II / I

The Light of Life

We all have come down to the distant land called earth, like so many prodigal children of God, carrying with us the potential of our Father, which we are frittering away, day by day and moment by moment, in exploring the ephemeral beauties and glories of this region, losing all recollection of our Divine Origin and the blissful parental home, and of our ancestry together with the great heritage that is ours. ‘Born of the flesh,’ and living in the flesh we have lost our touch with the Saving Life-Lines within, and as such are spiritually dead – dead in spite of the hectic life on physical and mental levels and the wondrous achievements in the fields of art, science and technology. With all the comforts of life that Dame Nature has provided to her foster-child, man, we yet live in a state of perpetual fear and distrust not only of others but of our own self for we find ourselves helplessly and hopelessly adrift on the sea of life without any moorings to hold on and keep our barque on a steady and even keel on the tumultuous waters.

Man is a microcosm, a replica of the macrocosm – universe. The two – the individual and the universal – are intimately inter-related, part to part. All that is without is also within and the spirit in man despite the heavy load of physical and mental trammels has the capacity to break through the thick enshrouding veils and peep into what lies beyond – the perpetual sway of the Supreme God, the Eternal self-existing Truth, perennially the same from the beginning of time.

We have, in this respect, the testimony of a number of mystics:

Thou, while living in space, hath thy roots out of space, learn thou to shutter down this side, and soar into fields infinite, for so long as one does not rise above the world of senses, one remains an utter stranger to the world of God, strive on and on, till thou art completely out of the cage, and then shalt thou know the vanity of the realms below, once thou art above the body and the bodily adjuncts, thy spirit shall bear testimony to the Glory of God; thy seat is verily the throne of God, fie on thee that thou chooseth to live in a hovel. Thou hath a body even when out of the body, why then art thou afraid to get out of the body?

Oh friend! bypass the life of the flesh that thou mayst experience the Light of Life, thou verily art the life of all that exists here, nay, both the worlds, here and hereafter art in thee, it is from thee that all wisdom hath descended, and it is to thee that God reveals His mysteries. In short, though thou appeareth but so small, and yet the entire universe resideth in thee.

Equipped as thou art with a human body and an angel sprite, thou canst at will roam the world over or soar in the sky. What a great fun it would be to leave the body here below, and wing thy way to the highest heaven above, quit thou thy elemental house of flesh and blood, and take with thee thy mind and spirit far above.

If you could but come out of the tabernacle of the flesh; it may enable you to go to the place where flesh is not; the life of the flesh is from water and food alone; for on earth you are clothed in the raiment of self-same stuff; why not go you nightly out of the charnel-house? For you possess hands and feet that are not of this earth; it may suffice you to know, that there is in you an ingress leading to thy Beloved. When once you get out of the prison-house of the body, you shall without any effort land into a new world.

The Perfect Master, time and again, tells us of our lost Kingdom lying within, neglected since long and altogether forgotten in the mighty swirl of the world of mind and matter in which we have been drifting all the time. This is the God-given opportunity for us to tread the untrodden path and to explore the unexplored, and to rediscover within us what is already our own, the real Inner Being in us.

Human birth is a rare privilege indeed. It comes at the end of a long evolutionary process, beginning from rocks and minerals, then passing through vegetable kingdom, then the world of insects, reptiles and rodents, next the feathery fraternity of birds and fowls and penultimately beasts and quadrupeds. Man has in him an element which all other creatures lack or have just in infinitesimal measure – the skyey or ethereal element that gives him the power of ratiocination and discrimination, enabling him to distinguish right from wrong, virtue from vice, and to understand and to practise the higher and nobler values of life with freedom of will to choose and adopt the same for further progress, so as to be born of the Spirit, adding new dimensions to his consciousness by arising into supra-mental awareness – first cosmic and then of the beyond. All this is a certain possibility, though we may not know of it at the moment.

Our self,

says Carl Gustav Jung, the philosopher,

as the container of our whole living system, includes not only all the deposits and the sum of all that has been living in the past, but is also the starting point, the pregnant mother-earth from which all future life will spring; the presentiment of things to come is known to our inner feeling as clearly as is the historical past. The idea of immortality which arises from these psychological fundamentals is quite legitimate.

Imprisoned in the clayey mould and domineered by the mind, man is yet a puny child of clay in the vast creation, insignificant in stature and strength. But he is limitless and all-pervading in soul; the seemingly individualised spirit in him is a priceless crest-jewel of inestimable value.

So says Bheek, a mystic sage:

Oh Bheek! none in the world is poor for each one has tucked in his girdle a precious ruby; but alas! he knows not how to untie the knot to get at the ruby and hence goes abegging.

God, says the sage of Dakshineshwar (Ramakrishna Paramhansa), is in all, but all are not in Him.

Guru Nanak tells us of the way out – way to unravel the great mystery and to acquire mastery over everything else –

By conquering the mind, you conquer the world,

is his simple device.

The mind as at present is torn between countless desires of diverse nature, pulling in different directions. It has, by degrees, to be reintegrated and made whole – an undivided whole – with the Love of God surging in every fibre of its being; for then alone it would become a willing instrument to serve the spirit instead of dragging it down and without, as it does now, into tight bottleneck corners, here, there and everywhere and at all times.

Unless this hydra-headed monster is trained and tamed, it, like the sea-god Proteus, continues playing wild antics, under different guises and various shapes, putting on, chameleon-like, the varying ground-colours of its own choosing. So long as it keeps attached to the earth and all that is earthly, it keeps waxing in power and strength derived from the mother-earth. It has, therefore, to be lifted high into the air and held aloft, as Hercules did with Antaeus, to get rid of the giant, who was invincible as long as he maintained his contact with the mother-earth from whom he derived his strength.

Once the mind gets in touch with the Divine Melody that comes wafting from above, it is lifted up, losing for good all interest in the down-pulling sense-pleasures of the world. This gradually leads to a virtual death of the body that is now left far below as well as of the mind that goes up some way to merge in chit akash – its native habitat, the great storehouse of memories from times immemorial and from where it descended with the blowing down of the vital airs – pranas – on the pure consciousness, wrapping it with a two-fold covering – man-o-mai and pran-mai koshas –, constituting the mental apparatus befitting the soul for functioning on the earth-plane, through yet another covering – the physical covering – anna-mai kosh – of the body fitted with the gross sense-organs, so very necessary in the world of sensations.

While confined, cabined and cramped in the magic box of the body, we are not chained to it though all the time we think and act as fettered prisoners, for we do not know how to unhook the indwelling spirit in the body and how to rise above it. All the Masters from ages past have been telling us with one voice to go within and look inwards for the beacon light, the Light of Life uncreated and shadowless, all-luminous in its own luminosity, the only ray of hope and deliverance in the enveloping darkness of the murky prison-house in which we dwell.

Of this it is said:

And the Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

St John 1:5

Take heed that the Light which is in thee be not darkness.

St Luke 11:35

It is this Light which is acclaimed as the day-star (2 Peter 1:19) that serves as a lamp unto the feet (Psalm 119:105) of the faithful, enrapturing both the mind and the spirit which alike are unwittingly attracted and begin drifting upward into realms of higher consciousness, super-consciousness, along the lighted Current of Life, the audible Life-Stream – Shabd –, carried as It were on the wings of the Divine Music springing from the Holy Light, metaphorically described as Pegasus, the white winged horse of the gods or barq (the lightning) that is said to have carried the Prophet to heaven – almiraj.

The Great Masters in all times, and in all climes, speak of this unique and wonderful house, the human body, the veritable temple of God in which dwell the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Unless the Son – the human spirit – is, by the Grace of some Godman, baptised with the Holy Ghost – the Power of God made manifest in the flesh by a Godman –, the prodigal Son, wandering among the wonders of the wondrous world without, cannot by himself find his way out of the labyrinth, to the Home of his Father – God –, for the eternal and fundamental law is:

It is in flesh (clayey mould) and through flesh (Word made flesh) that we come to Him who is beyond the flesh.

St Augustine

Within us is the Light of Life. Day and night burneth eternally this celestial lamp in the dome of the bodily shrine.

Whosoever comes by this Light of lights, to higher realms, he soars unfettered.

This is the truth and leads unto Truth.

He that knows the Truth knows where that Light is and he who knows that Light, knows Eternity, (St Augustine) knowing which (Truth) shall make you free (free from all the impregnable bondages, regrets of the past, fears of the present and terrors of death in which we constantly live.)

St John 8:32

The Word or the Holy Ghost is the Great Truth at the bottom of all creation:

All things were made by Him (the Word), and without Him was not anything made that was made,

says St John (1:1-3).

The entire world sprang from Shabd,

is what Nanak tells us.


With one Word of His, this vast creation blossomed into being; and a thousand streams of life sprang into existence.

In Upanishads, it is said:

Eko-aham, Bahu syaam.

I am One and wish to become many.

The Mohammedans speak of the Word as Kun-fia-kunHe willed, and lo, all the universe sprang up. Thus it is this God-in-action-Power – Light and Life, the Melody of God – All-pervading and All-powerful, immanent in all that is visible and invisible, creating and sustaining countless creations.

Speaking of creation, Nanak tells us:

And countless Thy planes; unapproachable and inaccessible Thy innumerable heavenly plateaux.

Even by the word countless, we fail to describe Him. The words count and countless are indeed of little consequence for the Almighty. He Who is immanent in everything and is the very life of the creation itself, knows every particle thereof.