We can’t drive out darkness, but we can turn on the light

Suppose we find ourselves groping and stumbling in a dark room. We may feel irritated at the darkness, but cursing or punching it achieves nothing. We need to find the light switch and turn it on. Once light appears, the darkness will automatically disappear; we can’t separately drive it out – and don’t need to.

Similarly, while living in this material world, we are surrounded by the darkness of ignorance that blinds us to the best way to happiness. We stumble through life, trying various things for enjoyment, but getting multiple miseries instead.

We may want to get rid of the mistakes and misconceptions that mislead us. We might fight against each of these misleading notions separately, but the underlying illusion continues and deludes in some other way. Just as darkness can be removed by turning on light, illusion can be removed by acquiring the knowledge that grants right perception. That knowledge is spiritual knowledge. The Bhagavad-gita (05.16) states that spiritual knowledge acts like a sun for illumining our inner world. Being thus illumined, we can see which desires are beneficial and which inimical.

While such knowledge can manifest in various ways and at various levels, it manifests brightest and fullest when we invoke in our heart the presence of Krishna, the supreme source of all knowledge. We can best invoke his presence by practicing bhakti-yoga diligently. The more we perceive his presence in our heart, the more we get the inspiration and illumination to make wise choices.

So, when we find ourselves struggling and stumbling amidst life’s problems, rather than flailing at our conditions or conditionings, we can focus on devotionally seeking Krishna’s shelter. The resulting inner illumination – the calmness and clarity of our consciousness – will help us find the best way to move ahead in life.

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