Using a thorn to remove a thorn - this is a very famous metaphor often used in the teachings of Indian spirituality.
Suppose you are walking in a forest. A thorn gets into your foot. You do not have any surgical instruments like needles or forceps etc. to remove the thorn.
What can be done?
Find another similar thorn. Use it to remove the thorn in your foot. After that, discard both thorns.
You need a torch in the dark.When there is light, torch is of no use.
Pole vault is a very interesting sport.
The pole vaulter has to let go of the pole to clear the bar. The pole is there to just give the needed force to propel him. Once he get the needed boost, he has to let go of the pole.
Thorn, Torch and Pole are similar to the tools that we can use to acquire spiritual knowledge.
Once we get the necessary knowledge, we get rid of them.
They do not serve any purpose after that.
In fact, keeping tools longs after they have served their purpose can become detrimental to your spiritual aspirations.
Dry intellectuals are those who can not give up boring aspects of arcane philosophy even after it has outlived its purpose.
So use books, teachers, masters to the extent needed just like you use a thorn or a torch or a pole to meet your immediate purpose.
There after it is you, your determination, effort and the divine grace.
Remember to grow up and give up toys. Sometimes the toys that we discover on the spiritual journey can be so alluring that you do not feel like giving them up. That's a danger. What you won't give up voluntarily will be forcefully taken away from you for your own good. That will be painful and result in suffering. Why go through that? Give up and lighten yourself.
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