We all know what ignorance is and what light is. Ignorance or darkness comes and stands in front of us in the form of temptation. But light does not do this. Light comes and stands in front of us in the form of absolute oneness. Light says, “You and I are one,” while darkness says, “No, you and I are two.”

Darkness tempts us by saying, “What I have is very sweet, very nice and most fascinating. I have come to offer it to you.” Then we ask to try it and we see it, feel it and taste it. Then we are caught and we are doomed.

When light stands in front of us it says, “We are one. You and I are one. What I have inside me, you also have.” Light says that it has peace, bliss, delight and power and tells us that if we look inside ourselves, then we will also find the same peace, bliss, delight and power.

But our mind, which lives in the limited consciousness, would rather try to possess something outside of itself. It feels, “What is the use of having something I already possess?” So when darkness offers it something outside of itself in the form of temptation, it tries to grab it. It makes no difference whether it is good or bad. Just because it doesn’t have it, the mind wants it. That is why we are always fond of ignorance.

Why do we cherish ignorance? First of all, because we feel it is something which someone else has; for this reason we want it. When we see someone is very rich, we immediately want to become rich too. When someone is happy, immediately we want to be happy. We are always looking around at what others are doing and then trying to imitate them. We feel that if we don’t have the thing that others have, then we are fools. Everybody has ignorance. We also have ignorance, but we think that if we do not have a large enough quantity of ignorance, then we are inferior.

A child has a balloon. He feels that his balloon is the best thing on earth. He does not want to think that a balloon is very short-lived and will soon burst. He only cares to know that it is his possession and he does not want to part with it. Ignorance is like a balloon. We feel that if this little toy is taken away from us, then we will be totally lost and have nothing. But when we consciously enter into the spiritual life, we feel that ignorance is constantly tempting us and never fulfilling us. We feel that the more we play with the balloon, the more we are being frustrated and destroyed. We have to know what we want: temptation or fulfilment. If fulfilment is our choice, then temptation has to be discarded.

In our ordinary day-to-day life, ignorance is like a camel: while a camel is eating thorns its mouth bleeds, but it continues to eat thorns because it has formed the habit of doing so. When the soul enters into the body, for one, two, three, four, five or six years, it remains absolutely powerful because it has the capacity to remain in the fore. But gradually the child starts learning many wrong things from his parents, neighbours, friends and the outer atmosphere, and ignorance enters. When the child is growing up, he sees many shortcomings in his parents but he does not know that these are shortcomings. He thinks that these are things that he needs in order to stay on earth and to prove that he is also a real human being. So he starts cherishing in his mind, vital or physical these ideas that come from the physical senses. When he starts using his physical senses without being inspired from the heart, darkness enters into his eyes and blinds them and falsehood enters into his ears and poisons them. All the undivine qualities enter into him and he cherishes them consciously or unconsciously.

How can we overcome ignorance? In this world we know only two things: I want or I don’t want. We either accept or reject. In God’s cosmic Game there are only two things: ignorance and knowledge. Every thought is either composed of ignorance or wisdom, of darkness or light. There is nothing in between. Either darkness is filling the vessel or light is filling the vessel. This is why we have to allow the light to enter into the vessel.

As there is no limit to darkness, so also there is no limit to light. It is up to us to choose. We can live in darkness and ignorance or we can live in light. Today it is difficult for a human being to live in light. It is easier for him to live in darkness. But tomorrow that particular seeker will find it really difficult, extremely difficult to live in ignorance and darkness because he has begun to live in light.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Beyond Within — A collection of writings 1964-1974, Agni Press, 1975
Sourced from https://srichinmoylibrary.com/bw