The Silent Retreat- Maun Sadhana

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There are instances when we feel vexed, frustrated, and out of sorts. But when you hurt – you don’t just internalize those feelings for yourself; you also inflict them upon others. A wise man once said know thyself, meaning not only knowing oneself intellectually or emotionally but feeling the truth about oneself internally.

To achieve this, Maun Sadhana was taught in India as a cure-all for all ills. This ancient practice helps us cleanse and free ourselves from mental strife which can be traced back to the root cause of suffering – which is ignorance. 

Step by step, the process leads to our highest spiritual goal: freedom from all emotional discomforts from ignorance.

Maun Sadhana involves a silent retreat and has the power to open our eyes to the fact that it is often our behavior that creates anguish in our lives. With this realization, we can then work towards liberating ourselves from these afflictions.

Chat on the Mat with Prasad Ragnekar addresses all the crucial factors and common doubts we all go through while engaging in Maun Sadhana.

About Prasad Rangnekar

Prasad Rangnekar, E-RYT500, is a Yoga Educator from India who teaches in over 15 countries for the past 26 years. 

Prasad’s Yoga education started at the age of 9, and over the last 36 years, he has been studying Yoga traditionally, in a lineage, as well as academically, in a university. Prasad regards meditative silence as his greatest teacher and goes into 3 month-long silence retreats every year.

As a transformation guide using Yogic mind-life management methods, he is regularly invited to speak at Indian Embassies, The European Commission, Yoga conventions, Schools, Corporate bodies, and Charity organizations. 

He has established close-knit student communities globally and is engaged in various social initiatives, especially through his ‘Women Yogis of India’ seminars that raise funds for women-focused charities. He conducts 200 & 300 Hour Teacher Training for a decade and also runs a student resource YouTube channel that has over 350 videos with hundreds of hours of free content.

Chat on the Mat with Prasad Ragnekar

hellomyyoga: What is Mauna Sadhana, the practice of Yogic silence?

Prasad: Mauna Sadhana is a practice of being silent to ultimately quieten the mind. Yogis have given tremendous importance to the practice of Mauna. The inner silence that Yogis talk about is not a lifeless vacuum. It’s an inexplicable resource teaming with untapped potential. When the mind becomes quiet, the potential of True-self shines through. 

That’s why even self-realized mystics are called ‘Mauni’, the one who has become quiet internally. Thus, as the Sanskrit proverb says, ‘Maunam sarvartham sadhayet’, silence accomplishes all.

hellommyoga: What is the significance of Mauna?

Prasad: Mauna is practiced in varying degrees by spiritual ascetics, aspirants, and householders in the Yogic tradition. Any inner, subtle practice in Yoga starts with an external, gross component. Thus, Mauna as a spiritual practice means consciously moving into a silent environment where one is not disturbed by external ‘noise’. 

The practice of Mauna gives us a conscious opportunity to step back and use the time and space for reflection and quieting the mind. Mauna is more of an attitude than a practice. It’s an attitude of being unshaken and undisturbed by external sensory impulses or internal mental processes.

hellomyyoga: How has Mauna Sadhana impacted your life?

Prasad: Can surely say – the sound of inner silence is the sweetest sound one can hear, and the embrace of inner solitude is the greatest comfort one can have. For me, silence is my friend, Silence is my teacher, and Silence is my guide. It has been a mirror that has helped me step back from my ego and look at life objectively. 

Silence has helped me deeply examine my self-talk and realize that one can distance oneself from it. Above all, Mauna (inner silence) has helped me recognize and experience that calm state of awareness that is behind all the superficial thought-based chaos. 

My time in Mauna has also helped me reflect and clarify my perception of self and the world, and figure out where I stand in the grand scheme of things.

hellomyyoga: Despite people beginning with Meditations at a young age, some are not left feeling fulfilled by the practice. Why might this be?

Prasad: One of the main reasons is that Meditation is not only a seated practice, meditation is a lifestyle. One can’t expect a silent mind just because one sits quietly in meditation posture if one lives a chaotic life. 

This is why in the Yogic texts meditation practice (abhyasa) always goes along with detachment (vairagya). Basically, what I want to say is, we should start looking at Meditation (dhyana) as a life transformation process and not merely as an activity.

hellomyyoga: Is there a right age to begin with the practice of silence? Is there any right approach to do this?

Prasad: I highly recommend the practice of Mauna and don’t think there is any specific age to begin its practice. If parents appreciate quietude, then the children too could get inspired by them. But I also recognize that many may not feel comfortable being silent. At times it could trigger a sense of loneliness. 

The practice of Mauna cannot be enforced. Any force will itself will disturb the natural movement of the mind toward inner silence. Somewhere, I feel, Mauna will happen naturally, on our own accord, when one reaches a natural state of contentment in life. Now, that could be difficult in our fast-paced, hyper-consumerist world.

Remember, the practice of Mauna is not an escape, neither it is about ‘taking a break’ from your responsibilities and duties nor it is about abandoning daily life due to anger or frustration. Mauna is about going in, only to come out stronger and clearer. 

But, as a practice, one could start by taking brief moments of pause in the day. I call these mini-silence breaks and highly recommend them to my students. Also, not talking with anyone, or just being by yourself for a few hours a day a week is also a good move towards a longer practice of Mauna. One has to steadily mature to being silent in the mind. Rushing or forcing would not help.

1 COMMENT

  1. Beautiful, i remember years back i use to stay silence for an hour but in laws didn’t like and I had to discontinue, but after reading this blog i am again inspired by Prasad guruji, and i am going to start mini silence (mauna) once again as times at home have changed everyone is very supportive. Such a beautiful Reminder. Thank you so much for this 🙏🙂.

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