Peace of Mind- A Road Map in the Bhagavad Gita

Equanimity: What it is?
  The theme of equality of  vision or even-mindedness or equanimity is emphasized at several places in the  Gita. A few illustrations are discussed here.

vidyaavinaya sampanne braahmane gavi hastini
    shuni chaiva shvapaake cha panditaah samadarshinah || (5.18)

The wise person regards all  beings alike, be it a brahmana who is full of wisdom and humility or an  outcaste, a cow, an elephant or a dog.

This is one of the most  popular verses of the Gita suggesting Sama Darshan towards all beings.

A matured person is not  egoistic. He perceives the same one God in diverse entities. The use of the  words high-caste, low-caste and animals emphasizes that the indweller, of an  awakened person as also of a lowly one and the animals is basically the same.  The physical diversities need not hide from us the Reality which is common to  all beings. This view enables us to look upon our fellow beings with compassion  and helpfulness.

When a man perceives one ultimate  Reality in all diverse beings and situations, he does not expect that people  should behave in a particular way. He faces even difficult situations with a  relaxed life style.

The wise sees divinity everywhere and finds no distinction in the world of  names and forms just like the ocean makes no difference between one wave and  the other.  As the purity of sun’s rays are not vitiated  although they fall equally on the sacred river Ganga  or a dirty drainage the wise has a homogenous view of life unaffected by the  three Gunas of Prakriti.

This does not mean that there  are no differences between one being and another; differences and inequalities are  in built in all beings and things by their very origin and nature. What is  implied here is equal attitude towards all living beings, be they high or low  or animals. It is like our having different dealings with different parts of  our body and yet caring for them equally.

The wise, although, has  different dealings with different beings according to differences in their  nature, interest, capacity, understanding etc., they behold The Lord pervading  in all of them and hence loves and serves them equally without any attachment  or aversion towards anybody. Sankara declares ‘A man should be non-dual in  feelings, rather than in dealings’.

Life will be certainly more  fulfilling, if we can live with the constant awareness of ourselves in others  and others in us. We need to shift the focus from ourselves to others.

Equanimity: Practical Implementation
  The principle of equanimity is  easier said than done. However one can try it for one’s own spiritual  evolution. Here are a few guidelines.

yogasthah kuru karmani sangam tyaktwaa dhananjaya
    siddhyasiddhyoh samo bhootwaa samatwam yoga uchyate ||(2.48)

Fixed in Yoga, O Arjuna, do  your work, forsaking selfish desires, being even minded in success and failure.  Such equanimity (of mind) is called Yoga.

While explaining this verse  Sankara says ‘O Dhananjaya, being established in Yoga perform actions only for  God without even having the desire to please Him. Knowledge gained by  purification of mind as a result of the desireless (without desire for fruits)  actions is called ‘Siddhi’ (Success) and whatever is contrary to it (lack of  knowledge) is ‘Asiddhi’ (Failure). Perform actions being even-minded amidst  success and failure. This evenness of mind or equanimity is called ‘Yoga’.

Equanimity is of two kinds -  of the mind and of the self. To remain even, in favorable and unfavorable  circumstances, without having any attachment or aversion, is equanimity of  mind, while equanimity of the self is union with God or Self-Realization

jnaana vijnaana triptaatmaa kootastho vijitendriyah
    yuktah ityuchyate yogee samaloshtaashmakaanchanah || (6.08)

suhrinmitraaryudaaseena madhyastha dweshya bandhushu
    saadhushwapi cha paapeshu samabuddhirvishishyate ||(6.09)

A man whose mind is contended  through wisdom and experience (equanimity), which has triumphed over the  senses, to which a lump of earth and a bar of gold are alike, he is said to  have attained Self-Realisation.

He is distinguished who is  equal minded towards companions, friends and foes, towards the unconcerned, the  mediator, or the jealous, and also towards relatives, sinners and saints.
    sankalpaprabhavaan kaamaanstyaktwaa sarvaan asheshatah
    manasaivendriyagraamam viniyamya samantatah ||(6.24)
    shanaih shanairuparamed budddhyaa dhritigriheetayaa
    aatmasamstham manah kritwaa na kinchidapi chintayet ||. (6.25)

Relinquishing completely all  desires born of selfish motives, restraining all the senses from every side, let  him, step by step, attain tranquility by means of a steady intellect with his  mind fixed on his inner Self, and not thinking of anything else.

In these verses Lord Krishna  explains that Yoga or Equanimity can be obtained by meditation on God who is  attributeless and formless.

sarvabhootasthamaatmaanam sarvabhotani chaatmani
    eekshate yogayuktaatma sarvatra samadarshanah ||(6.29)

He who is accomplished in Yoga  sees the same divinity everywhere. He sees the Self residing in all beings and  all beings as residing in the Self.

aatmaupamyena sarvatra samam pashyati yo'rjuna
    sukham vaa yadi vaa duhkham sa yogee paramo matah ||(6.32)

He who sees everything with an  even vision in the image of his own Self, be it pleasure or pain, he, in My  view, is the highest Yogi, O Arjuna.

A person of equanimous mind  sees the same divinity in all just as toys made out of sugar are nothing but  sugar although they are of different shapes and colors. An ordinary person  regards the injury to any of his limbs as his own because his vision is  restricted to his body only. But a person of balanced-mind (Yogi) regards  others as his own Self and thinks of their injuries or harm as his own harm and  thereby attains infinite Bliss within himself.

adweshtaa sarvabhootaanaam maitrah karuna eva cha
    nirmamo nirahankaarah samaduhkhasukhah kshamee ||(12.13)

santushtah satatam yogee yataatmaa dridhanishchayah
    mayyarpitamanobuddhiryo madbhaktah sa me priyah ||(12.14)

One who does not hate any  creature, who is friendly and compassionate, free from the notion of  "I" and "my", even-minded in pain and pleasure, forgiving;  and who is ever contented, who has subdued his mind, whose resolve is firm,  whose mind and intellect are engaged in dwelling upon Me, who is devoted to Me,  is dear to Me.

anapekshah suchirdaksha udaaseeno gatavyathah
    sarvaarambhaparityaagee yo madbhaktah sa me priyah ||(12.16)

The one by whom others are not  agitated and who is not agitated by others, One who is desireless, pure, wise,  impartial, and free from anxiety; who has renounced the doership in all  undertakings; such a devotee is dear to Me.
    yona  hrishyati na dweshti na  shoochati na kaangkshati
    shubhaashubhaparityaagee bhaktimaan yah sa me priyah ||(12.17)

He who neither rejoices nor  hates nor grieves, nor desires, who does not differentiate between fortunate  and unfortunate happenings, full of devotion, he is dear to Me.

samah shatrau cha mitre cha tathaa  maanaapamaanayoh
    sheetoshnasukhaduhkheshu samah sangavivarjitah ||(12.18)

tulyanindaastutirmaunee santushto yena kenachit
    aniketah sthiramatirbhaktimaan me priyo narah ||(12.19)

The one who behaves alike towards  friend or foe, in honour or dishonour, in heat or cold, in pleasure or pain;  who is free from all attachments; who is indifferent to censure or praise; who  is restrained in speech, and content with whatever he has; unattached to any  place or a thing; who is equanimous, and full of devotion - that person is dear  to Me.

The Lord described in the  foregoing verses the essential qualities of an equanimous person who has  attained perfection. When we can identify the pain and pleasure of every other  being as our own, when ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ are relegated to the background, life  becomes a pleasant journey from ‘I’ to ‘We’.

indriyaartheshu vairaagyamanahankaara eva cha
    janma mrityu jaraa vyaadhi duhkha doshaanu darshanam ||(13.09)

asaktiranabhishwangah putradaaragrihaadishu
    nityam cha samachittatwam ishtaanishtopapattishu ||(13.10)

mayi chaananyayogena bhaktiravyabhichaarinee
    viviktadesha sevitwam aratir janasamsadi ||(13.11)

adhyaatma jnaana nityatwam tattwa jnaanaartha darshanam
    etajjnaanamiti proktam ajnaanam yadatonyathaa ||(13.12 )

Dispassion towards the objects  of senses and absence of egoism; constant perception of evil and misery in  birth, death, and old age and disease; non-attachment, non-identification of  the self with son, wife and home and the like and equanimity in all desirable  and undesirable happenings; unswerving devotion to Me with whole hearted  discipline, introspection in solitary places, dislike for crowds, constant  pursuit of Self-Knowledge, insight into the purpose of true knowledge; all  these are declared to be knowledge and what is opposed to it is ignorance (ajnana).
  The identification of the Self  with the body, leads to constant birth and death. The answer to the question  what should be done to be free from the cycle of birth and death is given  below.

samam sarveshu bhooteshu tishthantam parameshwaram
    vinashyatswavinashyantam yah pashyati sa pashyati ||(13.28)

The one who sees the same  eternal Supreme Lord abiding in all beings, and never perishing even when the  beings perish, he indeed really sees.

This means that he who sees  his own self identified with body does not really see while he who sees his  self, identified with The Lord really sees.

samam pashyan hi sarvatra samavasthitameeshwaram
    na hinastyaatmanaatmaanam tato yaati paraam gatim ||(13.29)

When one beholds one and the  same Lord existing equally in every being, one does not destroy anybody;  because one considers everything as one’s own Self. And thereupon he attains  the Supreme Abode.

A person by identifying  himself with the body had to take his future births in good or evil bodies. But  by shifting his identity to The Supreme Lord, he attains the supreme goal of  freedom from the cycle of births and deaths.

samaduhkhasukhah swasthah samaloshtaashmakaanchanah
    tulyapriyaapriyo dheeras tulyanindaatma samstutih ||(14.24)

maanaapamaanayostulyas tulyo mitraaripakshayoh
    sarvaarambhaparityaagee gunaateetah sa uchyate ||(14.25)

He who regards pain and  pleasure alike, is contended within his Self, regards a clod of earth, stone  and gold as alike, remains equable amidst pleasant and unpleasant situations,  is of firm mind, is indifferent to praise or blame, is alike in honor and dishonor,  is the same to friends and foes, has abandoned selfish motives for work, such a  person is said to have risen above the three Gunas or modes of nature.

These two verses symbolize the  equanimity of a great person who has transcended the three modes of nature.

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