Arjuna, faced with adversity and war, speaks of all possible reasons to avoid taking decisive action. He calls upon every probable emotional explanation, supported by faulty logic, and driven by fear, to eschew the path of the establishment of dharma. Arjuna’s arguments heap perjury upon perjury in the guise of righteousness.

Lord Krishna, identifying himself with the Supreme God, begins the process of resurrection. He gently leads the disturbed Arjuna. He speaks of the atman, and of pleasure and pain; He speaks of life, and of death; He speaks of the body as mere material equipment, and of the mind in its proclivity to delude. Before Arjuna can once again slip into a different comfort zone the Lord throws this statement . . .

ya nisha sarva-bhutanam
tasyam jagrati samyami
yasyam jagrati bhutani
sa nisha pasyato muneh

That which is night to all beings, in that is awake the self controlled one.
That which is seen as awakening by most, is perceived as darkness by the sages.

Nisha: Night, Darkness, signifying lack of awareness.

Samyami: The Self controlled one, with the intellect firmly in charge of his emotions and desires.

Yasyam Jagriti Bhutani: When many are awake – signifying ‘many’ as distinct from the ‘samyami.’

Nisha pashyato muneh: Seen as night by the sages.

A self controlled sage, as opposed to most ordinary people, perceives the same situation differently.

We spend a life time trying to figure out our spiritual advancement; treatises are written on it.

Yet in this befuddling statement, in two lines, the lord presents the benchmark par excellence of spiritual growth.

The power of the intellect in maintaining strict control over any emotion.

Fearlessness and Joy, focused dynamism, and conviction emerges when the intellect exercises suzerainty over emotional force. That in turn creates what can be called emotional efficiency. The intellect can prevent an unnecessary dissipation of emotional power.

He who lives by this verse is a Stithapragnya.  An embodiment of equanimity and decisive, dynamic action.

Consider the loftiness, the dare and ambition of this statement. In that which is night to all beings the samyami  is awake. That when emotions run amok the intellect seizes control.

Consider the possibility of this facet within the reach of an individual.


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