Lighting the lamps of Diwali produces a beautiful, uplifting sight. More so if we remember what the light symbolizes—the light within. The holy days are a time to analyze the condition of the light within. Are we allowing our light to shine?
In the Gita, Lord Krishna states:
It is desire that becomes anger, arising from passion; know this desire to be insatiable, extremely sinful, and the greatest enemy in his world. Just as fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror by dust, and the embryo is covered by the womb; so this knowledge is covered by desire. [Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, verse 37-38]
Krishna is saying that it is “desire,” that is, lust for external things that covers our inner light. The covering can be as thin as smoke, which can be easily brushed away to get a glimpse of the light of the source. Or it can be thicker, like dust on a mirror, which has to be polished carefully to reveal the light. Or in some of us, it is as thick as the womb that enshrouds the embryo, which must wait for the timing of birth.
So our job is simple! Remove the covering! Some self-analysis can be beneficial to discover the methods you are using to cover that inner light? Two hundred years of slavery and exploitation is a heavy duty covering! Amazingly, the light of wisdom and insight has been maintained throughout that era of Empire darkness — for the Eternal Truth always remains unblemished within to be uncovered.
India is the repository of the spiritual wealth of the planet. It’s not written in a book and stamped “The End,” for this wealth is beyond intellectual knowledge. This wealth is a lived reality that can only be known through experience. The uniqueness of India is that at any given era there are persons who have experienced this inner spiritual wealth—not just one or two, but many—even in modern times. These enlightened sages are found in every region of India, so they are unique in their languages, their customs, and their expressions of the highest experience. However, in spite of these differences, the essential enlightening experience is the same: beyond language, custom, expression. This wealth has been humanity’s birthright since the beginning of time—and according to Sanathana Dharma, even before time.
People ask me why I am so fascinated with Hindu philosophy. In the first place, it’s not “Hindu philosophy”; it’s Sanathana Dharma—the Eternal Truth. This means that it is a truth that exists for all times, for all people, everywhere. So this Truth still exists in the India of today and fortunately there are masters who live it and teach it.
Where to find this Light?
Since this Truth is an inner light, it cannot be perceived by the external sense organs, which know and feel the external world. The Upanishads are clear that this dilemma is the quirk of living in the human body. We are presupposed to look outward, while our essential wealth is within. Further, we are presupposed to seek something permanent; therefore, we expend out efforts reaping thousands experiences in the world, while the permanent is within. Like a movie projector, we continually project the essence out into the external world.
In this pursuit of a permanent stable happiness, peace and wellbeing, we stack up heaps of material and intellectual objects, all with the good faith that one more item, one more idea will bring us the “peace that passes all understanding.”
Every generation of Indians has understood this basic truth on some level. Until the current times, the majority of Indians have honored this Truth or at least honored and supported those who did. At this time in India’s history, I am very concerned about the loss of revelation of this Truth through the trend toward materialization. Certainly, the Indians have the right to live well, yet how to define “well.” A TV and microwave in every home? Is that going to do it? Personally, I’ve never had a TV and don’t intend to waste time watching crap and crime on TV—I’m too busy creating my own life.
Everyone’s idea of living “well” is unique.
I’m certainly not one to think that Indians should they sit in meditation while outsiders continue to rob them. How can there be a balance? It seems like a good place to start is with the Eternal Truth that there is one source and we are all connected. One thing I am sure of—if it doesn’t happen in India, it won’t happen anywhere on planet Earth.
What Can I Do Now?
The only way to preserve India’s spiritual wealth is through learning the Eternal Truth, comprehending its meaning, and doing something honoring its ideas out in the world. Even through the process of working in this temporary realm (maya), more insight will come about the permanent underlying reality.
How can that be — since the external is contrary to the inner spiritual wealth? That’s a trick of nature, for the external is the manifestation of the inner source. As wild as it might seem, all diversity, chaos and confusion is the one source. The Creator loves diversity!
Sharing your light; expands your light. Each day I look for an opportunity to put a smile on someone’s face. It could be a kind word to the clerk at the grocery store. Take a moment when I go on my daily walk, to stop and make a positive comment to another pedestrian. It’s always fun to compliment parents on their cute baby. If I’m at home all day, I make it a point to phone a friend or family for no reason other than to let them know I’m thinking them.
As we expand our acceptance and our awareness, mental coverings and blocks fall away to reveal the light within. The light of the lamp is the symbol of the alert, inquiring mind necessary to develop the discriminating power to bring forth the light within.
Stretch your intellect…. Investigate, understand, and act with that understanding. You could get some surprises.
I challenge you to make the former British Governor General Lord Warren Hastings’ (1732-1818) words come true:
“The writers of the Indian philosophies will survive, when the British dominion in India shall long have ceased to exist, and when the sources which it yielded of wealth and power are lost to remembrances.”
Happy Diwali!! Here’s my gift to you to get you started understanding what Sanatana Dharma is all about through conversations Swami Chinmayananda. He was a genius at illuminating difficult concepts in every day terms: Wisdom of Hindu Philosophy.
Available only November 2, 3, 4. 2013.
Note: After downloading, open immediately to complete transaction.