November 07, 1999
|It is said that everyone loves light - except
owls, thieves and prostitutes. There is something more to it than meets the eye. Most
human beings are allergic to light. Light in life is insight, wisdom. Wisdom does not
brook mechanical existence. Insight reveals inconvenient truths and asks embarrassing
questions. When ignorance is bliss...? we close our eyes - as the owl does. We prostitute
the truth to suit our heedlessness; we rob life of its wisdom. All this gives rise to a
Belief is inevitable, as are axioms in mathematics and a boat to cross the seas. But only the blind reconcile themselves to an existence in darkness. Wisdom leads those who are endowed with insight to the realization of the belief. Such a realization is a mere step beyond the belief-system. Such a belief is thus picturesquely described by sage Vasistha as a "higher form of ignorance that strives to eliminate itself. " It is a healthy state of ignorance which reveals that there is a light at the other end of the tunnel.
Belief is religion, belief is dharma in the sense of established religion - full of doctrines, theories, and so on. Dharma holds the community together, prevents the individual from disintegrating. But it is also a habit (dress) worn to protect oneself. However, it is not oneself. Hence, it should be treated as the means, the end is Self-realization - the direct experience of the belief believed in.
Insight enables belief to fulfil itself in Self-realization. It does not militate against even organized religious institutions but puts the spirit back into them. Light does not drive away or destroy darkness - it reveals what it is. Belief is a ladder that helps you get to the roof; to rest on the ladder is childish. But right belief is a ladder that helps you get there, thank God and thanks to the belief itself.