When asked about the characteristics of a jnani, Bhagavan said, “They are described in books, such as the Bhagavad Gita, but we must bear in mind that the jnani’s state is one which transcends the mind. It cannot be described by the mind. Only Silence can correctly describe this state and its characteristics. Silence is more effective than speech. From Silence came the ego, from the ego came thought, and from thought came speech. So if speech is effective, how much more effective must be its original source!” Then, in this connection, Sri Bhagavan related the following story.
Tattvaraya composed a bharani (a kind of poetic composition in Tamil) in honour of his Guru Swarupananda. He convened an assembly of learned pandits to hear the work and assess its value. The pandits raised the objection that a bharani was only composed in honour of great heroes capable of killing a thousand elephants. And that it was not expected to compose such a work in honour of an ascetic. Thereupon the author said, “Let us all go to my guru and we shall have this matter settled there.”
They went to the guru. After all had taken their seats, the author told his guru the purpose of their coming there. The guru sat silent and all the others also remained in mauna. The whole day passed, night came, and some more days and nights, and yet all sat there silently. No thought at all occurring to any of them and nobody asked why they had come there. After three or four days like this, the guru moved his mind a bit, and thereupon the assembly regained their thought activity. They then declared, “Conquering a thousand elephants is nothing compared to the guru’s power to conquer the rutting elephants of all our egos put together. So certainly he deserves the bharani in his honour!”
Source: Stories by Ramana Maharishi