The moon was asked:
“What is your strongest desire?”
“That the Sun should vanish, and should remain veiled forever behind the clouds.”
~ Idris Shah, The way of the Sufi
Speaker: Impossible is what we want. On one hand, the mind wants immortality, on the other hand, it wants to avoid the timeless. On one hand, the mind wants all knowledge, on the other hand, it wants to avoid Real knowing. The situation of the mind is like that of the moon, which wants to shine, and shine brightly, but dislikes the Sun.
“The moon was asked: What is your strongest desire?
It answered: That the Sun should vanish, and should remain veiled forever behind the clouds.”
There is nothing really that the moon, the mind, dislikes more than the Sun. The moon is praised by poets and lovers, gentleness of its light is greatly appreciated. People express gratitude to it for giving them, at least, some light, in the thick of dark night. The moon receives these appreciations and thanks.
What the poet forgets and the moon too forgets is that, the light of the moon is not its own. You would have read and heard innumerable poets write and sing about the beauty and the romance of the moon. But few, write of the Sun. It requires a sage to worship the Sun. But the moon is so commonly revered and loved. Not only do people forget, but even the moon would like to forget, that it has no light, no energy, no brightness, and no splendour of its own. All that it does is reflect. And even, the reflection is enough, to give light and calmness to people. The poet who is passionately praises the moon, would mention nowhere in his poem, that he is actually praising the Sun. He would keep singing of the moon. Not even one line would be dedicated to the Sun. It becomes easy and lucrative to forget the Sun. The moon really cannot like the Sun.
The Sun is self-sufficient and at the center. And the moon is just a satellite. Around the Sun, there are so many moons, but all the moons are being fed by just one Sun. Would not matter to the Sun, if the moons vanish. But if the Sun vanishes, the moons would be left with nothing at all. Obviously, in the eyes of the moon, it is an unequal situation and the moon cannot like it.
What does the Sun stands for?
Somebody was once asked, “How to live?” Must have been a realised man, he was asked, “How to live?” And he replied, “Live like a moon in the daytime.” That was his answer. “Live like a moon in the daytime.“
So reflect, what little you receive, and you cannot receive the Total, being what you are. Retaining your limited size and boundaries, you cannot receive the totality of the Sun. But whatever little you receive, reflect it as per your mortal situation. Reflect it. And even as you reflect it, remain immerse and inundated, in Light. In the daytime, moon simply does not show up. Its individuality, its boundaries get blurred. Even if the moon is visible in the daytime, it is nowhere as singularly glorious as the moon of the night. It may be there in the sky, it may be reflecting light, but then there is light all around it. Now it has no reason to feel exclusive or special. It has known, that yes, I do reflect light, but then, so does the entire universe.
In the night, it is easy to have misconceptions about yourself. In the night it is easy to develop notions of exclusivity. In the night, it is easy to be misled, that you are somebody special. In the day, the Truth is shining. Not that you are shining any less, not that the moon reflects any less. It receives no less, and it reflects no less. But it just becomes apparent, that all receives and all reflects. And that, the moon, the planets, the stars, the asteroids, they all are bathing together in the same Sunlight. That all the planets and all the moons, and everything that fills up the inter-planetary space, is orbiting around the same Sun. It becomes very apparent.
That was what the wise man advised.
He said live in a way where you are able to see, that firstly, your light is not ‘your’ light. In the night the moon is tempted to feel that its light is its own. The wise man said, live in a way where it becomes clear to you that your light is not ‘your’ light. And secondly, your light is the same as the light pervading the universe. That you are part of one harmonious whole, as far as this existence goes.
The mind likes to believe that it has certain powers. It may be ready to somehow agree, that those powers are limited. But, what it would never agree to, is that, those powers are not his own. Those powers are just a gift from somewhere else. The mind feels proud of the intellect, of the memory, of the knowledge it has. The mind remains puffed up with its powers to comprehend, to analyse, to dissect, to conclude, and it thinks, that it can even, tear open into the mystery of being with its powers.
The Ken Upanishad, repeatedly asks, from where does all this come, from where does the mind originate, from where do the faculties come, from where do all the powers come. But it requires the sagacity of an Upanishadic Sage to ask this question.
It requires a seer to see, that the Truth is that which powers the eyes to see, but which the eyes themselves cannot see; that the ears are powered by some other source to hear; that the tongue is powered by some other source to speak; and that source is so vast, immense, beyond description, that the tongue cannot mention, or capture that source in words.
It powered the tongue to speak, but the tongue cannot speak of it.
It powers the mind to think, but the mind cannot think of it.
It requires the humility and wisdom of a Sage to remember this.
But the ordinary mind, the common mind, is just like the moon in our story. Its strongest desire is, that the Sun should vanish. It hates the Sun. The Sun reminds it of its littleness, of its incompetence. And it hates the Sun, because the Sun makes it look so ordinary, and it hates the Sun because half the day, the Sun just makes it disappear. The moon does not like Sun, the man does not like Truth, mind does not like Aatman (Self) and that is supremely foolish, because in disliking the Truth, you are disliking your own roots.
Moon’s desire is a stupid desire. All desires are stupid desires. That is why I say, that when you are to be punished, your desires will be granted. The moon says that its strongest desire is that the Sun should vanish, and should remain veiled forever behind the clouds. If moon’s desire were to be granted, the moon itself would vanish. Can there be moon without the Sun? That is how stupid all our desires are. We do not know, what we really want. Yes, there is a longing, there is a craving deep within, but we do not know it. We have never really attended to it. We do not know what we really want. And instead, like blind man, we keep wanting miscellaneous things, we keep acting, in directions, opposite to that of fulfilment.
What does the moon want? What does the moon like? The moon likes Light. The moon is in love with Light. Because it is in love with Light, it does not like the Sun. Now this is such a contradiction. This contradiction arises because of ego.
The moon is in love with Light, but its ‘own’ Light, not Light itself. The moon definitely does love Light, but the moon says, Light is only good as long as it is emanating from my boundaries. The moon likes Light, but likes its limitations even more. Not the infinitude of Light, but the Light, that seems to emerge from within its being, from within its narrow boundaries. Now, the boundaries, really are immaterial. The love of Light, is what really matters. No poet ever praised the boundaries of the moon. The poets have praised the Light of the moon. Even the moon will not really be particular about its boundaries, but it is very-very particular about its Light. That’s what it’s life stuff is.
Wisdom is to realise, what is essential about you, and what is it that limits you. And stupidity lies in conflating these two, not being able to distinguish between these two.
Your boundaries do not define you. Your boundaries limit you. You are defined by your Light. So when it comes to choosing, between your limits and your Light, you must choose Light.
The moon is choosing limits. The moon is saying, let the Sun vanish, even if I too implunge into darkness, it doesn’t matter, but at least, I would retain my individuality. This is the stupidity of all human desire. It says, let me have my separate existence, let my walls be protected, even if the one living inside those walls dies. Let my body be protected, even if the life inside the body has long gone. Let the material be protected, even if the spirit is no more with the material. That is materialism, the desire of the moon. The same desire that the moon have.
Light is not really material, the boundaries are material, the boundaries are substance. And it becomes very easy, for the ignorant mind, to give weightage to gross material over subtle Light. If the moon realises, that it is Light that it is in love with, then its desire would take a different direction. Right now, the moon is identified with its boundaries.
If the same moon realises, that it is Light that defines, not its boundaries; then the moon’s desire would take a totally different direction. Not only a totally different direction, actually a different dimension.Then the moon would say that –
The Light is highest of all. Light is my entire self-worth. Light is what I am. Let me merge and dissolve into that Light. Let me surrender to that Light, even if it means my own dissolution. I may remain no more, but Light will remain.
And that is not bad news at all.
Let the moon merge into the Sun. Let the moon be no more. Let there be only the Sun. And if this is not possible, if I have to retain my moon-ness, if I have to retain a separate material existence, then let me live, as the wise man said, like the moon bathing in daylight.
It would have been great, could I merge directly into the Sun. This is the desire of the wise man, he too desires, but he has only one desire. He realises what his desires are really about. He realises what his deepest craving is. And he says, why cater to miscellaneous desires, I will go to the root of all desires. I will go to the one thing that I really really want. I will chase nothing except that one. And that one is Light. I am thirsty only for that. Everything else I ask for, and demand, and chase, is just a poor reflection of mother desire.
Why ask for this and that? I do not really need this and that. I only need one, and I’ll ask for that one. Can I merge in the Sun? Please, can I be one with the Sun? That is what my heart has been beating for so long. Can I be one with the Sun? And if you say, I cannot be one with the Sun, then can I at least please see, the glory and splendour of Sun all around me all the time? Can you please give me a boon that I never forget that there is nothing but Light, but Sun? Can I remember always that every bit of energy around me comes from one single source? Can I remember and see that source, always and everywhere? That is what a wise moon would ask for. It will not want exclusivity. It will not say, that I should remain, and Sun should go. It realises the stupidity and impossibility of such a desire.
But wise moon, most of us are not. We are the common popular moon. We are so stupid that we hate that, which gives us Truth. The moon says that my deepest desire is that the Sun should vanish. Have you ever hated anybody more than the one who brings you to the Truth? The Upanishads, we have just talked of the Ken Upanishad, the Upanishads begin with a shantipath – an invocation of peace. And in many of the Upanishads, the shantipath says, ‘Let the student and the Teacher not hate each other’. It is very-very likely, that a relationship of dislike emerges, between the Teacher of the Truth and the student. There is nobody more dislikeable to the ego than the one, who brings the ego, who pushes the ego towards dissolution, surrender, annihilation. The moon hates the Sun. The mind hates its source – the Truth. Not only the moon’s desire can ever be granted, it is actually a suicidal desire. The desire would not be granted, but just having this desire is against life, is against the moon’s own interest.
Look at all your desires. I am inviting you, please look at all you desires. You will find the same moon like stupidity there. The test is – Do you want the one Truth, or are you asking for anything else? To ask for anything except the One, is to act like the moon. I do not value the Sun enough. Other things matter to me. The praise of the poets matters to me. The adulation of the stars matters to me. My reign over the night sky matters to me. My power and dominance matters to me. The Sun and Light do not matter to me. I am asking you to look at your desires. I am asking you to look at your own values. What matters to you? If anything except the Sun matters to you, I assure you, you will end up hating the Sun. You are already hating the Sun. To be in love with the Sun is to forget everything else.
To be in love with the Truth is to forget everything else, because the Truth is one and all encompassing. If you have fallen in love with the Truth, how can you remember anything else? Because there is nothing else to remember. To fall in love with Truth, is to fall in love with wholeness. There is nothing else left.
But we love all else.
If I circulate a sheet here right now and ask you to write down what do you want, if I ask you to write down what are your desires and priorities, you would write innumerable things. But I would be surprised, if I get to see even one mention of Truth. You would say what is important to me are my responsibilities, you would say that your family matters to you, you would say your business matters to you, you would say your reputation matters to you. And the sheet would return to me full of so many words. All words indicating your desires and priorities. But there would be one word missing in that sheet- TRUTH.
Have you ever met a man who wants the Truth? Yes people sometimes do say, ‘Tell me the Truth’. But what they mean by Truth then is facts, not the non-dual one Truth. They do not mean that. Even when someone say that i want to know the Truth, we reduce the Truth to the level of facts.
Nobody really wants the Truth. The truth is what we are. The truth is our foundation and our being. But nobody wants the Truth. What we want is miscellaneous stuff. It is suicidal, it is stupid.
Ask for that One, ask for nothing else. And if that One is asked for, really asked for, you get it. It is such a magical thing. You keep asking for petty stuff, do you ever get it? You have asked since years, since decades, since centuries for all small and petty things. Have you ever been able to get it? You have asked for the love of man, you have asked for reputation, you have asked for satisfaction, have you ever been able to get it? Love of man have kept you thirsty, reputation has always proved insufficient, and money has never been enough. Now for once, try something else. Leave all those little desires and ask for the Sun itself. Ask for the One. You will say, “Sir, when our little desires are never granted, how this immense desire will be granted?” But I am assuring you, this magic happens.
If your desires are little, they are never granted. They are never granted precisely because they are little, and existence does not value littleness, it values immensity.
You ask for the petty and you will not get it, and you ask for infinity, it is yours.
It is yours the moment you ask it.
You keep asking for the petty for ages and you will return empty handed. And you will complain, that it is a hostile world. You will complain, that even small wishes cannot be granted. What you do not understand is your wishes are not being granted precisely because they are small wishes. Now try, have a little trust and try.
Ask not for the petty, but for infinity, and see, how easily available it is. You ask it and you get it. In fact, you get it before you ask for it, otherwise, you cannot ask for it.
How will you ask for infinity without being infinity itself?
How will you ask for infinity without being inspired by infinity itself? Strange is this asking. You get it, and only then you can ask for it. Such is the compassion of the giver. He gives first and after that you ask for it. And such is the worthlessness of all asking. You have already gotten it when you are asking for it; what is the point in asking? Such is the stupidity of all desires. What you are asking for is already yours. And asking for it again and again cannot help you. What has already been given to you cannot be given again.
Have you not seen people praying – God give me strength. Now God wonders – Have I not already given it to you? How can I give it again? Or have I kept some part of it reserved, hidden with me to be released only upon prayers? I have given the highest, the ultimate. I have already given everything that could be given. Now what are you praying for? I do not wait for your applications to release your funds. I have already released everything. I am such a giver, that I have already given myself to you. What more do you want, stupid moon. It is your incapacity to take. I have given all that could be given, it is your incapacity to take. And you have that incapacity, because you have an identification with your boundaries. You take only as much as your boundaries permits. You do not take anything more than that. Do not ask that the giver should give you more, ask that you may be able to receive more. And these are entirely two different desires. When you say give me more, you want to preserve your boundary. When you say may I receive more, then you want to broaden and thereby dissolve your boundary. These are two very different prayers. Never say, please give me more. He had already given the maximum that could be given. He is not a miser.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session held at Advait BodhSthal, Noida.
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 1: Let the false go away