The true silence is the silence between the thoughts and represents the true self, consciousness or the soul. It is a web of energized information ready to take all provided there is a right intent. The process of achieving silence is what meditation is.
Observing silence is another way of getting benefits of meditation. Many yogis in the past have recommended and observed silence now and then. Mahatma Gandhi used to spend one day of each week in silence. He believed that abstaining from speaking brought him inner peace and happiness. All such days he used to communicated with others only by writing on paper.
Hindu principles also talks about a correlation between mauna (silence) and shanty (harmony). Mauna Ekadashi is a ritual followed traditionally in our country. On this day the person is not supposed to speak at all and keep complete silence through out day & night. It gives immense peace to the mind and strength to the body. In Jainism this ritual has a lot of importance. Nimith was a great saint in Jainism who long ago asked all Jains to observe this vrata. Some people recommend that on every ekadashi one should observe silence if not the whole day but for few hours in a day.
Deepak Chopra in his book 7 Laws of Spiritual Success talks in great detail about the importance of observing silence in day today life. He recommends everyone should observe silence for 20 minutes everyday. Silence helps redirecting our imagination towards self from the outer atmosphere. Even Swami Sivananda in his teaches recommend to observe mauna daily for 2 hours for ekadashi, take milk and fruits everyday, study daily one chapter of Bhagwad Gita, do reguarl charity and donate one-tenth of the income in the welfare of the society. Ekadashi is the 11th day of Hindu lunar fortnight. Ekadashi is the day of celebration occurring twice a month, meant for meditation and increasing soul consciousness. Vinoba Bhave was the great sage of our contry who is known for this bhoodaan movement. He was a great advocator and practical preacher of mauna vrata.
Mauna means silence and vrata means bow hence mauna vrata means bow of silence. Mauna was practiced by saints to end enemity and recoup their enemity. Prolonged silence as the form of silence is observed by the rishi munis involved for prolonged periods of silence. Silence is a source of all that exists. Silence is where consciouns dwells. There is no religious tradition which does not talk about silence. It breaks a out world communication and forces a dialogue towards inner communication that one reason why all prayer, meditation and worship or any other practice whether we attune our mains to the spiritual consciousness within are done in silence. After the death of a person it is a practice to observe silence for two minutes. The immediate benefits is that it saves a tremendous amount of energy.
Silence is cessation of both sensory and mental activity. It is like having a still mind and listening to the inner mind. Behind this screen of our internal dialogue is the silence of spirit. Meditation is the combination of observing silence and the art of observation.