The Demon of Ignorance
Akhand Gyan - English|August 2020
The Demon of Ignorance
There are so many aspects in our lives, where the darkness of ignorance overpowers us and the sun of knowledge remains set. With no fire, no light, no glow in our lives, we continue to live with this demon and compromise our lifestyle adopting the ignorant ways.

Swami Rama Tirtha often narrated this story. Many Scenturies ago, there was a group of tribal people who inhabited the peaks of the Himalayas. There was no trace of civilisation in that area and the disposition of those people was comparable to that of the animals. They rambled on the hills and jungles of the Himalayas crudely dressed, almost naked. After hunting down the animals, they used to tear apart their bodies and have their blood and flesh. They were also unaware of the basic art of igniting fire.

So, the only source of light known to them was– the Sun! With the sunrise, the activities of their day would commence. As the heat of the sunlight intensified, so would their physical activities. After the sunset, it used to become quite dark, as if the entire area was enveloped with a thick black sheet! On the moonless nights, the darkness seemed even more intensified, resulting in gross gloominess. Nothing would be visible in the dead of night. Living amidst that intense darkness, many had got their heads ruptured and quite a number of them had lost their lives too. Some of them also encountered cruel animals, who feasted on their bodies.

This was the reason behind their belief regarding the darkness of night, for which they used to say, “Hurry up! Hurry! Rush back to your cottage! The sun is about to set. The black demon is going to spread his arms to shroud the whole sky. He will overpower each and every one. He will swallow the one who dares to come out of the cottage. Run! He is coming…”

Actually, they mistook the darkness of night, the ordinary event of nature as a 'demon'; and that too such a ferocious one who would kill and eat their people!

One day, the entire tribe gathered for a meeting. The topic of their discussion was, “How to kill the fierce demon?”

The Chief: The panic of this demon is heightening day by day. We must catch him and kill him.

A resident: But, Chief, he is such a giant that his expanse reaches out far and wide. How can we challenge him?

It was indeed a difficult situation for them. Everyone was in a dilemma. An experienced old man amongst them intervened and said, “The lion cannot be challenged under the open sky (when it is roaming around freely). It has to be confronted in its cave. Similarly, we will have to thoroughly search and reach out to the cave of this demon of darkness where he sleeps and rests during the daytime. The tribal men: Oh, yes! Yes! Come on! Let's search the cave of the demon!

All the tribal people got up in agitation… They took thorny weapons in their hands. With small and big stones clutched securely in their fists, they moved out and began the rigorous search in every nook and corner of the region. It was a hot afternoon. The sun was shining in its full glory. So, the demon of darkness was nowhere to be found. …All of a sudden, while wandering, they got a clue. It so happened that they were passing through a cave. As they stood at its entrance, they saw darkness lurking from within.

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August 2020