In this age of telecommunications— cell phones, email, fax, instant message, pagers, chat rooms, I'm reminded of another kind of communication that is rare in our warp-speed world. Here are three sacred communications from saints and sages that span 2500 years. I've been inspired by them during my spiritual journeys and wish to share them with my readers.

— Peter Y. Chou
     Mountain View, Oct. 19, 2000

Confucius (551-479 BC) &
Wên Poh Hsüeh Tzu (6th century BC)

When Confucius saw Wên Poh Hsüeh Tzu, the former did not utter a word. Whereupon Tzu Lu said, “Master, you have long wished to see Wên Poh Hsüeh Tzu. How is it that when you do see him you do not speak?”

“With such men as these,” replied Confucius, “you have only to look, and the Tao abides. There is no room for speech.”

— Chuang Tzu (369-286 BC)
     Chuang Tzu, Chapter XXI: T'ien Tzu Fang,
     translated by Herbert A. Giles,
     George Allen & Unwin, London, 1926

Saint Louis IX (1215-1270) &
Brother Egidio (13th century)

Chapter XXXIV: How St Louis IX, King of France, came to visit Brother Egidio, and how they understood each other without speaking to one another.

Once when St. Louis (1215-1270), King of France, was on a pilgrimage to visit sanctuaries throughout the world, he heard of the great fame of the sanctity of Brother Egidio, one of the first companions of St. Francis, and strongly resolved to visit him. And so he came to Perugia, where Brother Egidio was then living. Dressed like a poor nameless pilgrim, he came to the door of the friars' shelter, together with a few friends, and asked insistently for Brother Egidio, not telling the doorkeeper who he was.

The doorkeeper then went to Brother Egidio and told him that a pilgrim was waiting for him at the door; and God revealed to Brother Egidio that the pilgrim was the King of France. Immediately and with great fervor, he left his cell and ran to the door. Without any questions and without their ever having seen each other, they knelt before each other with great devotion and embraced and kissed each other with tenderness, as if they had long been good friends. In all this they spoke not a word to one another but remained embraced in silence, in charitable signs of love. After staying that way for a long time without a word, they took leave of each other, and St. Louis continued on his journey and Brother Egidio returned to his cell.

When the King had left, a friar asked one of his companions who it was that had been so warmly embraced by Brother Egidio, and he answered that it was Louis, King of France, who had come to see Brother Egidio. And when he told the other friars they were disturbed that Brother Egidio had not said a word, and reproached him, saying: “Brother Egidio, why were you so ill-bred to such a king, who came from France to see you and to hear a good word from you, and why did you say nothing?”

Brother Egidio answered: “My dearest brothers, do not marvel that neither he nor I could say a word, because from the minute that we embraced, the light of divine wisdom showed his heart to me and mine to him. By the workings of God we looked into each other, knowing what I wanted to say to him and what he wanted to say to me better and with greater comfort than if we had spoken. Because of the inadequacy of all words, which cannot clearly express the secret mysteries of God, there would have been disappointment rather than comfort. Know, therefore, that the King left wonderfully comforted,” In praise of Christ. Amen.

Little Flowers of Saint Francis
     translated by Serge Hughes,
     Mentor-Omega Book, NY, 1964

Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) &
Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

Mr. Somerset Maugham, a well-known English author was on a visit to Ramana Maharshi. He also went to see Major Chadwick in his room and there he suddenly became unconscious. Major Chadwich requested Ramana to see him. Ramana went into the room, took a seat and gazed on Mr. Maugham. He regained his senses and saluted Ramana. They remained silent and sat facing each other for nearly an hour. The author attempted to ask questions but did not speak. Major Chadwick encouraged him to ask. Ramana said “All finished. Heart-talk is all talk. All talk must end in silence.” They smiled and Ramana left the room.

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, October 15, 1938
     recorded by Munagala S. Venkataramiah,
     Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, India, 1968

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (10-21-2000)