The Voice of the Silence in the Brotherhood of Light Lessons

David Christopher Lane and Andrea Diem-Lane have produced an intriguing body of scholarship about a wide range of spiritual movements associated with shabd yoga, sound current meditation, and Sant Mat.  David’s new contribution is a small, readable, affordable summary of their research for a major international university press.  He was helpful to me with my SUNY Press books twice in the 1990s, assisting with my portions on Radhasoami for Initiates of Theosophical Masters and again for Edgar Cayce in Context as both had links to Sant Mat gurus. These quotes from his Conclusion section suggest why his book is relevant to readers of this blog:

Today listening to the inner sound current is a well-established practice across a number of religious movements, old and new. The technical aspects of shabd yoga are no longer an esoteric secret known to the privileged few. Shabd and nad yoga have a long tradition as we have seen dating back to the Vedic period in India, and they are now a transcultural phenomenon not restricted to any country or ethnicity. (p57)

It seems certain that shabd yoga meditation and its various iterations will continue to become more popular in the future, depending in part on the success of Ching Hai’s Quan Yin teachings, Radhasoami and its various branches, and the emergence of nonsectarian groups that promote listening to the inner sound without requiring initiation or following a guru. (p59)

The Brotherhood of Light Lessons include passages referring to the Voice of the Silence as that of conscience and choice between right and wrong, as cited in the previous blog post quoting from Astrological Signatures.  But other volumes use the phrase in different ways.  In The Sacred Tarot, the reference is likewise ethical rather than mystical:

Remember, then, son of earth, that before saying of a man that he is fortunate or unfortunate, thou must know the use to which he has put his will; for every man creates his life in the image of his works. The genius of good is at thy right and the genius of evil at thy left. Their voice can be heard only by the conscience. If the hierophant should appear in the prophetic signs of thy horoscope, retire into the sanctuary of thy heart, listen to the voice of the silence, and guided by it thou wilt reach the goal of thy aspirations. (p90)

But in Delineating the Horoscope, the emphasis is much more mystical:

GEMINI—1st Decanate. By means of a bear—URSA MINOR—whose restless activity and power suggest that of the mind, the ancients depicted the Mercury decanate of Gemini. And because the unconscious mind is not so obvious as the objective mind, this bear is small. So too, it travels about the sky backward. Thus must one direct his attention contrary to the trend of objective life to hear “the voice of the silence.” (p21)

Spiritual Alchemy uses the phrase to relate both to animal instinct and human intuition:

Usually man’s instincts are atrophied, but they may be cultivated to a high degree of usefulness and accuracy by listening to their promptings. Properly cultivated they are a better guide to action than reason. Because they are frequently accompanied by thought processes which may intrude into the objective mind in the form of words and sentences, in man instinct is often called THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE. It is the most obvious factor associated with SIMPLE CONSCIOUSNESS.(p93)

Because they have self-consciousness, and thus the power to reason, most persons permit the other forms of consciousness to atrophy. They so thoroughly rely upon the reports of the five physical senses, that they neither heed nor recognize the reports of the various psychic senses. They so completely rely upon the bringing together in objective consciousness of the reports of the physical senses that they take no cognizance of the bringing together of these reports in a more perfect mental process by the astral brain. Already this process has been mentioned in relation to instinct and the voice of the silence. It is the instinct of animals reinforced by the reason of man; but this reasoning draws its information from both planes of life, and because it takes place in the astral brain its processes are almost instantaneous. Such reasoning carried out by the astral brain and then brought up into the region of objective consciousness is a surer guide to action than the limited perceptions and ponderous process of the physical brain. It is called INTUITION.(p94)

Page numbers are from various editions.