Chapter 9: Only the Knowing Remains
We have not seen light directly. If there was not a single object in this hall you would be unable to see the light. Light hits an object; the shape of the object is seen and you think you are seeing light. If the object is seen very clearly you say there is much light, if it is not very clear you say the light is insufficient, and if it is not seen at all you say there is darkness. If you cannot make out anything of shapes and objects you say it is pitch dark. But you have seen neither light nor darkness. It is our conjecture only that there is light whenever we can see objects. In fact, light itself is such a minute energy that it cannot be seen outside.
Light is visible within because there is no object inside which can be illuminated. There are no inner objects which can be illuminated and seen by us, so when we experience light within, it is pure light, it is immediate, it is without any medium. We see two things outside - the lighted object and the source of light; and the light which is between these two is never seen by us. The sun is seen or the electric bulb is seen, and the objects illuminated here are seen; but the light between the two is not visible.
When light is seen within there are no objects, nor is there any source - it is sourceless light. There is no sun from which light is shining out. There is no lamp emitting light. There is only sourceless light. When light is first seen in that objectless world, then Kabir, Mohammed, the Sufi mystics, the Baul mystics, the Jaina mystics, begin to dance, declaring what we call light to be only darkness.
Aurobindo has written, “Once I had seen within, it became clear that the thing which I had understood to be light was darkness. When I looked within I saw that the thing which I had considered to be life was in fact death.” It is indeed very difficult to receive and bear the light which, sourceless, objectless and shapeless, is born within. The greatest difficulty is that our mind tends to think, “I have reached the end of my journey, I have reached my destination.”
Sense organs are not great obstacles in the way of the seeker of truth; he overcomes them. Thoughts are also not great hindrances; he goes beyond them. But our legs refuse to keep moving when the flowers of delight and the joy of achievement begin to unfold within. We feel disinclined to give them up and discard them. We find courage and daring lacking in us to go beyond them, and we think we have reached the destination. This is the moment when the sage has prayed, “O God, remove this bright light also. I wish to know that which is beyond light also. I have crossed darkness - now lead me beyond the light.”
Remember this. Will and determination can help us to go beyond darkness, but only surrender helps us in going beyond the light. We have to enter into conflict to go beyond darkness; we have to struggle and fight hard. And man finds strength enough in fighting darkness, but he is absolutely weak when the occasion arises to fight against light. He is almost as if not. Determination and strong will do not work here; they are ineffectual. Only surrender is effective.
This sutra tells us about surrender. The sage has arrived at the place where light is born. He is defeated now. He did not pray for help till now. He did not ask God to do anything for him till now. With confidence in himself he made his way to this point. Man can come this far, but those who depend on determination can never go beyond this. Only those who are prepared to surrender totally can cross this boundary.