On the tomb of Herder, Germany, are inscribed these three words, “Light! Life! Love!”. These three words, by this great German seer, sums up the process of historical evolution.
In the beginning there was Light. God is the Primal Light. Out of Light came Life. “All things take their life from Light,” says Schiller. And life fulfils itself in Love. Life without love is an aimless wandering. “What for is this universe?” Sadhu Vaswani was asked. And with the insight of a mystic, he answered, “That love centers may be multiplied. The purpose of evolution, as I interpret it, is the increase of values; and the highest values are Wisdom and Love.”
In history, a double movement is seen in evolution. The horizontal and vertical movement. The horizontal movement is of heat. This heat leads to wars and violence, class strifes, colour prejudices, cut-throat competition, the injustice of man to man, the exploitation of animals, the conflicts of creeds and communities, the rivalries of religions and races. But the vertical movement, is of Light. In it is the hope of humanity. Men of Light—the sages, seers, saints, poets and prophets—are the promise of the future.
Light is needed in every part of life. And so Sadhu Vaswani has said again and again, “Kindle the Light! And the Light is within you! You are the Light!” Did not the Buddha say to his disciples, “Be ye lamps unto yourselves?”
Many years ago, I said to Sadhu Vaswani, “You have asked me to study the scriptures and the lives of saints. So long as I am immersed in the study, I feel light and luminous, filled with joy and peace. But as soon as I cease to study, the light departs and I am plunged into darkness.”His answer was a parable. “Two men journeyed together through a jungle on a dark, starless night. One of them had a lamp by whose light they moved on. At midnight, they arrived at a point where their paths split, and each had to move on alone. The man with the lamp walked without fear, while the other plunged into dark terror. And Sadhu Vaswani added, “Kindle the Light! And the Light is within you!”
The three lights
There is, firstly, the light of the body. Keep the body pure and strong, and it will radiate light. Purity is yoga, said Sadhu Vaswani one day, when I asked him if I could take up a course in yogic asanas and pranayama. The bodies of so many, today, are weak, pale, emaciated, anything but lustrous. For, today, there is a cult of pleasure. Young men today confound love with sensation and not a few find fault with ideals of morality. The light of the body is brahmacharya. One who kindles the light must purify himself from the lower self of desires. He must still the tumult of the senses.
There is, secondly, the light of the mind. Reflection, the power of understanding, is what India and the world need today. As today, India, is being broken into pieces. Patriotism has become parochial. The barriers between provinces and nations and communities must break. Larger minds must be built. Therefore said Sadhu Vaswani, “Truth first! Brother-pilgrim on the path! Be thou a seeker of Truth. Truth, not tradition! Truth, not dogmas, creeds, communities, races!” Seek ye the Truth, said Jesus, and Truth will make you free!
In the search for Truth, three things must be noted: humility, simplicity, and meditation.
- Humility: Truth must not be proud. So let us grow in the spirit of humility. In expressing truth, let us not hurt or injure another. One of the greatest intellects of today, the man, who had, perhaps, the biggest brain, was Einstein. And he said that his was the religion of humility.
- Simplicity: And to grow in the spirit of truth, you must be simple. Do not imitate. Be true to the genius of your race. All the great ones of India, from the days of Manu to those of Mahatma Gandhi, have been simple. Be simple. Renounce luxuries. Significant are the words of Helen Keller: “Let my mind grow in the beauty of a simple flower.” The flower is simple and, therefore, beautiful. To develop beautiful minds, grow in simplicity.
- Meditation: Meditation is necessary. And meditation is not vegetation. To meditate is to grow. Therefore, go into silence everyday. “To go into silence,” Sadhu Vaswani said, “even for an hour, every day, is an uplifting experience. He who would know what is light must go into silence. One day he will see the Light!”
Thirdly, there is the light of the heart. It is the light of sympathy and service. He who has Light lives not for himself alone. He lives for others. The master-word of Sadhu Vaswani’s life was sympathy, compassion, and service. In his heart was love divine, it moved out to all whom the cruel world trampled upon day after day.