When Night is Day

Chapter II, Verse 69

Sri Nerode’s Translation:


That which is night to all beings (which is unintelligible and dark), in that the self-controlled man casts his opened gaze (discovers the hidden truth). That in which all beings wake (enjoy) is night to the all-seeing Muni (or sage), (he recoils from such foolish things).

Helpful Translation:

The devotee in a state of unbroken concentration sees the normal wakeful state of humans as being equivalent to a state of spiritual sleep.


An average human asleep, has more in common with an enlightened person than an average human who is awake. In human sleep the ignorant man lets go of his attachments and trusts that he will survive despite his state of detachment from the senses. In the wakeful state, the ignorant are completely consumed with their sensual experiences.

The consciousness of an enlightened being never sleeps, though the physical form may appear to rest. Depending upon a wise person’s individual approach to final emancipation, his body may also no longer need to have physical rest.

This verse does not suggest that the passive connection to spirit which occurs in a state of deep sleep is in any way similar to the active connection to spirit that is achieved with concentration.

I reviewed several other commentaries to see if there is an easy way to illustrate the deeper meaning of this verse. I could not find one. Most commentaries take this verse too literally. (My intuition tells me that the Sanskrit is not the original as Vyasa intended. This adds to the confusion.)

Essentially, “night” is equated to “attachments”. The wise person recoils from attachments but not from the purpose of the senses themselves. An average person is enthralled by preferred attachments – egotistical goals, likes/dislikes, avoidance of “pain” and pursuit of “pleasure” and the people, things and experiences considered desirable. The wise man sees these attachments as dark limitations and avoids the attachments but not necessarily the experiences.

In practical terms for anyone who aspires to receive expanded states of awareness, this verse is about right attitude. The ignorant man identifies with preferred experiences. The wise man identifies with the consciousness that enlivens all experiences. The transition from ignorance to wisdom is greatly assisted by approaching everything with a positive attitude.

Right attitude leads to the revelation of the night within daytime and the light within the darkest night.

Easter Eggs:

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

Samyami – “the restrained one” is used incorrectly in this verse. Note to self: return to this phrase and seek the correct words chosen by Vyasa.

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Ancient History

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