His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 

Because we are infinitesimal, we should concentrate our mind on the infinite Supreme Self. In order to do this we should live alone, and “living alone” means  that we should not live with those who are not Krishna conscious. Ideally, this means that one should live in a secluded place, like a forest or a jungle, but in this age such a secluded place is very difficult to find. Therefore “secluded place” refers to that place where God consciousness is taught. (Path of Perfection chapter 3) 
Regarding your question about living alone, living alone is a general tendency for a person who wants to get disassociated from the materialistic persons. That is also recommended by the Goswamis in their instructions. It is better to remain alone than to mix with materialistic persons. But this is not applicable when we have the opportunity to get the association of pure devotees. Our program is negative and positive simultaneously. We want to negate the materialistic side and make positive the spiritual side. It is not one sided. If you have no positive standing, negating only will not make you successful. Therefore, it is better to remain positively within the society of pure devotees. That is also recommended by the Goswamis. One should be occupied in activities in the modes of goodness and associate with spiritualistic persons. That will make one’s advancement very quick. (Letter to Sivananda dated 11 November 1968) 

Prabhupada: In Delhi, when I was vānaprastha, I was alone. But my paper was going on, “Back to Godhead”. I was alone. I was doing everything — editing, selling, collecting, cooking.

Hari-sauri: There were no godbrothers helping you? 

Prabhupada: I did not take their help. They wanted to, but I did not like it. 

Hari-sauri: Did you ever think at that time that you would be able to expand or... 

Prabhupada: It was a struggle at that time. I lived with some of my godbrothers, but I did not like it, and I left their temple and I was living alone. … When I was living alone and doing everything, it was not unpleasant. It was very nice. Even my son  came to live with me. I said, “No, you don’t.” My family sent him to go and live with me. He came twice, thrice. I asked him, “If you want to live with me, then you have to live with me as sannyāsī, brahmacārī.” 
(Conversation in Vrindavan on 3 October 1976) 

So far as you are concerned, I do not think living alone in Honolulu will be very good. If there is possibility of your living in the temple along with the other devotees, then live there. Otherwise you may also return, either to Los Angeles or San Francisco. You can work anywhere 
because you have got abilities, and from anywhere you can start for Tokyo. So for going to Tokyo it is not very much necessary that you have to remain in Honolulu alone. I do not advise any of my disciples to live alone; that is not good. (Letter to Sudama dated 20 May 1969) 

.. said to live alone, but our policy is to live with devotees. Immediately return and live with devotees and take care of the deities and tulasi. That is our main business. My Guru Maharaja condemned living alone in a lonely place. He wrote as follows: duṣṭa mana! tumi kisera vaiṣṇava? pratiṣṭhāra tare, nirjanera ghare, tava ‘harināma’ kevala ‘kaitava’ “O rascal mind, what kind of vaiṣṇava are you? In a lonely place your chanting of Hare Krishna is simply cheating.’’ [Vaiṣṇava Ke? text 1] And Narottam Das Thakur says: tāṅdera caraṇa-sevi-bhakta-sane vāsa janame janame hoy ei abhilāṣ “To serve the feet of the ācāryas in association of the devotees is my desire birth after birth.’’ [Nāmasaṅkīrtana text 7] Why have I opened this society? I was living with four children, and now I have 4,000. There is no good in living alone. 
(Letter to Govinda Dasi dated 11 November 1973)

Compiled by Damaghosa dasa


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