Once, a disciple approached his Guru saying, “Master, please enlighten me with some knowledge!” The Guru was seated outside a cave. He said patronizingly, “Child, it is getting dark outside. I shall teach you inside the cave dwelling. Please go inside and light the small lamp lying inside.” The disciple entered the cave with a matchbox in hand, located the lamp and tried to light it. He struck many matches but the lamp would not be lit. He emptied the matchbox but remained unsuccessful in his attempts.
He reported to the Guru, “Master, this lamp is not lighting.” Guru asked, “Why it is so? Let me have a look at the lamp.” The lamp was brought to him and he asked the disciple to check if it was filled with oil or something else. The disciple then discovered that it was water that was in the lamp and not oil. And as the wick was soaked in water, it would not burn.
The Guru instructed him, “First, throw the water out and squeeze water out of the wick; next, pour some oil and also soak the wick in the oil. Then light it. It will surely burn brightly.” The disciple followed the instructions and was successful in lighting the lamp. Once the lamp was lit, the Guru turned silent.
The disciple waited a while and asked, “Master, you said you would enlighten me with knowledge. When will you do that?” The Guru replied, “I have been doing that all the while. Didn’t you understand?” The disciple was confused. The Guru then explained, “How can the flame of knowledge be kindled if the lamp of your heart is filled with the water of worldly and materialistic impressions, and your mind, the wick, is soaked in materialistic ideas?
First, drain out from your heart all affinity to the physical world. Free your mind too of such ideas. Fill yourself with God’s love. Then I will kindle the flame by initiating you with God’s name. That itself will be the flame of knowledge. On the contrary, without love for God and with a heart filled with worldliness, how can I enlighten you?”