Chapter XI: 28-29
Verily, just as many torrents of
rivers flow towards the ocean, even so these heroes in
the world of men enter thy flaming mouths.
As moths hurriedly rush into a blazing fire for their own destruction, so also these creatures hurriedly rush into thy mouths for their own destruction.
CommentaryThe mystery deepens. Into this great being's "mouth" enter all beings, as rivers enter the ocean. Into this great being's "mouth" enter all beings, as moths rush into a blazing fire.
Two similes are used with good purpose for there is a wonderful distinction between the two, and a significant reason why the Lord used two to illustrate a single factor. The river entering the ocean finds its fulfillment; but the moth entering the fire finds its destruction - not in the sense of annihilation, but in the sense of non-fulfillment.
These are the two courses open to each human being. The wise one chooses the former which the Kathopanisad calls sreyo marga. It implies turning away from the objects of the senses, daring to defy obstacles (just as the river encounters obstacles in its progress), overcoming them in various ways and eventually surrendering the limited personality which has been the cause of all our woes in order that we may become one with the whole. The path does not seem to be rosy and smooth, tempting and attractive, but the goal is supreme peace and total fulfillment.
The unwise man, blinded by the blazing fire, of illusion, refuses to see the reality and takes to the preyo marga - the path of pleasure - which pleases the senses. The blazing fire is beautiful! It is tempting and inviting. The ignorant moth rushes towards it, having no time to think or reflect, since the call of the senses (the eye of the moth in this case) is irresistible. At the first touch of the fringe of flame, the wings of the moth are destroyed; and man loses his wisdom and will. Now it is too late. All his vain effort is destroyed.
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