Sri Sathya Sai On: The Three Kinds of Silent Penance

Sri Sathya Sai Speaks at the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus Auditorium
In ancient times, Bharatiyas lived a life of morality and integrity and enjoyed peace and happiness. Students today, disregarding morality and their obligations to society, go astray and ruin their lives. Bharatiyas have forgotten the essentials of their culture, based on morality and integrity. They cast away their great scriptural texts as trash. Western nations took these texts, learnt the profound truths contained in them and developed their technical and military skills and sought to give them back to Bharatiyas. The weapons developed in Germany were based on the texts of the Atharvana Veda.

Bharatiyas today are cultivating a passion for exotic things, ignoring what is good in their own heritage. Students should strive to understand what is great in their own Bharatiya culture and heritage. Ignoring their own cultural greatness, they are going abroad to earn money as an end in itself. No doubt money is necessary, but, is it necessary to go abroad for this purpose? This cannot be the true aim of education. Students should recognise the truth of the saying, “Mother and Motherland are greater than heaven itself”. One who does not believe in this cannot be called a truly educated person. Making use of the education acquired by you, you should serve your country in such a way that it stands out as an example to the world. What perversity is it to neglect your own house and try to beautify your neigbour’s house?
Students today are losing their love for the motherland. The one who cannot proclaim, “This is my native land, this is my mother tongue”, is a living corpse. He is no human being at all. People are giving up love for the motherland and fostering greed for money.

From ancient times, Bharat has held forth to the world great ideals. Spreading the message of spirituality to many countries, Bharat proclaimed the message - ‘Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu’ (May all people be happy). Bharat never permitted the concept of selfishness to prevail. Selfless unity was the message proclaimed in the Vedas – “Let us live together; let us grow together. Let us share our knowledge with others, let us live in harmony and friendliness”. Today in Bharat, there is no spirit of harmony.

In ancient India, students, together with secular knowledge, sought spiritual knowledge, regardless of the sacrifices involved, and led purposeful lives. They conducted many investigations to comprehend the mysteries of creation and the secret of human existence. All experiments today are based on Yantras (mechanical devices). But in the olden days, they conducted the enquires with the help of Mantras. The truths which they discovered, they proclaimed to the world in strident terms.

Three Kinds of Silence

It is the duty of Bharatiyas today to learn something about the great spiritual heritage of Bharat. The ancients practiced economy in speech. Students today tend to be loquacious. Excessive speech harms the mind. ‘Less speech, more happiness’. The ancients practised three kinds of silent penance to control speech. The first was ­Vaak-Mounam (silence of the tongue), the second one was Mano-Mounam (silence of the mind) and the third was Maha-Mounam (supreme silence).

Vaak-Mounam (silence in speech) means confining one’s speech to the limit and the needs of the occasion. By this discipline, excessive talk was avoided. As a result, the power of their speech was conserved and enhanced. Discipline in speech also resulted in truthfulness. Truth-speaking served to purify their thoughts. By this means they acquired Jnanasiddhi (acquisition of the highest wisdom). Therefore purity in speech is vital. It has to be achieved by restraint in speech.

Then, there is Mano-Mounam (silence of the mind). The mind is a bundle of thoughts and fancies. These thoughts have to be reduced gradually. When thoughts are reduced, the mind naturally comes under control, like a clock that is unwound. When the activity of the mind is reduced, the power of the Atma manifests itself. As a consequence, Buddhi (intellect) becomes more active than the senses. When control of speech and control of the mind have been achieved, the state of Maha-Mounam (supreme silence) is easily realised. 
Sri Sathya Sai with Students in the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Students should strive to reach the third stage by the disciplines of the first two stages.

Source: The Pathway to Peace, Discourse 23, My Dear Students - Volume 2; Discourse delivered on February 3, 1994 at the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus Auditorium


  1. swami`s miracles is his omnipresence ....
    his teachinngs are being brought to the world in all its grandeur by the Sathya sai students ..... the real and legacy of our beloved sai.

    so loving and with sai love continue to share sai`s bliss with us... thanks dear students ....

  2. There is no doubt that Our Beloved Swami's Teachings to the students and rest of us is very essential to our life to progress in right direction. We are fortunate to have students who share their unique experiences with us. Thanks Swami's students for propagating Swami's teachings all over the world.


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