God was all bliss basking in its own glory enjoying its splendor and beauty, joyously celebrating itself. But then as the story goes - in its creative desire it wanted to see itself. It wanted to experience itself from outside. And so all of existence came. Guru Nanak describes this - "As the bubble comes out of the water, so we came from the consciousness of God."
But if God was indeed so complete then why did it want to see itself? Why did it have to create? This is a question that haunts most spiritual traditions.
All Gurus and Masters have their own take on this riddle. Some say it is God's nature to create and so it happened while others say that God was all knowledge but lacked experience and creation was a means to feel this bliss. Some others claim that God is beyond the realm of reasoning and therefore this is a useless question anyway. Finally some even disassociate themselves from this hypothesized happening completely and proclaim - God decides and we obey, why is not for us to ask.
On looking around I find loneliness a reality that is simply universal (universally simple too? I wish!). Marriage, children, money, dance, drama, singing, chanting, praying, buying, selling, writing, reading, painting, cooking, gardening, weaving, building, inventing, playing, watching, researching, arguing - Oh yeah, email and cyber surfing - all of these and more seem to fundamentally address this vacuum of loneliness within. But the realness of this question keeps coming back to us repeatedly one way or the other, smack in our face. Often it is a loss of a loved one by death, distance or divorce or by failure in studies, job or personal life. Surprisingly sometimes even due to loss of our rival or on achievement of a much-cherished goal. In these "moments of truth" we often tend to experience this hollowness in a clear and unadulterated manner. Some of us "conquer" this void with something else but invariably it's a quick fix and comes back to haunt us sooner than later. Others turn to spirituality for an answer to this enigma. Unlike the materialistic viewpoint, spiritual and religious traditions not only accept this loneliness but also have an explanation for it. They say that materialistic things can only give you temporary and illusive happiness. They even remind us of the ultimate "thief" - the Death [as the Indian mystic Kabir says - we come alone and empty to the world and leave in the same manner]. They recommend turning towards God to find a permanent solution.
Despite all these tall claims of ancient and new traditions, when you look around, it's difficult to find examples of Gurus who can demonstrably be shown to be truly happy in aloneness. Religious, spiritual or mystic traditions often start and propagate from a focal point - a human godlike figure or a god human-like figure or a text developed by/on one of these. This expansion of a doctrine is not without human effort and desire. This desire to spread "their" creed, technique or belief is more often than not attributed by the leaders (or their disciples) to enhancing the goodness in the world providing others the opportunity to get an exposure to something invaluable. The gurus are often heard as saying - "I do not really need to do this but I have to come among you to share my happiness and joy". Whether this is done to indeed benefit the disciples or they really feel the "need" (note the emphasis on the word need) to share is something that is hard to discern without going into the minds of these people. Regardless, it seems quite plausible that the desire to do good comes from a lack of something - perhaps a continuing aloneness that continues to remain unresolved. What starts as an introspective journey soon transforms into a spiritual materialism - yes seemingly an oxymoron - but in today's world practically a phrase with built-in redundancy! That is, there is hardly any difference in a spiritual or material outlook - the toys maybe different, the bells and whistles may be altered - but indeed the essence is the same - a continued focus on filling the loneliness with things.
Kabir vehemently criticized organized religions and traditions claiming them to be utterly futile that take a seeker on a tangential spin of confused wandering. He said that true saints never move in herds but travel alone - much like a swan. He has a beautiful verse that says: "What should I say? Mind is absorbed in bliss - Why should I say?" But as history can testify, he too did not stay still but continued to teach and was even known to have group discourses or Satsangs.
So what am I getting at? Am I saying that all the spiritual traditions are useless and misleading people? Am I implying that no Guru is truly honest enough to admit that they are as much lacking the wholeness as you and me? The answer is no. All I am saying is that loneliness, perhaps, has omnipresence. People who claim to have access to the key to deal with loneliness create an environment around them that is not exactly lonely! It makes one wonder whether they themselves are, at best, dealing with their loneliness sub-consciously. Even saints or spiritually "advanced" people who are seeing these beautiful vistas and music within are perhaps creating these projections (admittedly accessing super-conscious awareness) within to overcome the loneliness. All of us, in all likelihood, are co-travelers in this journey trying to unravel this divine dilemma of loneliness. Could it be conceivable that even God in all its knowledge has a built-in ignorance called loneliness? In all honesty, I don't have an answer to this question. As far as I can see the jury is still out on this one. Regardless, in my experience the intrinsic divinity of loneliness is rarely experienced or spoken about let alone understood. Is it possible that making peace with our loneliness could potentially be the doorway to the wormhole that connects us with ourselves?
"Negation of illusion is as illusory as illusion itself.
The beauty of the Journey is in being aware and natural.
Can this be how the experience transcends the life source itself?
Maybe that is why we are here"
Acknowledgment and Dedication - The inspiration for this write-up comes from the many hours I have spent alone. To those hours of loneliness I dedicate this write up.