PARAMAHAMSA SRI NITHYANANDA - Silence yourself, not others! IN THE olden days, people in India did not stitch clothes after sunset. This is because all stitching was done by hand with a needle. In the dim candle or kerosene lamp light it w$as not possible to see properly and one could get hurt by poking the fingers with needle. Even now in India, some people will not stitch with a needle after sunset. Even seamstresses and tailors will not do it, though we now have electricity and lights. They may not even stitch using machines! When we don’t have the necessary understanding of a practice, it becomes a dead rule, a superstition. With understanding, any rule can become a technique, a tool that helps us to lead life happily. With deep understanding, it will dawn upon us that all rules were basically created to help people live blissfully and happily. The rules were meant to ensure that you were in peace with yourself and the others around you. Today, we have forgotten the basis for these rules. We create hell for ourselves and others with these rules. There are people who truly believe that meditation and prayer will save their lives. They have been told so! They fuss a lot before they begin to meditate at home. They silence the children and all others around. They turn the whole household upside down. All for the sake of ten minutes of meditation! Let us see how the meditation proceeds. The moment meditation begins, they doze off! After a minute or two, they will start swatting mosquitoes. A couple of minutes later, a major itch manifests on some part of their body. Then, the back will begin to ache. Enough is enough, they decide, “I will continue this tomorrow. It is enough for today.” Meditation is done for the sake of peace and silence. Why meditate at all, if inner awareness cannot be created? It is like a speaker trying to silence the listeners by outshouting at them. Will it help? If the listener is not interested however much one shouts, it is of no use. You cannot silence your inner chatter by making others quiet. You need to become silent, not others. We follow rules and tradition blindly. That is why religion has such a powerful hold on us. Let us awaken to the powers that are within us! Nature has endowed us with unimaginable energy to be free. Be alert, awake and reach for this liberation!