The na­ture of il­lu­mined souls

The Sunday Guardian - - World - By Swami Shan­tat­mananda

Devo­tees would of­ten ask Sri Ra­makr­ishna about the na­ture of il­lu­mined souls. Sri Ra­makr­ishna would an­swer their ques­tion us­ing a beau­ti­ful anal­ogy. He would say, “Ig­no­rant be­ings are like houses with no win­dows, like clay walls which re­veal noth­ing and il­lu­mined souls are like peo­ple liv­ing in houses made with glass walls.” For a per­son with su­per­fi­cial think­ing, the anal­ogy would ap­pear some­what strange. It might even mean that peo­ple who live in houses made with glass walls should be very care­ful of what they do since their ac­tiv­i­ties will be vis­i­ble to the world out­side. Ac­tu­ally, this anal­ogy im­plies that il­lu­mined ones have noth­ing to hide and in fact every­thing to re­veal and trans­mit. This might mean even some­thing deeper go­ing be­yond the con­sid­er­a­tion of good and bad or re­vealed and hid­den. The glass walls of the houses of the il­lu­mined rep­re­sent the abil­ity to see into the in­fin­ity. While the clay walls of the houses of the worldly or ig­no­rant per­sons sym­bol­ize the lack of that deep in­sight and vi­sion. Every­thing re­mains ob­scure or hid­den in the life of such un­for­tu­nate ones be­cause they are tem­po­rar­ily bereft of their in­her­ent spir­i­tu­al­ity. But, the il­lu­mined, though en­cased in the body, live a life which is not bound or re­stricted. Their minds, which are open to di­vine re­al­ity, see deeply into the re­cesses of the spirit within and are able to ob­serve the en­tire cos­mic re­al­ity. To them the en­tire uni­verse be­comes trans­par­ent like glass and the blessed souls see noth­ing but the light of pure con­scious­ness. In their lives aware­ness shines through all their ac­tions. Their in­di­vid­ual life be­comes like an open book and is ab­so­lutely pure and trans­par­ent. They have noth­ing to fear or hide. They go be­yond a life con­di­tioned by sense en­joy­ment. They live a life of pure and un­al­loyed bliss. They be­come like a beacon of light for oth­ers to be il­lu­mined.

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