Dada Vaswani - From Darkness to Light
by J.P. Vaswani
Every pilgrim on the path realizes that in spite of the glittering lights around him, he lives enveloped in a world of darkness. The poet Goethe, on the last day of his life, asked his friends to open the windows of his room,
saying: "Light! More light!" In the heart of every true seeker there rises the ancient Vedic prayer: Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya or 'Out of darkness lead me, O Lord, into light.'
The goal of every true seeker is enlightenment.
How may we move out of the dark into the light? What is it that takes us into the light? The answer comes: 'Love leads us into the world of light!' The great mystic poet of Iran, Jalal-ud-Din Rumi says: "Love lifteth the veil." But with love we need to blend renunciation. Let the twain be one. Love is not love if it has not learnt to renounce every comfort, every attachment, every desire for the sake of the beloved. For the love of God cannot be kindled in a heart that is not emptied of all else.
Ibrahim bin-Adham was the king of Balkah. He renounced everything - his throne, his palaces, his wife and child - and set out in quest of Allah. He became a saint through whom the joy and inspiration of God flowed out to many. After several years, Ibrahim met his son. A spark of love for the child was generated within his heart. He embraced the prince and greeted him with the warmth of love. Immediately, he says, he heard a voice within him. It said: "Ibrahim, either love me or your child. Make your choice." Ibrahim quickly departed. On his lips was the prayer: "Forgive me, Lord, I love thee and none besides!"
From the mingling of love and renunciation comes enlightenment. Those who love God find their rest in God alone."Save by renouncing," said the Buddha, "no safety can I see for living things."
In a Russian novel, we read of a doctor who feels the emptiness of existence and who seeks the joy of life in eating enormously whenever he gets a chance to do so. And this doctor says: "If one thinks about it, you know, looks into it and analyzes all this hotch-potch, if you will allow me to call it so, it is not life but more like a fire in a theater!" And I recall what the Buddha said to his disciples on a memorable occasion: "O bhikhus, look around you and behold everything is on fire!" It is the fire of trishna, tanha, craving in which the world is burning. Modern life is a conflagration. And the remedy is renunciation.
Shortcut to Enlightenment
"Is there a shortcut to enlightenment?" someone asked me.
And I said: "There are no short-cuts to goals worth attaining. But if you wish to be enlightened, you must long for it, you must yearn for it deeply."
Enlightenment is not afar. It is waiting outside the door, waiting to enter. All you need is an intense longing. Ancient books speak of tivra samveganam. I would translate it as 'burning desire'. A burning desire is needed. We desire so many things: but if we have this one desire for enlightenment, it will not elude us. Man has been given the power of desire. If he were to desire but one thing, to the exclusion of all else, he would surely get the thing desired. There are many who desire enlightenment but their hearts are homes to many other desires and hence it eludes them.
Gradually, through the grace of God and the guru, and through practice of silence, we can grow in the spirit of detachment until only one desire remains: "I need thee, Lord, I need nothing besides. Neither pleasures nor possessions nor power do I need. I need thee and thee alone!"
End of the Road
Two days ago, someone asked me at the dining table: "Suppose you knew in advance of the difficulties and dangers you would have to face, would you still have trodden the way?" I thought for a while and said: "Yes, the way is strewn with trials and tribulations, but the love and peace and joy that you get at the end of the road makes it well worth your while!"
A holy man was asked: "If your master had warned you of the difficulties and dangers you would have to face and also told you of the reward you would finally get, would you still have embraced the holy life?" And he answered: "Though the way may be filled with difficulties and dangers, I know of no other way for I cannot live without seeking or being close to the beloved."
Such people attain enlightenment. To them God whispers: "I am not afar!"
The Enlightened Man
It has been rightly said: "God unenlightened is man. Man enlightened is God." Enlightenment makes a man new. He is changed physically, mentally, spiritually. The scriptures tell us: "His body becomes beautiful, graceful and strong." He becomes charming, delightful, always positive. He acquires a charismatic personality. People love to look at him, gaze at his face - "pure and fair beyond compare". He exudes splendor. His body becomes strong not in the strength of muscle and bone but in the strength which defies physical illness and which stress and strain, worry, anxiety, fear cannot touch. His radiant face is a picture of energy, enthusiasm, vitality.
Thus Spake the Master
This happened many, many years ago. It was the hour of dusk. Gloom spread over the earth: there was glamor in the skies. I sat at the feet of my beloved master, Sadhu Vaswani. I put to him this question: "Master, what may a man do to be enlightened?"
And the master said: "Three things are needed-
o Sanga: To be enlightened, you must be in contact with a man of light, an illumined one. To live with such a one is a rare privilege: his life will give more than a million books can. Out of life cometh life and a man of light will wake up within you, the center of light.
o Meditation: Through meditation you will gradually grow in harmony with the man of light. Meditation aims at harmony, rhythmic vibration. Remember, too, that you are helped on in meditation by spiritual pictures and symbols.
As you grow in meditation, you will find how veil after veil is drawn back, until a new revelation of what you are in the depths rises before you: a new consciousness of your hidden powers awakes within you. You become conscious of new reserves of life in your being. You have but to tap them and through you will flow shakti, energy, to others.
o Love and the service of love: Don't aim for big things. But, my child, be happy to serve in little things, little acts of kindness, little deeds of love. And in every act of service, whether done to a bird or animal or a poor, lowly man in need, what you give is an offering to your guru, your Ishta, the God-man, the man of light, the enlightened one. Then every act of your seva becomes a song: and you become a flute through which the Lord sings to bless and heal.
The process of receiving the divine light is an ascent from height to height and a descent from depth to depth. Has the process an ending? Through sanga, meditation and seva, the mirror of the heart is cleansed of impurities. When the heart is pure enough, it draws rays of the divine sun and hears the naad shabda, the Word, I am, Sat Naam, Om Tat Sat, Om or Illahu.
In different ways is uttered the one Word. The vision appears in the heart, at first, as a flash, then as a series of flashes. The flashes gradually assume definite forms as you grow in the power of meditation and in purity of heart. The lamp, the flame, the stars, the moon, the sun, the lotus, the flute and the cross are some of the forms in which the vision gleams. And, sometimes, you are overwhelmed by the light of the vision: the light shines brilliant as a hundred suns.
And I asked: "What is the test of this light?"
The master said: A test of this light is the joy aroused in the heart. This joy, bliss, is the ananda of which the rishis have sung in rapturous strains. "Out of ananda," we read, "are the worlds born." When this ananda fills you, you see the one within you, around you, beyond you, the one in the heart, and the one in this world and the stars, the one in the soul, the one in all things, all creatures.
This bliss thrills you to an ecstasy in which there is neither space nor time, neither day nor night, neither far nor near, neither east nor west. The bliss is unspeakable, the bliss surpasses understanding. The intellect fades into the night, words falter. And having beheld the glory, you enter silence.
In this silence, your mundane knowledge is seen to be ignorance. In this bliss all desires melt away. You see the futility of outer forms - the yellow robe, the saffron turban, the sanyasin's staff, the ascetic's seclusion from men. You see in the outer crafts, creeds and ceremonials the subtleties of the desire-nature. In this light, your 'self' has vanished. You have sacrificed yourself to the eternal self, you have entered the shrine of silence.
The Mystic Path
There are three steps on the mystic way: purification, illumination or enlightenment and unification.
When the heart is purged of all desire, it is flooded with light. At first there appears a point of light in the lotus of the heart. Gradually it grows into a conflagration and the entire being is illumined. And as the seeker opens his eyes, he beholds the same light all around him, in the saint and the sinner, the rich and the poor, the young and the old, in the sun and moon and stars, in rivers and rocks, in stones and streams, in every atom and atman.
The ways to enlightenment are many. One simple way is to chant the holy name without ceasing. As you keep on repeating the divine name, your heart grows in purity, grows until one day, by the grace of God and the guru, the darkness disappears and man is enlightened. Swami Ramdas, a saint of modern India, tells us that he found from his experience that there was no easier or more effective way to focus the mind than by chanting the Lord's holy name. "When the name is repeated, it removes from the mind all its impurities and makes the mind still. In that still state God reveals himself," and man attains enlightenment.
The enlightened man rejoices in the service of the surrounding world - the service of the poor and broken ones, the unwanted and unloved, the hopeless and the homeless ones. He beholds the light of God shining within them and he says: "I shall seek my joy in serving them." Listen to the words of Sadhu Vaswani: "Rejoice in the service of the pauper, the poor and broken ones. The joy of serving them, who are joyless and in suffering and agony, is greater than the joy of Indra, the joy of heaven!"
Chiune Sugihara was the Japanese Consul in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 1940. Lithuanians would come to revere him for his gentleness and loving-kindness. Some of them, indeed, regarded him as a saint. When the Soviets entered the city that year, Jews stormed the embassy to secure exit visas in order to flee. Nazi troops were expected to reach Lithuania quickly, and the Soviets wanted Sugihara out within three weeks.
Sugihara cabled Tokyo for permission to grant visas to the desperate Jews. When permission was denied, Sugihara tore up the cable and began to sign exit visas anyway. We are told that he worked 20 hours a day "pausing only for tea and for [his wife] to massage his hand, circulate his blood. He was still signing the morning he left… He rolled down the window of his car and signed [another] visa. Later, in the hotel, the door banged all night. He sat at a rented desk, stamping the passports with a smile, and a bow.
"On the train platform, more were waiting, so he used luggage, books and people's backs as hard surfaces. He was still signing as the train began to pull away. He had to hand the last one back through the moving window.....
"Years later, an American rabbi asked him why he did it. He thought for a moment, then replied: 'I don't understand the question.' " Though he may not have known it, Sugihara was a truly enlightened soul. Such persons realize that darkness cannot be dispelled by darkness: darkness is dispelled by light. And the light is the light of love. Those of us who carry this light in our hearts should spread it so that, in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, "the world will not sink into total darkness."
The truly enlightened soul lives not for the self alone. He beholds his self in everyone; everything around him and the service of all life becomes his goal.
J. P. (Dada) Vaswani is a leader of the Sindhi community
and the head of the Pune- based Sadhu Vaswani Mission
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Subject: WONDERFUL ARTICLE - 18 July 2010
I read with great interest the aticle on Darkness to light.I am a freemason, a society which promotes brotherly love, relief and truth.Most of our conflicts would be solved if only we follow the teachings of Sadhu Vaswani.
Subject: comment - 8 May 2010
Dada Vasvani is not a leader of sindhi community,it shall be corrected ,he is loved,respected and worshipped by whole of india and world. he is a treasure of world and a living god thus canot be defined as leader of sindhi community, Parnam and sorry for comments.
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