In this talk we continue the exploration of the famous mantra:
asato mā sad gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor māmṛtaṁ gamaya
Oh Lord, lead me from illusion into the eternal reality. Lead me from darkness into the light. Lead me from the realm of death into the nectar of immortality. – Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad 1.3.28
Last week we examined sat/asat – eternal truth as opposed to untruth or illusion. Now we get a very graphic/ descriptive phrase as to what constitutes sat/asat which is light and darkness.
In Sanskrit “tamas” means – darkness, gloom, mental darkness, ignorance, illusion, error; whereas its opposite “jyotis” means – Light (of the sun, dawn, fire, lightning, etc.), brightness (of the sky) light as the divine principle of life or source of intelligence, intelligence.
The many Vedic texts I quoted:
Covered by the mode of ignorance in material nature, the living entity is sometimes a male, sometimes a female, sometimes a eunuch, sometimes a human being, sometimes a demigod, sometimes a bird, an animal, and so on. In this way he is wandering within the material world. His acceptance of different types of bodies is brought about by his activities under the influence of the modes of nature. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 4.29.29
When the living entity is covered by the mode of ignorance, he does not understand the individual living being and the supreme living being, and his mind is subjugated to fruitive activity. Therefore, until one has love for Lord Vāsudeva, who is none other than Myself, he is certainly not delivered from having to accept a material body again and again. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 5.5.6
When the sun rises it destroys the darkness covering men’s eyes, but it does not create the objects they then see before them, which in fact were existing all along. Similarly, potent and factual realization of Me will destroy the darkness covering a person’s true consciousness. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 11.28.34
This Bhāgavata Purāṇa is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Kṛṣṇa to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purāṇa. – Bhāgavata Purāṇa 1.3.43
Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries…. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 1.1.2
Because a person who has been covered by ignorance since time immemorial is not capable of effecting his own self-realization, there must be some other personality who is in factual knowledge of the Absolute Truth and can impart this knowledge to him. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 11.22.10
…. My dear Lord, You are the supreme spiritual master of everyone; therefore all conditioned souls covered with the darkness of ignorance can be enlightened by You as the spiritual master. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 4.24.52
Dear master, kindly enlighten us in transcendental knowledge, which may act as a torchlight by which we may cross the dark nescience of material existence. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 4.31.7
oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ
I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the torchlight of knowledge.
Dhruva Mahārāja said: My dear Lord Nāradajī, for a person whose heart is disturbed by the material conditions of happiness and distress, whatever you have so kindly explained for attainment of peace of mind is certainly a very good instruction. But as far as I am concerned, I am covered by ignorance, and this kind of philosophy does not touch my heart. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 4.8.35
(Speaking of the materially entangled soul) …. In that state he becomes almost perpetually like a blind man who has fallen into a dark well of ignorance. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 5.14.21
Thus mistaking the temporary for the eternal, my body for my self, and sources of misery for sources of happiness, I have tried to take pleasure in material dualities. Covered in this way by ignorance, I could not recognize You as the real object of my love. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.40.25
To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance. Bhagavad-gītā 10.11
The Supreme Soul ( Paramātmā) is the source of light in all luminous objects. He is beyond the darkness of matter and is unmanifested. He is knowledge, He is the object of knowledge, and He is the goal of knowledge. He is situated in everyone’s heart. Bhagavad-gītā 13.18
You are Bhagavān (the Supreme Personality of Godhead), the origin and Supreme Lord (īśvaraḥ) of all living entities. You have arisen to disseminate the rays of the sun in order to dissipate the darkness of the ignorance of the universe. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 3.25.9
My dear Lord, You are just like the sun, for You illuminate the darkness of the conditional life of the living entities. Because their eyes of knowledge are not open, they are sleeping eternally in that darkness without Your shelter, and therefore they are falsely engaged by the actions and reactions of their material activities, and they appear to be very fatigued. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 3.29.5
“What appears to be truth without Me is certainly My illusory energy, for nothing can exist without Me. It is like a reflection of a real light in the shadows, for in the light there are neither shadows nor reflections.” Bhāgavata Purāṇa 2.9.34
“Krishna is compared to sunshine, and māyā is compared to darkness. Wherever there is sunshine, there cannot be darkness. As soon as one takes to cultivating devotion to the Lord, the darkness of illusion (the influence of the external energy) will immediately vanish. Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.31
Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
So tonight is the second part in the series that we’re doing based upon this well-known Upanisadic mantra, the asato ma mantra, and tonight we will look at the second part of the mantra that’s been chanted. And so we’re titling the talk From Darkness Into The Light. So just as a little refresher, the mantra that we’re speaking of goes:
asato mā sad gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor māmṛtaṁ gamaya
“O Lord, lead me from illusion into the eternal reality. Lead me from darkness into the light. Lead me from the realm of death into the nectar of immortality.”
And this of course, being from the Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad.
So last week we examined the first two opposite terms mentioned here, which is the term sat and asat. And the English translation for that particular line was:
“O Lord, lead me from illusion (or untruth) into the eternal reality.”
So now in this second line that we’re looking at we’re going to get a very graphic or descriptive phrase as to what actually constitutes sat and asat, or eternal reality as opposed to untruth or illusion. And the terms that are describing what this is, what—not the meaning of the word sat or and asat, but how one can understand and appreciate the effect of these two situations, and the words that have been chosen are light and darkness: so sat meaning light or equaling or equating to light, and asat equating to darkness. So as I mentioned this really does speak to the effect of sat and asat on our life, on our consciousness.
In English there’s this term that people use quite often, to “shine a light” on something, meaning that prior to them shining a light (which has to do with explaining it), people were pretty much in the dark, and they use that term. To be in the dark about something means literally you’re in the dark, you can’t see what’s going on, you can’t see what’s being discussed, and when somebody shines a light on it then it becomes clear to you. So that same point is being made here.
So in Sanskrit and English the line that we’re going to look at goes
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
“Lead me from darkness into the light.”
So the first word, tamas, in the Sanskrit dictionary has a number of meanings, of course, all closely associated. You have the word “darkness.” “A gloom” can also reference mental darkness, and of course, you see this in the condition of severe depression. This person can be looking externally like they’re okay, and they could be in the middle of a party or a meeting of friends and externally seem to be okay, yet internally they’re in a state of mental darkness. And so it’s not uncommon, when somebody is so utterly depressed and filled with despair, that they commit suicide. And sometimes their closest friends and family member are in shock, and they had no idea of what was going on. So this is an example of mental darkness.
Another word to describe tamas is “ignorance,” ignorance meaning a real lack of knowledge or awareness. Then another meaning is “illusion,” when somebody is actually in an illusion. And the third meaning can be “an error,” but it’s not commonly used that way. So the references to darkness and the different varieties of darkness is more commonly how tamas is used.
Then the other word—well we’ll go through them in order. The term ma, ma means “do not.” So it’s like if we translate that in English, it’s kind of like, “In this state of darkness and ignorance and illusion, do not, do not be there, don’t be there.”
Then the next word jyotir—jyotish also has a number of meanings closely associated with each other. It references light, and that can be like the light of the sun, the light of dawn, the light of fire, from lightning or electricity, the light that emanates from any of these things it can reference. It can also reference brightness, like brightness in the sky. It can also reference light as a divine principle of life, or a source of intelligence, light being a source of intelligence, or intelligence itself can be referenced by this jyoti or jotish.
And then the final word gamaya, it means “to go to,” or “to be led to.”
So this is the nature…
So what is it that they are talking about when they say don’t be in the state of darkness, but go to the light, or into the light? What is it that is being spoken of? What is the nature of this darkness? And what is the result of the influence of this darkness?
So I’d like to read you a verse from the Bhagavat Purana that very wonderfully describes the way in which this darkness becomes manifest in the life of the living being:
“Covered by the mode of ignorance in material nature, the living entity is sometimes a male, sometimes a female, sometimes a eunuch, sometimes a human being, sometimes a demigod, sometimes a bird, an animal, and so on. In this way he is wandering within the material world. His acceptance of different types of bodies is brought about by his activities under the influence of the modes of nature.”
So this is the big picture. It is due to the effect of this darkness, this lack of spiritual knowledge and awareness that transmigration of the soul (often termed as reincarnation) takes place, and the living being cultivates in different lifetimes different types of desires and attachments, which set them up for having a particular state of consciousness at the time of death, which will determine what will happen to them once they have left a particular body, the nature of the body that they will take on. And it describes how the living being here is wandering through the different species of life, utterly absorbed and caught up in whatever situation they find themselves, thinking it to be who they truly are, and having absolutely no idea about their eternal spiritual identity. And this is considered real darkness, because it doesn’t matter how good it gets in that condition, ultimately one experiences tremendous pain, suffering and unhappiness in this pendulum swinging from one side to the other side. And the living being just keeps going on and on, caught on this perpetual cycle of birth and death.
And I’ll read another verse from the Bhagavat Purana
“When the living entity is covered by the mode of ignorance, he does not understand the individual living being and the Supreme Living Being, [so he does not understand the soul or the Supreme Soul) and his mind is subjugated to fruitive activity.”
I mean that’s a powerful statement: subjugated. It’s like you are brought under control by some powerful force; and that powerful force is the desire to try and find happiness and perfection and love and everything in the material world. And so one is said here, subjugated to fruitive activities. They’re just constantly acting in what they think to be their best interest, but all of their activities are actually in their worst interest because they are not related to—the material activities—are not related to their eternal spiritual identity, and so in this way therefore they are perpetually entangled.
“Therefore, until one has love for Lord Vasudeva,” so this Lord Vasudeva is a term to address the highest truth or the Supreme Soul. Until—
“Therefore until one has love for Lord Vasudeva, who is another none other than Myself, he is certainly not delivered from having to accept a material body again and again.”
So this verse was spoken by Lord Krishna.
The darkness spoken of here references the condition of bewilderment and illusion. That’s a pretty heavy statement, if you consider that all activity that is undertaken within the material world is undertaken in a state of bewilderment and illusion. We can honestly and clearly state that to be a fact. If a person is not on the path of the pursuit of their spiritual identity, their spiritual liberation, if a person is simply caught up in material activities—and last week I talked, gave a couple of examples.
People may be even involved in scholastic studies, dedicate their life, like for instance somebody may dedicate their life to studying monkeys and know everything about a particular species of monkey and be out in the field observing them all the time and cataloguing and digging into it so deeply they become so attached and identify with this species, and end up taking birth amongst the species. That is not a progression. That is a regression. That is a massive move backwards, because once one is caught up in an animal species of life there is no possibility of thinking or asking the question, “Who am I? Why am I here? What is the actual purpose of my life?” One is simply compelled to act on the biological urges and the mental urges, the conditioning that comes with that body. And that is not uplifting. That is entanglement. That is a drowning in the ocean of material existence.
So if we, as the ancient sages have pointed out, if we are aware that material existence is a state of bewilderment and illusion, of being in darkness, it means that we are in a state of practically seeing one thing but thinking it is the opposite. And I used the example last week in the talk about betrayal, where somebody swears undying love, and we willingly embrace that. Whereas if we were trained spiritually, then we would be aware, yes, that person may feel that way now, and be expressing that, but that can change, that can actually—that person can do a 180. I mean you look at the situation in the world, at least in the Western world, where half, or more than half of all marriages end up in divorce. People don’t get married with a view to divorcing. They want to declare undying love, and they buy into it from each other. But at least in half or more of the cases it becomes so bad that people can end up hating each other, or being very upset, or feeling broken-hearted. So this is what I mean by, when you can be seeing one thing and thinking it is the opposite to what it really is.
One of the characteristics of material consciousness is that I encounter problems in life, the problems being lack of happiness, fulfillment, purpose, love, all these things; and I seek a solution to this. And the solutions that I will often choose actually make my situation, or can make my situation, even worse. And then when I experience that worse situation, I can seek another solution that can make it worse. And this is going on, on many levels, on even very subtle levels. It’s not just about conflict.
If I build deep attachment thinking that these relationships are eternal and forever, then when I am faced with death, the death of my own body, or the death of the body of the person whom I love and are attached to, I will be utterly devastated and heartbroken, because I have come to embrace things as being one way that’s not actually true. I am not proposing that one should not be involved in relationships. No! Relationships can be wonderful. They can actually be filled with real spiritual love and affection and care, but they are not based on an illusion, they are based on an understanding of the reality of things.
One of my spiritual masters, I remember him one time speaking to us, and he used the example of like, you may be sleeping in a room with another person, your spouse or whatever, and you wake up in the middle of the night, and you may have a very blacked out room. You may have blackout curtains, so this means zero light in there. And you really need to get some water, and you basically kind of know where everything is from your memory. You can’t see anything. And then you get up, and you’re trying not to make any noise to wake the other person up, and you’re stumbling around and maybe stubbing your toe or banging into something that you thought was a few more inches off to the side, and it’s just like this horrible situation. And all it takes is to flick on the light switch, and suddenly everything becomes clear. This is the difference between material life, material existence, and actual enlightenment which has been referenced in this mantra.
So another verse from the Bhagavata Purana:
“When the sun rises it destroys the darkness covering men’s eyes, but it does not create the objects they then see before them, which in fact were existing all along. Similarly, potent and factual realization of Me [This is the Supreme Lord speaking] will destroy the darkness covering a person’s true consciousness.”
So this is like a really—Wow! This is amazing. He’s saying that the light when the sun rises, the light destroys the darkness that covers people’s eyes, but saying that that light does not create the objects that one sees. It simply makes it so that you can see it all clearly. And this is what it means, in the spiritual journey, to become enlightened. It is like the dawning of the sun, first a dim reflection in the sky so that you can make out silhouettes and things; and then as the sun approaches the horizon even further one is able to make out colour and dimensions; and finally, the sun itself peaks above the horizon, and now the source of the light, the source of the illumination, is also becoming visible.
I often quote, you might have noticed, from the Bhagavat Purana, and there is a reason that I do this. This Bhagavat Purana is referred to by another name by those who affectionately study it. They reference it, or they call it, the Srimad Bhagavatam. So this Bhagavat Purana is considered the essence or the cream of all Vedic knowledge. And reading from another verse from the Bhagavata Purana:
“This Bhagavata Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krishna to his own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purana.”
What we’re hearing here is that if we want to move from untruth and illusion towards the eternal reality, if we want to go from darkness to light, then we need a guiding light. We need someone or something that is going to shed light on the subject so that we can see.
And another verse from the same Bhagavat Purana:
“Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries…“
So the threefold miseries reference the three types of misery and suffering that the living being experiences in the world: suffering due to one’s own body or mind; suffering due to other living beings, whether they are other people, or insects, or animals; and suffering which are visited upon us by natural disturbances, or just material nature and the way it is functioning.
In order to move from the state of darkness into light, in order to move out of this condition of ignorance one does need help. And in the same Purana there is another beautiful verse that says
“Because a person who has been covered by ignorance since time immemorial is not capable of effecting his own self-realization, there must be some other personality who is in factual knowledge of the Absolute Truth and can impart this knowledge to him.”
So that’s like, it doesn’t get much clearer than that. It’s like when a person has fallen into a deep dark hole, a well, they cannot get out of that situation by themself. They need someone else who is outside that hole to lower a rope or a ladder down to them and help them get out of that state. This is the purport of this verse.
So now in another portion of another sloka or verse:
“My dear Lord, You are the supreme spiritual master of everyone; therefore all conditioned souls covered with the darkness of ignorance can be enlightened by You as the spiritual master [or guru]”
And another verse: “Dear master…” this is a group of topmost yogis and transcendentalists addressing their spiritual master or guru, whose name was Narada Muni, a very great transcendentalist:
“Dear master, kindly enlighten us in transcendental knowledge, which may act as a torchlight by which we can cross the darkness of nescience of material existence.”
When I begin speaking, or prior to speaking, I always offer prayers or mantras, invocations, to my spiritual masters, to our lineage, and to the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Soul; and the first one that I use is,
om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah
The translation of that is,
“I offer my respectful obeisances to my spiritual master who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the torchlight of knowledge.”
So in raising these, or quoting these verses, what I am doing is trying to share with you the practical means by which a person can move from darkness into the light, where a person can give up a life of asat, of illusion, and live a life that is filled with truth, the highest spiritual reality. And one of the things that I want to just reinforce, a person being in ignorance is actually a choice. It’s not something that is forced upon the spiritual being.
I would suggest if you want to explore that a little bit further, go back to a couple of weeks ago, about three weeks ago when I spoke about—there was a talk on the subject of The FALSE Me – The REAL Me, dealing with this what’s called the false ego, will be ahankara—where the eternal spiritual being becomes overwhelmed by the desire to be at the centre of everything. And we don’t even realize that we are in that state, the fact that I see everything in this world in relation to what I call me: my home, my partner, my parents, my brothers and sisters, my children, my friends, my car.
For those who are great transcendentalists this consciousness is at the very root of our suffering and our ignorance. But we voluntarily embrace that consciousness and continue to live trying to attain this position of being this central enjoying agent, seeing everything in relation to me, me being at the centre of absolutely everything.
So in another verse there was this–and I have spoken about him before, Dhruva Maharaj, who was a young prince who desired a great kingdom so he could stick it to his dad who had been mean to him, who was a very, very powerful king. And he went off to the forest to try and engage in yogic austerities to try and force the Supreme Soul, the Supreme Person, God, to appear before him, so that he could ask the favour of being gifted with things so he could really stick it to everybody. That was his basic plan, his idea. And when he—this person that I mentioned before, Narada Muni happened upon him, not by accident, by design, in the forest, and told him to, “Go home. You’re just a little kid. This is not the right place for you.”
And Dhruva Maharaj said he didn’t want to accept that instruction, and so he states,
“My dear Lord Naradaji, for a person whose heart is disturbed by the material conditions of happiness and distress whatever you have so kindly explained for attainment of peace of mind is certainly a very good instruction. But as far as I am concerned I am covered by ignorance and this kind of philosophy does not touch my heart.”
(Laughs) Honesty is the best policy! But he’s fundamentally stating that in spite of hearing the enlightened words of a topmost transcendentalist, great saint, he was choosing not to be affected or influenced by them, that these words were literally like water off a duck’s back. And that’s because he was choosing what it was that he wanted to do. He wanted to remain in a condition that’s been described as ignorance. And this is our situation in the material condition.
So in another verse—so we’re quite heavy on the verses here, and I think it’s important. It’s important because if one actually wants to cultivate a real understanding of these amazing Vedic mantras, these teachings, then one does need to take a little bit of a deep dive. So what I’ve done is extracted a few out of actually many hundreds of verses that I could have used to explain and reinforce this mantra that we’re studying.
So in another verse:
(Speaking of the materially entangled soul) “In that state [meaning the state of material entanglement] he [meaning the living being] becomes almost perpetually like a blind man who has fallen into a dark well of ignorance.”
This is the material condition. We make that choice. But that choice literally means to fall within a deep dark well and to be blind at the same time.
And another verse:
“Thus mistaking the temporary for the eternal…” and if you look, I think last week we might have mentioned it, from the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, he describes what is ignorance. And one of the symptoms of ignorance is to take the temporary, that which is temporary, as being eternal. So here this same principle is repeated
“Thus mistaking the temporary for the eternal, my body for my self, and sources of misery for sources of happiness, I have tried to take pleasure in material dualities. Covered in this way by ignorance, I could not recognize You as the real object of my love.” (speaking here to the Supreme Lord.)
Now in the Bhagavad-gita there’s a famous verse that describes the nature of material happiness: that which in the beginning tastes like nectar, and later becomes like poison, it being born of contact of the senses with the sense object, is happiness in the mode of passion.
People do things not to suffer but to become happy, and yet often the choices that we make lead to unhappiness. Even we build a relationship wanting it to be eternal, and when we’re confronted with the ultimate reality of death then it’s absolutely devastating and heartbreaking. Sometimes people just don’t even recover from that. So this, along with other ones that I’ve used, are examples of mistaking sources of misery for sources of happiness. We wanted happiness, we ended up with misery.
If we understood that that person that I have become attached to is an eternal spiritual being, and my relationship with them is on the basis of trying to seek their spiritual liberation, to help them on the path of enlightenment, and they are likewise doing that to me, we can become intimately connected. But the death of one party is not considered a tragedy. It is not heartbreak. It may be sad, but it is not devastating, and that is because we haven’t made the mistake of mistaking a source of misery for a source of happiness.
One thing that we must come to learn if we are to be truly successful in the spiritual journey, that ultimately it is the Supreme Soul who is the source of all light. if you don’t get that then you will always–you will not become successful on your spiritual journey.
In the Bhagavad-gita in the 10th chapter there is one verse that says–where Krishna says:
“To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.”
So this is now pointing to something that we’ve discussed many times, about the two spiritual processes, the ascending and the descending process. The ascending is when I think I can do it on my own, and by my own excellence and purity and focus that I can become self-realized. The descending process is the recognition that I am in need of grace. This is what is stated here. This is also entirely supported by Patanjali.
In another verse in the Bhagavad-gita, in the 13th chapter, it says:
“The Supreme Soul (or Paramatma) is the source of light in all luminous objects. He is beyond the darkness of matter and is unmanifested. He is knowledge, He is the object of knowledge, and He is the goal of knowledge. [And] He is situated in everyone’s heart.”
And in another statement in the Bhagavata Purana,
“You are Bhagavan (Bhagavan meaning the Supreme Personality of Godhead) the origin and the Supreme Lord (or Isvara) of all living entities. You have arisen to dissipate the rays of the sun in order to dissipate the darkness of the ignorance of the universe.”
And yet another verse:
“My dear Lord, You are just like the sun, for You illuminate the darkness of the conditional life of the living entities. Because their eyes of knowledge are not open, they are sleeping eternally in that darkness without Your shelter, and therefore they are falsely engaged in actions and reactions of their material activities, and they appear to be very fatigued.”
So this is our choice, light or darkness. If I turn towards the light, then I am bathed in that light. If I turn my head away from the light then my face is covered in a shadow, in darkness. This example is frequently used. All truth, sat, arises from God and that which is directly connected with Him, and all illusion arises from a rejection of this spiritual principle and truth.
In another verse:
”What appears to be truth without Me is certainly My illusory energy, for nothing can exist without Me. It is like a reflection of a real light in the shadows, for in the light there is neither shadow nor reflections.”
So, a couple of weeks ago in part of that series on the real self, and we covered that, and self-esteem, and then the topic of the great illusion, or maya, this word meaning the great illusion, that covers all the living beings. And in this verse from the Bhagavata Purana it states that:
“In light there is no shadow, nor is there any reflection.”
For there to be some reflection one has to be not fully in the light. And I’ll just use an example of a part of oil or water that is placed outside and the sun is shining over here, but the rim of that pot is casting some shadow over the surface, but the light of the sun, the image of the sun can be seen reflected there but there needs to be some element of shadow, to create that when we examine it from the principle of physics.
So a final verse I will read: Last Friday we commemorated and celebrated the day that the great Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in this world, 536 years ago. He was a topmost spiritual personality; and speaking on the subject of illusion, or maya, of ignorance, and of the light of transcendental knowledge, he addressed Lord Sri Krishna as being the embodiment of this light and knowledge, and in a verse that begins krsna-surya-sama, it is a very poetic and beautiful verse. Surya means the sun. And so he stated:
“Krishna is compared to sunshine, and maya [that is illusion], is compared to darkness. Wherever there is sunshine, there cannot be darkness. As soon as one takes to cultivating devotion to the Lord, the darkness of illusion (the influence of the external energy, maya) will immediately vanish.”
So this is the advice that has been given. And so if we want to move from the condition of darkness to light then one of the most powerful ways in which a person can do that is through this meditative process of kirtan, or the chanting of these transcendental names of the Lord, for these sounds, these spiritual sounds are actually non-different from the Supreme Soul. And so by immersing ourselves in these sounds we are actually bathing in that transcendental light, and it’s having a profound effect of purifying our hearts and minds, and making it so slowly the darkness becomes dissipated, and our true spiritual identity manifests.
So with that I thank you so very much, and let us engage in that process of chanting. I will use the mantra Gopala Govinda Rama Madana-Mohana