--> Skip to main content

Resorting To A Solitary Place Is A Sign Of Knowledge

A brief retreat to a quiet place does refresh our mind and help us meet the challenges of life once again. But it is also true that the duration of this effect depends largely on our mental state. A turbulent or sense-bound mind may derive little benefit from solitude. We are inseparably bound with our mind. It does not let us alone despite a change of place, influencing our behaviour all the time. Our mind and senses are by nature outward-going: the mind is ever eager to be in contact with the sense organs, which in turn are happy to meet their sense objects. We are accustomed to living in company and relish talking to others, sometimes possibly on no subject. The mind loathes retreating into solitude, leaving its accustomed outward mode. Sometimes, thanks to its vagaries, we could strike a discordant note in quiet places, a retreat exclusively meant for studies, prayer and meditation, for example.

Again, an attempt at meditation without proper preparation and discipline can unsettle us, since the mental churning involved will bring to the fore hitherto-unknown strange and frightening things stored in the deeper recesses of the mind. Incidentally, this scary possibility and the consequent inability to sit quiet are the reasons why some people are always busy with some activity or other, or tend to be nosy about others.

Resorting to a solitary place is extolled as a sign of Knowledge in the Bhagavad Gita. Solitude here refers to river banks, forests, temples— any place that is pure and conducive to calmness of mind. But a novice in spiritual life may not reap the benefit of solitude till he attains some semblance of calmness, learns to separate himself from his mind and witness its workings. Till then, thanks to his poor will power, he is sucked into his mental vortex and feels miserable identifying himself with it. Let alone getting benefited by solitude, he will hardly be aware that he is in solitude in the first place.