I have a senior friend Dr Nand Lal Dhameja ji, an ex IIT Delhi Prof. He used to teach there long time back. I very rarely receive WhatsApp messages from him. But a few days back I got a beautiful message from him. It was in Hindi. "जो आपके शब्दों का मूल्य नहीं समझता उसके सामने मौन रहना ही बेहतर है. झूठे इंसानों की ऊंची आवाज सच्चे इंसानों को खामोश तो करा सकती है लेकिन सच्चे इंसानों की खामोशी, झूठे इंसानों की बुनियाद हिला देती है।" Wow! I was amazed. What a great quote! This means: “Those who do not understand the value of your words, it is better to remain silent in front of such people. The loud voice of liars may silence truthful people but remember the silence of the truthful people has the power to shake the foundations of liars.”
Beautiful quote! I don't know from where he got it. It is very true and very few people realise that silence has its own power that is sometimes many times more powerful than the words. It is also said that "Silence is Golden". Many times you feel that despite your best behavior and contribution in the department, one of your colleague or even your team leader is on the lookout to pounce upon you, the moment you utter something. Such people will twist your words or use a few words selectively and shall try their best to demean you and denounce you. Though most of the people in the department may see through the evil designs of such wrong doers but they also prefer to remain silent. Nobody wants to take panga with such notorious people. They prefer to remain silent believing that Silence is Golden. Probably your silence may be able to achieve the desired results many times.
Many times you may have observed that an individual who stands firm and solid in front of you without uttering a single word, can move you, intimidate you and even force you to introspect. It is quite possible that the effect of his strong silence may be profound and may force you to rethink about what you just said or did something. Sometimes when you want to extract some information from the other person and are not able to get the required information, a long pause of silence may trigger the other person to speak out, what you have been Waiting for.
Silence also becomes part of active listening. It indicates that you are contemplating about what the other party just said. It means that you are thinking. Sometimes you use silence to give respect to the other person about what he or she just said. During normal conversations, sometimes a spell of silence of even a couple of seconds looks very long and some people have the tendency to restart the conversation immediately. Experienced people have the knack and are comfortable even with longer spells of silence. Many times you ask a question and the other person is not in a position reply immediately. Maybe he is still thinking and needs few additional seconds to chose the correct verbalisation of his/her answer but you are not comfortable with this silence so you ask the next question. This way, the answer to the previous question remains unanswered.
Silence plays its beautiful role when you are bombarded with a lot of accusations which you feel are unreasonable and you do not deserve them while the other person continues to yell at you. This can happen in your office or college/ University or even at home. You may face this with your colleagues, batchmates, spouse, grown up children or even parents. In such situations, silence is the greatest remedy to sort out the problem. No amount of counter argument is going to lead you anywhere when the other party is determined to follow a particular narrative based on his/her mind conditioning. But a firm silence with neutral facial expression can be of great help. Remember that you shall not use even non verbal gestures also during this period of silence. Sometimes even if you are observing silence but your gesture may become counter productive.
Silence has played its role for all the great people, this world has produced over the ages. All great spiritual leaders like Shankara, Ramana, Gautam Buddha, Mahavira or Guru Nanak must have had very very long spells of silence leading to trance or Dhayana and then Samadhi which resulted into some great revealations and knowledge that they liberally passed on to the humanity. Even today, we have many advocates of meditation and there are various styles of meditation. Most of these techniques expect you to observe total silence during those periods of meditation. Vipasana is another very popular these days, where they make you remain silent for full three or ten days. Most of the people claim to have gained a lot after undergoing Vipasana.
So from today onwards, start practicing a bit more silence. You may start doing meditation too. You may become a Yogi or Mahatma or a modern spiritual leader; I don’t know. But definitely you will experience a great change, if you practice silence whenever you come across any troubled people at your office, society, among whatsApp groups, on the Facebook or even at home. You shall find, that your life will start changing for the better. It may happen that your silence may not be digested by the other party and he or she may become even more violent and his/her pitch and shrill may even go higher and higher for sometime. Have patience and continue to observe silence. I assure you, ultimately, the other party will also have to become silent for the time being even if it does not sober him/her down in the long run. A few encounters like this over a long term shall definitely improve the situation.