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THE BEAUTY OF BEING ALONE

Malathi Moorthy

Being alone (which is not the same as being lonely) is not necessarily a situation to be avoided at all costs. In the Vedic perspective, it is not only a conscious choice but also almost a necessity for spiritual growth and fulfillment. Consider for example the “Avadhoota Gita,” wherein Dattatreya* enumerates the 24 teachers from he had learnt the secret of his equanimity. One of the teachers was the young girl who broke the bracelets on her arms, leaving only one on each arm, and thereafter worked in silence. [Steven J Rosen: Krishna’s Other Song – A New Look at Avadhoot Gita, page 16] The lesson?

   When many people live together, there is often a clash of interests and some in-house fighting becomes inevitable. It is therefore ideal to live alone, especially if one wants to pursue deep meditation and other spiritual practices, which require concentration.

   In her thought-provoking words, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross writes: “No one dies alone… Everything in life happens for a positive reason. Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their carvings. [Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: The Wheel of Life, page 285]

   And, finally, in the words that only a Sufi master could write, Hafiz says:

     Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly

     Let it cut more deep

     Let it ferment and season you

     As few human or even divine ingredients can.

     [The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, page 277]

~

[Malathi Moorthy returned to India in the year 1997 after living in UK for 3 years and in USA for 34 years. While abroad, she often took part in spiritual activities led by saints like Sant Keshavdas and Swami Chinmayananda and in organizations like ISKCON, Putthige Matha etc. Along with her husband, Late Dr. Shreenivas Moorthy, she always had deep interest in Indian spirituality and culture, along with some curiosity about Western values and practices. She had worked as a research assistant in University of Bombay after acquiring a Master’s degree in Political Science, before going abroad. She received a Master’s degree in Sociology from A&T University, Texas in 1987. She now lives in Bengaluru.]

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