Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 2 (Part-5) Saankhya Yogah- Yoga Of Knowledge

duhkheshwanudwignamanaah  sukheshu vigatasprihah
    veetaraagabhayakrodhah  sthitadheer munir uchyate // 2.56 //

He  whose mind is not shaken by adversity, who does not hanker after pleasures and  who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady wisdom.

Verses  56 - 58 answer the second part of Arjuna's question as to the conduct of the  man of steady wisdom.

Times of  pain and sorrow hit everybody and a wise man is no exception; but his mind does  not get bogged down by them. His pain is localized, and it stops there.  Similarly, in times of pleasure, the one who  has no craving has no thirst for more of that pleasure. Thus the one who does  not feel depressed in times of pain and sorrow, and who in times of pleasure  has no craving for more of that pleasure is a wise man.

The one  whose mind and intellect  are totally free from  intense longing or passion for anything  outside of oneself, free from fear of any kind and devoid of anger or temporary  madness about anything is called one whose is steady and well rooted in self knowledge. Such a person is also called one who is capable of reflection,  analysis and proper judgment at all times being always immersed in God  Consciousness. He is called the wise person.

In  this world there is no end to sorrow and unfavorable situations. Here a man of  steady wisdom is described as the one who maintains equanimity in pleasure and  pain.  An individual who remains  undisturbed in sorrow or in joy, unattached, fearless and without anger is described  here as a muni - a sage, a man of steady wisdom.

It  may be noted of all the emotions that must be absent in the perfected  individual only three have been emphasized here viz., attachment -Raga, fear  -Bhaya and anger -Krodha because attachment to things is the root cause for the  fear of non-winning the desired object. If it is won then the fear of losing it  and therefore anxiety to keep it safe and secure is equally strong. Attachment  and fear lead to anger against those who create obstacles between the person  infatuated with the object and the desired object. It is self-mastery, conquest  of desire and passion that is insisted upon.

yah  sarvatraanabhisnehas tattat praapya shubhaashubham
    naabhinandati  na dweshti tasya prajnaa pratishthitaa // 2.57 //

He  who is not attached to anything, who neither rejoices nor is, vexed when he  obtains good or evil - his wisdom is firmly fixed.

The  ideas expressed in the previous verses are repeated:

  • The enlightened  sage or the Perfected one has evenness of mind.
  • He does not  rejoice in pleasure nor is he averse to any pain.
  • He has no  attachment to any worldly object.
  • He does not get  disturbed when praised or censured.
  • He is always identified  with the Self.

A  mere detachment from life and retiring to the jungles is not implied here.  Such aimless detachment cannot lead a man to  any higher level of existence and it is merely an escapist view of life. The detachment  from the outside world should be coupled with capacity to face all challenges  in life - auspicious and inauspicious - with a balanced mind in both. Life by  its very nature is a mixture of good and bad. The perfected one experiences  both of them with equal detachment because he is ever established in the Self.

Since  the perfect man of wisdom has neither aversion for the sorrows nor attraction  for the pleasures of life he neither compliments nor condemns anything in the  world.  For him everything is fine.  He looks at the world through the plain glass  and not through colored glasses. Flowers bloom and they also whither away.  There is no need to praise the former and  condemn the latter. We must accept whatever comes without excitement, pain or  revolt.

This  verse is in reply to Arjuna’s query about the speech of a perfect master. His  speech has for its background the mental state as described above.

yadaa  samharate chaayam koormo'ngaaneeva sarvashah
    indriyaaneendriyaarthebhyas  tasya prajnaa pratishthitaa // 2.58 //

When  like the tortoise which withdraws its limbs on all sides, he withdraws his  senses from the sense objects, then his wisdom becomes steady.

So  far a man of steady wisdom has been described as the one who (a) is ever  satisfied in the Self (b) lives in perfect equanimity in pleasure and pain and  (c) in whom there is complete lack of attachment for feelings of joy or aversion.  Now it is mentioned in this verse that a man of steady wisdom has the capacity  to withdraw his sense organs from the field of their objects just like a  tortoise can draw back its limbs from all sides within its shell when  apprehending danger.

The  sense organs receive the stimuli from the objects of the external world which  are passed on to the mind. The mind has got a natural tendency to run after  such worldly objects. The yogi withdraws the mind again and again from the  objects of the senses and fixes it on the Self and makes himself free from the  disturbances of life.


vishayaa  vinivartante niraahaarasya dehinah
    rasavarjam  raso'pyasya param drishtwaa nivartate // 2.59 //

The  objects of the senses fall away from the abstinent man but not the taste for  them. But even the taste falls away when the Supreme is seen.

The  sense objects reach out to only those who is badly in need of them and not to  those who do not want them. Even then, the sense objects are capable of leaving  their taste behind even in an abstinent seeker who may find it difficult to  erase them completely from his mind. Sri Krishna says here that all such  longings created even at the mental level because of ego will be made  ineffective when the seeker transcends ego and comes to experience the Self -  attains wisdom. But the reverse i.e. with the disappearance of the taste a  striver attains steadfast wisdom is not true.

Sri  Krishna is explaining the difference between outer abstention and inner  renunciation. We may reject the object but the desire for it may remain. Even  the desire is lost when the Supreme is seen. The control should be both at the  body and mental levels. Liberation from the tyranny of the body is not enough;  we must be liberated from the tyranny of desires also which presupposes  realization of the Supreme.

Thus  in the restraint of the senses evinced by a man of realization, not only the  sense objects turn away from him  but  also attachment itself with its roots vanish.

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