Tuesday, April 26, 2011

35. Lighting the lamp of Knowledge.

The Sanskrit word Upanishad consists of three words—“Upa" means "near,” "ni" means "down" and "shad" means "be seated.” "Upanishad" means, "to sit down near the Guru to receive knowledge." The Guru is the personification of wisdom and the Shishya represents a spiritual seeker eager to come closer to wisdom. The Upanishads are knowledge in the form of dialogues between the Guru and Shishya from ages ago which denotes the Parampara (Lineage). This Guru-Shishya Parampara gives the picture of the finite getting close to the infinite as well as the known reaching out to the unknown.

Knowledge has to flow from one to another just like a river, if not it gets vanished or will be stagnant and of no use. Knowledge dispels ignorance. Ignorance and darkness has not got any permanent place. There is no person whom we could say is and will always remain ignorant and there is no place in the whole of universe which we can call a dark place. One spark of knowledge and beam of light respectively can change them. Hence knowledge is likened to a lamp (Deepam). If we want to light a lamp, we need a container, we have to fill it with oil and place a wick in it. We need a flame source to light the wick. Only when we have all four accessories we can light the lamp. This lamp dispels the external darkness. Similarly, to dispel the darkness of ignorance, we need to have vairagya (renunciation), the container; unconditional love, the oil; one pointed concentration, the wick; and Jnana (spiritual wisdom), the flame source.

It is customary to light a lamp ahead of an auspicious event and once it so happened in such event, an ultra modern person who was seated in the gathering asked the distinguished guest lighting the lamp, “Gentleman, why are you using the same old out dated way of stating the function by lighting a lamp using oil, wick, and flame? Why not change according to the time? Why not "ON" a LED light or a CFL Lamp by just operating a switch? Will it not dispel darkness as your lamp does????”

The distinguished guest replied, “Son, you are right the time as changed a lot and every thing has advanced by using science and technology, but the way in which knowledge is transferred from an individual to another has remained the same, just like the flame is brought near the wick of the lamp that has to be lit. Is it possible for a LED or CFL lamp which is glowing to light up another LED or CFL which not lit when brought near it????”

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