Ramana Maharshi often spoke about the true nature of solitude. He has explained a number of times that silence, peace, and solitude are not a function of our environment but our mental state. Indeed solitude is in the mind and not to be found somewhere outside.
The feeling/awareness of one’s existence manifests through the mind as “I”. Hence we say, I do this, I do that, I am a doctor, I am a sanaysi, I am a householder, I am a student, I am a husband, I am a wife, etc.
Bhagavan Ramana’s teaching is to quietly bring attention to this sense of “I” by asking “Kohum”.
If one gains company of pure hearted, good people in life, one gains everything. In yogic psychology, such an association is known as “Satsang”.
At a practical level, Satsang refers to Spiritual Fellowship or company of others on the spiritual path. Satsang is a Sanskrit term and is made of two words, “Sat” and “Sang”.
Sat means “Truth”. Sat also means “Essence”. Sat also means “Existence”. Sang means to “Be With” or “Embraced By” or “In Company of”.
Combining Sat and Sang, we get Satsang, which means “In the company of or embraced by Truth or the Universal Existence”.
What is spiritual wisdom other than being gentle and easy with oneself and others in awareness?
Gain and loss, pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow, are threads of life.
Life lived in awareness is the only meditation.
Our talents and strengths do not raise us above anyone. Our shortcomings do not diminish our original nature. That is just how it is.
Sages see action and inaction, speech and silence to be the same. So there is no need to struggle.
To simply be aware of oneself as pure and clear being is the true meditation.
The steadiness of awareness and balance is a gift of grace. It is the blessing of love that springs forth from the heart of sages.
In the company of good and wise people who know the nature of reality, the ego gradually loses its hold and pure awareness reveals itself as the eternal presence.
That is the real meditation.
Without a calm mind, one cannot experience the ultimate reality, the underlying oneness, as one’s own Self.
Spiritual practices (prayer, meditation, deep breathing, yoga) have value because they remove the agitation of the mind.
A peaceful mind, steady in awareness, can understand the purest teaching at the most subtle level.
Therefore the practical advice of the sages is to not bother anyone and not be bothered by others.
To reach the highest state and to know one’s own Heart as the Self, one has to become absolutely indifferent to both external and internal perceptions.
Sri Ramana used to say that wherever we go, we take our mind with us. Therefore, regardless of our circumstances, we have to create the mental atmosphere of satsang (company of the Self). Bhagavan’s teaching is that serenity is a state of mind and not our circumstances.
Sri Ramana says, “Solitude is in the mind of a man. One might be in the thick of the world and yet maintain perfect serenity of mind; such a person is always in solitude. Another may stay in the forest, but still be unable to control his mind. He cannot be said to be in solitude. Solitude is an attitude of the mind ; a man attached to the things of life cannot get solitude, wherever he may be. A detached man is always in solitude”.
Photo art is from Eden Kailash FB page.