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It is said that a Sadhu/Sanyasi can be of two kinds viz:

1) Vakta - One who communicates with the world through speech.

2) Mauni - One who does not speak and keeps silence.

O dear Parvati, listen to me. There are two classes of knowers of Truth. They are (1) The Mauni and (2) The Vakta. No benefit accrues from the Mauni to any person. (Guru Gita)

My Questions -

A) Why does a Sanyasi choose to become Mauni? What purpose is served? Does becoming Mauni help in his path of sadhana in any way? Or is it just a matter of personal choice?

B) At what stage of spiritual advancement a Sadhu usually turns Mauni?

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    Some sadhus might be doing this as part of "Vow or Vrata" (मौन व्रत) also , to express their devotion towards perticular deity. It's believed that silence gives us power and helps us in better understanding of this World , increase our strength , mental ability , patient which is required in Adhytma आध्यत्म Or spiritual path. Sep 30, 2016 at 12:08
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    The Ramakrishna Order Swami Swahananda once told me that an aspirant may become silent in order to conserve his spiritual energy needed to pierce the chakras. Sep 30, 2016 at 14:08
  • @SwiftPushkar No i was not talking about the Mauna Vrata.i felt only saints who are realised go silent because of their inability to describe what they have realised to others.This part is touched in the answer below.@Pradip is also giving us a good reason that sadhaka has to keep silent.
    – Rickross
    Sep 30, 2016 at 15:54
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    @Rickross - Yes , it's more like a general comment. And not much related to answer or adressing issue as such. Just expressed my views.:) Sep 30, 2016 at 16:00

2 Answers 2

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What the Guru Gita is saying should be taken more as a guideline for aspirants rather than as a test or a guideline to an aspirant's advancement. There is no stage at which an aspirant turns a Mauni. I have personally met a few sadhus who kept complete silence at all times. Have met several who have kept a vow of not speaking one day a week. Some have been very advanced sadhus, others were beginners.

The purpose of silence is austerity, control of the mind by controlling the tongue. When one is silent, one tries to be the Witness to Maya rather being a player within Maya.

Krishna says in the Gita (17.15) (Swami Nikhilananda translator):

Words that do not give offense and that are truthful, pleasant, and beneficial, and also the recitation of the Vedas--these are said to be the austerity of speech.

And Krishna says further in Gita (18.52) (Swami Gambhirananda translator):

One who resorts to solitude, eats sparingly, has speech, body, and mind under control, to whom meditation and concentration are ever the highest (duty), and who is possessed of dispassion;

And Sankara says in his work Aparoksanubhuti (108-109) (Swami Vimuktananda translator):

Who can describe That (i.e. Brahman) whence words turn away? (So silence is inevitable while describing Brahman). Or if the phenomenal world were to be described, even that is beyond words. This, to give an alternative definition, may also be termed silence known among the sages as congenital (inseparable from Brahman). The observance of silence by restraining speech, on the other hand, is ordained by the teachers of Brahman for the ignorant.

A good reference for the what the duties of an aspiring sannyasin are and what the characteristics of a knower of Brahman are is the Paramahamsa Upanishad.

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In KulArnava Tantram Lord Shiva says that Japa Yajna is the best form of Yajna.And in the 9th chapter of the same book he says that silence is the greatest form of Japa.

So,it becomes quite clear why some Sannyasis and Yogis chose to remain silent.

Akriyaiba ParA PujA Maunmeva Paro Japah|| Achintaiva Param DhyAnamanicchaiva Parama Phalam ||

Akriya is the best Puja ,Silence is the best Japa,Achintha (the state of thoughtlessness) is the best Dhyana,and desirelessness(AnicchA ) is the best fruit.

KulArnva Tantram,Chapter 9,Verse 38.

Now,the "Akriya" in the above verse should not be interpreted as "actionlessness". It indicates internal mode of worship more than anything else.

And,it is also a fact that,after a certain stage a Yogi does Sandhya without water,Puja without upacharas etc.

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  • What does Akriya mean? No work?
    – The Destroyer
    Feb 12, 2017 at 16:50
  • @TheDestroyer No .Kriya here does not mean work..it means rituals..So,Akriya refers to puja without rituals..The 9th chapter deals with Yoga,the Yogis and Yogiswaras..It becomes clear upon reading it that internal mode of worship is not everyone but only for those Yogis who are quite advanced..
    – Rickross
    Feb 13, 2017 at 5:27

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