The first question:
I often desire to have an isolated, secure place to allow surrender. Meditations several hours a day going deeper and deeper without distraction. As I understand, most yoga masters teach that withdrawal from the world is necessary for a period of time, once kundalini starts rising, until one is finally established in samadhi; at which time one can really be in the world, but not of it. Your teaching seems to be different: to engage in the world while the transformation is occurring. If this is so, how do I avoid the distraction of maya before I clearly see the reality?
The first thing: the ego always seeks isolation, in a thousand and one ways. When you become very rich, you become isolated. When you become politically very powerful, you become isolated. An Adolf Hitler is alone, more alone than a yogi in the Himalayas. He has no friends, nobody equal to him; he has no relationships. A very rich man reaches to a Himalayan peak, where he is alone. Hence one seeks riches, hence one seeks political power.
The ego is always in search of isolation, because when you are alone, only the ego remains; the ego becomes the whole world. Then there is nobody to fight with your ego; there is nobody to humiliate you; there is nobody with whom you can compare yourself. You become supreme in your own eyes. You can believe in your ego absolutely; there will be no distraction.
I am against isolation. In fact you have to dissolve the ego, not to isolate it. You are not to become an island, independent, separate from the whole: you have to become a part of the continent, one with it. How can you be one with reality in isolation? The reality needs participation, not isolation. That’s why the greatest samadhi occurs in love, not in isolation. And the greatest of yoga is love, because in love you have to dissolve yourself, in love you have to die, in love you have to melt, merge.
I teach love, not isolation. Isolation is the way of the world, not the way of religion. But it happens: you have been seeking riches, political power, possessions; then you become frustrated; then you turn to the Himalayas – you renounce the world. You don’t renounce the ego, you renounce the world. I teach you: renounce the ego, don’t renounce the world.
The ego is very subtle. You could not attain to political power, then you try to attain to religious power. You call it kundalini, but still it is power, still it is something that will make you separate, unique, independent, an island. If your religion is also a search for power, then isolation is needed.