By Purushottam -

The story of one is the story of all.
Everyones story is painful and parting.

Everyone is lonely.
Flower is alone
Fragrance is lonely.
Eye is alone
The tears are lonely.
Word is alone
The magic is lonely.
This world is a gathering of lonely people.
In these words Rahi Masoom Raza has painted a picture of loneliness and emptiness in his novel "Katra Bi Arju".

 Disconnection, absence of love, not being together or alienation have been portrayed as loneliness or emptiness. Jiddu Krishnamurti and Osho underline loneliness as a lack of association. They explain that just as darkness denotes the absence of light, similarly the absence of the feeling of belonging or of love finds expression in loneliness or emptiness.  
Researchers have shown that the feeling of belonging or love is what binds the members of the human society together. These expressions gave the human race a separate form, distinct from different biological communities like Udbhija, Shvedaja, Andaja or Jarayuja category. It is only after being equipped with these feelings that the animal called human has been transformed into a social animal. Yuval Noah Harare in his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind has underlined the spirit of co-operation as the basis of all social activities. He says that being part of group led to a Cognitive Revolution among the animal community called Homo sapiens. In the process they were transformed into a social organism. On the basis of archaeological evidences, it is estimated that the cognitive revolution must have happened seventy to thirty thousand years ago.
In such a situation, the question arises that in the history of mankind, under what conditions did the sense of disunity, separation, absence of love or not being together arise in a member of a community or several members of a community? Has this problem been equally present in every period of human history? And, is this problem found in any other species of the animal world apart from humans? 
Imagined reality and sense of belonging
Studies suggest that the social problem of loneliness, or the feeling of emptiness, is not caused by DNA-controlled biological activities. It has its roots in the sense of belonging created in the course of mans transformation as a social organism. The thread that binds the human society together has been created by the spirit of co-operation. Particularly the content of superstructure called dharma is the feeling of belonging, love or being together. The emergence of social formation like art or culture has also happened around this feeling. Superstructures such as Caste, Village, Family, Justice, Marriage etc. are also deals with different aspects of social affiliation. Human cooperation has its roots in Adam and Eve or Manu and Satarupa, or other similar stories. The scholars call these stories as myths. They exist in the collective imagination of the society. Many such stories are prevalent in different communities in different parts of the world. Amazingly these stories are replica of each other.
Harare says that the element that binds the clan, state and sects (religious communities) together was created from these stories. They have no existence outside the narrative or in the physical world. There is no God outside the shared imagination of man. There is no Nation. There is no Money. There is no Human rights, no law and no justice. The collective dance performed around the bonfire on every full moon night is nothing more than an action to strengthen the social order or to unite human beings. He explains that infinite powers are accumulated in the fabric of these complex stories. This ability to fabricate imagined reality enabled the strangers to cooperate with each other on the one hand, and on the other hand created conditions for changing the nature of these myths, or by reinterpreting them, in a different form of association. 
Even after this change, the sapiens have not been freed from the DNA controlled biological laws. Harare explains that sapiens’ physical, emotional and cognitive abilities are still determined by DNA. There is no difference between sapiens compared to monkeys at the level of feelings, emotions and relationships. However, no other biological community other than humans can build a disciplined structure in the form of mass celebration, trade-structure, superstructure or social structures. It is clear that the basis of the real difference between other creatures and sapiens is this sense of cooperation, in the creation of which these myths have played a unique role. It connects large numbers of individuals, families and groups. The feeling of love, belonging, or being together stems from mythical stories .
A hundred pieces of mirror
Researchers believe that the human community organized into clans or tribes was transformed into the settled agricultural society during the period of the agrarian revolution. Janas, in this process, turned into Janapadas. This change in the life of Indian people came about three thousand years ago. Then, the chieftain of the Jana or Clan was called Raja. Being supernatural was considered the specialty of the king. After this change the king was declared Kshetrapati. There were seven classes of priests in the old tribal society. By the time they settled for agriculture, there were seventeen classes of priests. Among these seventeen was also a Brahmin class. The Brahmin class led the campaign to divide the society into Varnas and to make the king the Kshetrapati.
In the new hierarchical system, the Brahmin was declared at the top. Kshatriyas were placed below the Brahmins, then the Vaishyas and at the bottom were the Shudras. Then, various ethnic groups and tribes like Aryans, Dravidians, Proto Australoids, Negritos, Mongols were spread over different parts of India. It was not an easy task to get these ethnic communities to accept the suzerainty of the king as the Kshetrapati. For this, the method of assimilation of symbols and the creation or reconstruction of stories creating a sense of belonging was adopted. The merger of a cave dwelling deity wearing a skin cloth with the Rigvedic Rudra is an important example of this. The assimilation of the deity-symbol worshiped in the linga form with Rudra also points in this direction. In general, this change in the period of the agrarian revolution is seen as an attempt to establish socio-economic domination in the life of Indian people. This discriminatory stratification caused a feeling of sorrow in the vast section of the society of the time. This feeling of sadness was an early form of the problem of lack of belonging.
A section of people engaged in priesthood and intellectual work did not agree with this change. Haripada Chakrabortys important work Asceticism in Ancient India is of the view that in the event of disagreement, this section was forced to retire and leave the community. The rules for taking sannyasa are recorded in a sutra book called Vaikhanasa Sutra. This shows that the sannyasis presented renunciation as the norm against this attempt to establish supremacy. Renunciation of home, family, community, property, clothing, varna, rites, etc., was made a part of this ideal. Dr. P. V. Kane in the History of Dharmashastra has mentioned four types of ascetics on the basis of different scriptures – Kuticaka, Bahudaka, Hansa and Paramahansa. This classification of ascetics was made on basis of the nature of their renunciation. The form of their clothing, the type of housing and the nature of begging were used to measure the level of renunciation.
In this background, the stream of Upanishadic thought erupted. It is seen as a perceptual reaction of those Sannyasins to the situation at that time. Romila Thapar in her work Ancient  Indian Social History: Some Interpretations outlines the effort of the Sannyasins as an attempt to create a counterculture. In later times, this effort of ascetics also split into two streams called Brahmins and Shramanas. From the womb of these resistance, large religious-social movements like Jain, Buddhist, Ajivaka were started in the next eras. According to Jain texts, three hundred and sixty-three such sects had taken shape during that period, and sixty-three sects according to Buddhist texts.  
Before the introduction of the new system based on discrimination, the human race was a worshiper of Supernatural qualities. The manifestation of Supernatural qualities was in the form of vital vibrations (pranatmak spandan). Its symbol was called a deity. The composition of Yasak calls the Nighantu Nirukta Self-illuminating (Dipta), the one who illuminates (Dyotit karane vala), and the one who gives something as a devta. According to the old understanding, the universe is basically divided into three parts – Prithvi (the base of desires), Antariksh (Horizon of desires) and Dyulok (equanimity of mind). Again, these three parts are divided into eleven parts each. These thirty-three parts are symbolized by thirty-three deities. The Brahmin class, in order to impose supremacy, resorted to a reinterpretation of old polytheistic thought. It was in this process that Tridevism (Trinity of Gods) emerged. On the contrary, in the Upanishads, instead of Supernatural qualities, Absolute Knowledge or its symbol Brahma was declared object of worship. Describing the advent of the deity after the Creation of the Universe, it was said that it is thirty-fourth over the thirty-three Devtas.
The theme in the early Upanishads is meditation upon the nature of Brahman. However, indications of the origin of the concept related to Brahma were being found in the Vedas, Brahmanas and Aranyakas only. The number of Upanishads in Muktikopanishad is mentioned as one hundred and eight. Adi Shankaracharya has commented on ten of these Upanishads. The scholars, considering the composition style of the Upanishads, see them as compositions done over the centuries. According to the subject matter, they find them divided into three parts (Jnanapratipadak, Brahmavidyapratipadak and Sadhana Marga preacherk). According to the new understanding, Brahma was described as the lord of the three worlds. Brahma is the nectar. It is dead matter too. It is said to be devoid of sorrow. Brahma was also seen as synonymous with the Supreme Truth or Absolute Knowledge. The Upanishads discuss the relationship between the Whole (Brahman or Absolute Knowledge) and the Part (Soul). A section of ascetics also disagreed with this interpretation of the Upanishads. The foundation of Indian philosophical thought was also laid against this background of differences. In this process, these views made freedom from sorrow the subject of their thoughts. This disagreement formed the basis of the division of Brahmin and Shramana tradition.
Philosophical currents such as Samkhya propogated by Maharishi Kapil, Yoga of Maharishi Patanjali, Purva Mimamsa promoted by Maharishi Jaimini and Uttar Mimamsa or Vedanta promoted by Vadarayana and Vaisheshika promoted by Maharishi Kanada and Nyaya by Maharishi Gautam emerged in the Brahmin tradition. In the later period, Uttar Mimamsa also received expansion in the form of methods of thinking like Advaita, Dvaita, Dvaitadvaita, Shuddhadvaita, Vishishtadvaita through the commentaries of Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Nimbarkacharya, Madhvacharya and Vallabhacharya on the Brahmasutra written by Vadarayana. 
Sects like Jain, Buddhist and Charvaka of the Shramana tradition disagreed with the understanding of God and the soul developed around the Upanishadic concept of Brahman. The Brahman of the Upanishads was immovable and unchanging. In contrast to this, the Jainism of Rishabhdev and Mahavir found the Supreme Truth to be expressed in many forms. At the same time, the conclusion of Buddhism of Mahatma Buddha was that the ultimate truth keeps on changing from moment to moment. In later centuries Buddhism also expanded in the form of philosophical streams called Madhyamik (nihilistic), Yogachara (vigyanvadi), Vaibhasika and Sautantric.
These philosophical systems of the Brahmanical and Shramana traditions attempted to explain the creation or process of creation in their own way. There were deep differences between these currents in the process of defining the interrelationship between the individual and the community. In the course of their discussion, the currents of the Shramana tradition were completely free from discrimination. But in some of the thought streams of the Brahmin tradition, differences were deeply ingrained. That distinction is not present in the contemplation of Samkhya, Vaisheshika and Nyaya. Purva Mimamsa was in search of the lost-and-missing Vedic knowledge.
Uttar Mimamsa or Vedantas main propositions of thought-systems such as Advaita, Dvaita, Vishishtadvaita, Shuddadvaita and Dvaitadvaita are the interrelationship between the soul and the Supreme Soul or Jiva and Brahman. These currents presented the ideal of unity between the soul and the divine. It was said that achieving it is the goal of life. But, efforts were also made to justify the difference in this sequence. Concepts like Purna-Ansh, Atman-Parmatma, Ishvara-Jiva-like concepts and the tales that humanize these concepts are the subject matter of thought. These philosophical currents of both the traditions (up to the Charvaka school) were presenting moksha, nirvana or liberation as the ultimate goal and in their own way, showing a way to get rid of suffering.
Opposing ideas and the religious movements that arose out of them stood against that dominating or discriminatory tendency. They laid emphasis on rising above not only individual self-interest, but also the prejudices that formed its basis. In the succeeding ages, they gradually became weak. In the changed situation, the influence of social domination and individual selfishness played an active role in weakening that spirit of co-operation. Under the influence of this, situations leading to the feeling of absence of love, disassociation, disillusionment or of not being together arose. The old position could not be restored.

Alone among hundreds 
Thus, the foundation of the discriminatory system was laid in the period of the agrarian revolution. Under the influence of this revolution, instead of the eternal feeling of love, belonging and being together, situations were created to awaken the feeling of dissociation. At the root of the problem of loneliness and emptiness is a sense of dissociation. It found expressions in that period in the form of a feeling of sorrow. It flourished at the social level during that period. By the time of the Industrial Revolution, it assumed the form of a giant banyan tree. In the new era, profit was seen as the norm of life. Acquisition of more and more wealth became the ideal. In the recent decades, the market era has badly destroyed the spirit of love and belonging. In the 19th century Karl Marx gave a well-known theory about alienation. However, the problem was considered earlier by Friedrich Hegel and Ludwig Feuerbach.  
Alienation is the central theme of the eighteenth-century philosopher Hegels thought. In His understanding, Absolute Thought or the Absolute Mind is at the root of every being. In common parlance this is called the Absolute Knowledge or God. The totality of existence is the manifestation of that Absolute Knowledge. The whole universe is organized according to a rational system. Nothing is inconsistent. Everything has its own unique place in the universe. The totality of definite properties is called thought, soul or mind. The realization of self forms the basis of mobility. This Self is constantly engaged in activity. Man is only a partial expression of the active soul. The knowledge of man constitutes history. Together with this knowledge of the Absolute also develops. Isolated from its own nature, the human mind has deviated into another world. It forms the basis of alienation.
Feuerbach did not agree with Hegels view that nature is the self-isolated form of the Absolute. He also disagreed with Hegel on the point that man is absolute, but is in the process of alienation. In his opinion, the situation is just the opposite. God is the essence of man. He himself is the God. Although, It has been separated from man, but man has not turned away from himself.
Feuerbach understands that religion originates in the process of objectifying mans own nature. In this process, he presented intelligence, strength, dignity, beauty etc. as ideals. He elevated them as God-like qualities. These divine qualities are just projections of human nature. Man himself worships his ideals. It is in the process of considering the essence of the self as external and exalted, that a state of alienation arises. 
Thus, for Hegel and Feuerbach, alienation is essentially a mental phenomenon. But Karl Marx does not agree with them. For them, alienation is basically a physical and social process. Alienation is the result of living in a class-based stratified society. He says that workers are bound to sell their power, expertise and skills to the capitalists. As a result, workers have no control over the product of their labor and over the labor itself. They have become a means of fulfilling the interests of the capitalists. In this process, man becomes a victim of alienation. In these conditions the workers not only detach themselves from themselves and their nature, but also become alienated from their work along with other people.
In conclusion, it can be said that the life of mankind has been moving between two parallel banks of spiritual and material thinking. In this process, that spirit of cooperation took shape, which had transformed homo sapiens from animal to man. The mentality based on hyper-materialism (excessive increase in the influence of selfishness) and hyper-spirituality (blind-belief born out of separation of concepts and rituals) has been creating conditions that obstruct the free flow of human life-stream. For the first time in the history of India, the hegemony that arose during the period of the agrarian revolution laid the foundation that created the conditions that hindered that flow. Hyper-materialism, especially the ideals of profit and wealth acquisition since the Industrial Revolution, have destroyed self-introspection. Now, efforts are being made to turn man, a victim of alienation, into an obedient slave. In the changed circumstances alienation is the natural phenomena. The feeling of loneliness and emptiness has emerged in these situations. The feeling of love, belonging or being together is the basic element that maintains human being as a social organism. On this foundation rests the entire edifice of human society. The following poetic expression of Rahi Masoom Raza paints a very vivid picture of the state of loneliness and emptiness that has spread in the society :
The story of one is the story of all. 
Everyones story is painful and parting.
This world is a gathering of lonely people. 
Krishna is alone 
Madhuban is lonely. 
Cow is alone 
Butter is lonely. 
Hand is alone 
The skirt is lonely. 
Sleep is alone 
The courtyard is lonely. 
This world is a gathering of lonely people.