Spirituality

LIFE IS A PLAY OF
LIGHT AND SHADOW

Swami Muktananda

If you were to examine your life with an outlook filled with the knowledge of humanity, you would realize that it is nothing but a play of sunlight and shadow, that it is not different from a drama, or from a joyful dream. This play of creation is filled with unique colors and manifestations. Like clouds in the autumn sky which keep forming and dissolving, forming and dissolving, in your life different colors shine and sparkle for a while and then fade away.

You never know why they come and go, or for how long they have been arising and subsiding. You divide your life into the waking and the dream states, but it is all one state. It is ever-new, neither true nor false. What was real yesterday is unreal today, and what is real now will be unreal tomorrow, because tomorrow it will no longer exist. Life is the extraordinary play of the actor of the universe, the Self. It is mystery, a story told by a grandmother, real, yet without foundation. In this world, day becomes night and night becomes day. Joy turns into grief and grief turns into joy.

Virtue turns into sin and sin turns into virtue. Birth becomes death and death becomes birth. Success become failure and failure becomes success. One person's victory is another defeat. One person's interest is another's indifference. One person's religion is another's irreligion. The world constantly changes. This life unfolds from a formless source. It arises from the ocean of bliss, from the joyous swaying of love, and merges back into the space of consciousness. When a wise being understands the way of the world, the sport and the play of destiny, the continuity of the waking and dream states, and the light of the knowledge of Bhairava (a name for the supreme reality), the wise being becomes filled with the extraordinary mystery of the formless; and feels lighthearted with this simple awareness.

Then he naturally takes delight in the game; with great bliss he swims in the sweet current of love. He lives in a natural way. His is a perfect life in which there is no basis for worry, no reason to be brave, no desire for a support, no binding limitation, no friend to be attached to, no foe no hate. All that remains for him everywhere is the infinite flame of the Self. In him the knowledge of the play of maya and the understanding of the great Bhairava are born. Everything emerges from Bhairava, the conscious Self . To know this is to attain the ever-scintillating knowledge of Bhairava.

When you recognize the Self within, an inner smile blossoms, and the peacock of your mind dances in the fountain of the love of life. You realize that life depends on love, and the strings of the veena of your heart are strummed. Then you travel your life' journey very easily and with great joy, as a guest, as a sightseer, as a witness. For you there is no burden, there is no weeping, there is no boredom. Instead, you sing and dance. Lightheartedly, with great simplicity, you find Consciouness, the center of the universe, within you.

This untouched Consciousness is the formless witness, the indestructible joy. It is a drop of nectar; it is the inner heart; it is the shimmering, clear and beautiful blue light; it is the bliss of the Self which arises independently within; it is the inner pulsation. Which path will lead you to that state? From what view-point can you see it? Look at your life. Look at the inner effulgence.

Watch the colors as they arise and disperse. Watch the clouds which come and go in the space of your mind.Look at the space between between two thoughts. Look at the patterns of sun and shadow which form and dissolve. See everything as a vast picture composed of countless vessels filled with strange and colorful things, each more fascinating and astounding than the last. What is all this? It is nothing but the dance of your own Self, the supreme actor. Everything has come from Him.

All faces are His. All attributes are His. A woman belongs to Him and a man belongs to Him. Attachment and aversion, good and evil, grief and joy,religion and irreligion all belongs to Him. Everything arises from Him, and it is all the play of the Self. What will you attain in this manifold and unique play? You will attain your own true nature, your own face. You will perceive the drama of your own life as if it were someone else's life. You will perceive the conscious Self. In the present state, you get angry, you laugh, you weep, you become disappointed.

Sometimes you are depressed and sometimes you are elated, and in this way you flow in the current of life. But when you understand that this entire play is a dream, when you attain knowledge, all these things will depart. What else will leave you? Your mask, your facade, your dry and joyless smile, your pride and honor, your pretension and ego, your bigotry, and your wrong understandings that claim to be the Truth. All these things will go. The knot of the heart which makes you imagine that Consciousness is limited to matter will be released. The veil of ignorance which forms a wall between you and God will be rent.

You will glimpse the light of the knowledge of Bhairava within. Then you will experience the lightheartedness of Consciousness, the thought-free state, and the independent freshness of the Self, which does not come from eating or drinking, giving or taking. You will experience immeasurable ecstasy, continual inner joy. The tender, sweet, enchanting notes of the divine flute will sound from within. As the inner wisdom of Bhairava arises, a center of Consciousness, a witness, will form inside you watching everything but remaining apart from it. You will experience that conscious witness in your heart, the dwelling place of joy and of the divine miracles of the Self. The knowledge of the Self will arise, revealing unique manifestations and infinite colors.

You have been searching for this inner light of Consciousness, and when you obtain it you will become free from all imaginary clouds, from the illusory patterns of the sun and the shadow. In everything, in all forms you will see only different expressions of your own face. You will come to know that everything is the play of your own mind. No matter where you look you will see the play.

The knowledge "I am everything" will arise, and you will see the same Self shining within you and within everyone. The inner knower will come to recognize that he is being reflected everywhere and that it is his own reflection which is constantly passing before him. Wherever you look you will see your own Self. Then you will begin to wonder, "Do I exist in the world or does the world exist in me?" One who has experienced his own Self has solved the mystery of the game of life.

Behind everything there is great Love. There is Consciousness. There is the Guru's compassion. There is the extraordinary, yet subtle desire to be reunited with the Self. You will be awakened within. Can you be awakened? Can you drink the nectar of your own love? With the knowledge of That, can you recognize your own Self in countless forms? When it arises within you, your life will be truly alive.

Then through the inner understanding, through the light of Chit Kundalini, through the knowledge of Bhairava, the seed of the movement of the Self will sprout.You will see your own Self in everyone. You will attain what you have already attained. You will find what you have never lost.

In you, of you, and for you,

Your own,

Swami Muktananda