“Ya nisa sarva-bhutanam tasyam jagarti samyami
Yasyam jagrati bhutani sa nisa pasyato muneh”
“That which is night for all sentient beings is like day for one whose senses are controlled. That which is the time of awakening for a sentient being is like the night for the introspective sage who sees.”
Bhagavad Gita, 2.69 (translation by Swami B. V. Tripurari)
This verse from the Bhagavad Gita reveals important Yogic teachings which are directly applicable to contemporary times.
The words of Sri Krishna are eternal truths, vibrating within the rays of the Sun, reflected from the gaze of the Moon, and burning within every corporeal heart. The metaphors of light and shadow reveal important occult truths concerning the control of the senses, the gunas and their relation to the mind, and how to navigate the turbulent environment of the mundane world.
The mind immersed in secular mundane reality and trivial pursuits sees the Yogi as asleep, even delusional and ignorant. “Why would an individual waste their time worshipping a God which does not exist?” asks the “progressive” modern mind – seeing the Yogi as living in dream world, asleep to the realities of life.
This viewpoint reflects the Rajasic and Tamasic influences which cloud the sentient being’s mind much like a dirty mirror creates an obfuscated or disturbing image. The senses of the sentient person are turned outward and are attracted to the many stimulations of the exterior world; clouded by avidya, they can only see Maya.
As stated in the Katha Upanishad:
“It seems that the self-existent Lord has made the sense organ, including the mind, with a defect. No wonder a man thinks of only outward objects and does not think of the Self within. A rare discriminating man, desirous of immortality, turns his eyes inward to see the indwelling Atman. ( 2.1.1)
The ignorant pursue external pleasures. That results in their fall into the widespread clutches of the cycle of births and deaths. But the wise, knowing what is eternal and immortal ( that is, the Atman), do not crave for the impermanent things in this world. ( 2.1.2)
Wise men who realize that great, all-pervading Atman, through which they perceive all objects in dream as well as in the waking state, do not grieve.” (2.1.4)
This “defect” of the senses is referring to the tendency of the mind and senses to seek exterior experiences and crave external validation. This externalization of the senses causes the gunas of Rajas and Tamas to overstimulate and cloud the consciousness; the waking reality of the deluded gaze is considered to be “daytime”, or “reality.”
To the Yogi, who employs the limb of pratyahara to invert the consciousness to seek the inner reality of the Atman, this daytime is a dark night devoid of a connection to the Divine. However, the Yogi has Night Vision and navigates the turbulence of Rajas and clear away the smoke of Tamas with the Managni, the discriminative Yogic fire of the mind. The inner light of the Atman transforms the clouds of Maya into Yoga-Maya, the spectacular play of Krishna.
From this occult perspective, the Yogi is like Shiva. A wild ghoul in the night of the world, the aghori celebrating life in the smashan of the contemporary landscape. He is Nilakantha, able to swallow the poisons of the world and alchemically transmute it into nourishing Ojas. He is not deaf to the flute of Krishna which is always radiating divine intoxicating melodies which cleanse and purify the mind, nervous system and environment if one has the ears to hear!
The practice of Svadhyaya, the study of Moksha Shastras or sacred texts, is an important Yogic sadhana to transform the senses into alchemical filters as well as invert the awareness or Prana into the inner landscape of the Soul.
How much time does the modern mind spend reading pointless and useless trivial information? This type of sensory consumption is “junk food” for the mind and corporeal body which over time eventually causes the gunas of Rajas and Tamas to predominate and obscure any chance of perceiving the beautiful inner realms of the sacred Inner Flame of Agni.
The devotees of Shiva, seen as Ghouls of the Night, must stoke the inner flame of the managni to awaken the Night Vision of the Yogi. Once awakened, the eyes can navigate the nighttime of the contemporary world and see the hidden Solar realms of the Atman reflected in each and every expression of nature.
The “introspective sage” then becomes a potential beacon of light for individuals wandering lost in what they perceive as daytime.
Vaishnava Aghora Sampradaya
“A vision lightened on the viewless heights,
A wisdom illumined from the voiceless depths:
A deeper interpretation greatened Truth,
A grand reversal of the Night and Day,
All the world’s values changed heightening life’s aim;
A wiser word, a larger thought came in
Than what the slow labour of human mind can bring,
A secret sense awoke that could perceive
A Presence and a Greatness everywhere.”
– Sri Aurobindo, Savitri