या निशा सर्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी।
यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः।।2.69।।
2.69 That which is night to all beings, in that the self-controlled man is awake; when all beings are awake, that is night for the Muni (sage) who sees.
2.69 ya, that which; sarva-bhutanam, for all creatures; is nisa, night which being darkness (tamah) by nature, obliterates distinctions among all things; what is that? that is the Reality which is the supreme Goal, accessible to the man of steady wisdom. As that which verily appears as day to the nocturnal creatures is night for others, similarly the Reality wich is the supreme Goal appears to be night, as it were, to all unenlightened beings who are comparable to the nocturnal creatures, because It is beyond the range of vision of those who are devoid of that wisdom. Samyami, the self-restrained man, whose organs are under control, i.e. the yogi [The man of realization.] who has arisen from the sleep of ignorance; jagarti, keeps awake; tasyam, in that (night) characterized as the Reality, the supreme Goal. That night of ignorance, characterized by the distinctions of subjects and objects, yasyam in which; bhutani, the creatures, who are really asleep; are said to be jagrati, keeping awake, in which night they are like dreamers in sleep; sa nisa, it is night; pasyatah, to the seeing; muneh, sage, who perceives the Reality that is the supreme Goal, because that (night) is ignorance by nature. Therefore, rites and duties are enjoined only during the state of ignorance, not in the state of enlightenment. For, when Knowledge dawns, ignorance becomes eradicated like the darkness of night after sun-rise. [It may be argued that even after illumination the phenomenal world, though it is known to be false, will continue to be perceived because of the persistence of past impressions; therefore there is scope for the validity of the scriptural injunctions even in the case of an illumined soul. The answer is that there will be no scope for the injunctions, because the man of realization will then have no ardent leaning towards this differentiated phenomenal world which makes an injunction relevant.] Before the rise of Knowledge, ignorance, accepted as a valid means of knowledge and presenting itself in the different forms of actions, means and results, becomes the cause of all rites and duties. It cannot reasonably become the source of rites and duties (after Realization) when it is understood as an invalid means of knowledge. For an agent becomes engaged in actions when he has the idea, Actions have been enjoined as a duty for me by the Vedas, which are a valid means of knowledge; but not when he understands that all this is mere ignorance, like the night. Again, the man to whom has come the Knowledge that all these differences in their totality are mere ignorance like the night, to that man who has realized the Self, there is eligibility only for renouncing all actions, not for engaging in actions. In accordance with this the Lord will show in the verse, Those who have their intellect absorbed in That, whose Self is That (5.17) etc., that he has competence only for steadfastness in Knowledge. Objection: May it not be argued that, there will be no reason for being engaged even in that (steadfastness in Knowledge) if there be no valid means of knowledge [Vedic injunctions.] to impel one to that. [Because, without an injunction nobody would engage in a duty, much less in steadfastness to Knowledge.] Answer: No, since knowledge of the Self relates to ones own Self. Indeed, by the very fact that It is the Self, and since the validity of all the means of knowledge culminates in It, [The validity of all the means of knowledge holds good only so long as the knowledge of the Self has not arisen.] therefore the Self does not depend on an injunction to impel It towards Itself. [Does the injunction relate to the knowledge of the Self. or to the Self Itself? The first alternative is untenable because a valid means of knowledge reveals its objects even without an injunction. The second alternative also is untenable because the Self is self-revealing, whereas an injunction is possible in the case of something yet to be achieved. And ones own Self is not an object of that kind.] Surely, after the realization of the true nature of the Self, there is no scope again for any means to, or end of, knowledge. The last valid means of (Self-) knowledge eradicates the possibility of the Selfs becoming a perceiver. And even as it eradicates, it loses its own authoritativeness, in the same way as the means of knowledge which is valid in dream becomes unauthoritative during the waking state. In the world, too, after the preception of an abject, the valid means of that perception is not seen to be a cause impelling the knower (to any action with regard to that object). Hence, it is established that, for an knower of the Self, there remains no eligibility for rites and duties. The attainment of Liberation is only for the sannyasin [Liberation is attained only by one who, after aciring an intellectual knowledge of the Self in a general way, is endowed with discrimination and detachment, has arisen above all desires, has become a monk in the primary sense, and has directly realized the Self by going through the process of sravana (understanding of Upanisadic texts about the Self), etc.], the man of enlightenment, who has renounced all desires and is a man of steady wisdom; but not for him who has not renounced and is desirious of the objects (of the senses). Such being the case, with a view to establishing this with the help of an illustration, the Lord says:
Yaanishaa sarvabhootaanaam tasyaam jaagarti samyamee; Yasyaam jaagrati bhootaani saa nishaa pashyato muneh.
yā—which; niśhā—night; sarva-bhūtānām—of all living beings; tasyām—in that; jāgarti—is awake; sanyamī—self-controlled; yasyām—in which; jāgrati—are awake; bhūtāni—creatures; sā—that; niśhā—night; paśhyataḥ—see; muneḥ—sage