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Abstract Thinking: [05.03.2] Bhavana Of Solitariness - I Am Alone (2)

Published: 23.09.2006
Updated: 06.08.2008

You may say all this is impractical talk. How can a family exist, with such thinking? How can a society function like that? Or a country? If all men feel themselves to be alone and separate, how can there be any communion between them? How can any collective work be accomplished? How can there be any evolution of power?

Power evolves when two come together, and cooperate. A house is built through cooperation. A thread, by itself, has little value. But when many threads come together, when they combine, cloth is produced, which covers our nakedness and provides us protection against heat and cold. Wherever there is union, a coming together, a commune is formed from which power originates. The whole strength of a society lies in the collective. The collective is the source of all power. A man himself can accomplish little.

On the ground of practical behaviour, it seems that the talk of aloneness is altogether impractical and anti-social. That it seems so is natural. The very meaning of the term "vyavahara" (behaviour) is gross, rough, crude. Roughly, a man can only think like that and such thinking cannot be said to be defective from that gross viewpoint. It is true that you cannot build a house with one brick. Also there is a saying that one brick collides with another. The union of two persons is productive of power. Also, where two persons meet, conflict, too, arises: sparks leap all round. With the coming together of two, many benefits accrue; there are also difficulties and problems. If there is no instance of two persons living together, never having quarrelled, there is also no instance of a single person having waged a battle. At times, a clash occurs between two persons. Among those living together permanently, the father and the son, the husband and the wife, cannot help colliding with each other. An encounter is possible even with one's image. The sparrow starts fighting with its own reflection in the mirror; it attacks its shadow till its beak gets sore. The lion saw its image in the water and rushed forward to kill it. It was drowned. Even though it was destroyed in the process, it could not help coming into clash with its image. If one cannot help colliding with one's own image, how is it possible for two persons to live without any conflict at all?

The creators of the Upanishads have said, "Fear comes into being with the other." The other constitutes a hurdle in one's way; one's freedom stands fragmented. When alone, a person can do anything, but when another comes, he grows more careful. He cannot do as he pleases. The arrival of the other creates apprehension, fear is born and there is conflict. This aspect has to be kept in view. To be alone is not unnatural, unsocial. The person, who, while living in society, feels himself to be alone, is spared a thousand problems.

In this whole situation, the principle of awareness is the feeling of aloneness. It is not possible for an individual to abandon all ties in practical life. Nor am I talking of ending all contact. Nor can a man do away with relationship. A man can only live in relationship. Without it the world cannot go on. The experiencing of aloneness will not end relationship; rather it will impart to it greater sweetness. If you really experience aloneness in your life, you will be able to steer clear of many difficulties. You will never fall a prey to anxiety or grief. You will not be perplexed by other people's conduct, nor shall it cause you any unhappiness. Your mind will remain tranquil, and your actions in this state will be pleasing to other. One maxim will constantly pervade you. "I am alone:" When any problem comes up before you, your mind will be permeated with this maxim: you will not be distressed by the problem. The complexity of the problem will be appreciably reduced and you will be able to resolve it on practical grounds.

On the other hand, without the support of the maxim of aloneness, even a little problem will grow to be very complicated and you will not be able to resolve it. The practice of awareness will prove to be useful in both individual and social practical life. It is capable of solving problems at both these levels. Awareness solves problems and helps us make progress from moment to moment.

We come together in relationship; we also escape from it. Coming together and escaping - both are right in their context. Coming together is good, but at times it is also necessary to escape. Community life is good, and living in seclusion is also good. Exclusive attachment to any one thing is not desirable in practical life. We are here concerned with practical living.

Where there is a body, wherever there is life, certain needs arise. We must have food, and wear clothes, we must build a house to live in - all these are necessary. Under the circumstances, we cannot do without relationship. We have to depend upon others. But in the world of reality, in the world of truth, we shall have to live alone. Otherwise we shall have to bear many hardships. There is no other alternative.

  • 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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  1. Body
  2. Cooperation
  3. Fear
  4. Upanishads
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