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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Does light always illuminate?

 Having gotten up early in the morning, I was standing in my balcony and looking up at the beautiful sky. It was before sunrise and there was this partial moon, and I could see Venus and Jupiter also. A little later, as expected, these three celestial objects could not be seen. That got me to thinking about the contradiction in the commonly stated philosophy that light removes darkness and illuminates everything. That is why light is commonly compared to consciousness which makes us aware of ourselves and of everything else outside of us.

Light does remove darkness, illuminates, and makes things known. (tameva bhantam anubhati sarvam; tasya bhasa sarvamidam vibhati says Kathopanishad 2:2:15) But does it? My observation this morning, which everyone else also has experienced, points to something else. Light can also “hide” things. Or at least it can make us “blind” to things which exist in reality. After all, those planets are still “hanging” in the space even during the day!

In a way, darkness IS, because light is. They “inter-are”. Light can illuminate as well as hide. Knowledge can uncover as well as it can cover. Knowledge can be a hindrance to further knowledge if the mind is not curious and open. That is why we need the mind of a child, a beginner’s mind, an innocent mind to see things as they truly are. Is that not what Buddha said?

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