Auckland’s 17th Diwali festival, colloquially referred to as ‘The Festival of Lights’, will soon be enlivening our city streets and temples and bringing gaiety, color, dance, music, theatre, workshops and a wonderfully irresistible array of multi-ethnic food stalls to our nation. Signifying the triumph of light over darkness and originating centuries ago from the time of Lord Rama’s return from exile, it celebrates hope, life’s spring times and renewals, humanity’s brighter future. The candles and celebrant lights of Diwali also convey the deeper, spiritual symbolism of the festival, reminding us that ‘light’ is an intrinsic property of the soul and originates in the beauty and mystery of an omnipresent Creator.
The late Indian spiritual master Sri Chinmoy answered many questions about Light – below are some excerpts from his responses.
What do you mean by Light?
Light is the power of the Supreme that illumines and transforms ignorance. Anything that transforms our existence is Light. Light, you can say, is the life-breath of the Supreme. Each colour of light has a special meaning. Blue light is Infinity, vastness; white light is purity. Green Light is life-energy, new life. Like that, each colour has a significance.
What is the purest Light?
The purest, highest Light is the Light of the Absolute Supreme. This Light can be seen and, at the same time, it can be felt or experienced. When we have established our constant, eternal and inseparable oneness with the Highest, the experience that we get is purest Light. If we have to define the purest Light, we can say that it is nothing but an experience of the Supreme in the Supreme. When we consciously feel our permanent and complete oneness with the Absolute Supreme, we get an eternal and everlasting experience of real, purest Light, and the purest consciousness of the Supreme is put at our disposal.
How can we attain the experience of purest Light?
We achieve this experience on the strength of our inner cry. If we work outwardly for material wealth or power, eventually we achieve these outer things. When we want to do something or achieve something, we have to work for it. Right now our goal is purest Light. In this case, our work is to cry inwardly. We have to inwardly cry like a child for inseparable oneness with the Supreme. The child cries for what it wants, and the mother always comes. No matter where she is, she comes to offer the child whatever it wants. But everything depends on the sincerity of our inner cry. If our cry is sincere, God is bound to grant it. If we cry inwardly for spiritual things — for Peace, Light, Bliss — then we are bound to achieve these divine qualities.
What is the source of the higher Light?
This Light actually comes from the soul; it is inside us. The moment we can have free access to our inner being or to the soul, we will see that this Light is coming to the fore to permeate our whole outer existence.
Can you tell us how we can bring down light from Above or from within?
It is very easy. Just invoke light. When you pray, pray to God to inundate your body, vital, mind and heart with light. There is nothing wrong in doing this. It is absolutely necessary to pray to the Supreme to inundate your inner and outer existence with light. Our Upanishadic seers prayed to God for light, light, light. For us also, there is only one thing we need: light. If you want to bring down light from Above, prayer is the answer. Or, while you are meditating, you can invoke God the Light. Through our prayer and meditation, we are growing into God’s boundless and infinite Light and becoming all that God is and all that God has.
What is the purpose of ignorance?
This life, as you know, is a kind of game that we play; we call it a cosmic Game. What we call ignorance is nothing short of an experience which God is having in and through us. If we become conscious of the fact that we are only His instruments, then we are not bound by ignorance. We see that there is someone, the Inner Pilot, who is playing His cosmic Game in and through us. If we know that we are mere instruments, then there is no ignorance, there is no light; there is only the Supreme, who is everything. He is the Doer, He is the action, He is the result; He is everything.
Is there any relationship between the light that the seeker receives and the light the earth receives?
The Light of the Supreme is descending to earth in infinite measure. It is up to the seeker either to accept it or to reject it. According to his capacity of receptivity, each seeker is receiving the Light of the Supreme. Earth embodies the seeker and, at the same time, the seeker represents earth, Mother Earth. When the seeker accepts Light, immediately this Light enters into the consciousness of the earth-mother in him. Again, when earth receives Light, when the mother receives Light, she offers it to her children. When the soul of the earth receives Light, it shares this Light with the seekers, its children. And when the children receive Light, they also share the Light with their mother, earth. One moment the son is earning the salary; the next moment the mother is earning the salary. Then they share their achievements with each other.
Isn’t it necessary to control the mind first in order to receive divine Light?
If we want to control the mind with our will, it will be like asking a monkey not to bother us. The very nature of the monkey is to bite and pinch us. It is impossible to stop it. But we can bring to the fore the light of the soul, which has unlimited power. In the outer world, when somebody is superior in strength or power, he tries to punish the one that is bothering him. But in the spiritual life, the light of the soul and the light of the heart will not punish the mind. On the contrary, the light will act like a most affectionate mother. It will come forward and try to transform the mind. It will feel, as a mother does, that the imperfection of the child is its own imperfection. The heart will feel the obscurity, impurity and darkness of the mind as its own limitations and, at the same time, it will be in a position to offer its light — the light it gets from the soul — to the mind. We have to use the superior power, the light of the soul, to control the mind. If we try to control the mind before bringing down divine Light, we will sadly fail.
How do we bring light into the subconscious?
You should aspire for the light that will transform your nature. Only by bringing light into your entire system can you illumine your inner darkness. No matter how many hours I dwell in a dark room, the dark room will not be changed into an illumined room. But if, just for a second, I can enter into an illumined room, then I may be able to bring light into the dark room and illumine it. When you meditate, you drink the light which permeates the atmosphere. This light will be able to illumine and purify the dark and impure things that you have inside you.
When you start your concentration or meditation, try to feel that you have come from light and that your whole existence exists inside light, that you not only embody light but are light itself. This is not imagination or mental hallucination. Far from it! It is a real, solid, concrete truth. If you can realise this, you will see a spontaneous flow of light from within. First you will feel it inside your heart. Then you will feel it in your forehead — in the third eye; and finally you will feel it throughout your entire being.
There are also other ways of seeing light. One way is through your breathing. Each time you draw in a breath, please feel that you are breathing in something that is feeding, purifying and energising everything inside you. And what is the thing that you are breathing in? It is nothing but light. After a while you will feel that this light you are breathing has totally filled your being. At that time you will see and feel that you are nothing but light itself.
Why is darkness impermanent and light permanent?
Light is permanent precisely because our Source is all Light. We come from Light, in Light we grow and through Light we fulfil our inner task. God is the eternal Source and we are His children. God-realisation, the flood of infinite Light, is our birthright. The more we go deep within, the easier it becomes for us to realise that there is something within us which is everlasting. Right now we are enveloped by darkness because we have been sleeping for a few years or a few incarnations. But a day will come when the infinite Light will dawn in us and make us feel what we truly are. Since our Source is God, who is all Light, eventually we also have to grow into Light. It is the Creator who has created us and eventually we have to grow into His very image. Our inner sun, which is infinitely brighter than the physical sun, will dispel the ignorance-night of millennia. Let us try to go deep within and enter into our inner sun, our cosmic sun. There we shall see the infinite, permanent Light waiting for us and crying for us.
Reprint with the kind permission of NZ Indian Outlook\
by Jogyata Dallas