Gita Daily Readings

25th June
Chapter VIII: 23-26
Now I will tell thee, Oh Arjuna, the times, departing at which the yogis will return or not return.

Fire, light, daytime, the bright fortnight, the six months of the northern path of the sun (the northern solstice)- departing then (by these) men who have known Brahman go to Brahman.

Attaining to the lunar light by smoke, nighttime, the dark fortnight also, the six months of the southern path of the sun (the southern solstice), the yogi returns.

The bright and the dark paths of the world are verily thought to be eternal; by the one a man goes not to return and by the other he returns.

Commentary

These verses can be taken literally or symbolically.

What is there during the day that you find absent at night? The sun, the representative of the light. Thus, these verses may mean that if you have lived an enlightened life in full consciousness, in light, in clarity, in doubtlessness, then of course you go to Brahman. You are liberated, free. But if the life is characterized by darkness, if it is full of doubts, regrets and remorse, then of course you keep going round and round in this world cycle.

Not all people who pass on during the periods mentioned in verse 24 attain Brahman. Only those "who have known Brahman." The yogi who has undergone the psychophysical practices mentioned earlier in this chapter ought to be able to separate the soul from the body at will. On the analogy of Bhishma (who was "slain" in battle, but who discarded his body at a later date), some feel that the yogi, to discard the body, must choose such time as the path of light will open to him. There are others, however, who declare that the yogi or sage who is awake to the reality gives his body no special value at all and lets it fall when it may, to decay and return to the natural elements. Such a sage does not "depart" at all, but becomes one with Brahman immediately.

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