Mar 20, 2023
Mar 20, 2023
Silence is all by Maharshi Aurobindo is one of the lyrical poems written by him wherein the poet seer has tried to comprehend what it is silence, what it the value of silence. The poem has been excerpted from his Collected Poems containing ‘Lyrical Poems from Manuscripts Circa 1934 – 1947’ section. We do not know who has striven to collect the uncollected. Whatever be that, the poem as a song reminds us of Alexander Pope’s Ode on Solitude.
It is mauna vrata which he admires it here or shantih which is but benedictory and blissful. Sages like to impose upon maun vrata, which but means, they will not like to talk or answer and if they, will just hint towards. Speeches and sounds exhaust the energies and sometimes we need to speak less.
Silence is all, sages say it. Silence composes things. Silence watches the work of the ages. In the book of Silence, the Cosmic Scribe has written his pages.
What is it in a word? O speaker, say you! What is it in thought, O thinker think and reply you! Thought is the wine of the soul and word the beaker. Life is perhaps the name of a banquet-table and the soul of the sage the drinker.
There is something of Victor Hugo Morning Serenade in it. There is something of Wordsworth’s By the Sea.
Silence is all, the sages say it, the good words of sages have revealed it so far. If one takes to one’s own counsel, one will come tom feel it.
The poet has used the figurative language which we find in the image of the Cosmic Scribe and he seems to be taking a note of or scribbling or entering into the Book of Silence. Nature is always so; so wild, tameless and free. Silence is needed for the peace of mind, peace of soul. Calm composure is also needed for the heart.
Wisdom’s portal too turns out to be a fiasco. What more to learn it from? But Light is what he expects to get. Light is the essence of life. It is beyond thought.
The poet-seer keeps sitting for Light to flash and the Word Immortal to break upon. Does he hint towards Divine Dhvani, Vani, Akshara, Akshara-bodh, Buddhi, Buddhi-vikas, Gnan, Anubhava and Anubhuti?
Silence is needed for consent, for peace of mind, for meditational bliss. If the things keep disturbing, how will one accomplish, how will one reach the pedestal?
Where from the words come out? From what depths and valleys of silence? Where do the sounds echo from? Dhvani and vani all emanate from there.
There is no title in the manuscript as suggested or given by the poet.
Silence is all
Silence is all, say the sages.
Silence watches the work of the ages;
In the book of Silence the cosmic Scribe has written his cosmic pages:
Silence is all, say the sages.
What then of the word, O speaker?
What then of the thought, O thinker?
Thought is the wine of the soul and the word is the beaker;
Life is the banquet-table as the soul of the sage is the drinker.
What of the wine, O mortal?
I am drunk with the wine as I sit at Wisdom’s portal,
Waiting for the Light beyond thought and the Word immortal.
Long I sit in vain at Wisdom’s portal.
How shalt thou know the Word when it comes, O seeker?
How shalt thou know the Light when it breaks, O witness?
I shall hear the voice of the God within me and grow wiser and meeker;
I shall be the tree that takes in the light as its food, I shall drink its nectar of sweetness.
What is that in wine, mortal man’s wine? He is already drunk, drunk with the sura and somrasa of the Immortal, Vedic people’s wine, the rishi’s wine. Where that Immortal Sura, Somrasa? He will drink that to be drunk.
How will you know the word when it comes? How will you the light when it comes breaking? He will hear the voice of God within him and will grow wiser and meeker. He will grow like a tree nourished by light which is but in some way food of it. As a man cannot grow without light so is man. One needs light to grow. Light is essential for growth and development.
How will you know the Word? Whose Word does the poet mean to say it? Where from does it come to? Who the seeker? The poet as a seeker after truth? To be one with Nature, the spirit of Nature is the thing that he seems to express it through the lines.
The Divine Silence, the Divine Word, the Divine Word, he discusses them in this poem. How to wait for the break of the Dhvani, Om, how to wait for the Vani to come to? Cosmic reflection and harmony he seems to corroborate them in this poem.
The poem is a study in solitude, quietude, silence, not about mesmerizing, bewitching silence haunting us, not at all about eerie silence, but is a meditation on it, how silence prevails upon. It is neither about a tantrica sitting with a skull or the skull found on the sea beach adjacent to the Puri temple in Mahapatra’s Dawn at Puri nor about Eliot chanting shantih mantras at the end of The Waste Land like an English purohita. It is also not about Mare’s The Listeners where the imaginary rider horse-rides to a haunted house of a wooded tract, knocking at the door, but the listeners saying it not under a moonlit night. God knows who the residents and who the rider going to knock at an undisclosed destination and how the horse of his and also how the writer of the poem. Charles Lamb’s Dream Children is so with the apparitions going up and down the stairs of the lonely great house with the sole care-taker and the busts of the Roman emperors decorating it bewitching indeed to see.
Silence is so full of Divine Raagas. Silence is a silence of the mind and the soul. Silence is a waiting for Light to bedazzle and flash upon and Light can galvanize where Thought and Idea cannot. A mind can rise in silence. A mind can compose in silence. Only in silence the self can be taken into confidence and our existence can be felt.
Aurobindo’s Revelation and Transformation too are the poems of such a sort, but there the mystical element is strong in, the Nature Spirit is not easily to be followed and there is something bewitching about.
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More by : Bijay Kant Dubey