Just because we can’t light the world doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t light our corner of the world
Suppose suddenly the power goes off all over our city. We don’t think, “Everywhere, there is darkness; what difference is lighting my small corner going to make?” We know that our lighting a candle will make a difference – at least to us and eventually to people around us, who will see enough to light their candles.
A similar realistic-yet-optimistic attitude is needed in responding to the world’s problems. The frequent news of destruction, death and deceit may make us feel that the whole word has been plunged in the darkness of evil, with we being too small to make any difference.
But we can make a difference – we can light our own heart. The world’s myriad problems have many causes, yet a common denominator underlying those causes is human selfishness. Such selfishness surfaces as, say, the haves exploiting the have-nots or people exploiting their environment.
Selfishness is often perpetuated by materialism, which makes people crave for worldly things, whatever the cost to them or to others. In contrast, selfishness is countered by spirituality, which provides non-material satisfaction. The easiest way to such satisfaction is bhakti-yoga, for it connects us with Krishna, the source of the supreme light and joy.
The Bhagavad-gita (10.11) indicates that Krishna illumines devotees’ inner world, guiding them to act wisely.
When our heart is thus lit, it makes a difference for at least one person: ourselves. Our inner illumination and outer contribution raises us above the apathy and misery of materialism. And our spiritualty often inspires others to similarly light their hearts. The Gita (12.13) declares that devotees act as everyone’s well-wishing friends.
Thus, by striving to light our corner of the world – our own heart – we can become bearers and sharers of light in this dark world.
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