By: Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji
The lamp has great significance in our culture. Saints point to that shining, eternal, smokeless flame whose light is all-pervasive. This is the brilliant Light of Consciousness, which when reflected in the mind makes our inner thoughts glow. Not only does it project the world in its entirety, but also illuminates it. In that Light, we recognize the universe with all its happenings, experiences, and limitless wonders.
However, what we experience depends on the texture of our thoughts. Whether the flame is smoky, dull, or wavering is contingent on the nature of the mind. Sai Baba has advised us to purify the mind so that it becomes like the steady flame of a lamp, burning in a windless area, removing the darkness around it.
Our minds are full of varied thoughts, sometimes positive, sometimes simmering with negativities. To a positive mind, everything appears beautiful and wonderful. We radiate the joy of peace and happiness that we feel within ourselves and light up the world around us.
By surrendering to Sai Baba, there is nothing that a person with a pure, focused, single-pointed mind cannot achieve. The mind alone is the cause of our bondage and the cause of our liberation. As our mind, so our world! When it is lit with knowledge, even knowledge of the laws of the world, we can perform efficiently to reap the right results. Conversely, when the mind is dull, shaky, as in the case of Nanawalli, like the wavering flame, we see a distorted image of the world and ourselves, leading to a lack of confidence and self-esteem. Then, when we act in the world outside, our actions are neither productive nor efficient.
Life is full of wonders. Sometimes we are on a smooth highway to reach our goal, and sometimes we are confronted with major obstacles. Very rarely do we understand that the external obstacles we face are, an expression of our inner inhibitions, thoughts, and beliefs.
Therefore, Sai Baba has commanded, ‘Be a lamp unto your Self.’ In any situation of life, self-assessment is essential. In fact, we should make introspection a daily habit. When we look within, we can find the beautiful Self hidden amongst the clutter of our own thoughts. We then understand that the source of whatever ugliness, distortion, conflicts, and obstacles we face, lies within us. Lit up with the knowledge of self-observation, when we turn the mind to examine ourselves, we may, at first, find a horde of negativities and imperfections. Lord Sainath has declared, “Never be perturbed or give up self-observation, however frightening it may appear at first. It is the basis of meditation and achieving anything great in life.”
If and when, we abandon them – these negativities and thoughts – we recognize the brilliant Self, the Light of all lights that lies below. The light of a pure mind lit up with this Consciousness is so brilliant and amazing that it illuminates the whole world. We experience it as a world of opportunity, as a world of goodness, as a world of beauty and as a world of wonder. And we gain the courage to confront all the daunting challenges of life with faith and fearlessness.