What do enlightened masters say about light and darkness? It might surprise you.
According to Hindu Vedas and other sacred texts, light and darkness have nothing to do with religious definitions of good and evil. Light and darkness also have nothing to do with ideas of good and bad.
In fact, according to enlightened masters, light gives birth to both good and evil, and the source of light is DARKNESS. You heard that right.
“The Tao doesn’t take sides;
it gives birth to both good and evil.
The Master doesn’t take sides;
she welcomes both saints and sinners.”
“Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.”
— Tao Te Ching, Chapters 5 and 1
What IS Light and Darkness?
In sacred texts, the term ‘light’ is a metaphor for your illuminated inner knowing. Darkness is the metaphor for NOT knowing. When you don’t know something, you’re “in the dark” about that subject.
Light symbolizes that moment when you awaken from the mind of illusions. You can now see clearly without the misled beliefs, assumptions, and expectations of your social conditioning. This is REAL knowledge.
“Om, Lead us from Unreality (of Transitory Existence) to the Reality (of the Eternal Self),
Lead us from the Darkness (of Ignorance) to the Light (of Knowledge),
Lead us from the Fear of Death to the Knowledge of Immortality.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.”
— Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 1.3.28
LIGHT DOESN’T MAKE YOU A GOOD, MORAL PERSON
Seeing reality clearly doesn’t make you a good moral person. It also doesn’t make you a kind person, a positive person, a happy person, nor a spiritual person…. Light doesn’t make you anything at all. It only allows you to SEE REALITY CLEARLY.
Light also doesn’t make good things happen in your life, and it doesn’t keep bad things from happening. Life is life! It consists of both good things AND bad things.
“We don’t practice to get good things
and avoid the bad things.”
— Zen Master Dae Bong
THERE’S NO BATTLE BETWEEN LIGHT AND DARK
Light also doesn’t make you a humanitarian activist or a social justice warrior. There’s no battle between the good guys and the bad guys. This is just another tiresome delusion promoted by Hollywood movies.
The illusion of good versus evil only creates the very BATTLE between good and evil, in which proponents of ALL sides of a conflict believe they’re fighting for goodness, justice, or to “defend the innocent.”
THE PERFECT HARMONY OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS
Just as night and day are components of a whole day, light and dark are simply two aspects of your being – knowing (light) and not knowing (darkness.)
One isn’t better than the other. If you want to experience light, you need a contrast to light. That would be darkness. If you want to experience knowledge, you will also need IGNORANCE.
But there’s the kicker: There’s nothing wrong with ‘not knowing.’ In fact, the masters ENCOURAGE it. Why?
When you know nothing, you realize you know EVERYTHING.
Osho called it ‘no mind’ and Shunryu Suzuki called it the “beginner’s mind.” More about that later.
THE MYSTERIOUS WONDER OF NOT KNOWING
When you incarnate into a human body as an infant, you don’t know anything! This is darkness. You have no idea what’s going on. You’re clueless. What just happened? You came out of a human body and now you’re a human body too, in a world with other bodies. You have so many wonderful things to discover and learn about this new body!
When you start out, you don’t know who you are, you don’t know where you came from, and you don’t know what you’re supposed to do…. That’s the beauty of darkness. You get to start from scratch and discover yourself in new ways as you explore this magnificent world like it’s your first time.
As a human, you were sown as a seed in the darkness of your mother’s womb. Just like a tiny acorn becomes a giant oak tree. you get to experience yourself becoming who you are. Without darkness and forgetting who you are, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy this experience. You wouldn’t be able to even HAVE this experience.
To experience the mind-blowing mystery of being and becoming yourself, you need some darkness. You need to forget who you are, so you can experience BLOSSOMING INTO who you are in ways that are always new and exciting.
THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY OF DARKNESS
“The Tao is dark and unfathomable.”
— Tao Te Ching, Ch. 23
This is how light and darkness (knowing and not knowing) work together so you can experience your infinite existence in the amazing world of form. There’s nothing evil about ‘not knowing,’ just like there’s nothing evil about a newborn baby or an acorn. Believe it or not, you WANTED this experience of darkness because knowing everything and being a giant magnificent tree all the time gets boring after a while!
This is what darkness really is, and it’s a beautiful, fundamental aspect of your existence.
A contrast to light is needed to experience light. Not knowing is needed to experience the bliss of DISCOVERING, AWAKENING AND REALIZING in this amazing, brilliant universe.
The yin yang symbol beautifully portrays the energy field of the macrocosmic universe as a WHOLE. Light and dark function together to form the wonderful mystery of life. Notice how LIGHT AND DARKNESS (knowing and not knowing) are EQUALLY fundamental to life as a whole.
The darkness of NOT knowing – the beautiful pure being of empty nothingness – is your Root Self. From this state of nothingness, a whole new world of possibilities opens up to you, just like a seedling in the ground or a newborn babe in the womb.
Darkness is the ENERGY SOURCE of not only your human life, but the entire WORLD of form.
“The heavy is the root of the light.
The unmoved is the source of all movement.”
— Tao Te Ching, Ch. 26
Yin Yang symbolizes the universe and it also symbolizes YOU – your very own individualized self. You’re an essential microcosm of the macrocosm – a whole universe in and of yourself.
And guess what, you manifest both light AND darkness – knowing and not knowing – as well as all the polarities such as hot and cold, action and rest, happiness and sorrow… which forms the canvas or playground to EXPRESS and EXPERIENCE yourself.
IGNORANCE REALLY IS BLISS
This is why it’s perfectly okay to not know something! Discovering the truth of existence in always new ways is the BLISS of life. This is also known as awakening or enlightenment, which is a wonderful infinite experience in the world of form!
The person who doesn’t presume to know anything is the person who can ENJOY everything. The darkness of NOT KNOWING is where it’s at. For a newborn babe, all of life, including a simple little toy is full of infinite wonder.
The person who thinks they have all the answers shuts the door to life itself.
“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything.
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.”
― Shunryu Suzuki
BUT BELIEVING A LIE WILL MAKE YOU SUFFER
So then, what’s all the talk in the sacred texts about mortal sins, evil, demons, desires, death, decay, and suffering? Is that darkness?
When humans don’t know something, they tend to make a lot of assumptions. Those beliefs and assumptions like to parade themselves around to make people feel superior, in control, and superficially happy.
It’s all fine and good until you realize those assumptions are WRONG. When you believe something that isn’t true, that belief can cause a lot of suffering. If you believe a hot stove isn’t hot and you touch it, you’re going to get BURNED! If you think death is your final end, that will make you afraid of death AND life.
All the beliefs in the world can’t change the simple fact of REALITY. But delusions can change your EXPERIENCE of reality.
When people are ignorant but teach or propagate what they don’t KNOW from direct EXPERIENCE, this isn’t darkness. This is EVIL, which leads to endless suffering.
Delusion is the cause of all suffering.
In a way, suffering is a gift because it lets you know there’s a delusion somewhere. Find the delusion, and you no longer have to suffer.
“What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.”
NOT KNOWING IS BETTER THAN BELIEVING A LIE.
It’s better to say, “I don’t know,” than make an assumption that isn’t true. The darkness of not knowing won’t get you in trouble. In fact, that’s where all the bliss is. But believing a lie or living a lie… can lead to a whole lifetime of REGRET!
Suffering is the warning signal of a delusion. But you can find the light of clear knowing in your TRUE HEART.
“… It exists [specifically] in the hearts of all.”
— Bhagavad Gita, 13.18
The Upanishads call this light the all-illuminating Brahman, the eye, or the light of the individual self.
“To the illumined soul, the Self is all. For him who sees everywhere oneness [harmony], how can there be delusion or grief? The Self is everywhere. Bright is he, bodiless, without scar of imperfection, without bone, without flesh, pure, untouched by evil. The Seer, the Knower, the One who is above all, the Self-Existent – he it is that has established perfect order among objects and beings from beginningless time”
— Isha Upanishad 7, 8
YOU ARE THE SOURCE OF LIGHT
The sacred texts are clear: You aren’t illuminated by anyone or anything outside of you. You are SELF-ILLUMINED.
YOU shine light on the external world, not the other way around:
“When one is illumined with the wisdom by which nescience (unconsciousness) is destroyed, then this knowledge lights up all things, just as the sun reveals the world at dawn.”
— Bhagavad Gita 5.16
Now you can see life clearly instead of suffering from your unconscious beliefs ABOUT life. Now you can directly experience the beauty and wonder of life like a newborn babe. This is how you discover and know ALL THINGS – through DIRECT experience.
The Self: “The sun does not shine there; nor do the moon and the stars, nor do these lightnings shine. How could this fire? Him shining, all shine after. All this shines by his light.”
— Katha Upanishad, Verse 2.2.15
“That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world [of illusion].”
— Bhagavad Gita 15.6
YOU ARE BEYOND LIGHT AND DARKNESS
“That is the Light even of the lights; It is spoken of as beyond darkness….”
— Bhagavad Gita, 13.18
“Brahman is without comparison. It is impossible to explain Brahman by analogy. It is between light and darkness. It is… not the light we perceive….”
— Sri Ramakrishna
Your inner knowing is a “Light” that goes BEYOND light and darkness.
You don’t have to fight the darkness, you don’t have to preach the light, and you don’t have to do anything except BE the real you, whether you know or don’t know. Simply be honest if you don’t KNOW.
“You are one and the same
In joy and sorrow,
Hope and despair,
Life and death.
You are already fulfilled….”
— Ashtavakra Gita, 5.4
The Realized Self (the real you) resides in darkness and you are the SOURCE of light. But light and darkness can’t touch you because you are beyond the material world.
“And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation, for My Self is the very source of creation.”
— Bhagavad-Gita 9.5
When you transcend the mind of illusions (unreality) and awaken to the clear seeing of reality – or pure consciousness without assumptions – this state is described as “absolute bliss” and you realize your “IMMORTALITY.”
HOW TO TRANSCEND THE SUFFERING OF DELUSION
“To understand nothing
— Zen proverb
“Some perceive the Self in the Self by the Self through meditation, others by the discipline of Sankhya and still others by the yoga of action.”
— Bhagavad Gita 13.25
HOW DO YOU AWAKEN TO YOUR INNER LIGHT?
Meditate on darkness! That’s right. Meditate on NOT knowing anything. This is how you clear the mind – the mental matrix of socially conditioned illusions.
“Meditate on intense darkness. It will actually put your mind in its natural state…. Darkness is only worshipped as Kali and Kala Bhairava in Hindu tradition. It is the agitated Western mind that is afraid of darkness. But the original darkness is beyond light and darkness. It is beyond the frequency of light. It is not just darkness. It’s energy. Meditate on darkness as intensely as possible…. You will experience the real light. Whatever you know as light is not real light.” – Nithyananda
From the state of ‘not knowing,’ empty, expressionless nothingness … you will know everything you need to know.
“… Other people are excited,
as though they were at a parade.
I alone don’t care,
I alone am expressionless,
like an infant before it can smile.
Other people have what they need;
I alone possess nothing.
I alone drift about,
like someone without a home.
I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.
Other people are bright;
I alone am dark.
Other people are sharper;
I alone am dull.
Other people have a purpose;
I alone don’t know.
I drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless as the wind.
I am different from ordinary people….“
— Tao Te Ching, Ch. 20
FIND YOUR GURU
You don’t need a mountain guide to reach the top of a difficult mountain, but it sure makes it a lot easier!
“The syllable gu signifies shadows (darkness), the syllable ru, he who dispels them, Because of the power to dispel darkness, the guru is thus named.”
— Advaya-Tãraka Upanishad, verse 16
A real guru won’t teach you ANYTHING except to get rid of everything you think you know! They can’t teach you how to do that. They can only destroy your beliefs and point you to your own darkness to discover your “Light” beyond light.
In your silent Inner Source of darkness, or state of ‘no-mind’ or ‘no thought,’ clear, common sense insights naturally come to you. This is your “Light” beyond light. When your conditioned assumptions and expectations are out of the way, now you can see things as they really are. Now you can experience the very real beauty and wonder of life and learn from DIRECT experience without getting stuck in the suffering of delusions.
Your socially conditioned mind can ONLY take you around in CIRCLES without any real insight. The more you think, the more confused you get. Instead, forget everything you’ve been taught, meditate in a state of emptiness, and awaken to your true common sense intelligence.
In other words, EMBRACE YOUR DARKNESS TO DISCOVER YOUR LIGHT – then transcend both.
“I am free from space and time.
Mine is the joy of the unclad…
My form consists of total light;
The light of pure consciousness am I.”
— Maitreya Upanishad
“Stirred by the wind of Illusion
the waves of the whole universe
Repeatedly rise and fall
within me, the ocean of bliss.”
— Kundika Upanishad