by Kaivalyam
In all our life, in every activity, we look for companionship. It can be parents for a baby, a friend for a child, a very intimate person for a youth, spouse when married, children when in parenthood, grand-children in old-age. In professional life, it could be one’s fellow-students, employees etc. From time-to-time, we substitute a human companionship by getting engrossed in animals like dog, cat, horse etc. or in inanimate objects like computer, phone, television, etc. Of course, we all choose the company that suits our tastes.
This striving for companionship to suit our temperament is seen in great saints too. There are many notable examples,  such as when Sri Ramakrishna prayed for Keshab Chandra Sen’s recovery. Sri Ramakrishna said: “‘Mother, please make Keshab well again. If Keshab doesn’t live, whom shall I talk with when I go to Calcutta?” [1] His fervent cry to the Mother asking him to send disciples: “In those days there was no limit to my yearning. During the day time, I could keep it under control though the talk of worldly people tormented me. I would yearn for the time when my beloved companions would come to me. I kept thinking what a relief it would be to talk freely and openly to them about my experiences. When the evening worship started, ….I would … cry at the top of my voice in the anguish of my heart: ‘Come to me, my boys! Where are you all? I cannot bear to live without you!'”[2].  Other instances suggest this too, like Shams-e Tabrizi’s craving for a worthy companion that led him to Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī and later Rumi’s bereavement of Shams’ death through his poems Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi.
It always makes me wonder: Why there is this drag of need for companionship? It is so ingrained that we even fail to recognize it. When two friends watch a humorous scene in a movie, they look at each other and then laugh. It is a surprise to see the need to resonate this humor with another person.  The same holds for music concert, sports event or a beautiful scenery etc. With any information that is exciting for one, a need to share it with other is felt – the growing traffic in social forums is a testimony to this. Ironically this blog also fits in as a solution to this need. In any such company, all that the mind is looking for is some reactive impulse from the world for the thoughts and words that are generated within it. Is it possible to create these reactive impulses within one’s own mind, thereby obviating the need for any external company? It may sound as though I’m advocating for Multiple Personality Disorder which is characterized by at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities that alternately control a person’s behavior. But that is not the case.
The saints overcame this affliction of need for company by absorbing themselves in God. Until that state of mind is reached, the need for company does not vanish. Switching back to the examples given above: Sri Ramakrishna, later on in his life, had the company of Divine Mother with whom he could talk to whenever he wanted to. This mental state of his is very different from a personality disorder (or any human relationship for that matter) as this companionship with Mother is always blissful. Rumi also, later in his life, composed this poem after Shams’ death:
“Why should I seek? I am the same as He. His essence speaks through me. I have been looking for myself!”[3]
There are of course saints who denied all worldly and human connections forcibly like Sri Ramana Maharshi. But for almost all spiritual aspirants, the need for companionship is felt always until the goal of Self/God realization is reached. Hence the advice given to us is to keep holy company so that the thoughts dwell on God rather than on any worldly object. When the bliss from within dawns upon us, the need for a companion is permanently gone.
[1] The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by M. Translation by Swami Nikhilananda
[2] Ramakrishna and His Disciples by Christopher Isherwood
[3] The Essential Rumi. Translations by Coleman Barks


  1. Any one who speaks about religion will be looked upon as a "know it all" if what they say doesn't somehow pierce the mind and further open it. I say really listen to what people have to say about religion even though they are just people, and listen to what pundits have to say even though they are "just" pundits, Krisna can be heard in every voice if we unplug our ears. The sound symbols (words) we steer away from, or toward, or straight right into are like Krisna turning our souls on the battlefield. Seeing others talk of religion this way, within in the chariot imagery from the Gita, can be helpful in winning our spiritual goal.

  2. So beautiful, Lord Prosperity — "His essence speaks through me".

    That is to say that we BECOME aware of Atma (Self-awareness or sacred tremor)[1] by BECOMING aware of what Atma is. This is meditation — taking the mind from the gross thinking level to the subtle thinking level.

    Complete enlightenment can come by being constantly united with that essential Self (Atma). Regular meditation accomplishes this.

    From the Bhagava-Gita, 2:45, we have:

    "The Vedas' concern is with the three gunas. Be without the three gunas, O Arjuna, freed from duality, ever firm in purity, independent of possessions, possessed of the Self."

    "Atma" (Self-awareness or sacred tremor) is "Spanda" in Sanskrit. Could it be that "Atma" is "Pneuma" in Eastern Christianity & ancient Greek religion; "Ruach" in Judaism; and "Spiritus" in Western Christianity & ancient Roman religion?


    [1} Spanda-Karikas: The Divine Creative Pulsation. The Karikas & the Spanda-nirnaya Translated into English by Jaideva Singh, p. xvii.

  3. Thanks for the comment Yvonnie. I am not well-versed in terminologies of any religion, so I cannot really compare or comment on your question if "Atma", "Pneuma", "Ruach", "Spiritus" are related. So I just looked in wikipedia what they mean (I admit I could be entirely wrong) – One common idea that comes out of all the three words of "Pneuma", "Ruach" and "Spiritus" is "breath" or "vital force". "Pneuma" looks more like "Prana" in Hinduism. "Prana" is called the vital force that pervades all objects both animate and inanimate. "Ruach" and "Spiritus" also appears to be on similar lines. However, I do note that these three words also have some other meanings that are closer to the idea of "soul" which is called "Atma" in Hinduism. Again "Atma" itself in Hinduism has various different connotations. I do not know if "Spanda" has any relation to "Atma" as they are used in two different systems of Hinduism. "Atma" in one particular system means "the all pervading Self as reflected in an individual" and it is used in many systems of Hinduism in different ways. "Spanda" implies an impulse/vibration and is used in Kashmir Shaivism to define every object/action. Well I do not think I answered your question as I'm incapable to do so.

  4. Thanks, Lord Prosperity, for your apt response. It more than answered my questioning.

    Know that Self — "I am," the original feeling of existence. By knowing that (Self) which the Chhandogya Upanishads say, "Know that, by knowing which everything gets known" (Ch. 2, Section 1, v. 3).

    From Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. 15 v.4: "Then that state should be sought, in which, once having gone, they do not return again; I seek refuge in that primeval Purusha alone whence has spread the ancient activity."

    The activity or action of the universe has been explained as ever changing. Then what is this activity or action which is said to be "ancient"?

    Any action or activity that could be said to be ancient would only be that activity or action whose nature has not changed. What is that activity? It is the first activity of creation, the first vibration deep within the mind, the celestial, the source of thought.

    Vedic wisdom (of such deep and profound scientific value) centers around a simple process of deep meditation which enables every man and woman to make a research in the laboratory of his/her own life and realize for him/herself the reality of the whole situation, the truth of life.

    With the practice of meditation, one can continue to remain a Muslim, but an enlightened Muslim, a Christian, but enlightened Christian, a Buddhist, but an enlightened Buddhist, and so forth. There is no conversion in the Vedic way of life, that is the Atma predominant way of life — Self predominant life.

    And the greatness lies in the fact that this realization of the truth of life does not only satisfy the mental curiosity about the ultimate reality of life but simultaneously enriches every aspect of material life as well — by the weapon of non-attachment. It is attachment that maintains man and woman's fixity on the surface level of the mind of forms and objects.

    Again from Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. 15 v. 5: "Freed from pride and delusion, having subdued the fault of attachment, ever established in the Self, desires completely turned away, fully liberated from the pairs of opposites, known as pleasure and pain, the undeluded arrive at that dignity of the imperishable."

    With meditation, these modifications take place naturally in the various phases of a man's or woman's life when he/she seeks refuge in the primeval Purusha alone as stated in the previous verse. Free from pride means free from the sense of individuality. That is transcendental pure consciousness.

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