Om Shantih Shantih Shantih (The Soundless Sound: Peace Peace Peace)
The East has approached reality in an almost diametrically opposite way to the West. First, the simple meaning of the word should be understood, and then all the implications. All Eastern scriptures begin with OM, Shantih shantih shantih and they also end with the same.
OM is the symbol of the universal heartbeat; it is not a word. And as you come closer and closer to the universal heartbeat, the by-product is a deepening silence. Shantih means silence and it is always repeated three times because by the time you reach to the fourth, you are no more – just the silence has remained. You have disappeared as an entity separate from the universe.
The West has not been able to begin even a single scripture with this intention. It is understandable. They never went into the deeper communion between your heart and the bigger heart of the universe. They have taken a wrong route, that of fighting, that of conquering, that of being victorious. They have chosen to be extroverts. Their world is true, but they don’t know anything about themselves. The outside is true and the inside has not been explored.
THE BIBLE says, ”In the beginning was the word.” Now this can be said only by somebody who is absolutely ignorant, because the word means a sound with a meaning. These sounds made by the words are just sounds; you cannot call them words. The moment you say, ”In the beginning was the word,” unknowingly you have accepted that there is someone who gives meaning to it, but then the word is not in the beginning. In the beginning is one who gives meaning to the word. And THE BIBLE says, ”God was with the word.” Anyone who wrote it must have felt uneasy that the world should begin only with a word. Immediately he needed someone to give meaning to it; hence the second statement that God was with the word. If you look into things very impartially, deeply, you will be amazed how much they can reveal. Then he must have become aware to ask, ”Who is first? God or the word?”
The third sentence then tries to make a compromise. It says, ”God and the word were one.” Nobody in the whole Eastern search will agree with it. The East has not experienced the beginning because naturally you cannot see the beginning: you are already there, the beginning has happened. In your being you have preceded the beginning, so there is no possibility of any witness of the beginning. But there is a possibility to be a witness of the end.
The Eastern meditators found as they entered into their inner being, they are first surrounded with a tremendously beautiful and musical sound. It is not the sound of any music being played, it is simply the heartbeat of the universe. And once they come in tune with the heartbeat of the universe, silence descends. They would like to dance and declare to the world about silence, but they can only say three times, ”silence, silence, silence” – and they are melting and merging.Rather than their declaration of silence becoming louder, it is becoming more and more like a whisper and finally, they are not – but they have witnessed the end. Now, it is a logical conclusion that the end and the beginning cannot be different.
The seed grows into a tree, blossoms, brings fruits and again seeds. In existence everything moves in a circle, the earth, the moon, the sun, the faraway millions of stars... all move in a circle that meets at a point. The end and the beginning are the same. That’s why the Eastern scriptures begin with the declaration, Om – the sound of the soundless, the very music of the heart of the universe. And as they go deeper, silence becomes the only reality. They want to declare silence to the world, but nobody has been able to go beyond the third because each time they say silence, it becomes more of a whisper.
We are made of sound and silence.
Sound is our mind; silence is our being.
Sound is our trouble; silence is our liberation.