Chapter 2 Verse 69

From verses 64 to 68 Krishna summarizes the wise person, how to control the raga dvesas, how desire turns into anger and destroys the person. These verses give more examples but the context is the same.

So we now turn to verse 69 where Krishna says that ignorance and knowledge are like night and day. Let’s see the meaning of this verse

ya nisa sarvabhutanam tasyam jagarti samyami

yasyam jagrati bhutani sa nisa pasyato muneh

sarvabhutanam – for all beings

ya – that which

nisa – night

tasyam – in that

samyam – on who has mastery over oneself

jagarti – is awake

yasyam – that in which

bhutani – beings

jagrati – are awake

sa – that

pasyatah muneh – for the wise person who sees

nisa – night

In that which is night for all beings, the one who is wise, who has mastery over oneself is awake. That in which beings are awake is night for the wise person who sees.

Muni means the person who sees things clearly (mananasilah). For this person of clear vision, the state that everyone else thinks of as day is night. In other words, when all beings are awake, the sthithapragya sleeps and when all beings are asleep, the wise person is awake.

This does not mean that the wise person is nocturnal like a bat or a thief who prowls at night. Not at all. Just as darkness or night does not allow you to see objects as they are, the night here represents darkness with reference to one’s knowledge not being clear. The wise person is awake to what is night for all beings, the night of avidya or ignorance. What is not known to people who are avidya, is the sleep of night, the sleep of darkness or avidya-nidra.  The people who are ignorant are dreamers as they think they are sleeping but awake just like in dream.

If you are totally asleep or totally asleep, you have no problem. The problem is that if you are half-awake, this is a state where mistakes can happen. In the dream state, there is a projection of the mind but is identified with memories and thoughts from which the dream world is setup.  For the wise person, the paramartha-tattva is the one thing alone and it is oneself. The people who do not understand this tattvam, for them everything is real. It means that there is more than one reality for such people. That’s why the world is so important to them. If you experience duality, you experience samsara.

Therefore the vision of the wise person is ‘aham purnah’ (I am limitless). Knowledge and ignorance cannot co-exist like day and night. E.g. the day always ensures that night has gone before it comes. The sun rises or is seen only after the night has passed. Likewise, there is a difference of day and night between a wise person and an ignorant person.

Let’s take an example of a rope that lies in your backyard. The rope is dark and black in colour. At first when you look at it, it is quite possible that in pitch dark of the night, the rope can be seen as snake by you. But another person can see it as purely as rope and not snake. Why? This is because your initial thinking that it could be snake and you get shivers in fear. Even the sound of the snake can be heard if you are paranoid about a snake despite the fact that there is no snake. There is only rope mistaken for a snake. For this person a snake is a reality whereas for the other person all that there is a piece of rope and he or she does not see that the frightened person is fretting about.  This is strictly a matter of two different visions. The ignorant person saw the duality in the snake and the rope, whereas the wise person only saw the rope. Likewise, an ignorant person sees this world, all materials objects as reality when in effect it is nothing but a reflection of one’s own self but manifest in another form.

The wise person may not perform Vedic rituals. For such person karmas are no longer necessary because he has dissolved his ‘I’ (the doer ship) in the innermost ‘I’. Hence he does not have any karma phalam. Whether the person has taken sannyasa or not, he or she is a sarva-karma-sannyasi. There is no real doer. And when there is no doer,  there is no karma. In this way, the wise person is not bound by duty of any kind.

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