Light, Dark, and Shadow

Chapter II, Verse 45

Sri Nerode’s Translation:


The Vedas deal with the three qualities – light, action, and inertia. Be thou free and be above these three qualities, O Arjuna! Be free from the “pairs of opposites”, ever steadfast in purity, indifferent to possessions, full (of the light) of the Self.


Helpful Translation:

The three qualities of human experience: the positive (light), the negative (dark), and all gray variations in-between need to be overcome in order to reclaim one’s highest personhood. Ever silent and still within, the successful yogi always remains in the expanded state of awareness when the pairs of opposites no longer make him restless.


The original refers to “The Vedas”. The four Vedas are the Rig-Veda; the Sama-Veda; the Yajur-Veda; and the Atharva-Veda.

The Vedas cover all the essential practices of every world religion, of course in Vedic terminology. This Gita verse specifically tells the devotee to get beyond religious practices and to forsake one’s own likes and dislikes in order to realize the only true and eternal nature of consciousness.

A brief introduction to the Vedas follows: It may be said that the Rig-Veda is concerned with inspirational aspects of religion. Inspiration allows for the individual to appeal to the deity with personalized prayer or songs. The Roman Catholic saints, Saint Francis practiced the forms of worship covered by the Rig-Veda. Bhakti Yoga practices fall predominately in the Rig-Veda.

The Sama-Veda is concerned with established, ceremonial words and songs that are repeated in a specific manner and usually in a communal service. All Roman Catholic monastic orders incorporate the repetitive practices covered by Sama-Veda. Laya Yoga (listening to root sounds) and Mantra/Japa Yoga (repetition of root sounds) fall predominately in the discussions of the Sama-Veda.

The Yajur-Veda is concerned with rites and rituals of religious services related to human blind-mind-intellectual needs. The Benedictine Rule practiced by many of the Roman Catholic monastic orders is an example of Yajur-Veda practices. For any average church attendee, the memorized prayers and songs repeated in each service fall within the precepts of the Yajur-Veda. To a large degree the physical aspects of Hatha Yoga fall here as well.

The Atharva-Veda is concerned with the secrets and details kept by the priestly class. If priests have no secrets or no intimate knowledge of the religion, then the congregation has no need of their service. In the deepest spiritual sense, the Artharva-Veda is concerned with Jnana Yoga, which is the pursuit of intuitive wisdom. The personal impact of most experiences cannot be well-conveyed by language. We agree to use a certain language and hope that others understand us, but we can never be certain. In the harshest and most liberating terms, our experiences are our own. When non-material (spiritual) experiences are enjoyed, there are no words sufficient to glimpse their impact.

The Vedas assume the essence of nature is duality. Energy continuously cycles between positive (light) and negative (dark) poles creating the illusion of matter. The vibrations caused by the cycles through light, dark and gray produce matter from consciousness and energy.

Ancient India excelled in the sciences of enlightenment and managed to preserve a good portion of this wisdom through the dark Iron Age, traditionally called “Kali Yuga”. The Vedas examine and categorize the material expression of enlightenment through the model of duality. The Vedas are a liberating gift from our enlightened ancestors.

Easter Eggs:

Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:

Arjuna – Krishna uses the name “Arjuna” to signify that this verse applies to all of humanity.

Reference to the Vedas and to duality hint at the application of Sanskrit intonations.

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Ancient History

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