Suddenly, from all the green around you, something-you don't know what-has disappeared; you feel it creeping closer to the window, in total silence. From the nearby wood you hear the urgent whistling of a plover, reminding you of someone's Saint Jerome: so much solitude and passion come from that one voice, whose fierce request the downpour will grant. The walls, with their ancient portraits, glide away from us, cautiously, as though they weren't supposed to hear what we are saying. And reflected on the faded tapestries now; the chill, uncertain sunlight of those long childhood hours when you were so afraid.
There is probably no point in my going into your questions now; for what I could say about your tendency to doubt or about your inability to bring your outer and inner lives into harmony or about all the other thing that oppress you - : is just what I have already said: just the wish that you may find in yourself enough patience to endure and enough simplicity to have faith; that you may gain more and more confidence in what is difficult and in your solitude among other people. And as for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.
Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away... and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast.... be happy about your growth, in which of course you can't take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don't torment them with your doubts and don't frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn't be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn't necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust.... and don't expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.
Your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes, far in the distance.
At the beginning the aspirant should go into solitude now and then.
Chant the name of God and sing his glories unceasingly; and keep holy company. Now and then one should visit holy men and devotees of God. If a man lives in the world and busies himself day and night with worldly duties and responsibilities, he cannot give his mind to God. So it's important to go into solitude from time to time, and think about God. When the plant is young, it should be fenced on all sides. Unless there's a fence around it, goats and cattle may eat it up.
Even if one lives in the world, one must go into solitude now and then. It will be of great help to a man if he goes away from his family, lives alone, and weeps for God even for three days. Even if he thinks of God for one day in solitude, when he has the leisure, that too will do him good. People shed a whole jug of tears for wife and children. But who cries for the Lord? Now and then one must go into solitude and practice spiritual discipline to realize God.
Householders should go into solitude now and then, to practice spiritual discipline in order to cultivate devotion to God; they should renounce mentally.
If you ask me how long you should live in solitude away from your family, I should say that it would be good for you if you could spend even one day in such a manner. Three days at a time are still better. One may live in solitude for twelve days, a month, three months, or a year, according to one's convenience and ability. One hasn't much to fear if one leads the life of a householder after attaining knowledge and devotion.
Iron, after it is converted into gold by the touch of philosopher's stone, may be kept under the ground or thrown into a rubbish heap; it will always remain gold and will not return to its former condition. Similar is the state of the man whose soul has touched, even once, the feet of the Almighty Lord. Whether he dwells in the bustle of the world, or in the solitude of the forest, nothing ever contaminates him.
One must go into solitude to attain this divine love. To get butter from milk you must let it set into curd in a secluded spot; if it is too much disturbed, milk won't turn into curd. Next, you must put aside all other duties, sit in a quiet spot, and churn the curd. Only then do you get butter.
The disease of worldliness is like typhoid. And there are a huge jug of water and a jar of savoury pickles in the typhoid patient's room. If you want to cure him of his illness, you must remove him from that room. The worldly man is like the typhoid patient. The various objects of enjoyment are the huge jug of water, and the craving for their enjoyment is his thirst. The very thought of pickles makes the mouth water; you don't have to bring them near. And he is surrounded with them. The companionship of woman is the pickles. Hence treatment in solitude is necessary.
What are the spiritual disciplines that give the mind its upward direction? One learns all this by constantly living in holy company. The rishis of olden times lived either in solitude or in the company of holy persons; therefore they could easily renounce 'woman and gold' and 'fix their minds on God. They had no fear nor did they mind the criticism of others.
When you meditate, go into the solitude of a forest, or a quiet corner, and enter into the chamber of your heart. And always keep your power of discrimination awake. God alone is real, that is to say, eternal; everything else is unreal, because it will pass away. As you discriminate in this manner, let your mind give up its attachment to the fleeting objects of this world.
Whenever you have leisure, go into solitude for a day or two. At that time don't have any relations with the outside world and don't hold any conversation with worldly people on worldly affairs. You must live either in solitude or in the company of holy men.
I am not alone,
For solitude like this is populous.
And its abundant life of sky and sun,
High-floating clouds, low mists, and wheeling birds,
And waves that ripple shoreward all day long,
Whether the tide is setting in or out,
Forever rippling shoreward, dark and bright,
As lights and shadows, and the shifting winds
Pursue each other in their endless play,
Is more than the companionship of man.
It was from him I learned that the stage is too coarse a medium for the works of the supreme poet; Shakespeare's depths can only be plumbed in the solitude of the study. So I used to shut myself up and plumb away for hours, and I acquired such aptitude that for a time there was a belief that I might pipe Shakespeare into young minds of the rest of my days, as a full-fledged academic plumber.
The trouble with solitude is that there is no one to share it with.
The bird of vision is flying towards you with the wings of desire.
What does this patch-sewing mean you ask? Eating and drinking. The heavy cloak of the body is always getting torn. You patch it with food and other ego-satisfactions.