Ch 2 VERSE 69

या निशा सर्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी

यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः ॥६९॥

yā niśā sarva-bhūtānāṁ

tasyāṁ jāgarti saṁyamī

yasyāṁ jāgrati bhūtāni

sā niśā paśyato muneḥ


—what; niśā—is night; sarva—all; bhūtānām—of living entities; tasyām—in that; jāgarti—wakeful; saṁyamī—the self-controlled; yasyām—in which; jāgrati—awake; bhūtāni—all beings; —that is; niśā—night; paśyataḥ—for the introspective; muneḥ—sage.

What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.

yā niśā sarva-bhūtānāṁ

tasyāṁ jāgarti saṁyamī

yasyāṁ jāgrati bhūtāni

sā niśā paśyato muneḥ


“What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.”


So, this is quite an extraordinary verse that I’ve referenced in the introduction to this little study course that we’re doing, about how the transcendentalists and the materialists have two utterly different focuses, two utterly different types of life. While both are existing within the world, both are heading in opposite directions, acting under different impetus, and seeking different outcomes. And this verse makes that incredibly clear. It’s, as one of our param gurus, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupad, he would sometimes reference, that one cannot head East while walking West. You can only be going in one of those directions.

And if we want to become very serious about spiritual life then this type of verse makes it so clear that, yeah, we are going to have to make choices! We are going to have to make decisions, knowing that all actions, all thought, all types of consciousness have consequences, have outcomes. The tendency of the materialist is to be wanting one outcome but to engage in activity that produces often the opposite to what they desire.

So speaking to this, in his commentary, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad states,

“There are two classes of intelligent men. The one is intelligent in material activities for sense gratification, and the other is introspective and awake to the cultivation of self-realization. Activities of the introspective sage, or thoughtful man, are night for persons materially absorbed. Materialistic persons remain asleep in such a night, due to their ignorance of self-realization. The introspective sage remains alert in the night of the materialistic men. The sage feels transcendental pleasure in the gradual advancement of spiritual culture, whereas the man in materialistic activities, being asleep to self-realization, dreams of varieties of sense pleasure, feeling sometimes happy and sometimes distressed in his sleeping condition.”

So, sleep here is used metaphorically. But it’s really important. And the foundation, as I mentioned, of these two different conditions, these two different directions, these two different states, is founded upon how we think of our self, how we see our self. Seeing the self as being the material body versus seeing that I am an eternal spiritual entity, this is like day and night. They’re two entirely different things.

And of course, the big difficulty in the beginning of spiritual life is that we’ve become very much accustomed to the materialistic mentality and thinking that this world is my home, that I can find perfect happiness here, I can find perfect love here, I can find complete shelter here, I can remain here forever. None of that is true. All of that is actually false, when you look at it very clearly. And so you have these two completely different directions.

And in the beginning of spiritual life the neophyte struggles, because it’s like we’ve become very conditioned to thinking in certain ways, and acting and seeking to fulfill the desires of the senses and the mind, thinking that that will bring us happiness. And there is this experience, this instant rush of you know—when you delight the senses or delight the mind, yes, there is a pleasurable experience, but that experience doesn’t touch you in the core of your being. It dissipates. It comes to an end. So the materialist is by definition also a hedonist.

When I say a materialist, the foundation of materialism is the understanding, or the embracing of the idea that I am material. If I think I am this body, I am male, I’m female, whatever the labels are on my body at any given time, or new labels that I’m dreaming up to attach to it, or “I’m this,” and “I’m that”—The idea that I am material is the foundation of materialism. Whereas the foundation of real spiritual life, of being a spiritualist, is the embracing of the understanding that I am an eternal spiritual being, that this body that I am inhabiting is not me. It is somewhere I’m temporarily residing.

If a person is a materialist, then by definition they must also be a hedonist. A hedonist is one who thinks that the purpose in life is to fulfill the desires of the senses and the mind. Of course, somebody may do that in what’s considered a righteous or religious way, a good way, or they may do it in a very degraded way, but that all still falls under the umbrella of the idea. Like: so, you get religious people that are fixated on asking God to provide them with all of the facility that they need for their senses to experience delight, that this is where they will find their happiness.

When a person adopts the position of being a materialist then they must constantly take shelter in that which cannot give them shelter. They take shelter in sensual stimulation. They look for protection there, but actually they cannot find protection, and this false shelter, in Sanskrit, is called durashraya. Ashraya, one of the meanings can be shelter; and when you say durashaya it means really bad, or false, shelter. And Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami, in a commentary on another work of Srila Rupa Goswami, made the following description that I think is just completely—it delights me, it really amazes me, because it’s so on point.

“One who puts his faith in durashraya, or false shelter, becomes a candidate for hoping against hope.”

So let’s just pause there for a moment. I mean you see so many people, the majority of people in the world are constantly in this kind of state or condition, where they’re looking for somewhere to—someone to love, some sort of perfection in this world or something; and they see something that’s sort of like there’s a glimmer of light, and hope, that, “Okay, this is it!” And so I become fully committed, and I’m really going down this path, chasing this, thinking, “This is going to be just—this is what I need. This is what I’m looking for,” only to find out later that that’s not the case at all.

And I think, unfortunately, marriage, because it’s often entered into for the wrong reasons, for people who think that this other person is going to be the perfect person to love, “They will love me perfectly. Our union will be perfect and wonderful,” only to discover later that it turns into a terrible situation. People end up divorcing. Over half of all marriages end in divorce; and when you consider that people are sometimes having multiple marriages it’s kind of like, whoa this goes—I mean nobody gets married with a view to being divorced. Everybody gets married with a hope that this will be forever. We’ll live happily ever after.

So this is fundamentally what it means to become a candidate for hoping against hope. In this saying, it means that it’s a hopeless situation, but you’re still hoping that it’s going to turn out okay.


“In the material world everyone is trying to become happy, and although their material attempts are baffled in every way, due to their nescience [or ignorance] they cannot understand their mistakes. People try to rectify one mistake by making another mistake. This is the way of the struggle for existence in the material world. If one in this condition is advised to take to Krishna consciousness [of course, as opposed to material consciousness] and be happy, he does not accept such instruction.”

So, this is the reality. And we’ll just revisit the verse:

“What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.”


So, this in part was also us answering the previous question that Arjuna had asked, which I mentioned in the last verse that we read or studied, which I will read again now:

“Arjuna said, ‘O Krishna, what are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk?”

And so this verse that we’ve read shows the characteristic of the transcendentalist, and how the transcendentalist is heading in an opposite direction to the materialist.

And I just want to stress here that it’s not just about external activity. We’re talking about states of consciousness. Lord Krishna points out in the Bhagavad-gita that one who restrains the senses from sensual activity, but all the while is continuing to meditate upon such activity, is a pretender. That’s an important point because it’s not just a question of going through some external activity, or appearing to others to be in control of your life, and restrained, and subdued, not going wild just chasing the mind and the senses and their desires. There has to be a transformation.

And for that to occur one needs, as was pointed out in the last verse we studied, one needs to adopt a mode of living, sadhana, sadhana bhakti, where one becomes devoted to serving the Lord with one’s words, actions, speech; and in this way learn to—the art of dovetailing their life while living in this world, while having family or relationships, responsibilities, earning a living, how to do these things, but to become increasingly fixed in this spiritual consciousness, learning to dovetail one’s whole life in a mood of profound surrender and service to the Lord.

Thank you very much