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 word,
the decision
and the action.
I am the gift,
the sacrifice and the spirit.
I am the cross,
also the star
and the crescent.
I am fuel,
the timber
and the fire.
I am maker,
the preserver
and destroyer.
I am male
and female
and neutral.
I am mother,
also father and creator.
I am the pure
and the holy
and the divine.
I am support,
and shelter.
I am well-wisher
and the friend.
I am seed
and the plant
and the grain.

I am sun
and the rain
and the wind.
I am the truth,
the invisible
and the visible.
And I am life,
and death and


This is my message to the world:
The divine road
is the path of love.
Love is selfless action
and giving away
the fruits of action.
Renunciation is
not caring for the fruits.
When you care and produce
and give me the fruits,
that is love.
Renunciation requires
control of the senses.
But when you devote
your senses to me,
that is love.
Let your reason
be tinged with faith.
Open your ears
to divine music.
Sing the song of love.


My child, see me in every being:
in the beggar
outside your door
and in the cow.
Everything you do,
do with love,
as if you are caring for me.


Look after your cattle
and their gifts of milk and manure
will be even richer.
Care for the child,
and you will tend
to me in the child.
Prepare with care
the dinner for your guests,
for I am in them too.
Cleanse your body knowing that
the water you bathe in
is a gift from me.


Darkness disappears
when you light the lamp;
so will boredom and difficulty,
when you work with love.
When someone
ill-treats you
do not run
or hit back;
look back with


The world is a mirror
of your self;
if you look with love,
it will seem divine.
The yellow corn seed
with heat pops out
into a bloom
of pure lily white;
so let love make
your actions right.


Whatever you offer,
be it a leaf,
a fruit, a flower,
or just plain water,
I will accept
if you give with love.
Do not throw away your life,
for what you scatter
is swept away by the wind,
but what you sow will grow
into a field of greens.
Even a wrongdoer,
who repents and comes to me
with utmost devotion,
will find peace in me.
Offer your life
to me and mine;
that is my message,
my word, to the world.



The wise know
I have no beginning
and no end.
They don’t suffer
from delusions
and distractions.
With the lamp of knowledge
they strive through darkness
towards me.
They see me
in a mother’s love
and a father’s labor,
in a teacher’s knowledge
and in the wisdom of a saint,
in the laughter of children
and in the wrinkles of old age.
The wise see me
in sunrise and sunset,
rivers and rolling hills,
winds and rains and snowstorms,
the lotus and jasmine,
mangoes and custard apples,
sandalwood and oak trees,
buffaloes and camels,
lions, tigers and monkeys,
and in crows and peacocks
and in nightingales.
They see me in big and small,
good and evil,
birth and death,

joy and sorrow,
success and failure,
fear and courage,
war and peace
and in truth and forgiveness.


The wise see me as the soul
in living beings,
as the beginning,
middle, and end
of all things,
as the sun among lamps
and the moon in darkness,
Himalaya of mountains,
Pacific among oceans,
the Nile among rivers,
spring among seasons,
the rose among flowers,
cobra among serpents,
holy fig among trees,
lion among animals,
eagle among birds and
butterfly of insects.
They see me
as the letter A in the alphabet,
in the mind among senses,
and in the words of poems,
in the conscience
of the living,
and in the silence of prayer,
and they know that the universe
is but a fraction of me.