Meditation: Antar Mouna (Stage 5)

Amuni is described in the yogic scriptures as a person who has attained the state of inner silence. He is a wise man who has explored the depths of his being. He has made his mind perfectly silent so that it becomes an untarnished reflector of consciousness. His mind has been harmonized and harnessed so that it becomes the key to higher consciousness. This is the boon of a silent mind. In order induce inner silence many sincere sadhakas practise mouna – a vow of silence. They reduce interaction with external events.

It can be practised in the form of anusthana (for a fixed period of time) for a day, a week, a year or even a lifetime. During mouna, perception and interrelation with the outside world are reduced to the bare minimum or even cut off completely. Generally it is practised in the from of no speaking while carrying on normal life. Sometimes a sadhaka will retire to a cave or room for a few years and totally cut off contact with society and other people. This induces perception of the mind processes.

We do not suggest that you go to a cave, since this will probably cause more harm than good. Nor do we suggest that you practise mouna as a permanent part of your lifestyle; it is too difficult to work and cany out one’s responsibilities without speaking. But we dostrongly advise you to practise mouna occasionally – perhaps for a day or so. This will help you to calm the mind and become more aware of the inner realms. Also it will make you aware of how much energy each of us wastes in talking too much. Tell your family and friends beforehand so that they know your intentions; if you do not then they may think you have lost your voice or have gone a little crazy through too many yoga practices! The best time to practise is at weekends.

Many people who practise antar mouna find that in the beginning a lot of strong negative emotions and thoughts (samskaras) arise. Because they occur so intensely and rapidly more slowly, therefore we suggest that you practise for no more than a day or so at first. The duration of mouna can be increased as your mind becomes more harmonized.

During the practice of mouna, besides not speaking, you should try to become indifferent to and unaffected by external activities. Try to be detached and feel as though you are alone – ekaki (by oneself). If you stop talking but still remain avidly concerned with the outer world then you will gain little from the practice. Your interaction with the world will merely flow out through the sense organs of eyes, ears, etc., instead of the mouth. You will remain as extroverted as ever. Therefore, try to remain detached from things around you. In this manner, mouna will help you to become more aware of what is happening in your mind. This is essential on the path of self-knowledge.

The practice of mouna that we have just described briefly is concerned with inducing prolonged inner silence. The practice of antarmouna that we have been describing is concerned with inducing the same state, but it is practised for shorter periods of time.

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