One of them was courageous enough to enquire from the master the reason for this gesture.
There was once a great spiritual master. Seekers from far would flock to him in search of enlightenment. There was one student who was allowed to leave after a very short stay. He departed with the generous blessings of a highly impressed master. Some of the inmates at the sanctuary were amazed at such an early discharge given to a raw and new initiate.
One of them was courageous enough to enquire from the master the reason for this gesture. “The stick was dry and it caught fire quickly,” was the master’s repartee. Nobody can be given evidence of this radical ecstatic transformation because it can be perceived only by those who have a foretaste of it.
A moist matchstick will not ignite even by repeated rubbing — it will simply snap. But a dry one will enflame even with a gentle rub. The pure and clear heart, unstained by worldly dross, is like the inflammable matchstick. Even the greying embers that have lost their cruel redness can kindle the fire in such a heart. But the heart of a worldly man, soaked in lust is a moist matchstick.
Man is today mired in greed, envy and selfishness. He lives in a sick and ailing world. We all acknowledge and believe in common human values. We are one at the core of our humanity. We all value the worth of human life. We all agree that poverty is a sickness, injustice cannot be tolerated, and there should not be any distinction by way of gender, colour, religion, age or status. Yet look at how people are chafing at each other’s throats.
Man lives in great opulence and has surrounded himself with the most sophisticated gadgets to build a world as dazzling as that of Aladdin and his genie. But loneliness and despair still keep troubling him. We are the most comfortable generation ever on the planet, but we certainly cannot claim to be a blissful or loving generation.
It is a crazy world in which people know the truth and yet are so distanced from it. There isn’t one place where we do not have strife; where division, battle, war, crime, injustices are not rife. You can’t get one group of people that do not point the finger at the other one and say, “We are better than you.”
It doesn’t make sense if we make progress externally when we are overlaid internally by hatred, jealousy and violence. We live in a century that has left us with a maximum of choices but a minimum of meaning. The human mind has become fragile and fragmented. It needs healing. Humans are meaning-seeking animals. We need to tap into the wellsprings of faith to spark our mind to fix the world for our needs instead of trying to fix ourselves for this world. Therein lies our salvation.