Meditation and focus on the Supreme Bhagwan Shri Krishna, helps to slowly but steadily weaken the impressions, tendencies and perceptions of the past, leading to creation of a steady mind that is forever joyous and blissful in the Self, says NITA AGARWAL, in the eight article in her series on Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita
After surrendering at the lotus feet of Bhagwan Shri Krishna, Arjun learnt about the eternal existence of the Self and how one who is established in the Self, works like a Karma Yogi as he performs all actions with an equipoised mind.
Hearing these words of metaphysical wisdom, Arjun is eager to know how a stithpragyan ― equipoised person, one with steady wisdom ― walks, talks and acts. He is keen to know how one who is established in the Self performs duties in this samsara.
Bhagwan Shri Krishna assures Arjun that one who is established in the Self casts off all desires and acts with a steady mind. Desire is the root cause of all actions in this samsara, but one who has got rid of ignorance by imbibing true knowledge becomes desireless.
It doesn’t mean we no longer perform any action, but it means all actions are performed as our kartavya or duty and not to satisfy our ego. When the cause of human misery ― desire ― is absent, then the mind becomes steady as it is no longer agitated with endless desires.
Fulfilment of one desire leads to cravings for another. People experience mental agitation at the very idea of not being able to achieve their desired goal. However, a stithpragyan experiences bliss at all times as he has cast off all personal desires, as she or he is equanimous in both pleasure and pain.
Such a person neither becomes ecstatic when things are going well nor does such a person become miserable when faced with adversity or gets affected by fear, attachment and anger.
Most people experience fear due to attachment or the thought of facing any adversity in life. People with an unsteady mind also display arrogance when they find success in life. They get angry easily. But a stithpragyan doesn’t experience any extreme emotions, but accepts everything with a calm and steady mind.
However, mere non-display of emotions doesn’t make one a stithpragyan. In fact, suppression of our emotions doesn’t help in developing a steady mind. For example, a sick person may appear to have his senses in control, but the truth is that his desires are dormant because of his illness, which is a passing phase.
Similarly, a person who is diabetic may show control by avoiding sweets, but the moment his sugar levels are in control, he may rush for a helping of sweets, because his craving for sweets which had been suppressed, returns.
Desires and attachments can lie dormant and can return anytime in a conducive environment. But an equipoised person has reached a stage where she or he can live and act in the samsara, accepting good and bad as part of life. Such a person neither moans in misery nor jumps in joy or indulges in flattery or criticism unnecessarily.
However, the big question is how do we achieve a steady mind? Lord Krishna gives the example of a tortoise to explain the process. On sensing any danger, a tortoise withdraws all its four limbs and head within his body, which is like a hard shell.
Taking a cue from the tortoise, we must practise to withdraw our senses from objects of desire. As we evolve with the blessings and grace of Bhagwan Shri Krishna, we gradually become aware of the truths of life and reach a level of consciousness where our senses neither dictate our perceptions and actions nor do they spark our desires.
Now the question arises about how to bring the senses in control. It’s definitely not easy to do away with past impressions that remain deeply engraved in our mind. Surrender and constant focus on Bhagwan Krishna takes the mind to higher consciousness, much above the lower consciousness entrapped by sense objects.
However, the Supreme Teacher Bhagwan Krishna cautions us against becoming overconfident and developing spiritual ego. Even true seekers can slip if they become vain and egoistic about their spiritual beliefs.
Such seekers face the prospect of losing touch with the Self and Higher Consciousness. A true seeker and devotee of Lord Krishna strives to live in awareness always and is never self-complacent.
Meditation and focus on the Supreme One helps to slowly but steadily weaken the impressions, tendencies and perceptions of the past, leading to the creation of a steady mind that is forever joyous and blissful in the Self.
As a seeker, we may falter from time to time, but it should never deter us from trying to become and staying established in the Self. We must continue to read, understand and learn to connect with the Higher Self. It’s a constant, eternal process.
Note from the author: These articles are based on a commentary on the Holy Geeta by Swami Chinmayananda and discussions during study classes run by Swamiji’s followers that I attended.
Nita Agarwal is an ex-Table Tennis State player, qualified teacher, self-taught budding painter and a successful blogger, who writes about her observations of life and people; most importantly, she describes herself as a working housewife.