Day 1 – My attention is drawn to these beautiful verses from Chapter 5 of Gospel of Matthew and The Symbolism of Salt and Light in them.
The lines read,
13: You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out.
14: You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
15: Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lamp stand, where it gives light to all in the house.
16: Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
I feel Jesus was an excellent speaker, he used ordinary day to day images, such as salt and light, to convey extraordinary truths. In ancient times and in the dry regions where Jesus preached, “Salt” was a valuable commodity.
In the above example Jesus is trying to tell his disciples to find their own purpose. In ancient days salt had a “purpose” (dharma). Salt not only gave food its flavor, it also preserved meat from spoiling. Taste of salt / salinity is the most essential quality of salt in food and for seasoning. Jesus used the image of salt to describe how his disciples are to live in the world.
Jesus is asking his disciples to find their “purpose”, and that they should work on knowing that they are “light” themselves. The Jews then understood “light” as an expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God (True Self). [ We can see this from, “In His light we see light” ( Psalm 36:9). “His word is a lamp that guides our steps” (Psalm 119:105) etc.]
Jesus knew that once his people find their purpose and know that they are “Light” they will shine on others, giving Light to those who are in darkness. Thus these “light workers” will bring Truth to the masses.
We can see an amazing parallel in the Yogic Scriptures too about the same.
The Katha Upanishad says “uttishtha jagrata, prapya varan nibodhata” means Arise, Awake, find your True Self and Live up to the Vows of Wisdom. In fact Just as in Gospel of Matthew , in the final verse of Book XVI of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna makes his stand on and commitment to working for the well-being of the world (lokasamgraha) perfectly, patently clear. Krishna tells his friend Arjuna that he should perform actions (karma) and work here in this world. Working for the well-being of the world (lokasamgraha) is Arjuna’s duty, his Dharma. This kind of work is to be rooted in firstly knowing our purpose and then working with energy and zest towards living up to that purpose.
Lesson for us – This Christmas let us resolve to find some clarity about our “purpose” in life. Let us come closer to the “LIGHT” that we are and let us vow to reach out to those who need us and to give and share whatever little we know.