Company of the Eternal

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Oct 2017 09:58:52



By Vijay Phanshikar,

“I am alone, but I am never lonely.”
- Helen Gibson

THIS is a very common statement that we hear often in our daily conversations. Smart words, of course, we admit and even admire. They are simple as well, by literary standards. Yet, in that simplicity, they conceal a tremendous meaning, a great spiritual message.

This particular quote might have been attributed to Helen Gibson, but it verbalises a universal idea -- of human preparedness to walk alone on the chosen path, no matter if there is someone in company, or one is alone -- I am alone, but I am not lonely!
And then we have that eternal poem-song by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore:
... tobe ekla chalo re, ekla chalo, ekla chalo, ekla chalo re ... !
-- Walk alone, dear, don’t hesitate. You may be the lone person to walk, but keep walking. That is what you must do ...!

As the nation rejoiced Independence, despite the bloodshed, despite the cruelty, despite the unheard of violence, one man walked a lonely path in Noakhali in Bengal. He could not bear to turn a blind eye to the violence in the place far off from New Delhi where the nation’s leaders came together to celebrate the new-found Independence. But the Mahatma -- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi -- could not be there in celebration for which he had a huge credit. He walked into Noakhali to establish peace. And the Tagore poem -- Tobe Ekla chalo re -- came to be associated with Gandhiji’s lone march.

‘Of course, only Gandhi can do this. He is a one-man Army’, said Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy and first Governor General of India. ‘He has the moral and spiritual power’, he added in sheer admiration as well as in amazement.
I am alone, but I am not lonely ...!

But when we take a look at Gurudev’s life, we realise how he was the modern sage who loved his own company, how he conversed with himself. ... Ekla chalo re!
Let us delve into its spiritual meaning. The words are simple but their meaning is absolutely complex. What does one mean by ‘not alone’? In simple words, I have company. But then, dear friend, we do not see anybody with you!

True, friend, you may not see anybody with me. But I am not lonely. I have company -- of myself, of my thoughts, of my ideas, of my conversation with self. I am constantly talking to myself, conversing with the inner me. I am in a dialogue with self. I am in peace with self, not conflict. There is a zone of harmony surrounding me. There is an arena of silence in whose coolness I reside. I realise in my
own company that I am spiritually elevated, sublimated.

But then, it is not easy to love one’s own company. That is one of the biggest and toughest challenges one may face in life -- to be in one’s own company, to cherish one’s own inner friendship. That’s a difficult ball-game, we must admit. ‘I am part of this vast universe. I am an expression of Brahma. I am a reflection of the Atma. I am an embodiment of the inner spirit, the core energy’, says a Vedic prayer written countless thousands of years ago.

And when I am that, how can I be lonely? How can I ignore the reality of my TRUTH -- of existence, of elevation, of sublimation? Of course, I am with myself.

In practical terms, however, being alone requires strength. It requires a special grit to look at self, look into the inner-most zone of being. There is darkness. There is no company, so to say. Yet, even in that dark and limitless space, there is a secret light which manifests itself as one looks deeper within. That light, that truth in the core, is an eternal company.

It is truly not easy to realise this. It requires patience, it requires penance, it requires persistence. But once that truth starts revealing itself, then everything is liberation, salvation. And when that happen, one is never lonely. One has company -- of the Eternal, of the Divine!