“Narada is giving more ways to cross beyond maya. The first is solitude (vivikta-sthanam sevate). Several times in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna advises that one practice spiritual life alone.

“Solitude is particularly stressed in meditative yoga, which requires that one live alone in a secluded place (rahasi sthitah ekaki) (Bg. 6.10). And in the Thirteenth Chapter, when listing the items of knowledge, Lord Krsna includes vivikta-desa-sevitvam, “aspiring to live in a solitary place” (Bg. 13.11). Again, in the Eighteenth Chapter, when describing a person who has been elevated to the position of self-realization, Lord Krsna says that he “lives in a solitary place” (vivikta-sevi) (Bg. 18.52)”.

Narada Bhakta sutra 47

“Solitude as act: the reason no one understands solitude, or bothers to try to understand it, is that it appears to be nothing but a condition. Something one elects to undergo, like standing under a cold shower.

“Actually, solitude is a realization, an actualization, even a kind of creation, as well as a liberation of active forces within us, forces that are more than our own, and yet more ours that what appears to be “ours”. As a mere condition, solitude can be passive, inert and basically unreal: a kind of permanent coma. One has to work at it to keep out of this condition. One has to work actively at solitude, not by putting fences around oneself but by destroying all the fences and throwing away all the disguises and getting down to the naked root of one’s inmost desire, which is the desire of liberty-reality.

“To be free from the illusion that reality creates when one is out of right relation to it, and to be real in the freedom which reality gives when one is rightly related to it.”

Thomas Merton. Learning to Love, Journals Volume 6, Christine M. Bochen, editor (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997): 320-321

“Hence the need for discipline, for some kind of technique of integration that keeps body and soul together, harmonizes their powers, brings them into one deep resonance, orients the whole being towards the root of being. The need for a “way”, Presence,
invocation, mantram, concentration, emptiness. All these are aspects of a realized solitude. Mere being alone is nothing. Or at least is only a potential. Sooner or later he who is merely alone either rots or escapes.”

Learning to Love: 321.

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