Abstract Thinking: [05.05] Bhavana Of Solitariness - Universal Nature of Truth

Published: 27.09.2006
Updated: 06.08.2008

One great maxim of spirituality is:

"Experience aloneness even while living in a group."

For a spiritual practitioner it is most desirable. A man who experiences aloneness, finds his consciousness changed; his whole personality stands transformed.

Gurdjieff, a great spiritual practitioner of Russia, used to conduct an experiment. Ten, twenty, or thirty people living in a hall, taking their meals together, each constantly experiencing in himself the truth of "I am alone!" Gurdjieff made use of this maxim of the anupreksha of aloneness. Truth is nobody's monopoly; it belongs to all, it is universal.

Irrespective of the fact whether he belongs to India, Russia or any other part of the world, a person who enters the ground of spirituality and seeks the truth, makes a similar discovery:

In the achievement of truth, all limitations of time and space dissolve.

Living in solitude means the practice of living alone, in seclusion. It has another meaning - the experiencing of aloneness. And yet another meaning - the capacity to move in the contrary direction. To walk with the crowd, to swim with the current - is one kind of movement. The other is to move in the contrary direction, not to follow, to swim against the current. It is easy to swim with the current. The stream is flowing. A piece of straw falls into it and is swept along. Anything that comes flows with the current. But to swim against the current is very difficult. Following the crowd is not something new. It has been there ever since the beginning of human society. Ever since man has evolved from being a solitary individual into a community, the disposition to follow, to conform steadily growing.

One may approach living in society in two ways. One may say to oneself,

"All people do so, but if I don't, what does it matter?"
"Nobody does it, but if I do it, what difference would it make?"

Both these approaches take us away from the truth. A person who has experienced aloneness, who does not follow mob-rule, who has abandoned the very instinct to conform, does not argue in terms of what society does or does not. He only thinks of what he should do, irrespective of whether others do it or not, what is right for him, what is his duty, his responsibility? The evolution of such thinking is possible only on the ground of 'aloneness'. In the course of life, one is visited by prosperity and adversity, by what is congenial and what is not congenial, by what is agreeable and what is not, by the heat and the cold. To endure the heat and the cold, the agreeable and the disagreeable, is a difficult undertaking. If anything, the agreeable is even more difficult to endure than the disagreeable. Everybody cannot so endure. When things are going well, in the moment of prosperity, a man is filled with such pride, so much vanity, that he does not hesitate committing injustice. He does not hesitate because he cannot endure prosperity. Aversion is an evil, but not so great an evil as attachment.

A Sanskrit poet rightly says that the black-beetle bores itself out of timber, but ensconces itself within the closed petals of a lotus flower; out of the lotus-chamber, it does not stir abroad.

Out of hard wood, it bores itself out, but the bondage of attachment is difficult to break. To endure what is agreeable without losing one's equilibrium, is a hard task. The person who keeps alone, practises solitude, must learn first of all how to break this bondage of attachment. Society is not put together through dislike, nor relationship built thereon. One who makes use of penal power can never establish right relationship with another. He can cause pain and grief to another person, but cannot establish a relationship with him. All relationship is built on the basis of love and close affinity. That also forms the basis of attachment. But truth is after all truth; it cannot be belied. One, who practises meditation, learns the truth that though relationship may be established on the basis of love, the bondage of love cannot be very strong; it is not the ultimate truth. The ultimate truth is

"I am I"
"you are you."

It sounds very bitter and impractical. Nevertheless, it is an undeniable truth.

Let us not forget the truth of aloneness, however unpleasant and impractical. He, who grasps this truth, can arrive at the ultimate truth and peace, and avoid suffering. A great maxim for increasing one's morale is

"Walk alone!"

  • Abstract Thinking
    by Acharya Mahaprajna, © 1988
  • Edited by  Muni Dulheraj
  • Translated by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • Published by Jain Vishva Barati
  • Edition 1999 compiled by Samani Stith Pragya

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Consciousness
  2. Meditation
  3. Pride
  4. Sanskrit
  5. Space
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