What does the lawyer mean when he writes in the letter "the same flame burns in them all?"

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Vikash Lata eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Having read “novels with a complicated love plot, sensational and fantastic stories” and “classics” for the first few years, the lawyer’s interest shifted to learning languages and reading philosophy and history. Since the second half of the sixth year of his solitary confinement, he studied over 600 volumes of books on these subjects. He read those so “zealously” that he completed reading them in just four years.

Reading such a wide range of books in at least “six different languages” had not only widened his knowledge but also convincingly made him a man of deep spiritual knowledge. The knowledge he gained had nothing to do with the scholarly pursuits of an academician, rather it dealt with the truth and meaning of human existence.

Through rigorous reading, the lawyer found out that great men have been born in every region of the world speaking different languages. All the great religions and philosophies of the world have upheld and propagated virtues that are common and universal.

“The geniuses of all ages and of all lands speak different languages, but the same flame burns in them all.”

For instance, each great religion talks about the ephemeral and fleeting nature of worldly pleasures and material possessions and each of them professes a more meaningful spiritual existence of mankind.

His years-long self study and dedication in learning different languages seems to have provided him with that esoteric knowledge finding which a man is called enlightened. We know that he had found it when he wrote to the banker,

“Oh, if you only knew what unearthly happiness my soul feels now from being able to understand them!”

He must have discovered that the right knowledge is not restricted to any particular region, religion, race, caste or creed. It’s universal in nature. Great men from all corners of the world have experienced this sublime knowledge and shared it in their languages.

The lawyer seems to have unknotted the thread of ignorance that binds a man to the world and thus prevents him from tasting the real happiness. His learning showed him good books in every language deal with the big philosophical questions about the man and the world and answer them with the “same” vigor and content.

This is what the lawyer meant when he wrote in the letter "the same flame burns in them all.”

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The Bet

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