Last night I watched a show “Origins: The journey of humankind”
a new series on NTGEO …National Geographic TV.
This particular episode was about Fire.
The broadcaster made few dynamic comments that I thought were not only important in understanding the physical journey of humankind but they are also important in our mental and spiritual journey as well.
In the pre-historic periods, humans, just like other animals, were always on the run. Because they were constantly being hunted and consumed by the predators. Then one day, they discovered fire.
Here are few vital points made by the presenter, that made me think:
1. Learning how to control and use fire to their own benefit made humans different than other species.
2. Carrying Fire gave humans protection from predators and gave them power over other animals.
3. By keeping burning fire near or around them, instead of constantly running and watching for the predators, now humans could rest peacefully, which gave them time to think about other things – such as loving and taking care of others.
4. Once the humans learnt how to cook, and started eating cooked food, the size of their brain started to enlarge and became bigger than other animals; bigger brain - more intelligence.
Eventually, with the use of fire, humans were able to develop all kinds of tools and gadgets that made their life easier in every aspect, including transportation and even traveling in space.
The last, conclusive comment was the most beautiful one…in my opinion anyway.
While showing two clips in the background – one with an ancient man carrying fire on a stick, and second- a space shuttle being fired up… The broadcaster announced:
“No longer we carry the fire – The fire carries us”
Obviously, this show was about the physical developments; journey of humans into physical world, but I think it also applies to the ‘journey into mind and spirit’ - for the development and advancement of mind.
In the ancient Indian philosophy, Fire is the symbol of ‘Gyan’ or knowledge. There are many references of ‘Gyan-Agni” in Vedas, Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads, and in Gurubani as well.
Light and Sun - a ball of fire - are also symbols of Gyana.
The four points about the use of Fire in the physical world mentioned above, are equally true in the world of Mind and Spirit when we translate Fire into Gyana.
1. Gyana; knowledge makes humans different than other species.
2. Carrying, remembering the Gyan gives us protection from 'mental- predators' such as Ego and Jealousy, and gives us power over other animals such as greed, anger, lust and possessiveness.
3. By keeping burning fire of Gyana, within and around us, instead of constantly running and watching for the above-mentioned mental predators and enemies, now we can rest peacefully, which will give us time to think about other things – such as loving and taking care of others, and meditation.
4. Once we learn and start eating “cooked food” – the intake of ideas and opinions that are well thought and analyzed - the size of our heart and mind will start to enlarge and become bigger- more open, understanding and tolerant of others.
And then, eventually, Gyana becomes a part of our nature and we can reach to a point when we can say:
“No longer we carry the Gyan – The Gyan carries us”