This world is a perennial playground of darkness and light.
All of our stories, myths and legends, and all our mundane everyday endeavours, are underpinned by the constant push and shove between darkness and light. No narrative is complete without them. All religions, when they speak of god, speak unequivocally of the devil, too. The terminology differs —sur and asur, devta and raakshas, Allah and Iblis, god and Satan, Ahura Mazda and Ahriman. Wherever there exists a supreme all-powerful being, there exists a resisting evil power — a foil, so to speak. You cannot contemplate goodness and virtue without also musing upon vice.
The roots of these demarcations lie deep within human consciousness and our experience of the external world.
Darkness evokes fear — of things unseen and unknown — darkness evokes the feeling of not being in control. Since prehistoric times, darkness brought threats to humankind, the threat of enemies and objects that inflict harm. Threats of mythical ghosts and evil spirits. Darkness was abhorred inherently because the primary human sense is that of sight — a poor one, at that — which was rendered practically useless by darkness. The threats of darkness carry over to the modern age, in the wilderness still from wild animals, but in cities and urban areas from a far more dangerous species — the unscrupulous human. Humans have a natural propensity, then, to gravitate towards the light. Light gives vision. Clarity of perception. Light is freedom — to step out and explore, experiment and do what you will, for darkness restrains you within the confines of security.
How great an irony, then, that modern myth and storytelling weaves itself around the freedoms of the dark side. How ironic that, in the way things have turned out, the light of spirituality has been transformed into the darkness of threats, massacre, pillage and destruction? Is that what we understand by coming into the light? Or have we inverted our understanding of darkness and light?
What is the primary feeling you get when you watch the sunrise? When you watch the first rays pierce through and the world is illuminated, suddenly coming to life? Peace, joy, a sense of calm. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the illuminated peak, a posh high rise or just an old house by a village lane, sunrise is always beautiful. Darkness becomes beautiful only when patterned by fragments of light. You might love the scene of the city at night — or the star spangled sky of the countryside — but it’s not because of the dark; it’s only because of the lights. Nobody goes anywhere to look at darkness — you travel to places to get glimpses of light. Perhaps you might like to see fireworks dance, or the reflections of houseboat lights on a lake; the Eiffel Tower decked with brilliance, or the most dazzling — the Aurora, the Northern Lights. Just like tiny winged creatures, we are instantly drawn to light. Light alone sets you free, brings you clarity and purpose. Freedom from fear, freedom from confinement, freedom from threats and doubt.
That which promotes fear and takes away liberty can never be associated with light. That which prevents exploration and seeking, is the force of darkness, not light.
If only you’d know that, you’d never be in thrall of the dark side. Because the first moment defining your presence on the earth is the moment that you come out of the darkness of the womb, out into the light.