When I joined my medical college at Sevagram, my first encounter with ‘silence’ was with Acharya Vinoba Bhave who was observing one year silence. During this period, he was participating in all activities but not speaking.

My second encounter was when I heard about Vipasana meditation where people are made to observe silence for ten days with no communication with the outer world. Same times of retreats I came across being organized by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Dr. Deepak Chopra across the world.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi also used to go into silence for one month before his birthday. Now we have seen Anna Hazare going the Vinoba Bhave way and observing silence over a period of time for self purification.

In his Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Dr. Deepak Chopra also recommends observing a silence for ½ an hour every day.

There is a difference between observing silence and Vipasana Meditation. When you are observing silence but doing your usual activities like reading and watching TV, communicating in written language, you are not in meditation phase but still you follow the principles of Buddha’s laws of speech that is to speak only if it is necessary based on truthfulness and kindness.

There are two types of communications “Violent” and “Non-violent”. In meditative silence, you are in a phase of non-violence in your communication with the outer world. In non-meditative silence, you can still have violence in your facial expressions but when you communicate in writing, you invariably go from a violent to non-violent mode of communication. Your turmoil of thoughts is less; you shift from sympathetic mode to parasympathetic mode. It also shifts your stress levels.

In a normal conversation, the speech is from the mind but when you are communicating in writing, you think before you speak.

When you are not speaking but expressing through your emotions, your communication is violent; your respiratory rate will increase.

In both, when you observing silence over a period of time or when you are doing meditative silence, you go into the yogic state of Ritam Bhara and Pragya where you are in connection with the macrocosm. This increases your creativity and spiritual powers.

By observing silence, you have an appointment with your body in parasympathetic state and are able to take more conscious based decisions than impulsive ego based decisions.

In silence, you may be communicating to others but in meditative silence, your communication is with self.