|Chapter 8||Attainment of Salvation||Verse 24|
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna is now stating the path of no return to material existence. The words agnir jyotir meaning fire and illumination respectively is indicative of the presiding demigod identified with such as written in the Vedic scriptures. In the Chandogya Upanisad V.X.I it states: Those who know the science of the five fires and those in the wilderness who meditate with faith and penance reach the demigod Jyotih identified with illumination. Day refers to the demigod identified with it, the bright half of the month refers to the demigod identified with it as well and the same for the six months the sun is in its northern waxing course etc. This also includes by implication the demigods identified with the year, the realm of the celestials etc. mentioned in the Vedic scriptures. Departing by the paths of the aforementioned demigods, the devotees of the Supreme Lord attain the realisation of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and are knowers of the brahman. The Brihadaranyaka Upanisad VI.II.XV states: From the demigod identified with fire one reaches the demigod identified with illumination and from there one goes to the demigod identified with the day, then from him to the demigod identified with the waxing moon, from him to the demigod identified with the six months which the waxing sun goes on its northern course. From there one reaches the demigod identified with the year and so on.
Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:
The word jyoti indicates illumination and is identified with the demigod known as Archi. This is confirmed in the Narada Purana which states: After reaching Agni the demigod of fire and then Archi the demigod of illumination and thereafter Ahah the demigod of day etc. It should be understood that Agni, Archi, Ahah and others are the presiding demigods of the respective time periods. Otherwise it would not be in accordance with the Vedic scriptures to say that during the daytime one reaches the bright waxing time of the month. The Brahma Purana states: Since in essence there only exists days which also includes nights, how can one situated in equanimity be said to have achieved the brahman only in the day during the bright waxing time of the month. So it is clear to the lucid that the presiding demigods in tandem with their corresponding time periods is the only logical interpretation in accordance with Vedic scriptures. The Garuda Purana states: The knowers of spiritual knowledge honor the presiding demigods of the respective time periods. Along with honouring the demigods such as Agni the fire god, Archi of illumination, Ahah of the day, Sukla of the waxing moon, Satmasah of the suns northern course and others, the presiding demigods of the Vishu or the passages travelled should also be honoured. The Brahma Vaivarta Purana states: Honouring the presiding demigods of the day, the night, the waxing and waning moons, the sun on its northern and southern course as well as the Vishu; one who has realised the brahman attains the Supreme Lord.
Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Time in this verse indicates the route where the presiding demigods over the various time divisions from the day up to a year, reside in great numbers. Their route is either that path going by which yogis or those perfecting the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness are not subject to rebirth; or that path where persons of righteous deeds are born again. This last path Lord Krishna is describing now. The mention of fire, illumination, day, waxing moon and the suns six month sojourn on its waxing northern journey implies the year as well.
Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:
First Lord Krishna presents the path by which there is no return for rebirth with the words agnir-jyotir which identify the presiding demigods respectively of fire and illumination. The Brihadaranyaka Upanisad VI.II.XII states: By this way they reach the all effulgent. So on this path of no return are stationed the demigods identified with fire, illumination, day, the moons 15 day bright fortnight and the six months of the suns northern waxing course. The yogis or those perfecting the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness, who have realised the brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence, they proceed on the path of no return after death guided by the aforementioned presiding demigods of the time divisions until they finally reach the very brahman they have realised. All terms stating time periods denote the respective demigods of those time periods as declared in the Chandogya Upanisad V.X.I-II as follows: Those who have realised the brahman as well as those who meditating in the wilderness with faith and austerity at death are guided by a demigod for each time period, first through the fire, from the fire to the illumination, from the illumination to the day, from the day to the moons bright fortnight, from the bright fortnight into the six months of the suns northern waxing, from the six months they are guided into the year, from the year into the sun, from the sun they are guided to the moon, from the moon they are guided into the lightning. From the lightning they are no longer guided by a material demigod; but are then guided by a being who is more than a material being and this being escorts them unto Brahma. This is the way which leads to the celestials.