Aloneness is not loneliness

Though we are all human beings, we have built walls between ourselves and our neighbors through nationalism, through race, caste, and class—which again breeds isolation, loneliness.

Now a mind that is caught in loneliness, in this state of isolation, can never possibly understand what religion is. It can believe, it can have certain theories, concepts, formulas, it can try to identify itself with that which it calls God; but religion, it seems to me, has nothing whatsoever to do with any belief, with any priest, with any church or so-called sacred book. The state of the religious mind can be understood only when we begin to understand what beauty is; and the understanding of beauty must be approached through total aloneness. Only when the mind is completely alone can it know what is beauty, and not in any other state.

Aloneness is obviously not isolation, and it is not uniqueness. To be unique is merely to be exceptional in some way, whereas to be completely alone demands extraordinary
sensitivity, intelligence, understanding. To be completely alone implies that the mind is free of every kind of influence and is therefore uncontaminated by society; and it must be alone to understand what is religion—which is to find out for oneself whether there is something immortal, beyond time.