International Forum for NeoVedantins
Vedanta of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda

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Food for Thought
1. The compassionate teacher called his disciple and pointing to a bright star in the sky said: "Look my son, do you see that prominent star there?"

"Yes Sir, I see it. It's lovely."

"Now look to the left of it and you'll notice one more star, which is less brighter and smaller than the first one. Do you see the second one?"

"Yes, sir, it is also twinkling. I see it," said the disciple.

"OK, my boy. Now concentrate still further to the left and slightly above the second one and you will notice the star that I was talking about. It's very faint and small in size, but sparkles all the same. Do you see it?"

The disciple concentrated, but could not see the third one. On the right he saw one more smaller star, and therefore, he said: "I don't see any star on the left, but I see one on the right."

"No, no my son, not that. You must concentrate to the left. All right, let us begin afresh. First the big star, do you see it?"

"Yes, Sir," replied the disciple. "Good, now the slightly smaller star to the left of the first, OK! Now again concentrate to the left and above the second one. Do you see one faint sparkle?"

And now the disciple was delighted to see the desired object of his quest. The teacher and the disciple talked of subtle nature of Reality and methods to experience that Reality in this way.


Light of Self (Atman, Brahman, Absolute Reality, Being, Truth) is eternally covered with Ignorance (Avidya), which does not allow the Light to be appreciated. The Ignorance has no beginning, but has an end (in Realization).

It is darkness all around. In this state we see the Supreme Being as faint shadows - multifarious parts - as sentient or insentient beings.

The question of interest is: "Does this ignorance wane of gradually in degrees, or does is disappear in one stroke, as a 'all or none phenomenon?

To explain, can we say that spiritual practices (disciplines like listening to the words of Guru, reading the Scriptures, Yoga, worship, experiences of past births, etc.) lead to gradual thinning of this thick blanket of Ignorance that prevents us to realize the hidden Light?

Or, is it that the Darkness of Ignorance vanishes in a moment as when a candle is lighted in the room? It is then inconsequential whether the room was in the dark for a thousand years or for a day!


In the center of a room there is self-illuming diamond that is spreading its light all around. The room has four doors. The doors are closed, but each door has a small hole in the middle. The light from the diamond reaches out through these holes in all the four directions.

An aspirant in each direction sees the light from far off distance as round glow and thinks that he has spotted the Diamond of his search.

All the four fellows approach the 'diamond' from their respective stations in life. When they reach the room they become aware of the fact that they were mistaken; they open the door and see the centrally placed diamond and become happy.

What each one of them saw was true as well as untrue. Untrue because they did not see the actual diamond and they mistook the lighted hole for the object of their of their meditation. But the same mistake led them to the realization of the object of their final quest.
c s shah
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