Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.

Religie & Mystiek

The Netherlands

April 2004


A word by itself is bereft of meaning. Language imparts meaning to a word. A word is enriched with a meaning due to language. Language has developed in the mind of man from rudimentary sounds of primitive man. Compared with his ancestors present-day man has within his mind an armature of languages.


Each language has its own meaning for any given word, and some words have more than a single meaning within the same language. Different languages, and there are about three thousand of them, impart their own meaning to a single word. Therefore, the same word in some instances would appear to possess dissimilar meanings. Hence, there cannot be any credence in the reality of the meaning of a word.  The meaning of a word is therefore not absolute. When such is the confusion gifted by language, there are bound to be interpretations that render man bemused.


One of the most important factors in man’s confusion is the inability of man to venture into deep insight of words that surround him, words that seem to make up his life. Man instead is content with beliefs, dogmas, and philosophies, their meanings being as varied as there are languages. Clarity is traded in for belief systems. In addition, every mind will only embrace its very own belief system, because this enhances the ego’s authority and glamour of being spiritual! Hence, it is wise to understand the essential nature of words, their role in this manifestation, whose very fabric is duality, and the reason why a word creates confusion even though it has a meaning.


Duality does not mean separateness. Duality signifies that every word exists due to the presence of its other half. Duality means that every word is half and not whole, and that the other half is made up of its opposite. Just like two sides of a coin, each side makes up one half of the coin. A coin cannot exist with just one side. Similarly, a word cannot exist without its counterpart. A coin could be understood to comprise of two sides, because both sides can be seen attached to each other. A word, on the other hand, cannot be thought of as having two sides attached to each other, because as far as spoken words are concerned they cannot be seen, and with regards to written words only one side is seen. The other side of a written word and its attachment to the seen word is not visible. Hence the difficulty in understanding that any word, heard or read, is just half and its meaning too is half.


Therefore, a meaningful word would be that word which takes into account the meaning it imparts together with the meaning of its other half. Now where could one find such a word that includes both halves and their meaning as one? The only possible way would be to include both halves of every word to be spoken at the same time or written jointly together. For example, the word ‘light’ exists only because of the word ‘darkness’ and vice versa. The meaning of ‘light’ depends on darkness and vice versa. It is impossible for the word ‘light’ to have any meaning on its own. If the word ‘darkness’ is absent, it would be impossible to have any concepts of light and vice versa. Therefore the word ‘light’ is just one half and the other half is ‘darkness’. These are not two words that are separate from each other. They are just one word joined to each other, whereby each half breathes life into the other. Hence, the real word would be ‘light darkness’ and the meaning for such a word defeats logic.


Therefore life is illusory because logic presents half a word to appear as a whole and half a meaning to appear complete. Since half a meaning is meaningless, every word that language has and man uses would definitely cause confusion rather than clarity.


The words in focus in this issue are ‘Light’ and ‘Darkness’. The first point to be examined is: are they really two words or do they only appear as two words? Are they separate from each other with distinct cut-off points separating them or are they just one word without distinct cut-off points?  Do they have an independent existence or do they not? Do they possess a natural meaning or is the meaning derived? Close observation would reveal that cut-off points are absent in life, in this manifestation called world.  Where is the separation between the ‘Soul’ and the ‘Body’? Where is the cut-off point between the ‘Mind’ and the ‘Body’? Where is the cut-off point between the different parts of the body?  All separation is therefore purely imaginary rather than real. Everything and everyone is connected to one another. Even the word ‘connected’ is misleading, for it is impossible to determine any realistic connecting points! Life is a singular, miraculous manifestation.


One could choose from the library, dictionary, or from spiritual vocabulary as many meanings as you wish for the words ‘light’ and ‘darkness’ and have your ego entangled in literary mesh. But what good would that do to man? Would man be free of agony? Would man be in Bliss? Would man stop arguing, criticizing and accusing his species? Would man be bathed in love or would man be jealous of another who has one more meaning to these two words than he? Man has mastered all such meanings and more would be added as time goes by. This happens just to let man know that he would remain the same: sad, filled with doubts and trust being nowhere within sight.

Hence all meanings (commercial, spiritual or secular) attributed to these two words ‘Light’ and ‘Darkness’ is relative rather than absolute. More importantly, who is to decide which one of these meanings is real? The various meanings just add spice to the manifestation. The meanings are there just to tickle the ego’s fancy, generate discussions, form theories, build philosophies and construct dogmas that keep man in bondage rather than freedom. Freedom is freedom from words and their meaning for, as yet, no word or meaning has ever liberated man from the shackles of misery or sadness. How could they, for their very presence is the cause of discontent? Discontent, for words project incomplete meaning but the mind believes it to be complete!


Therefore, in this exposition, a deeper understanding of these two words ‘Light’ and ‘Darkness’ would be shared rather than contributing more meaningless meanings to them. It is important to realize that all meanings to these two words are necessary only to understand that they are not necessary to relieve man from the grip of duality. So, what could light be? Has man ever seen light that he could either talk or write ‘about’ it? Could light be seen? What man is able to see is just reflected light and not pure light! If the mind has a thought of pure light, only then would it be in a position to expound it. If the mind has a thought of pure light, would it be pure, for pure light, realistically, would be the absence of total darkness?  Total darkness is not only the absence of light, but also the absence of the presence of absence of light. So if the mind talks about pure light it only means that it has recognized and acknowledged, non-verbally, the presence of darkness! And if darkness has been admitted, would the description of light be independent of darkness? Certainly not would be the obvious conclusion.  Hence, it is not possible for the mind to talk about pure light or write about it. More importantly, since the mind is absent in the ‘present’, it could never ever experience pure light, for pure light is in the ‘NOW’ and not in the past!


Next, if light is all there is in life, how could darkness exist at all? If darkness is absence of light, how could it be possible for anyone to see it, for man would need light to see? If light is required to see darkness, where could the cut-off point be between light and darkness? Has man been able to determine where exactly the two are separate from each other? If they are not separate, then it would only mean that light and darkness are one and not two.


Darkness is nothing but intense light that the eyes cannot catch. Man’s visual faculty is limited as are the rest of his mental concepts of senses. The mind is able to appreciate only the absence of different wave-lengths of light and is unable to recognize wave- lengths of light beyond a certain spectrum. The inability to appreciate light is experienced by man as darkness. Light that man experiences is therefore darkness that the eyes can catch and darkness is intense light that the eyes cannot catch. This is paradoxical - and so is life! If darkness were real then even animals would not be able to see. But it is well known that certain species of the animal kingdom roam around in utter darkness in total freedom. It is important to realize that life begins in darkness rather than light! The seed sprouts from the darkness within the seed under the ground. The sperm fertilizes the ova in the darkness of the reproductive system. Eggs hatch within the darkness of the eggshell. Life begins in darkness, for darkness is light!


Hence man must understand that there is nothing called darkness as an absolute entity or anything called light as an absolute entity that the mind could experience. Life is jointly light and darkness with all their meanings stuck to it. Freedom from these labels is pure light: light that cannot be seen, thought of, or written ‘about’; darkness that cannot be seen, thought of, or written ‘about’!


© Copyright V.S. Shankar, 2004



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