Chapter 9: Only the Knowing Remains
It is only to be expected that there will be so much light surrounding truth that it is blinding to our eyes. It is fitting and good that truth is hidden within a circle of light. It is only our illusion that truth is hidden in darkness. How can there be darkness around truth? If darkness surrounds truth, then where will we find light in this world? How can darkness surround truth? There is no possibility, no way, for darkness to persist near light. Where there is truth there will surely be light; it only looks like darkness to us. If we ask the Sufi mystics, they will tell us that when we go deep into meditation there is not only one sun, there are thousands. So abundant is the light that it seems as though countless suns are shining simultaneously within. Naturally, we will be blinded.
Truth is hidden in light. And have you noticed? - it is easy for us to open our eyes in darkness, but it is very difficult to open them in the abundance of light. What is the difficulty in keeping our eyes open, or in opening them, on a no-moon night? But if the sun is shining into our eyes we find it very difficult to open them. The final conflict of those who approach truth is with light, not darkness.
This sutra speaks of that period of conflict. In that moment the seeker prays, “O God, remove that curtain so that I may see your true, original face.” It looks quite natural if someone prays, “Take us far away from darkness; lead us out of darkness,” but, “Remove this light”.? And another point of interest is the word golden used to describe the light - it is a very pleasing word. This light is like gold. It is such a light that we will have no wish to remove it. It is very difficult to ask for it to be removed, but truth cannot be seen till that light is removed. So let us understand this point.
It is very easy to give up what is bad, but real difficulty arises when the time comes to give up the good. Where is the difficulty in giving up iron chains? The difficulty arises when golden chains are to be given up, because it is hard to consider golden chains as chains. They look like ornaments. It is very easy to discard unsaintliness, but even saintliness becomes a bondage in the last stage. When it too must be renounced, great difficulty arises. In that final stage the good is also to be renounced, because even that much attachment becomes a bondage, and even that much bondage is a barrier in the search for truth. Only absolute non-attachment, absolute freedom, will do. So this seeker who has fought with darkness and conquered it, now prays to God to remove the golden curtain. It is not so difficult to fight against darkness, but there will be much difficulty when the moment comes to fight against light.
Light - and to fight against it? This is amazing. Light is so pleasant, so heavenly, so peace-giving, so invigorating, so full of life’s nectar, that it becomes painful to talk of its removal. And therefore the sage prays to God to remove it: “I cannot do it myself. My mind will persuade me rather to merge with it.” Remember, you will have to save yourself even from light when your meditation brings you to its ultimate brilliance. Your journey must go even beyond that. You have to overcome it, you have to transcend it. You have to be beyond darkness, and beyond light also. When consciousness goes beyond darkness and light, the duality ends and nonduality begins. Then that one is seen who is neither light nor darkness, neither night nor day, neither life nor death, who always is, and is beyond all dualities. You face a final conflict with light before that nonduality is attained.