It was late at night in the monsoon season. The sky was dark and cloudy. There was an atmosphere of gloom. A lone sannyasin was slowly walking along the road looking for a quiet place to sleep. Though his possessions consisted only of a small bag, a blanket and a lantern, he was blissful and carefree.
Suddenly he heard a motor cycle behind him. The cyclist was travelling very fast along the dark road, but he had no light. The sannyasin knew that he would have an accident, so he immediately decided to give his lantern to the motor cyclist. He rotated the lantern in a circle to signal the cyclist to stop. However, the motor cyclist did not stop … he went straight past and nearly killed the sannyasin. The sannyasin called out: “Stop! I want to give you this lantern, otherwise you will injure yourself.” The driver shouted back: “What’s the point, I haven’t got any brakes either!”
This story is an analogy of the life of modern man. The dark road is the path of life, generally lived without joy and wisdom. The motor cycle represents the human body-mind. Most people live a life that is like the reckless and thoughtless motor cyclist driving along the road; all aspiration and effort is directed towards attaining fame, wealth, luxury and other things that satisfy the ego, with little thought of the consequences and harmful effects. People tread the path of life without knowing where they are going.
The light of the lantern represents wisdom; the brake represents self-discipline. The motor cyclist had neither a brake (self-discipline) nor light (wisdom). He was certain to meet with a serious accident. It is the same with any person who walks the path of life without wisdom and self-discipline – he will pay the penalty in the form of frustration, illness and despair.
The sannyasin on the road tried to give a light to the motor cyclist, but it was not accepted because the cyclist was unable to apply his brakes. It is the dharma (duty) of a sannyasin to guide other people along the path of life, so that they avoid accidents in the form of disease, fulfil themselves and gradually tread the correct path to self-knowledge. If you can apply a brake in your life, then you will be ready to accept a guiding light.
The light that a sannyasin can give to others is yoga. There are many different types of light, just as there are many different paths of yoga. One of the brightest lights is the ancient and powerful system of kriya yoga. In this book we are making an offering – a light to those people who are now living in darkness, but who are willing to accept a lantern and willing to apply the brake of self-discipline. We offer you the lantern of kriya yoga.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati