Author Topic: The Importance of Being Alone  (Read 1317 times)

Nagaraj

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The Importance of Being Alone
« on: July 06, 2016, 11:19:25 PM »
Are we truly going within? We may easily get used to a spiritual routine and miss the main purpose... it is a matter of fact that we are alone and how well are we acquianted with ourselves can only be known in times of solitude. is it simply enough knowing that you are the Self and Brahman and you are untouched?

This article may open gates to deeper insights. I have posted a couple of excerpts... kindly follow the link if it be of interest to you.

The Importance of Being Alone by Swami Krishnananda

A sincere disciple, a seeker, one day put a question to me: ?If I have to enter the Absolute today, what sadhana should I practise?? While I appreciated the question very much, I also felt the seriousness that is involved in not only the question itself, but the background of the entire thought process in this connection. My answer to this question was at once: ?You have to melt into liquid and become one with everything. This is the sadhana that you have to do if you want to enter the Absolute today.? But who is prepared to melt into liquid? We are hard as flint. Even flint is not as hard as we are. Our attachments are very severe; even iron chains are not as strong as our attachments. But we are self-deluded people, under the notion that we have no attachments. We are immersed in a quagmire, but are under the notion that we are walking along a beaten track which takes us straight to God.
........

A great thinker and mystic once put it in a beautiful style: The path spiritual is the flight of the alone to the Alone. It is not a multitude going to God. Such a thing is unthinkable. Very important it is to remember that we are alone in this world even now. Even today, even at this very moment, we are alone.

We should not be under the impression we have got many friends around us. This is a false notion. The so-called friends and relations that we have around us in the form of human beings and possessions of various kinds are a false environment created around us to delude us and dupe us into the wrong path. These possessions, friends, relations, etc., are not going to help us when we are in a critical moment or in time of danger, because our relationship to people is artificial. Anything that is artificial will not last long. Our connection with other people in this world is not genuine, not natural, not organic; and, therefore, it cannot work when the time for it comes. Why is it so? It is because, to put it in a very philosophical jargon, the connection of a subject with an object is makeshift. It is a contrivance brought about for sensory perception and a false feeling of fulfilment, and for bringing about a sense of satisfaction to the ego-ridden individuality.

To read full article please follow thus link:

http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/living/living_07.html
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

atmavichar100

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Re: The Importance of Being Alone
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2016, 02:39:01 PM »
Dear Nagaraj

Thanks for sharing the same and I could very much resonate with this article and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's example of pouring Ghee in the fire was an excellent example of when one should involve in the world without allowing the world to consume us .
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha

Nagaraj

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Re: The Importance of Being Alone
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2016, 11:18:41 PM »
Dear Atmavichar, yes, along with that example another nice example Sri Ramakrishna gives us is the analogy of cutting Jack-fruit after having our hands dipped in oil, then there would be no problem in touching and cutting the Jackfruit, similarly do we operate in the world.

Below is another fine article by Swami Dayatmananda of Ramakrishna Math - Alone but not Lonely

http://estudantedavedanta.net/alone_not_lonely.pdf

It is very important for us to contemplate and delve more on solitude. As a saying in tamil goes that eat the murukku before the teeth fall away

Atmavichar and friends, i feel it is very important for every serious spiritual to look into this topic with seriousness. We may currently be busy in our daily routines and say vichara and sadhana. But Solitude is something we never face it face to face and we keep evading solitude, real solitude.

If Solitude is not properly contemplated upon, it could cause a lot of problem because, solitude is invitable, Life, nature, prakriti will take us to solitude when she chooses and we must gracefully be able to welcome it.

--
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 11:23:47 PM by Nagaraj »
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Ravi.N

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Re: The Importance of Being Alone
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2016, 09:58:00 AM »
Nagaraj/Atmavichar/Friends,
Just now got to see this post.....truly very relevant and important for all seekers.Sage TGN used to refer to தனிமையில் இனிமை....sweetness in being alone as a sure sign of progress in the spiritual path.
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna covers this wonderfully .Here are a couple of excerpts(there are many more in The Gospel):

Solitude for householders
"Even if one lives in the world, one must go into solitude now and then. It will be of great help to a man if he goes away from his family, lives alone, and weeps for God even for three days. Even if he thinks of God for one day in solitude, when he has the leisure, that too will do him good. People shed a whole jug of tears for wife and children. But who cries for the Lord? Now and then one must go into solitude and practise spiritual discipline to realize God. Living in the world and entangled in many of its duties, the aspirant, during the first stage of spiritual life, finds many obstacles in the path of concentration. While the trees on the foot-path are young, they must he fenced around; otherwise they will be destroyed by cattle. The fence is necessary when the tree is young, but it can be taken away when the trunk is thick and strong. Then the tree won't be hurt even if an elephant is tied to it.

Malady of worldly people and its cure
"The disease of worldliness is like typhoid. And there are a huge jug of water and a jar of savoury pickles in the typhoid patient's room. If you want to cure him of his illness, you must remove him from that room. The worldly man is like the typhoid patient. The various objects of enjoyment are the huge jug of water, and the craving for their enjoyment is his thirst. The very thought of pickles makes the mouth water; you don't have to bring them near. And he is surrounded with them. The companionship of woman is the pickles. Hence treatment in solitude is necessary.
"One may enter the world after attaining discrimination and dispassion. In the ocean of the world there are six alligators: lust, anger, and so forth. But you need not fear the alligators if you smear your body with turmeric before you go into the water. Discrimination and dispassion are the turmeric. Discrimination is the knowledge of what is real and what is unreal. It is the realization that God alone is the real and eternal Substance and that all else is unreal, transitory, impermanent. And you must cultivate intense zeal for God. You must feel love for Him and be attracted to Him. The gopis of Vrindavan felt the attraction of Krishna. Let me sing you a song:

Listen! The flute has sounded in yonder wood.
There I must fly, for Krishna waits on the path.
Tell me, friends, will you come along or no?
To you my Krishna is merely an empty name;
To me He is the anguish of my heart.
You hear His flute-notes onlv with your ears,
But, oh, I hear them in my deepest soul.
I hear His flute calling: 'Radha come out!
Without you the grove is shorn of its loveliness.' "

The Master sang the song with tears in his eyes, and said to Keshab and the other Brahmo devotees: "Whether you accept Radha and Krishna, or not, please do accept their attraction for each other. Try to create that same yearning in your heart for God. Yearning is all you need in order to realize Him."

The Key thing the master always emphasizes is yearning for God's presence....if a blessed devotee develops this,he is automatically alone....alone with God.This is the best type of solitude.


Ravi.N

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Re: The Importance of Being Alone
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2016, 10:10:07 AM »
Here is another excerpt from the Gospel where the master describes the state of mind of the devotee....how he looks upon the world and his relatives.

VIJAY: "Is bhakti alone sufficient for the attainment of God, for His vision?"
MASTER: "Yes, one can see God through bhakti alone. But it must be 'ripe' bhakti, premabhakti and raga-bhakti. When one has that bhakti, one loves God even as the mother loves the child, the child the mother, or the wife the husband.
"When one has such love and attachment for God, one doesn't feel the attraction of maya to wife, children, relatives, and friends. One retains only compassion for them. To such a man the world appears a strange land, a place where he has merely to perform his duties. It is like a man's having his real home in the country, but coming to Calcutta for work; he has to rent a house in Calcutta for the sake of his duties. When one develops love of God, one completely gets rid of one's attachment to the world and worldly wisdom.

I have always wondered how the Master gives the EXACT FEEL of the aspect that he tries to get across...He had this rare power of expression to waft the FRAGRANCE of the thing he conveys....The Devotee is never in doubt as to what it is that is conveyed and immediately develops the conviction that it is within reach....and is verifiable in practice.

Just reading the Gospel with attention will lead to தனிமையில் இனிமை....It's spirit is contagious......This is what attracted M to seek the master's company .Sri Ramakrishna jocularly compared this to the peacock that was attracted by opium!I shall post this next.

Ravi.N

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Re: The Importance of Being Alone
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2016, 10:22:35 AM »
Excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
Fourth visit
The next day, too, was a holiday for M. He arrived at Dakshineswar at three o'clock in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna was in his room; Narendra, Bhavanath, and a few other devotees were sitting on a mat spread on the floor. They were all young men of nineteen or twenty. Seated on the small couch, Sri Ramakrishna was talking with them and smiling.
No sooner had M. entered the room than the Master laughed aloud and said to the boys, "There! He has come again." They all joined in the laughter. M. bowed low before him and took a seat. Before this he had saluted the Master with folded hands, like one with an English education. But that day he learnt to fall down at his feet in orthodox Hindu fashion.
The peacock and the opium
Presently the Master explained the cause of his laughter to the devotees, He said: "A man once fed a peacock with a pill of opium at four o'clock in the afternoon. The next day, exactly at that time, the peacock came back. It had felt the intoxication of the drug and returned just in time to have another dose."(All laugh.)
M. thought this a very apt illustration. Even at home he had been unable to banish the thought of Sri Ramakrishna for a moment. His mind was constantly at Dakshineswar and he had counted the minutes until he should go again.
In the mean time the Master was having great fun with the boys, treating them as if they were his most intimate friends. Peals of side-splitting laughter filled the room, as if it were a mart of joy. The whole thing was a revelation to M. He thought: "Didn't I see him only yesterday intoxicated with God? Wasn't he swimming then in the Ocean of Divine Love - a sight I had never seen before? And today the same person is behaving like an ordinary man!Wasn't it he who scolded me on the first day of my coming here? Didn't he admonish me, saying, 'And you are a man of knowledge!'? Wasn't it he who said to me that God with form is as true as God without form? Didn't he tell me that God alone is real and all else illusory? Wasn't it he who advised me to live in the world unattached, like a maidservant in a rich man's house?"

Sri Ramakrishna was having great fun with the young devotees; now and then he glanced at M. He noticed that M. sat in silence. The Master said to Ramlal: "You see, he is a little advanced in years, and therefore somewhat serious. He sits quiet while the youngsters are making merry." M. was then about twenty-eight years old.
Hanuman's devotion to Rama
The conversation drifted to Hanuman, whose picture hung on the wall in the Master's room.Sri Ramakrishna said: "Just imagine Hanuman's state of mind. He didn't care for money, honour, creature comforts, or anything else. He longed only for God. When he was running away with the heavenly weapon that had been secreted in the crystal pillar, Mandodari began to tempt him with various fruits so that he might come down and drop the weapon. But he couldn't be tricked so easily. In reply to her persuasions he sang this song:

Am I in need of fruit?
I have the Fruit that makes this life
Fruitful indeed. Within my heart
The Tree of Rama grows,
Bearing salvation for its fruit.
Under the Wish-fulfilling Tree
Of Rama do I sit at ease,
Plucking whatever fruit I will.
But if you speak of fruit -
No beggar, I, for common fruit.
Behold, I go,
Leaving a bitter fruit for you."

As Sri Ramakrishna was singing the song he went into samadhi. Again the half-closed eyes and motionless body that one sees in his photograph. Just a minute before, the devotees had been making merry in his company. Now all eyes were riveted on him. Thus for the second time M. saw the Master in samadhi.

The essential thing is to develop this love and yearning for the divine.Yet,as the master always emphasized that one has to resort to solitude as and when possible and pray earnestly to god....In The Gospel,we find M spending his days at Dakshineswar ,away from his family .After about 3 weeks or so,he finds that Sri Ramakrishna is set to go to Calcutta in a horse cart.M asks him if he can accompany the master.He wants to see his family.The Master tells him,"Why ,you are alright here"!M stays back in Dakshineswar!

Namaskar.

Ravi.N

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Re: The Importance of Being Alone
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2016, 10:59:36 AM »
Nagaraj/Atmavichar/Friends,
If there is one disciple who actually  lived by the words of his master,and is a perennial source of inspiration to one and all....the person who readily comes to my mind is 'M'(Ofcourse,Annamalai swami is other such a disciple!).....What the Master taught, 'M' followed throughout his lifetime.Here is his conversation with paul Brunton(in 1932....M Passed away in that very same year):

"Will you tell me something about your master Ramakrishna?"

"Ah, now you raise a subject about which I love best to talk. It is nearly half a century since he left us, but his blessed memory can never leave me; always it remains fresh and fragrant in my heart. I was twenty-seven when I met him and was constantly in his society for the last five years of his life. The result was that I became a changed man; my whole attitude towards life was reversed. Such was the strange influence of this god-man Ramakrishna. He threw a spiritual spell upon all who visited him. He literally charmed them, fascinated them. Even materialistic persons who came to scoff became dumb in his presence."

"But how can such persons feel reverence for spirituality - a quality in which they do not believe?" I interpose, slightly puzzled.
The corners of Mahasaya's mouth pull up in a half smile.
He answers:
"Two persons taste red pepper. One does not know its name; perhaps he has never even seen it before. The other is well acquainted with it and recognizes it immediately. Will it not taste the same to both? Will not both of them have a burning sensation on the tongue? In the same way, ignorance of Ramakrishna's spiritual greatness did not debar materialistic persons from 'tasting' the radiant influence of spirituality which emanated from him."

"Then he really was a spiritual superman?"

"Yes, and in my belief even more than that. Ramakrishna was a simple man, illiterate and uneducated - he was so illiterate that he could not even sign his name, let alone write a letter. He was humble in appearance and humbler still in mode of living, yet he commanded the allegiance of some of the besteducated and most-cultured men of the time in India. They had to bow before his tremendous spirituality which was so real that it could be felt. He taught us that pride, riches, wealth, worldly honours, worldly position are trivialities in comparison with that spirituality, are fleeting illusions which deceive men. Ah, those were wonderful days! Often he would pass into trances of so palpably divine a nature that we who were gathered around him then would feel that he was a god, rather than a man. Strangely, too, he possessed the power of inducing a similar state in his disciples by means of a single touch; in this state they could understand the deep mysteries of God by means of direct perception. But let me tell you how he affected me.
"I had been educated along Western lines. My head was filled with intellectual pride. I had served in Calcutta colleges as Professor of English Literature, History and Political Economy, at different times. Ramakrishna was living in the temple of Dakshineswar, which is only a few miles up the river from Calcutta. There I found him one unforgettable spring day and listened to his simple ex-pression of spiritual ideas born of his own experience. I made a feeble attempt to argue with him but soon became tongue-tied in that sacred presence, whose effect on me was too deep for words. Again and again I visited him, unable to stay away from this poor, humble but divine person, until Ramakrishna one day humorously
remarked: " ' A peacock was given a dose of opium at four o'clock. The next day it appeared again exactly at that hour. It was under the spell of opium and came for another dose.'
"That was true, symbolically speaking. I had never enjoyed such blissful experiences as when I was in the presence of Ramakrishna, so can you wonder why I came again and again?
And so I became one of his group of intimate disciples, as distinguished from merely occasional visitors. One day the
master said to me:
' " I can see from the signs of your eyes, brow and face that you are a Yogi. Do all your work then, but keep your mind on God. Wife, children, father and mother, live with all and serve them as if they are your own. The tortoise swims about in the waters of the lake, but her mind is fixed to where her eggs are laid on the banks. So, do all the work of the world but keep the mind in God.'
"And so, after the passing away of our master, when most of the other disciples voluntarily renounced the world, adopted the yellow robe, and trained themselves to spread Ramakrishna's message through India, I did not give up my profession but carried on with my work in education. Nevertheless, such was my determination not to be of the world although I was in it, that on some nights I would retire at dead of night to the open veranda before the Senate House and sleep among the homeless beggars of the city, who usually collected there to spend the night. This used to make me feel, temporarily at least, that I was a man with no possessions".

'M' lived more often in the 4th floor of Morton school building away from his home and family .
Namaskar.

Nagaraj

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Re: The Importance of Being Alone
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2016, 12:45:50 AM »
Sri Ravi, thanks for such beautiful posts.i must say that the last post on M and his experiences quoted above have covered or excelled more than the beautiful posts on Sri Ramakrisha above. I dont know why i felt that way! It was quite moving and so solid at the same time!

It is just like Bhagawan's inpression on us excell so much that at times you dont even remember Arunachala!

If i am not wrong you had shared that morton building's picture some time back here.

Life is the same after all for all and what makes the difference is how we look at it!

I heard in a Hindi Satsang a very beautiful point. The Pravachaka told 3 points that each should have or cultivate or rather every seeker passes through these 3 stages:

1. Purushartha - exercise of ones will and energy in acheiving the end goal. This is the first stage of the seeker, he sincerely tries his best in his desire to seek the grace of the Lord or truth. He strives and does a lot of kriya sadhana.

2. Praarthana - then there comes a second stage, a point where one begins to see the limitations of his efforts, Purushartha. What more can he do beyond a point? He begins to loose faith in kriya Sadhana his purushartha and takes resort to praying. Praying deeply and with great fervor. He longs and cries to the Lord to show mercy on him.

3. Prateeksha - this is the last stage where, the seeker becomes tired of even praying, how much one goes on praying! This last stage is not easy but the only resort the seeker has is that of Prateeksha - to wait! He realises that he had to wait for the Lord. This waiting will be difficult, no doubt! I dont know what to say abput tgis waiting, we have to wait ourselves and see and know for ourselves!

We remember Sita awaiting Rama's arrival. Ahalya awaiting Rama's arrival. Most of all Sabari, the grand old lady, how long she had to wait. Rama is so surprised at her darshan and says she is beautiful tapasvin. Then we have the Gopis! Krishna never came back literally and when he really did come back, then the Gopis no longer even longed hid physical form. The Lord's arrival did not make any difference to them for they had..... what can i say!!!

Such devotion , i wonder can it ever be developed, but can only happen by some charm of grace alone! No amount of our effort can bestow us this soubhagyam of Prateeksha.

--
« Last Edit: July 13, 2016, 01:12:02 AM by Nagaraj »
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Ravi.N

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Re: The Importance of Being Alone
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2016, 05:09:06 AM »
Nagaraj,
Yes,M is indeed the 'Bhagavatha Pandit' ....this was the way Sri Ramakrishna described his role!M simply lived it,always regaling visitors with his reminiscences of the master and his teachings.
M said:
"I am an insignificant person.  But I live by the side of an ocean and I keep with me a few pitchers of  water.  When a visitor comes, I entertain him with that.  What else can I speak of but his words".

Beautiful elucidation on purusharta,prarthana and prateeksha.....Sri Aurobindo refers to this as aspiration,rejection and Surrender....they all go together and reinforce each other.

Sri Bhagavan in his akshara mana malai submits:
 சேரா யெனின்மெய் நீரா யுருகிக்கண்
        ணீராற் றழிவே னருணாசலா

       O  Arunachala, if You do not unite with me, my body will melt into water
       (due to the fire of my intense longing for You) and I shall drown in a river of tears.

Sri Ramakrishna lived this threat!This is the depth that has to be plumbed.

Grace is what does the 'sadhana'...As Manikkavachakar sings in his sivapuranam :

ஆராத இன்பம் அருளும் மலை போற்றி
சிவன் அவன் என் சிந்தையுள் நின்ற அதனால்
அவன் அருளாலே அவன் தாள் வணங்கிச்
சிந்தை மகிழச் சிவ புராணம் தன்னை
முந்தை வினை முழுதும் ஓய உரைப்பன் யான்

Also important for the sadhaka is to keep all this under wraps so that none other than the Lord has any wind of it!

Namaskar

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Re: The Importance of Being Alone
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2016, 09:42:08 PM »
are we truly going within ? ...... no, we are simply letting the outside stop    :)
simply stop telling the story of the self and see who you are without it

Ravi.N

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Re: The Importance of Being Alone
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2016, 10:15:10 PM »
Stopping what?As long as there is 'outside' there is 'going within'...ha,ha.

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Re: The Importance of Being Alone
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2016, 09:36:06 PM »
exactly .. just let it all stop and there is no need to go anywhere ... huhuhuhuhuh   :)
simply stop telling the story of the self and see who you are without it

Nagaraj

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Re: The Importance of Being Alone
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2016, 10:37:50 PM »
ಸರ್ವರುಮ್ ಸಾಧುಗಳೇ ಸರ್ವರುಮ್ ಬೋಧಕರೇ
ಜೀವನಪರೀಕ್ಷೆ ಬಂದಿದಿರು ನಿಲುವನಕ
ಭಾವಾಮರ್ಮಮ್ಗಳೆಳುವುವಾಗ ತಳದಿಂದ
ದೇವರೇ ಗತಿಯಾಗ - ಮಂಕುತಿಮ್ಮ

Sarvarum Saadhugale Sarvarum Bodhakare
Jeevanaparikshe bandidiru Niluvanaka
Bhaava marmangaleluvuvaaga Taladinda
Devare Gatiyaaga - Mankuthimma

Everybody is a Saint, Everybody a Preacher,
Till, Life's tests comes and stands in front,
Inner secrets of nature (vasanas) then rise from the bottom
God is the only refuge then - Mankuthimma

DVGundappa
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta