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Only Wisdom can conquer Ignorance
Ignorance is very deep. It covers your inner truth. It is impossible for you to remove this thick layer of ignorance by encountering it head-on. In the early morning at 7 o'clock, although you may be only 5 feet tall, your shadow will be 50 feet long. How can you reduce the length of this 50-foot shadow? Is it possible to fight with it? If you admonish it, will it listen to you? If you criticize it, will it be reduced? Whatever you do, its length will not come down. But as the sun goes on steadily rising, the length of the shadow diminishes automatically. Once the sun occupies the position overhead, the shadow, by itself, will have come down to your feet, obliterated itself and disappeared from view.
You may be 5 feet tall but your ignorance is 50 feet long! Therefore, you have to develop inner inquiry so that your wisdom will grow. As long as the sun of wisdom goes on rising, ignorance will go on diminishing. In this way, your ignorance can be totally destroyed. This is one method.
There is still another method for dealing with this shadow that is 50 feet long. You realize that you cannot conquer it by turning towards it and trying to run over it. You realize that by facing it, your shadow will not get any shorter or disappear from view. But, if instead of turning your face towards your shadow, you turn your face towards the sun, then your shadow will automatically be behind you, and however big it is, you will not be aware of it anymore. It will continuously remain out of sight. Therefore, instead of thinking of this ignorance, always think of the sun of wisdom. That way you keep the ignorance behind you and the sun in front of you, and you will not be affected by this shadow anymore. This means always turning your vision towards God.
Both methods should be employed. Always turn your vision towards God and use your intellectual and intuitive faculties to increase your wisdom. These are two major yogas or spiritual paths, the path of devotion and the path of wisdom. If you do not turn towards God and increase your wisdom, but continue to turn towards the world, then as with the shadow and the setting sun, your ignorance will go on increasing and you will get lost. "Therefore," Krishna warned Arjuna, "use your buddhi, your highest intelligence, to increase your wisdom. That way your ignorance will get destroyed. The moment your ignorance is destroyed, duality will vanish. When duality goes, your attraction or repulsion to sense objects will also disappear. And, once these attachments or revulsion to objects disappear, your body consciousness will also disappear. If there is no body consciousness then there is no sorrow."