Devotee: What is mouna (silence)?
Maharshi: Mouna is not closing the mouth. It is eternal speech.
D: I do not understand.
M: That state which transcends speech and thought is mouna.
D: How to achieve it?
M: Hold some concept firmly and trace it back. By such concentration silence results. When practice becomes natural it will end in silence. Meditation without mental activity is silence. Subjugation of the mind is meditation. Deep meditation is eternal speech.
D: How will worldly transaction go on if one observes silence?
M: When women walk with water pots on their heads and chat with their companions they remain very careful, their thoughts concentrated on the loads on their heads. Similarly when a sage engages in activities, these do not disturb him because his mind abides in Brahman.
Shri Ramana Maharshi
from: Talkes with Shri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 231.