The mind can lead us to God. But it can also lead us in every path except the one that leads to God. And so it is mastery of the mind that is the first step in spiritual evolution.
But control of the mind is not easy to attain. Even when we try our best to focus the mind on God, we find that it refuses to remain focused.
The attractions of the world are so many that one is easily distracted. We are constantly hearing and seeing things that have nothing to do with spirituality. How then can we concentrate on worship? Most of our chanting of shlokas is just mechanical, said D. Gnanasundaram in a discourse.
We do not pause to take in the meaning and significance of the shlokas and prayers we have learnt. We just routinely recite them and often in a hurry. It becomes more a duty than something we want to do.
One way to keep the mind under control is to speak less. We must not speak unless it is necessary to. Isn’t it speech that often leads to quarrels and misunderstanding? Moreover constant chatter is hardly conducive to meditation or reflection. That is why saints have stressed the importance of silence.
Saint Arunagirinatha says that Lord Shanmukha made him see the value of silence. Silence is important for the spiritual seeker, because only then can he absorb the higher truths. Silence leads to peace and God is the embodiment of peace. To reach the One who spells peace, we must observe silence.
For saints like Thayumanavar, silence became their gateway to God.
Silence helped them acquire spiritual knowledge. Thayumanavar, in fact, even describes Lord Siva as the Silent One.