Published on December 2nd, 2013 | by Sarika
The Moth and The Flame
In Sufi literature one of the most loved metaphors is of the moth and the flame. The moth’s annihilation into the flame has been drawn again and again as an analogy for the seeker in the Sufi path who seeks annihilation into the Divine Essence.
The metaphor of the moth and The Flame is beloved in Rajayoga as well where it signifies self-transformation – the annihilation of the old negative habits, the sorrow, limitations and prejudices that control our lives – with the help of the Divine. In doing so I surrender myself to my Supreme Beloved.
When I came to Rajayoga, I was standing by the wayside begging for alms with a bowl in my hand. Sometimes I’d beg for respect, sometimes for company, sometimes for love, sometimes for talent…..the list is endless. Most times, I’d be begging from other souls who being beggars themselves were unable to provide me what I needed. Other times I’d decide that it might be wise to beg from God. Of course, it’s hard to beg from someone you don’t really know and if I did know Him even a little, I’d know better than to beg from Him. In any case, that was my occupation.
When God found me by that wayside, He ran up to me, lifted me up in both arms, held me close to Him and said, “O, My dear long lost child, my diamond, the twinkle of my eye, I have found you at last. Look at me, I am your Father and I love you very much.”
Thinking back, I don’t recall being surprised as much as being taken over by a force that was Loving, Powerful and Compassionate. I recall feeling for the first time in my life a sense of coming home, a sense of belonging. While a feeling of that deep connection was immediate, accepting the fact that He belongs to me, that He will never leave me and in fact is here to stay is a continuing journey.
His love is different from anything I had ever experienced – He brings out qualities in me I never even knew I had. I started to appreciate myself, see myself as special. He reminds me of who I really am- a reflection of Him, of God Himself! He reminds me of my strengths, my powers. Each time I fall and lose faith in myself, He is right there to tell me to keep getting up. He is right there smiling just as broadly, overflowing with love as He reminds me again of who I am and how much I mean to Him. To be able to pick up a soul covered completely in dirt- the dirt of body consciousness, to hold her close and say “sweet child” with utmost genuineness, to make yourself responsible for her, to be there for her at any moment….that is surrender.
When it’s my turn, I don’t have to look beyond His defects – He doesn’t have any! Or be there for Him in quite the way that He is for me – He does not fall, He does not make mistakes. But what I do need to do is learn to look beyond my own defects, learn to transform my own negatives into positives, learn to get up and dust off when I fall, learn to see and accept myself as He sees and accepts me. What I need to do is become like Him and reveal Him to the world through my own behaviour.
It is only when I open myself to the possibility of such greatness can He help me achieve it.
As we go through this journey, God tells us the story of how we became separated from Him and became beggars. He tells us about Maya – the illusory web of the world and how we were robbed of all we had and turned into bankrupts. Maya robbed us of our self-esteem, by making us believe that we are not who we thought we were. She lied to us that we are orphans without a Father to protect us. She turned us against each other – sometimes in the name of religion, sometimes money, sometimes fame but in short, she shrewdly divided and conquered. She broke our confidence in ourselves and convinced us that we are incapable of happiness internally and that the only way to be happy is to acquire material things- “the more, the better”, she said. And thus, she robbed us of ourselves and emptied the soul.
God came along and reminded me that in fact I am powerful, peaceful and a loving soul perfectly capable of happiness. In fact He said, happiness is my inherent quality, my birthright. He re-opened my eye of knowledge that enables me to now see right through the illusory web of Maya. And so every time I make a mistake and I hear that sneaky voice say “that’s terrible! You are really a bad person”, I now have a choice: believe it as I have for all this time or trust Him and say, “No, I am not a bad person. In fact I know I am a very nice person with a bad habit. I am working on transforming it and I know I will succeed.” That is surrender….
At work, when my colleague says or does something to cause sorrow I once again have that choice: either go with that voice that says, “See I told you. He is out to get you, he is just a really bad person that needs to be put in his right place. You should give him a piece of your mind”, or remember God’s kindness when He found me and say, “No, not really. He is actually a very nice person just like me. And just as I was, he too is trapped in your little web of deception and has no idea of who he is and what he is doing. God found me in one such moment and He gave me love and kindness. I am going to be accommodating too and wish that he too finds the Truth.” That is surrender….
When I get assigned a project that seems like it’s not worth my time or one that seems tough, there will be that voice yet again, “Say no! That’s too low for you…a complete waste of time or Wow! That’s hard and I’ve never done anything like it before. What if I fail? I better get out of it…” but again I know better and say, “Remember Who’s on my side! Ensuring I get the tools, resources and help to see this task through is His responsibility and not mine. I know He will deliver, I know He will never allow me to fail, I just need to be ready to learn.” That is surrender….
I know that in every situation, remembering what He has told me about Him, Maya and myself will enable me see things clearly and know exactly what to do. I just need to listen and listen only to Him, see and follow only Him. That is the stamp of a complete moth. He says, don’t be afraid to surrender to The Flame. Simply trust Me and allow yourself to venture into what appears to be the unknown.
Every time Maya tries to break me, I have to stop her. It’s actually not that hard when you remember that Maya by definition is an illusion, a lie. She is nothing but a parasite that feeds on souls by lying to them about who they are and sucking them dry. God is Truth, He teaches souls the truth about themselves and gives them the strength to regain their lost sovereignty. Sure, Maya is going to shake the boat of truth but it will not sink if the Boatman is God Himself.
There isn’t a moment in this life when I can stop, rest or look away. This war between Maya and God’s own children lasts till the end of time. Each time I defeat Maya at one of her tricks, I emerge stronger and ensure that she can never use that same trick against me again. In my every victory, I reveal God’s Truth about who I am and about who He is to the world. I learn to accept my own worth, dedicate my life to helping others realize theirs through me. I learn to be happy, peaceful and content. I surrender my life to doing what He wants me to – becoming my true self again, becoming like Him! And I do it not because I have to but because of love for myself and Him, for the One that surrendered Himself to me when I was dirty, for the One that made it His purpose to uplift me and bring me happiness. For the One that has set out to create for me a heaven on earth.