Being alone in the crowd

Lotus Temple

“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone”

Blaise Pascal

Some time back, I had a chance to visit the famous Lotus Temple of the Baha’i in Delhi (The Baha’i Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent religions –http://www.bahai.org). I availed a leave from the busy schedule in office to join my uncle who had come from Kerala and halted in Delhi for a day before proceeding to Rajasthan on a new mission. I just thought of spending the day with him. As the departure of his train was at night, we had the entire day with us. Therefore, after breakfast, we went out to Nehru Place to see the Lotus Temple and spend some time in its premises. Though I have been staying very close to this place, I have never had the time to go there.

As we were waiting there in the queue to enter inside, some volunteers welcomed us and briefed about the Baha’i faith and the specialties of the temple. It is envisaged to be a house of prayer and meditation for all regardless of cast, colour, creed or religion. With us, we found people from all walks of life – elderly people, young couples, students and school children. There was total silence inside the house, where I could not find any idols of deities or religious symbols other than an icon in the centre of the dome. The house is having seating facilities for nearly 1500 people. No entry fee, no offering boxes and no priests around.

The house was almost full when we entered and found our seats in a corner. Some of the visitors were trying to enjoy the artistic beauty of the structure, some others kept looking what others were doing and a few people seemed to be enjoying the tranquility and serenity inside the house. The absence of deities must have helped them to visualise the god of their choice in their mind. They also seemed to be enjoying the silence that prevailed in the great hall. I felt that the urge in man to be alone with his self is increasing. Spirituality of all ages inspires man to listen to himself for solutions to all his problems. I have always found this exercise very useful. Whenever I feel that I am in a dilemma I spend some time somewhere in loneliness to listen to the inner voice that gives proper directions to make the right decisions and get out of the trouble.

Outside, we are living in a noisy society where everyone keeps on talking endlessly about their achievements, hopes, despairs, dreams, etc. through every possible means. Everyone wants to be heard, consoled and sympathized with. People feel that they can be happy only when they are in the company of others. They cannot tolerate loneliness. They look for solutions in people. But, be sure that people can never be what you expect them to be. You need to be happy with yourself as well as you are in the company of others. Be alone and silent for a moment to look inside where answers to all your queries can be found and where you experience the ultimate peace.

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“All that is beautiful has always happened in aloneness; nothing has happened in a crowd. Nothing of the beyond has happened except when one is in absolute solitude”

Osho

 

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