The science of yoga teaches us that life is a great spiritual adventure. It has a beginning in the process of birth and has its seeming ending in the process of dying, our shared eventuality. These two processes are common to all and yet the cause of our coming into incarnation, the determined length of time each soul is here, and the circumstances that determine our departure all still remain mysterious. It is these unknowns that make the candle a suitable symbol for contemplation in any meditation upon spiritual life.
In this traditional yogic exercise there are several simple symbols considered prior to entering the meditative state when we seek to realize something of life’s mysteries…
the candle = represents the body substance and quality the candle length = represents the length of life the flame = represents the individual spiritual spark or soul
the wick = is the human will which anchors the flame the burning process = represents life experience the candle light = is the radiation of the individual’s intelligence
the flame of the spirit will burn as along as there is physical material and the anchorage provided by the wick. The flame is extinguished when there is no more life experience to enjoy or endure. Then the flame of the spirit leaves behind the molten remains of the candle and disappears back into the invisible world from which it came, as the spirit of man disappears after leaving its physical habitation.
These are the thoughts which prepare us for the exercise in Trataka as we gaze upon a single candle flame as a prelude to our meditation, best done in darkness.
The striking of a match causes a flame to appear from an invisible source as it is human passion which precedes human conception.
The attachment of the match flame to the candle wick represents the attachment of the soul to the body at the beginning of the soul’s incarnation.
The material substance of the candle (the finest being beeswax) indicates the quality, strength and health of the body.
The length of the candle suggest the length of life experience ahead.
The melting of the wax and its tear-like droplets are symbolic of life experience which burns and vaporises, to represent our life experiences including joy and sorrow.
The strength of the flame is dependent upon the quality of the wick, as each human life depends upon the will to live.
During the entire time of the burning of the candle, the single flame emits energy and light – a light said to be strong enough to be seen in darkness 1km away. This light represents the radiance of each intelligence.
When your eyes are tired of gazing unblinking at the flame and having contemplated some of the suggested ideas, the eyes are then closed to help us focus upon the inner light of the spirit and to identify ourselves with it.
“I am created by Divine Light
I am maintained by Divine Light
I radiate Divine Light
I am the Light”