Over the year 2021, YOGA magazine will publish the poem Light Fire and Darkness, written by Dhiru Desai (1932– 1991)

Light Fire and Darkness

A modernized version of the Bhagavad Gita, by Dhiru Desai

A Word from the Author

In the ancient Hindu epic called the Mahabharata, the Pandavas, five brothers who epitomize good, go to battle against their one hundred cousins, the Kauravas, the forces of evil. Before the battle Arjuna, one of the Pandavas, hesitates to fight against friends and relations. Sri Krishna then expounds his philosophy, which came to be known as the Bhagavad Gita. In Light Fire and Darkness, Arjuna becomes the devotee and Sri Krishna becomes the divine voice. Chapters 1 and 11 are spoken by the devotee and the rest of the text is the divine message.

This is not a translation of the Bhagavad Gita. This is a modernized version. I am not a scholar of Sanskrit and in this work I have not used any Sanskrit words, nor have I linked it in any way to Hindu philosophy. I have tried to write in a way that is likely to appeal to one not familiar with vedic culture.

Dhiru Desai, May 14 1987, Memphis, USA


I am the universe,
the universe is in me.
The external me is
in earth and air and space,
in fire and water and
in mind, reason and self.
The invisible me is everywhere,
in everything.
I am the light of the sun
and the coolness of the moon;
I am the beauty in the rainbow
and the fragrance of jasmine.
I am faith in prayer
and the wisdom of sages,
and I am the beginning
and the end of all things.


Truth, desire, and ignorance
all proceed from me.
I am not in them
but they are in me.
The illusions they project
pervade the universe.
Blinded by them
people do not see me.
But those that take shelter in me
see beyond the false images.
Of those taking refuge in me
most do so to fulfil a wish,
some do so from sentiment,
some in pursuit of knowledge;

and there are those who do so
striving for the good of their people.
With my blessings all of them
may achieve their ends;
but the perfect devotee,
one in a million,
is one who knows me;
finds me everywhere,
in everything and every being;
who knows that I am the past,
present and future;
who sees me in young and old,
in the poor and wrongdoer,
in lotus and serpents,
in the cow and the lute.
Such a one, devoid of delusion,
with knowledge, finds harmony in me.


I am the spirit,
and the creator
of the universe,
and also of your soul.
Within you is your soul,
without are desires,
and between the two
is constant battle.
The soul that prevails
finds a home in me.
The road to me
is paved with knowledge
and selfless actions.
The soul that strives
along this path
all through life, will at death,
dwell in me,
and attain me;
for the thoughts on one’s deathbed
are the fruits of
one’s actions in life.
The end of one life
is the start of next.
One who is lifelong
immersed in desires,
at death is filled
with thoughts of desire,
and returns to a life of misery.
Realization is rebirth.
Repent your wrongs,

turn a new leaf,
and you can still attain me.


This life is but a moment
in the divine calendar.
Waste it not in vain desires.
This day will soon
be followed by a dark night;
you will die to be reborn,
again and again.
One who attains me is not reborn.
One whose work glows
like a forest fire,
one whose mind shines
like the bright sun,
one whose faith grows
like the ballooning moon,
one who is free of desires
like the clear blue skies
will find a home in my heart.