Devi and I just finished a week of seclusion at a private retreat house atop Abbott Mount, in the foothills of the Himalayas. Ever-present in the distance is Nanda Devi, a mountain that many in India believe to be a living goddess. In this rarefied air, one feels the blessing of God and the Masters to be palpable.

Seclusion is a very important part of the spiritual search. In his Praecepta Lessons, Paramhansa Yogananda wrote:

Always remember that seclusion is the price of greatness. In this tremendously busy life, unless you are by yourself, you can never succeed. Never, never, never. Walk in silence; go quietly; develop spiritually. We should not allow noise and sensory activities to ruin the ladder of our attention, because we are listening for the footsteps of God to come into our Temple.

Selusion is the price of greatness Paramhansa Yogananda quote seclusion

VIew of Himalayan range from Abbott Mount.

Time alone, in quiet, allows the mind to disengage from the world of maya, which otherwise entangles and entrances our consciousness. More importantly, it helps you to feel the reality of the spiritual teachings. Too often, our efforts and our devotions are scattered, like sparkles of light on a breeze-ruffled pond.

There is a lovely chant whose words are:

Thou art my life.
Thou art my love.
Thou are the sweetness which I do seek.

In the thought by my love brought
I taste Thy name, so sweet, so sweet.

Devotee knows how sweet You are.
He knows, whom You let know.

Most of the time, amidst our busy lives, words to a chant such as this are repeated halfheartedly or in a distracted state, and are little more than hopeful affirmations. During seclusion, when my life really was given wholly to God, if only for a week, it was as if these words became living, emerging from the printed page and throbbing in my heart, my mind, my very breath.

Here are a few of the benefits I felt during the seclusion:

  • My mind disengaged from activity and became quiet.
  • Meditation was much easier, deeper, and more attractive.
  • My heart turned almost constantly toward devotion.
  • The presence of the Gurus felt very real.
  • After a couple of days, the duties and problems of daily life faded into a misty distance.
  • New insights, often very subtle, came unbidden.
  • I deeply felt the sweetness, love, and constant blessing of God and our Masters.

Can everyone take a week of seclusion in the Himalayas where Babaji lives? No, of course not. But everyone can find a way to get away from the turmoil of life, to be silent and alone for a few days, at least. The memory and benefits of even a little of this practice will sustain you for long months as you trod through the hills and valleys of daily life.

Try it. Please.

In the silence,
Nayaswami Jyotish

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  1. Hello!
    During my Durga Puja vacation of 1 week. My roommates were gone to their homes, and I was able to live alone for that period. That time my sadhana had gained a good momentum. I used to meditate 3 times a day, 1hr each. It was a blessing for me.

  2. Thank you so for this reminder that is a blessing.

  3. Thank you Jyothish,
    You write so persuasively for seclusion! Amma also talks about the importance of going to a “lonely place” ( i.e. a place where one is alone) to do sadhana. I need to be reminded from many perspectives :) I will now write into my schedule a week with God alone!
    In Divine Friendship,

  4. Feeling deeply inspired after reading this Jyotish. Thank you both for the love and guidance you’ve given to all of us.

  5. Thanks Swamiji

    I do believe in each and every word you have used to express your feelings. We all do need sometime, may be a few minutes, in a quiet place every day to keep our mind fresh, pure and energetic.

  6. Dear Jyotish, Thank you, awesome, beautiful, wonderful, wondrous reminder and beyond words, Bless you and Devi…. always

  7. Thank you, dear soul. I am grateful for the reminder that it has been far to long since my last seclusion. No time to waste. Julie is going to seclude next week/another great example. In Divine Friendship, julie and steve

  8. Thanks you swami ji for reminding this to me. I have not yet tried it but will do soon.

  9. Thank you for your words of encouragement about seclusion. I know that your seclusion is a blessing to all of us. Blessings, Gloria

  10. Thanks Jyotish. I just signed up for my winter seclusion. I appreciate the encouragement.

  11. Namaskar
    True seclusion is good for mental health. I have ajob. I used to wonder how one can live without constant work and be at home. Restless mind wanted creativity all the time
    After accident had to remain at home. Very restful. Time just flows. Mind becomes quite. Much less activity is needed
    I think worries and meeting too many people at work gives restless mind
    Accident is blessing in disguise to learn slow tempo of life is enjoyable

  12. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
    Thank you for sharing the experience. Very peaceful to read.
    With his grace I will look out for a seclusion soon.

    In Master’s love

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