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Chapter 3: The Fire of Awareness

Chidaditya swaroopam deepah.
To be established in the sun of awareness is the only lamp.

One day a lady came to Mulla Nasruddin’s school with her small son. The lady asked the Mulla to frighten the boy. He had become unruly and he would not listen to anyone. He needed to be frightened by some big authority. Of course, Mulla was a big authority in his village. Mulla took a very frightening posture, with eyes bulging, fiery, and he began to jump. The lady felt that “Now it seems impossible to stop the Mulla. He may even kill the boy!”

The lady fainted, the boy escaped, and Mulla became so frightened of himself that he had to run out of the school. He waited outside. When the lady came back he entered, slowly, solemnly, seriously. The lady said, “Mulla, it is strange. I never asked you to frighten me.”

Mulla said, “You don’t see the real fact. It was not only you that was frightened - I myself was frightened of myself. When fear takes over, it strikes all. To start it is easy, but to control it is difficult. So I was the master when I started, but soon fear took over and it became the master and I was just a slave. I couldn’t do anything. And, moreover, fear has no favorites. When it strikes, it strikes all.”

This is a beautiful parable, one which shows a very deep insight into the human mind. You are conscious in everything just in the beginning, and then the unconscious takes over. The unconscious takes charge and the unconscious becomes the master. You can start anger, but you never end it; rather, the anger ends you. You can start anything, but sooner or later the unconscious takes charge; you are relieved of your duty. So only the beginning is in your hands, never the end. And you are not the master of the consequences that follow.

This is natural because only a very small fragment of the mind is aware. It works just like the starter in your motor car. It starts, and then it is of no use; then the motor takes over. It is needed only to start. Without it, it is difficult to start. But don’t go on thinking that because you start a certain thing you are the master.

This is the secret of this parable. Because you start, you begin to feel that you are the master - because you started. You think you can stop. You could have not started, that’s another thing. But once started, soon the voluntary becomes nonvoluntary and the conscious becomes unconscious, because the conscious is just the upper layer, just the surface of the mind, and the whole mind is unconscious. You start, and the unconscious begins to move and work.

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