Is It Important For The Enlightenment Seekers To Practice Solitude And Silence?
Generally, the reason why enlightenment seekers want to practice solitude and silence is to still their mind. However one should check that by doing so, did my mind really become silent, did it stop wandering here and there? If yes, there is some meaning in it and one can and must pursue it!
However, normally what is observed is that mind wanders, even more than before, when it is in an idle state; thoughts begin to run helter-skelter in all directions!
One thinks he will find God if he remains in solitude. But the nature of mind is such that once it escapes the crowd (people that are around), it becomes unruly. The mind will keep jumping, ‘let me have this and let me have that’.
If that is the case, this practice is of no meaning because physically one may be in solitude and silence but mentally one is not! On the contrary, he is constantly fuelling his desires, which can well throw him off the track!
Another reason why the enlightened seekers may seek solitude is because they are tired of the worldly bondages of attachment and hence wish to run away from the world. But just think about it – can enlightenment be attained by running away from or shunning away anything? No, never! On the path of enlightenment, all the bondages are dissolved with love and equanimity!
And suppose if ever one manages to escape the bondages of family, work, social circle, etc., the nature of mind is such that it will take off to the world of imagination!
One will open a theatre of imagination and keep watching the movies he likes to see and in the manner he wants it to be. Movie, as in, one gets involved in the episodes of past and rebuilds and rethinks imaginary stories based on what could have happened in past and how it should happen in future. This is how a chain of imagination arises and takes us farther away from enlightenment.
This means in reality, the outer instruments i.e. our body, feet, tongue, eyes, etc. are not an hindrance to enlightenment. It is the inner instruments i.e. our mind, intellect, ego, etc. that are obstructive.
Therefore, Param Pujya Dadashri says,
“Do not look for solitude. This is because the mind will ring all kinds of bells in solitude. Remain where there is a crowd. Solitude is necessary only some times. There is solitude for as long as there is some peace.” He further emphasizes, “Rather than practicing solitude, it is better to be in a crowd. If there is collector in a crowded train and your foot falls on his foot, he will keep saying, ‘Please, please’. This happens because of crowd. Where else will such humility arise? It arises only in a crowd. All qualities arise in a crowd.”
He explains how this happens with the help of an example, “There are factories that purify pig-iron and from which they make large jewelleries. Those jewelleries have small spurs on them. To remove these spurs, they throw the jewellery in a ‘tumbling barrel’ and turn on the power. As the electricity drives the motors, the barrel turns! And as it turns the jewellery collides, as a result of which the spurs break off.
This is how Nature’s tumbling barrel is turning. It is constantly breaking off all our ‘spurs’ (mistakes in us that obstruct enlightenment) and everything will come out nice and smooth.”
Everything then becomes first class quality to enable the enlightenment seeker attain enlightenment! So remain in crowd.
And yes, you do have the privilege to choose which crowd you want to be in. The ideal crowd for an enlightenment seeker is a group of like-minded enlightenment seekers, led by the Enlightened One!!!
When the enlightenment seekers sit in the presence of the Enlightened One, their minds, intellect, ego, etc. shall remain riveted there only. There, the mind does not jump around or wander; it stays still. And you get to experience happiness that is full of bliss!
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