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



“Your words opened my eyes
and destroyed delusions.
I heard about birth and death
and about eternity.
I fell at your feet
and pleaded with you
to show me your divine form.
You agreed and gave me
divine eyes to see you
in all your glory.


“How can I describe what I saw!
I beheld your brilliance in awe
as if all at once
a thousand suns
had risen in the skies.
I saw your face
glow like fire
and the sun and moon
as your eyes.
I saw the universe
Assembled in your body.
I saw your countless limbs,
organs and anatomy.
I saw Confucius,
Moses and Jesus,
Mohammed and Buddha,
Nightingale, Meera,
Kabir, King and Nanak,
Gandhi and Joan of Arc,
all seated on a lotus,
nestled in your heart.


“I saw the past,
present and future,
all before me.
I saw my ancestors,
all seated on your knee.
I saw enemies
I am to fight
herded like sheep,
now entering
your deathly jaws,
and I realized that
I was merely an instrument
in the making of
your divine design.
I saw you play
with little children
on silver sands
of river banks,
building spheres
and sending them
to outer space, giving them names
like Mars, Venus,
and Uranus.


“I saw you warm and feed
the universe,
and destroy enemies.
I saw volcanoes erupting
and earthquakes envelope
a thousand beings.
I saw you without beginning,
middle or end.
I saw sights
surrounded in splendour,
and the thunder
of awesome terror.
I saw rainbows,
snow-capped mountains,
rivers, oceans,
and dense forests,
animals, insects,
birds and fishes,
in shapes and shades
and sizes
I had never seen before.


“All this I saw
through your kindness.
I trembled watching
this vast vision
and pleaded that
you revert to
your human form.
I know now that
you are the visible
and the invisible,
the original
and the eternal.
the home and shelter
for the universe.”



There are those
who believe in me
and those who believe in
the unmanifested.
Those who truly
believe in me,
will attain me.
Those who believe in
the unmanifested
and know that
the unmanifested
has no end,
is beyond description
and imagination,
is present everywhere,
is changeless,
constant and eternal,
if they control their senses,
and are just and fair
and good to others,
they too will attain me.
Their path is difficult,
for theirs is a voyage
of discovery
through uncharted
and unknown regions.


Worshippers of idols,
if they are true,
non-violent and selfless
in their actions,
they too will attain me.
They require an image
for concentration;
and the image of the divine
is best when made of stone.
For the stone does not know
desire, greed, or anger;
it only knows peace;
it puts up with cold, wind, and rain,
without complaint,
unmoved and untainted.
Those who worship my image
let them be like stone.
Those who believe in me
may take these paths:
selfless action or complete devotion,
meditation, study, and knowledge,
or renunciation.
The true devotee travels
from mere ritual chanting of verses
to full renunciation;
and becomes free from fear,
envy, pride, hatred, and anger,
and greed, sloth and desire.
The true devotee is
unmoved by praise or blame,
averse to pleasure or pain,
loving and forgiving,
careful, firm, and stable,
content and considerate,
and hardworking and just.
Devote yourself to me;
devote yourself to mankind;
but above all, devote yourself to duty.