Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.

-Buddha

Thin Silver Layer

I have heard: A rich Jew went to a Hassid mystic and said, “I want to pray, but however much I try my desires don’t leave me alone. I want to give, I want to donate to charity, but even behind this charity my greed is present, my desire to gain is present. I can forfeit, but that too is bargain, a hope to get something, a hope to get even more; then I can forfeit. And however much I close my eyes; I don’t see any God. I remain full of my ‘I’. What should I do? And what is the reason for all this trouble?”

The mystic said, “You come with me.” Then he lead the rich man to a window. There was clear glass on the window; outside there were trees, birds, white herons flying in the sky; the sun was shining and a few clouds were also floating in the sky. He said, “Look outside. Do you see everything?”

The rich man said, “I do, the glass on the window is so clear and transparent.”

Then the mystic took the man to another wall by which a mirror was hanging. He asked the man, “Do you see any difference between this glass and the previous one?”

The rich man stood in front of the mirror and nothing except his own figure was visible in the glass.

“Both are glass,” said the mystic. “What is the difference?”

The rich man started laughing. He said, “I get it! The difference is of a thin silver layer. On that glass there is no silver layer, this glass has a silver layer at the back. Because of that layer nothing is seen through it, only my figure is seen in it. I get it! A silver layer is all around me. This is why whenever I look, nothing, no God, no Brahma is seen; only I am seen.”

This silver can be of many kinds. It can be worldly; it can be spiritual. But as long as there is any layer of desire on you – that is the silver – you are surrounded by yourself.

If your objective appears to be too-far, too high, or too difficult to achieve. Still, you must not lose hope and march forward with devotion while maintaining the focus. God might appear too far, but is only at a distance of one-true-prayer.

– Chanakya

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