silence is to expand individual consciousness so that the human being can be nourished from a deeper source. The source is always there. Without the silence, it is often difficult to hear what it has to say because outer voices are clamoring for attention and are much easier to hear.  

Paramahamsa Hariharananda said, "Silence your mind, emotions, thoughts, and worries. In still waters the reflection is clear, but in a disturbed lake nothing is visible. Still the lake of your mind with the practice of inner silence! This is meditation. This is the perception of oneness."
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