Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Blind Man with a Candle



I was hurrying. I was walking fast. It was a dark night. I had to go, I had to move forward. So I hurried.

Though my two eyes were alive and open I could see nothing, not even the path. With two open eyes, I stumbled, fell into potholes and missed my way out from the path. It was not a city road, but a dusty path in a village. Night is not a good time to travel. But I had to go. Besides potholes and larger ditches in the path, there awaited poisonous reptiles. The village path belongs to snakes, scorpions and other venomous lives. Venomous lives include animals and human beings. I had to walk safe from potholes, ditches, stones and venomous creatures.

I thought that my eyes were powerful to see the way to go. I was journeying for such a long time following my eyes. But that was during daytime while the sun shone in the sky. I did not care much about the sun that it had anything do with my seeing. We did often forget about the air and oxygen it contained. But as time went sunset fell over me. It became dark everywhere. Still I could not stop my journey. Move forward or die. So I had to continue. In fact I moved forward only because I was alive. I kept moving not to live but because I was alive. It was strange thought, I knew. But it was the fact.

So no stopping. I had to move. I relied much on my eyes for this journey. I took it for granted that my eyes were powerful to see into any darkness, to enable me to see my way. Unfortunately and unexpectedly my eyes had failed. They did not have the capacity to see all by themselves. They need light to see.

Is there anything in this world that can work all by itself? What a bad idea that everything is related to one another and that everything and everybody is indebted to another for their life? I love islands; I love to live like an island. But I have no freedom to swim away from the main land into the ocean to become an island. An island is an island because it is surrounded by the ocean. Damn it! Even an island is not an island; every island is related to ocean for its existence.

My eyes could not see anything without light. So I stumbled against stones; I fell and bled. I fell into potholes and ditches and was bruised. None cared for the blood that flowed from my face and limbs. Could I make it? Stones, potholes, ditches, venomous lives and what else? Could I make it to the other end? An answer was unnecessary because whatever it was, I had to move forward.

How I wished for light! I realized the inefficiency of my efficient eyes. I was awakened to the truth that a path is followed not by my eyes alone but by the light too. I could not travel, not live and not exist without light. I could not survive with myself alone.

Everything was not bad always. I saw a light coming from far behind me. It was coming slowly to me. It stopped, waited and then moved slowly. Even a snail could move fast. I had no time to wait for that tiny thing, but I had to wait because it was light. I thought for a philosophy to console me. Everything has its own time of fulfillment. Man has to wait and wait and wait. Fine, I waited.

The light slowly reached me. I realized that it was a lighted candle held by a man. Why this man stopped and waited as he walked. Impatiently yet politely, I requested him to walk fast to me.

“I cannot, for I am blind”, was the reply.
What! A blind man with a lighted candle! Was he a crazy fellow?
I yelled out, “Are you crazy to call yourself blind or are you crazy to hold a lighted candle while you are blind?”

A smile on the face of the blind man became visible as he was approaching me. “I am holding this lighted candle for those who can see with their eyes”.

It was a strange philosophy, indeed. We walked together. I asked nothing because I was afraid to hear. Yet he continued.

“You have two young, living and powerful eyes. Yet you stumble and fell. You fall into deep ditches and bleed. Venomous creatures bruise your foot. With your eyes, you see not.”

Not bad as I thought. Was he Socrates, Plato, Kant, Nietzsche or an Indian hermit from Himalayas? Anyway he spoke wisdom. I continued to listen.

“I see not with my eyes. My eyes are not alive; they are open with no power. I need no sunlight to see. Day and night have do difference to me. Still, I stumble not; I fall not and I bleed not. I never miss my way. No poisonous animals hurt me. I need no light to see. I find my path as I move forward with every step.”

“These lighted candles are for you, those who see with their eyes. They cannot see without light. They have day and night. Yet I hear them groan from potholes. I hear the dirge of the dead.”

“This lighted candle is not for me, dear friend, it is for you. Move on, I shall show you the way”.

I walked forward to a rising sun.

Professor Jacob Abraham

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