Abstract Thinking: [05.03.1] Bhavana Of Solitariness - I Am Alone (1)

Published: 22.09.2006
Updated: 30.07.2015

Old age is a problem. I believe it is also a great resolution. We have an aphorism pertaining to the realisation of aloneness. Lord Mahavira said:

"You are alone. There is nothing you may call yours"

We are not able to assimilate this fact. While a man is young, he is busy bringing up the family. He receives boundless love from his family and all look up to him with respect. So he never realizes that he is alone. He says to himself:

"I am not alone. My family cannot do without me even for a second. My parents, brothers and sisters, wife, daughter - they cannot live without me. I am bound up with them."

In such a situation, the aphorism of aloneness does not appear to make much sense to him. But when he grows old, when he becomes incapable of catering to their respective interests, when he is of no use to anybody, when he becomes a good-for-nothing, all the threads of attachment snap, nobody obeys him, nobody respects him, he then says to himself,

"O, me! What a queer world it is! Nobody belongs to anybody. Every man is alone. I am alone, I have none whom I may call mine!"

This feeling is very poignant.

"Nobody supports me. Nobody looks after me. How they ignore me! Nobody listens to me. Really, I am alone.”

It happens more or less to every old person. But it is possible for an old man to look upon such a situation as providing an opportunity for the realisation of truth. Otherwise, everything will make him more and more unhappy. Old age presents a great problem and a good deal of occasion for suffering. But it is possible to pass it joyfully if the old man's spiritual consciousness is awakened, and he is permeated with the bhavana a great truth is manifested and a man comes to realize that he is really alone. All these ties of attachment, all the needs that create an illusion of identity, really push a man into the pit of delusion. Old age provides an opportunity for breaking all these. With their dissolution, the real 'self’ is preserved and the truth of "I am alone" becomes apparent. In such a state the factual 'me' survives: All else is dissolved.

When the difference between the body and the soul becomes clear, the anupreksha of otherness is actualised and one feels, "I am alone" Then the anupreksha of aloneness, the contemplation thereof floods one's being. A man says to himself, I am alone. If, even my body is not mine, who else can be? How can my kinsfolk be mine?

That is a far cry. My body is the nearest thing to me. When even my body is not mine, how can any relative be mine? How can the other be myself? The body is also an alien, not one's own. With the awakening of the sense of otherness, another illusion stands dissolved. One develops great attachment to what one considers to be one's own, and accumulates great malice towards those one does not consider one's own. There can be no attachment to what one considers being an alien, not one's own. Now the illusion of 'one's own' and the other is dissolved, is very clear that nothing is one's own. When one's own body is not one's own, how can another become one's own? When nothing is one's own, nothing can be the other, the alien. The whole distinction between one's own and the other stands dissolved. One is alone, absolutely alone: The man sees himself as he is - 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. Bhavana
  2. Body
  3. Consciousness
  4. Contemplation
  5. Mahavira
  6. Soul
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