ammassridhar's picture

Average: 3.5 (4 votes)


As the will power in many persons has become very weak, as they had no religious discipline or training in schools and colleges when they were young, and as they are under the sway of materialistic influences, it is necessary for them to go in for seclusion for some weeks, months or years, to practise rigorous japa (repetition of God's name) and undisturbed meditation.

Calm the bubbling emotions, sentiments, instincts and impulses through silent meditation. You can give a new orientation to your feelings by systematic practice. You can entirely transmute your worldly nature into divine nature. You can exercise supreme control over the nerve centres, the nerves, the muscles, the five kosas (sheaths), emotions, impulses and instincts through meditation.
Those who have fixed up their sons in life, who have retired from service and those who have no ties in the world can remain in seclusion for four or five years and practise intense meditation and tapas (austerity) for purification and self­realisation. When they have attained self­knowledge, they should come out and share their knowledge and bliss with others. They should disseminate knowledge of the self through lectures, conversations, discourses or heart­to­heart talks.

A house­holder (grhasta) with yogic tendencies and spiritual inclinations can practise meditation in a solitary and quiet room in his own house - or in any solitary place on the banks of any holy river, during holidays or throughout the year if he is a whole­time aspirant or if he is retired from service.

The aspirant should be free from hope, desire and greed. Then only will he have a steady mind. Hope, desire and greed make the mind ever restless and turbulent; they are the enemies of peace and self­-knowledge. He should not have many possessions. He can keep only those articles which are absolutely necessary for the maintenance of his body. If there are many possessions the mind will be ever thinking of the articles and attempting to protect them. Those who want quick progress in meditation during seclusion should not keep any connection with the world by way of correspondence, reading newspapers or thinking of the family members and possessions.

-- Swami Sivananda Saraswathy

sonti's picture

The danger of conflict

Willpower, discipline, effort, control are all breeding conflict in the mind (otherwise, they would not be needed. they are brought because there is a somewhat contradicting existing force that is grasped as not effective, not desired, should be eliminated).

This conflict instead of improving the spiritual practice strengthen the mind and introduces stress and mental agitation.

One should be extra careful when deciding to apply effort, it is necessary only in a very small portion, for a very limited period and in very specific cases. So many teachers are irresponsible in encouraging effort upfront.

sonti | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 05:40
Phroggy's picture

Yes, I agree. At some point

Yes, I agree. At some point I noticed that all 'progress' was made through the surrender of struggle and the ending of effort, and so my philosophy has been to never engage in a practice that creates struggle or conflict as it seems counterproductive.

Phroggy | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 07:06
divine intervention's picture

seclusion oh seclusion

How can one be secluded from his mind?

What about the processing of conditionings that are triggered in real life by real life events which are absent in seclusion?

divine intervention | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 06:13
Omkaradatta's picture

Seclusion from the mind

"How can one be secluded from his mind?"

By NOT being in seclusion? ;-).

Seclusion may have someone confronting the mind directly, instead of the constant distractions of the outside world, which could be beneficial. All gurus recommend 'go within', and what better place to do that than in seclusion?

"What about the processing of conditionings that are triggered in real life by real life events which are absent in seclusion?"

Isn't that what happens normally? One is always processing conditionings triggered by real life events, unless I misunderstand what you mean by 'processing'.

Seclusion may remove, for a time, the active conditioning process. The 'me' is itself actively maintained, not an object. But I wouldn't recommend anyone go into seclusion, actually, unless it's attractive to do so.


Omkaradatta | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 07:28
divine intervention's picture

processing means being

processing means being conscious, being present, not reacting automatically, observing and accepting, not being controlled by the events. Our default state is that we are asleep, controlled by the events and subsequent triggered conditionings. we identify with them completely and then react on them like mechanic robots instead of acting consciously or just doing nothing.

divine intervention | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 07:42
Omkaradatta's picture

Then I would just note...

... that seclusion is 'real life', too. A part of it that few ever encounter, being too busy seeking achievements/possessions and socializing in the so-called 'real world'.

I've encountered many who seem to have something against the concept of seclusion (not saying you do, necessarily), and it triggers a "hmmmm". Perhaps there's some fear about being disconnected from the 'social dream', from what makes up our identity and such.


Omkaradatta | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 07:54
divine intervention's picture

No, I don't have the fear

No, I don't have the fear nor I'm against, been in such, Vipassana is also conducted in near-seclusion conditions.

The point is that I think that there should be some mixture and awareness that part of the Sadhana should be also in real life. I have seen that (unfortunately) development comes from friction and such a friction exists between the inner conditionings and the outer circumstances in normal daily environments. Life is a great laboratory to undergo experiments.

divine intervention | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 09:25
Omkaradatta's picture

It's not about development...

"I have seen that (unfortunately) development comes from friction..."

In my view, this isn't about development, but about becoming free from such notions. De-development perhaps, rewinding back to the start of the tape and leaving it alone ;-).

What develops? Conditioning develops and changes, is shuffled around. IME, friction is merely conflict.

Reality (seen here) is simply at peace, as-is, already fulfilled. Unfortunately, it looks really plain to the mind, too simple, basic, uninteresting. Maybe even limited and claustrophobic, empty of meaning. The mind is mistaken (!!), but that's how it appears.

>>Life is a great laboratory to undergo experiments.

Life isn't a laboratory and nobody is experimenting... it's really happening ;-).


Omkaradatta | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 10:24
divine intervention's picture

Conscious personal experience

For me, these are theories as I did not personally and consciously experience them. What I experience is development, I see how I peel off conditionings with the years and get more free and happy.

When I reach a stage in which I see no development, no doer and all the rest popular no's people tend to freely scatter around then I may adopt them. Currently they do not matter to me much and I stick in my descriptions to what I genuinely experience otherwise I will be a hypocrite.

I leave the theories (what I haven't consciously experienced or at least tasted or at least felt some resonance towards) to religious people, this is the difference I see between religion and spirituality.

divine intervention | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 15:07
Phroggy's picture

I would separate ego work

I would separate ego work and learning to live consciousnly, from a focus beyond ego such as self inquiry and whatever limiting conceptual notions that may exist in a focus aimed more directly at Self Realization. Jed Mckenna has termed the former 'waking up within the dream' and the latter 'waking up from the dream'.

IOW, I would say paying close attention while interacting with the world has it's place in living consciously, and reducing the distractions has it's place in using that conscious awareness to look deeply within. All of it is about looking, paying attention, being aware, devotion, sincerity, willingness.

Phroggy | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 07:58
Omkaradatta's picture

I don't see...

"Jed Mckenna has termed the former 'waking up within the dream' and the latter 'waking up from the dream'."

I like that, but don't see why they necessarily have to happen in that order. Jed's terms seem to limit things to a certain order, and (although more likely the other way) one could conceivably go into seclusion, realize the Self, then 'integrate' afterward. The bottom line is that there are no rules to any of this. "Truth is a pathless land" -- J. Krishnamurti


Omkaradatta | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 08:08
Phroggy's picture

It doesn't always happen in

It doesn't always happen in that order, and sometimes one falls off the enlightenment wagon to go back and do that ego work. The notion of not being able to abide in nondual Awareness because ego isn't done playing yet, strikes me as a very unique sort of hell.

Phroggy | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 17:09
SriSriYogiBaba's picture

Very unique sort of hell

It is.

SriSriYogiBaba | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 18:56
Omkaradatta's picture

Perhaps not so unique...

"The notion of not being able to abide in nondual Awareness because ego isn't done playing yet, strikes me as a very unique sort of hell."

If you read the above with 'the human race' in mind, perhaps it isn't as unique a hell as you're feeling it to be :-p.


Omkaradatta | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 20:46
Phroggy's picture

Ignorance is bliss

And most of 'the human race' is wallowing in ignorance.

Phroggy | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 21:52
Omkaradatta's picture


Ignorance is suffering. "Ignorance is bliss" is the ego's viewpoint, which is obvious nonsense :-p.

P.S. "most of the human race" is an erroneous viewpoint, too. Is there anything there but the computer screen, sounds, smells, sensations and your own Being? It strikes me as one huge leap to assert what might presently be happening with 'most of the human race', wherever they may be ;-). Have you ever really known anything but your Self?


Omkaradatta | Wed, 09/10/2008 - 06:25
Phroggy's picture

Enjoy your bliss. :)~

The point, of course, is that suffering is in the mind and is therefore relative. To 'Awaken' and then fall back into ego results in greater suffering than never having awakened.

To offer any opinion about 'most of the human race' is erroneous? Must be time for you to go back into disagreeable mode again. :::sigh::::

Phroggy | Wed, 09/10/2008 - 08:52
Omkaradatta's picture


I'm feelin' pretty agreeable, actually ;-). Maybe just poor wording.


Omkaradatta | Wed, 09/10/2008 - 10:27
ammassridhar's picture

Aum Sweet Aum

Thanks for the nice discussion ...


ammassridhar | Wed, 09/10/2008 - 13:08