Silence can be of body, speech or mind. As physical silence is called stillness, we generally associate silence with speech or mind. Of these the popular association is with speech. Silence of speech is practised more as a vrata, mouna vrata. In mouna vrata also, one keeps the mouth shut but does not stay still and the mind also keeps its chattering and wandering. The silence, I am referring to is the silence of the mind, the inner stillness, which is also referred to as mano-nasa, the destruction of the mind. Here the mind is not destroyed but only quietened with the thought process of the mind arrested. This state can be achieved only when there is total silence, silence of body, mind and speech.
Our mind being a product of the satva component of the pancha bhuthas i.e. space, air, fire, earth and water, which by themselves are insentient, is also insentient by itself. It is made sentient by the pure Consciousness, called Chaitanyam that the mind manifests through its reflection in the mind, called Chidabasa. So in every thought experience called Vritti, Chaitanyam is associated. One Chaitanyam associated with numerous thoughts is symbolically represented as Rasa Krida. Krida stands for the coming and going of thoughts and Rasa stands for Anandha, that is Chaitanyam, which is Sat, Chit, Anandha. Rasa Krida is the figurative interplay of thoughts with Chaitanyam, which is one and changeless. Normally we are experiencing Chaitanyam with Vritti in all our thought experiences. When the mind is silent, it is thought free and we are experiencing the Chaitanyam only and so the peace and happiness experienced in the moment of inner stillness is the peace and happiness associated with Chaitanyam.
In Kenopanishad this is explained beautifully by the fit student first and later the guru explains it to the mediocre student. In the second verse of chapter 2, the student states as a reply to guru’s question, “I do not think, ’I know It well’, Not that I do not know; I know too.” The student cannot know it well because Chaitanyam cannot be known as an object or as a concept. But at the same time he cannot also say he does not know because it is part of his thought experiences. Thereafter the teacher explains this to the mediocre student in Mantra 4, with the oft-quoted statement. “प्रतिबोधविदितं मतम्”.
Here the teacher again explains to the mediocre student that Chaitanyam is associated with every thought modification of the mind. Every experience we have has a variable component, thought and a non-variable component, Chaitanyam, the pure consciousness principle. One registers only the thought and not the Chaitanyam. To see an object one not only needs good eyes but also a source of light to illumine the object. For even if one has good vision, one cannot see the object if there is no light and it is totally dark. But when we see an object, our mind registers the object only and not the light pervading it which makes it possible for us to see the object. This you can experiment, while walking in the daytime. The mind registers the objects only and not the sunlight that makes it possible for us to see the objects. Even if there is nothing to notice, the emptiness also is revealed by the light only. In the same way not only the thought but also absence of thought is revealed by Chaitanyam. So in the moment of inner stillness, when thought is absent we have the experience of the revealing Chaitanyam and this explains the deep peace and serene happiness enjoyed at the time of inner stillness.
When mind is silent there is total silence i.e. silence of body and speech as well. And the inner stillness experienced then is the experience of Chaitanyam, which is our Real Self. This is conveyed by Mandukya Upanishad as well through Mantras 7 and 12. Mantra 7 describes Turiyam, which is Athma and Mantra 12 describes Amatra, the state of silence, and both have identical descriptions. For as we have seen earlier, it is Chaitanyam that illuminates the chatter of mind as well as the silence of mind. So this inner stillness is Athma that is Brahman, the Cosmic Supreme. So if you meditate on ‘Om Namasivaya’ or on ‘Om Namo Narayana” or some similar Mantra, slowly spelling out the words mentally, concentrating on the silence in between words and lengthening the period of silence as meditation progresses, then you are meditating on Silence, your inner Real Self.
This is the concept Wayne Dyer employs in his Gap Meditation, through which he says one can have conscious contact with God. This inner stillness, Eckhart Tolle equates with ‘Now’, the container; the events that take place at any time being only the contents. So in his book “Stillness Speaks”, Eckhart Tolle states “When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself ----- This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form. Stillness is your essential nature” and goes on to equate the stillness with Awareness which is Chaitanyam. From this we can see that what Lord Dakshinamurthy does, is not teaching in silence but teaching ‘Silence’, that is one’s Real Self.