What is a silent mind?

Acharya Prashant
4 min readFeb 2, 2020

“Silence is of four kinds: silence of speech, silence of the eye, silence of the ear and silence of the mind.

Only the last is pure silence, and is the most important.”

~ Sri Raman Maharishi

Acharya Prashant: Silence of speech, silence of eye, silence of ear, and silence of mind.

All the silences that the Maharshi is talking of, come under one classical term, that is — uprati. ‘Rati’ means an attraction, a greed, a reaching out, an association with the external. ‘Uprati’ means returning to oneself, being contended in oneself, not being desperately or enthusiastically concerned with the outside.

So what is the quality of an eye that is not in uprati, that is not upram (detached)?

This eye will keep rolling, this eye will keep wandering. Have you seen wandering eyes? As if the eye is afflicted by lust, as if the eye wants to consume all the objects it is looking at, and hence wants to look at the maximum number of objects. The eye just cannot remain still. Needlessly, purposelessly, like a maniac, it is sometimes sitting on this object, then on that, then on that. And none of the objects that it sits on, satisfies it.

This is an eye that has gone crazy for the outside.

“Can I have a look at this?”

“What is there? I want to look at it.”

“What is hidden there? Show me!”

You are familiar with this eye, are you not? This eye is an eye that Maharshi would call as — ‘not a silent eye’.

Similarly, an ear — “What’s cooking here? What’s the latest gossip there? Who said that? Was that said about me? What is floating in the air these days?” This is a noisy ear. It wants to keep hearing. And if there is nothing to hear, it will keep hearing its own echoes. Hearing has become an obsession with it. It must keep getting its feed from outside. And if no feed arrives, it starts feeling starved.

And then, Maharshi says, “Real silence is silence of the mind.”

What is silence of the mind? Even if the eye does not look at a thousand things, still it will look at a few things. Alright, with the eye you have a particular facility. The facility is that you can close the eyes…