Chapter 8.8 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
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8.8  LIGHT

WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The smile of God's Light is like a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp in a globe of glass, the globe of glass as if it were a shining star, lit from a blessed olive tree neither of the East nor of the West, its light nearly luminous even if fire did not touch it. Light upon Light! God guides to this Light whomever God will, and God gives people examples, and God knows all things."    Mohammed

"One should associate a man with intelligence, wisdom, a learned one of principles high, a worthy man, accomplished and prudent, who shines like the moon in the sky."    Buddha

"As a fire well kindled, reduces fuel to ashes, so, O Arjuna, does the fire of knowledge reduce all karma to ashes."    Sri Krishna

"Just to bless them, I residing in their intellect, destroy the darkness born of ignorance by the resplendent Light of knowledge."    Sri Krishna

"Fire is the link between the finite and the infinite; between the abstract and the material; between the Creator and the creation."    Zarathushtra

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."    Jesus Christ

"I am the light of the world. No follower of mine shall wander in the dark; he shall have the light of life."   
Jesus Christ


FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

SELF-EFFULGENT FLAME

God dwells in man as the Universal Protector and as the self-effulgent Flame. If this is recognised, it would be easy to get rid of egoism and attachment. This Effulgent Flame exists in man's mortal body.

Does God exist? What is the path to reach God? Questions such as these have been asked since ancient times. It has been a riddle through the ages. In an attempt to find an answer, the sages of yore strove by penance and undaunted use of all their powers and declared. "O men! We have found Him who is the Brilliant One, the Effulgent Being, the Dispeller of Darkness, and the very embodiment of Power." They also revealed the place where they found him - not in the external world but in themselves. "We have recognised His presence in our body, in lofty thoughts, in our soul", declared the sages.

We must be aware of the fact that in the body of man dwells the effulgent flame of the Lord, who is the dispeller of ignorance. We must try to see the immortal Being in the mortal frame. We must try to have the vision of Divinity in this body which is made up of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. A diamond is to be found deep in the earth and not on the surface; similarly the jewel of Divinity is to be sought in the heart of man and not without. (060884)

The inner meaning underlying the Indian festivals should be rightly understood. Note, for instance, the fact that a whole array of lamps are lit by the light from one lamp. That one lamp symbolises the Supreme Effulgent Lord. The others symbolise the light in individual selves. The truth of the Vedic saying, "The One willed to become the Many" is exemplified by the lighting of many lamps with the flame of one. The Dipavali festival thus bears out the profoundest truth.

The lamp points to another significant fact. Wherever it may be placed, the flame goes upward only and never moves down. Likewise the flame of Wisdom leads one to a sublime level through the path of Righteousness.

If you want to light a lamp, you need four things. First, a container; second, oil; third, a wick; fourth, a match box. If any one of these is lacking, you cannot light the lamp. This lamp, however, can only remove the outer darkness. How is the darkness in the heart to be removed? It can be removed only by the light of wisdom and by nothing else. How is this light of wisdom, this spiritual light, to be lit? This also needs four elements. Detachment or renunciation is the container. Devotion is the oil. One-pointed concentration is the wick. Knowledge of the Supreme Truth is the match-stick. Without all four, the Light of Spiritual Wisdom cannot be got. (091188)

THE TRIPLE PURITY

The flame of a lamp has two qualities. One is to banish darkness. The other is a continuous upward movement. Even when a lamp is kept in a pit, the flame moves upwards. The sages have therefore adored the lamp of wisdom as the flame that leads men to higher states. Hence, the effulgence of light should not be treated as a trivial phenomenon. Along with lighting the external lamps, men should strive to light the lamps within them. The human estate should be governed by sacred qualities. This calls for the triple purity of body, mind and speech (- purity of the three instruments). The first requisite is purity of the heart. This should be accompanied by purity in speech. And one's actions should be in harmony with the purity of the heart and the speech. Where there is this triple purity, there will be no fear. The man who practises this threefold purity needs no other protector. Where there is guilt, there is fear. Where fear prevails, security is sought. There are many persons in the world who seek security. hat for? Because they are filled with fear. The fear arises out of a sense of guilt. The innocent man has no need to fear and hence has no need for protection.

Man today is haunted by fear all the time because he is full of guilty actions. These have to be got rid of. Then he will be free from fear. Moreover, he must ensure that he does not commit the same faults again. Only the Divine perennial light of spirituality can redeem man from a life of anxieties, miseries, frustrations and insatiable desires. The spiritual light will be a divine lighthouse for him. For everyone caught up in the coils of worldly life, this divine light is essential. This light is like a compass which reveals the course you should take. All the pleasures, position and riches of the world will not confer on you real peace and security. Only faith in the Self can ensure this. Man today has faith in everything except the Spirit. It is because it has lost its faith in the Spirit that Bharat today is racked by so many troubles. (051191)

FOR LIGHT TO BE REALISED, DARKNESS IS NECESSARY

Every festival is intended to awaken in man the consciousness of his inherent Divinity. The Bharatiya Scriptures call upon men stridently: "Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached." They exhort men to get rid of their ignorance, realise their primal Divinity and strive for the realisation of that consciousness.

From the very name of today's festival (Dipavaali), it can be seen that the Divine effulgence is manifest in it. 'Dipavaali' means 'the array of lights'. "Thamaso maa jotirgamaya" ("Lead me from darkness to light", is an Upanishadic prayer). This means that where there is darkness light is needed. What is this darkness? Sorrow is one form of darkness. Peacelessness is another. Loss is another. Disappointment is one form of darkness. Misery is yet another. Lack of enthusiasm is another. All these are different forms of darkness. To get rid of the darkness of sorrow, you have to light the lamp of happiness. To dispel the darkness of disease, you have to install the light of health. To get over the darkness of losses and failures, you have to usher in the light of prosperity.

These apparently opposing conditions are not totally separate from each other. They are inter-related. You see in the world the prevalence of heat and cold. They appear to be opposed to each other. But nevertheless, according to the prevailing situation, both are useful for man. During the cold weather, we welcome heat. In the summer, coolness is desired. Hence, it is clear that both heat and cold are aids to man and not harmful to him. Likewise, joy and sorrow, loss and gain are helpful to man and not inimical. If there is no sorrow, one cannot know the value of happiness. If there is no darkness, the value of light cannot be appreciated.

Hence, if the greatness of light is to be realised, darkness is necessary. It is rightly said: Pleasure is an interval between two pains. The truth about sorrow and joy will be realised when they are considered as equal from the spiritual point of view. (051191)

WHY A LIGHT

A Visitor:  Why a lamp in meditation?
Sai:      Why a light? If one takes from the sand it will be depleted. If each one takes from the water tank, the tank will go dry. But a thousand people can take the flame of one candle to light their candles and the flame is in no way diminished. Light a lamp or a candle. Gaze straight ahead at the flame. Then take the candle flame, the jyoti, into your heart and see it in the midst of the petals of the heart. Watch the petals of the heart unfold and see the light illumine the heart. Bad feelings cannot remain. Then move the flame to the hands and they can no longer do dark deeds. In turn move the flame in like fashion to the eyes and ears so they may henceforth take in only bright and pure sensations. Then move the light outward and into your friends, relatives and enemies, and then into animals, birds and other objects so that all are illumined by the same light. Christ said, "All are one, be alike to everyone." In this way you will no longer be limited to this body, but will expand throughout the univese. The world, which is now so big, will become very, very small. To expand beyond self and see that your light is the light of the universe is liberation. Liberation is not different from this. (CSSB 141)
Hislop:  Swami, in meditation some of the westerners are taking light alone, not the quite definite form of the jyoti, but just a formless light and they are concentrating on that and projecting that. It is correct to take formless light as the object of concentration?
Sai:    It is not practical to attempt to concentrate on that which has no form. To concentrate on the jyoti, is an illustration. The object of concentration can be sound, form, the jyoti, etc. It needs to be something concrete. It is not easy to fix the mind on the abstract.
Hislop:      In meditation on the form of God, Swami says that transition into the states of contemplation and meditation occurs naturally without the volition of the person who is meditating. But how does this tie into the meditation on light where the meditator deliberately and with volition moves the jyoti here and there?
Sai:      The three stages, concentration which is below the senses, meditation which is entirely above the senses and contemplation which lies between and is partially within the senses and partially above the senses, which is on the border of each, that is the experience in genuine meditation whether the object taken be form or light. There is no essential difference. If the devotee has a form of God to which he is particularly devoted, he may merge that Form into the jyoti, and that Form is most attractive to him and is the object of his concentration and is seen to be within the light wherever it is seen. Or, the concentration may be just on the form of God, for God is universal in every form. Again, the object chosen is just a device to allow one to sink deeply into quietness and to allow the body, which is non-self, to fall away out of consciousness. Anything concrete, such as light, form, or sound may be chosen as the object of concentration. It is not possible to just move directly into the stage of editation. (CSSB 136)

LOVE IS LIKE LIGHT

Expansion is Life. Expansion is the essence of Love. Love is God. Live in Love. That is the Dipavaali message I give you. When a lamp is lit from another, there are two, where there was but one. The first one did not stop emitting light. You can light a million lamps from one; but, yet, the first will not suffer a jot! Love, too is like this. Share it with a million, it will still be as bright as when it was alone. There is another lesson too, which the illuminations on Dipavaali-Day tend to teach. Each house in the street lights a few lamps and keeps them on the door sill, the parapet wall, the gate, the porch, the well - and, what is the effect? The town is filled with light, the residents are happy, the children dance in glee and the sky shines in the glow of earthly joy. Light spreads; it mingles with the light from other sources of light; it has no boundaries, no prejudices, no favourites. You may not like your neighbour. But the light from the lamp on your verandah shines hand in hand with the light frm the lamp on his verandah! You cannot keep it back!

Dipavaali is intended to teach you this lesson of light and love; move out, clasp, spread, expand, give up limits of mine and thine, his and theirs, caste and creed in one limitless flow of Love. That is the culmination of all spiritual practice. Competition, the desire to defeat and overwhelm the other person, whatever the means necessary for his downfall, the greed to earn wealth, fame, superiority, these have put out the lamp of Love in the human heart today. Resolve on this Festival Day to light it again. When the worship of God starts in the shrine room, the first act of yours is 'lighting a lamp', isn't it? Without a lit lamp, no auspicious ceremony is initiated. When the lamp of love is shining, God manifests! Keep it burning bright and pure, God persists! Allow all to light their lamps from it, God showers Grace! (291070)

LIGHT IS IN ALL

Your sister from America was telling you about her experiences as a practitioner and teacher of Yoga. There are two roads to fulfilment; prayer and meditation. Prayer makes you a supplicant at the feet of God. Meditation induces God to come down to you and inspires you to raise yourselves to Him. It tends to make you come together, not place one in a lower level and the other on a higher. Meditation is the royal road to liberation from bondage, though by prayer too, you earn the same fruit. Meditation needs concentration, after controlling the claims of the senses. You have to picture before your inner eye the Form on which you have elected to contemplate. Or, as Indra Devi has said now and as she is teaching her pupils in the West, you can elect to meditate on a flame, a steady, straight flame of Light. Picture it as spreading on all sides, becoming bigger and bigger; enveloping all and growing in you, until there is nothing else except light. In the glory of that all-enveloping Light, all hate and envy, whch are the evil progeny of darkness will vanish. Know that the same jyothi or Light is in all. Even he, whom you were treating as your worst rival, has the selfsame light in his innermost heart. (220167)

 
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