A new beginning

A new beginning

Swami sukhabodhananda

Darkness is not the presence of something that is black, but the absence of light. That is why darkness cannot devour light, but light can dispel darkness.
Even the pitch blackness of a starless, moonless night is no match to the feeble flame of a candle.

If we reflect intently on the nature of darkness, we find that darkness has no substance as such, even though it can envelop us. Such is the mystery of darkness that, though it cannot be defeated directly, it can be put to flight by lighting a lamp.

In spiritual parlance, darkness denotes ignorance. One can destroy ignorance by lighting the flame of understanding.

How does ignorance enter our lives?

Ignorance is of two kinds, primary and secondary. Primary ignorance is the state of not knowing the source of joy, not knowing oneself. Secondary ignorance consists in not having material information such as that contained in knowledge fields like physics, chemistry, history etc.

Happiness is part of our basic human nature, but our mind creates misery. Misery is contrary to our nature. Misery blinds us to the perception of the self as the source of joy.

This is similar to the way we become unable to perceive the rope as rope once our eyes have “seen” a snake in its coils.

Mind creates misery by its desires, expectations, anger, and jealousy stimulated by unnecessary comparisons. If we banish these negative emotions that create misery, our self will emerge as a source of joy, similar to the way the effulgent sun emerges as clouds disperse.

Is anger an expression of ignorance?

It depends. Anger that is proportionate to a given situation is an expression of intelligence.

Fear that is proportionate to a situation is an expression of intelligence. But if either is unwarranted by or disproportionate to the situation, then it is an expression of ignorance.

People ask me, “How can I stop getting angry?” The question is wrongly formulated. It is like asking how to stop darkness from descending. Darkness is the absence of light. So anger is the absence of joy and peace. You dispel darkness by bringing in light. Likewise, if you want to overcome anger, bring in joy and peace. As darkness disappears at the approach of light, even so will anger melt away at the approach of joy and peace.