Some time back I wrote a blog/article in which I briefly described the NYEPI day, the annual silence day of Bali island in Indonesia.
I did not mention, did not remember, that there is also an annual silence day in the traditions of India. It is called Mauni Amavasya. Mauni means 'of or for silence', and amavasya means 'no-moon day.'
It occurs on the no-moon day of the Maagha month in the Hindu calendar when sun and moon are both supposed to enter the sign of Capricorn (makara rashi).
It is held in the tradition as the day when Manu, the Archetypal Man first appeared on earth; he wedded Shata-roopa (She of a Hundred Beautiful Forms) and generated humankind.
This year it falls on 10th February by the western calendar.
It is also part of the grand kumbh mela and thirty million people are expected to take the holy immersion on that day at the sangam (meeting place of three holy rivers) in Allahabad.
Whether you accept the story or Manu or not, we do need to institute a day of silence every year.
On the other hand, if you prefer to be true to some western tradition you may research if there was a day sacred to Harpokrates, the Greek god of silence whose statues have been found as far away as the Gandhara country (present day Afghanistan). Harpokrates was derived from the Egyptian god Harpa-khruti, the child Horus, representing the daily new born sun, the source of light.
Of course, there is an amplitude of Christian saints who have taught silence and there are numerous monasteries of various orders dedicated to silence.
As I enter the five-year vow silence, I would like many of my friends to set aside at least one day to share the silence with me just as you have shared the full moon day for an hour each month for more than a decade now.
So, please note:
2013 the day of mauni amavasya is now on 10th February.
2014 the day will be on 30th January.
If you plan from now, you can arrange your worldly affairs in such a way that they do not interfere with your one-day vow of silence.
On that day, no driving (except for emergencies), no TV, no conversation, just self-observation, contemplation, japa and learning (1) to give love in silence while (2) learning to love silence.
May I ask all our swamis, initiators, spiritual advisers, teachers, centre leaders to kindly popularize this concept and take this year to prepare the people to undertake this one-day vow of silence.
Swami Veda Bharati