According to the World Health Organization, there as many as 39 million people globally who are totally blind, and another 253 million people who have low or impaired vision. These are staggering numbers by themselves, but a disturbing piece of statistics is that one-third of the world’s total blind population is found in India. Considering that in 80 per cent of cases, blindness is preventable and even curable, it is imperative to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment, and with that aim, World Sight Day is being observed on 11 October 2018 internationally.
The prophet Isaiah had foretold about Jesus Christ that he would be the one “to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:7) This prophecy was fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus. (Matthew 11:2-6) Restoring sight to the blind was indeed an important element of his work as recorded in the various New Testament accounts. (Mark 8:22-26, 9:27-31, 10:46-52, John 9:1-7) But Jesus’ healing ministry was not confined to curing eye diseases but covered spiritual blindness as well. That is what Jesus had meant when he said: “I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
While it is important to address the issue of physical blindness, it has become necessary in today’s world to think equally seriously about the problem of spiritual blindness. Today we see all over an upsurge of spirituality and a growing tendency towards fundamentalism. Massive public participation in religious events and festivals is becoming common. Devotees are visiting shrines in huge numbers, expecting and perhaps even obtaining material blessings in return.
There has also been a parallel increase in the number of spiritual experts who can give advice about things such as whom to marry, when to do what, how to build a house, and so on. The advice is available on TV channels and online on the net. It is often made to sound very persuasive and authentic by using scientific terminology like energy, vibrations, field, space, cosmos, and so on.
Perhaps the World Sight Day may be an appropriate occasion to also go into the causes of the spread of spiritual blindness among people and find the means for its prevention and cure.