BENGALURU: Within each of us is a spark of the Divine. Breathtaking regions of beauty, unimaginable vistas of sights and sounds, infinite wisdom, and all-embracing love invite us within. The Light of Divine glows continually.
Scientists spend billions of dollars looking for our origin through telescopes scanning the cosmos, or splitting atoms in particle accelerators to find the God-particle. Others seek the Divine through outer practices in all the world’s religions. Yet, for most people, the Divine remains a mystery.
In this connection, there is a story of an ancient people who lived before the advent of fire. The only light they knew was the light of the sun in the day, the flickering stars and the ever-changing shape of the moon at night, and the flashes of lightning that frightened and awed them. When night came, their activities ceased. Animals posed a threat in the dark hours. Life was hard.
They had a legend that in the past a great being harnessed the power of the sun. People told stories of this super being to their children, but no one in their lifetimes had ever seen the mysterious flame he had captured.
People would talk about how wonderful life would be if someone could find this flame that would illumine their lives. Yet, they believed that their chances of finding the flame were so remote that they often scoffed at anyone who claimed they could find it. The ruler had offered a valuable reward to anyone who could find this seemingly mythical flame.
One day, a man in that village was bemoaning how poor he was. He had tried eking out a living, but he could not earn enough for himself and his family to make ends meet. He could barely scrape together enough for food and clothing, let alone for the trinkets that wealthier people in his village had. The man heard the news that the ruler was offering a reward to the one who could find the mysterious flame that could change their people’s lives. He told his family and friends, “I have tried everything to make a good living to support my family. I am going to search for the flame.” They thought he was crazy, as no one had ever seen it, and it was considered only a legend. “Find a more realistic way to make money,” his friend told him. “You are going on a wild goose chase if you think you are going to find the flame.”
One night, the man had a dream in which a being told him to go into the next kingdom where he would find the flame. The man decided to listen to his dream and undertook the journey to the neighboring kingdom. He had not travelled there before and was unfamiliar with its laws. A guard found him wandering about and brought him to the local prison. The guard inquired, “What are you doing wandering around day and night?” The man explained, “I am in search of the legendary flame. I had a dream and I was told I would find it here.”
The guard exclaimed, “You are a fool. I have had many dreams about finding the flame. They are only dreams. I ignore them all as they are useless. Once I had a dream that told me to go to a poor, broken-down house in a neighboring village. The house was near a small mountain that had a cave. At the cave’s opening was a large rock with a drawing of two sticks. I was told in the dream that I would find the flame there, but I never went there because dreams are not real.”
As the guard talked about his dream, the farmer had a shock. The house being described by the guard sounded exactly like his own. The guard told him, “Go back to your village. You will not find the flame here or anywhere else. It is only a myth.”
As the man traveled back to his village, he was overjoyed at the possibility that the flame he was seeking might just be in the mountain cave behind his home. The man reached home and went to the cave described by the guard. He saw the rock that he had seen there his entire life. He also saw the drawing on the rock of the two sticks. He had always thought the drawing had been scratched there by some children playing years ago, and he had never even wondered if it meant anything.
No one had ever ventured into the cave, as people feared animals might be lurking there. However, enthused by the chance of finding the flame, the man cast all his fears to the wind, and ventured into the cave’s opening.
Near the entrance to the cave, in the view of some rays of daylight that streamed in, the man saw some sticks of wood in a heap. Under this heap of wood, he saw some blackened pieces of rock. Suddenly, something caught his eye. It was a small speck of orange that seemed to glow under the rocks. He gently moved the rocks aside, and to his amazement, he saw something he had never seen before in his life.
It was a glowing ember of light beneath the black rocks. The sight took him by such surprise that it took his breath away. He then let out a gasp, exclaiming, “Oh, my goodness, this is it! “To better see the light under the ash, he blew on the ember, and suddenly the small spark ignited into a flame. He had travelled far in search of this flame, yet the whole time it was right behind his home.
The man not only had found the flame to claim the ruler’s reward and bring wealth to his own family; he had also found the fire that would transform life as his people knew it and illumine the entire world. People would now have fire to brighten their nights, protect them from animals, cook their food, melt iron to form into tools, and make their lives easier. This hidden flame had always been there, but the man had not known where to look.
In the same way, we have a hidden flame within us. There is a flame that can empower us with wisdom, eternal happiness, all-embracing love, freedom from fear, and immortality. This flame illumines our heart and mind with answers to questions that have mystified humankind for ages, such as: Why are we here? From where did we come? Where do we go when we die? Like scientists, we search for the answers in the starry skies and in the depths of an atom. The flame lies within each of us. When we uncover that glowing ember, we gaze into the wonders of the Divine and experience beauty, infinite love and unspeakable ecstasy.