Experience of Completeness within, absence of any personal desire, effortless mastery
over senses and mind ... characterise Perfection.
prajahAti yadA kAmAn sarvAn pArtha manogatAn
Atmani eva AtmanA tushtah sthitaprajnah
tadA uchyate ||2.55||
"When a man completely casts off, O Partha, all the desires of
the mind, and is satisfied in the Self by the Self, then is he said to be one of steady
This very opening stanza in this section, is a brilliant summary of all that we should
know of the mental condition of the Perfect. The words used in this stanza can be
understood fully, only when we remember the significant fragrance of these words as they
stand dancing among the hosts of other blossoms in the Garden of the Upanishads. He
is considered a man-of-Wisdom who has completely cast away ALL DESIRES from his mind.
Reading this stanza in conjunction with what Krishna has so far said, we can truly come to
enjoy the Upanishadic fragrance in these inspired words of Vyasa.
An intellect, contaminated by ignorance becomes the breeding-ground of desires,and he
who has relieved himself of this 'Ignorance' through 'Right-Knowledge' gained in
Perception, naturally, becomes 'desireless.' By explaining here the absence of the EFFECT,
the Lord is negating the existence of the CAUSE: where desires are not, there
"ignorance" has ended, and "Knowledge" has already come to shine
If this alone were the distinguishing factor of the man-of-steadyWisdom, then any
modern man would condemn the Hindu man-of-Wisdom as a rank lunatic; a Hindu wise-man would
then become one who had not even the initiative to desire. Desire means a capacity of the
mind to see ahead of itself, a scheme or a pattern, in which he who desires will probably
be more happy. "The wise-man seems to lose even this capacity, as he goes beyond his
intellect and experiences the Self,"- this is a criticism that is generally heard
from the materialists.
This stanza cannot thus be condemned since it adds in its second line that the
Perfect-One is "blissful" in his own experience of the Self. A Perfect man is
defined here, therefore, not only as one who has no desires, but also as one who has
positively come to enjoy the Bliss of the Self! When one is an infant, one has one's own
playmates, and as one grows from childhood to boyhood, one leaves one's toys and runs
after a new set of things; again, as the boy grows to youthfulness, he loses his desires
for the fancy-things of his boyhood and craves for yet a newer set of things; again, in
old age, the same entity casts away all objects that were till then great joys to him and
comes to demand a totally different set of objects. This is an observed phenomenon. As we
grow, our demands also grow. With reference to the new scheme of things demanded, the old
sets of ideas come to be cast away.
In one's ignorance, when one conceives oneself as the ego, one has a burning desire for
sense-objects, a binding attachment with emotions, and a jealous preference for one's pet
ideas. But when the ego is transcended, when the ignorance, like a mist, has lifted
itself, and when the finite ego stands face to face with the Divine Reality in him, it
melts away to become one with the Infinite. In the Self, the man-ofsteady-Wisdom,
'SELF-SATISFIED IN THE SELF,' can no more entertain any desire, or have any appetite, for
the paltry objects of the body, or of the mind, or of the intellect. He becomes the very
Source of all Bliss.
Such a one is defined here by Vyasa as the 'man-of-steady-Wisdom' (Sthita-Prajna),
and as the words come out from the mouth of Krishna they gather the divine ring of an
duhkheshu anudvignamanAh sukheshu
vItarAgabhayakrodhah sthitadhIh munih
"He whose mind is not shaken by adversity, and who in prosperity
does not hanker after pleasures, who is free from attachment, fear and anger,is called a ('muni') sage-of-steady-Wisdom." ||12.1||
His equalmindedness towards all; he is utterly impartial and has an understanding
heart towards all.
sAdhushu api cha pApeshu samabuddhih vishishyate ||6.9||
"He who is of the same mind to the good-hearted, friends,
enemies, the indifferent, the neutral, the hateful, relatives, the righteous and the
unrighteous, he excels."
Such a man of excellence, says Krishna, regards all relationships with an equal love
and consideration, be they "FRIENDS, OR FOES, OR INDIFFERENT OR NEUTRAL, OR HATEFUL,
OR NEAREST RELATIONS." In his equalvision, all of them are equally important and he
embraces, in his Infinitude, all of them with the same warmth and ardour.
His love knows no distinction between the righteous and the unrighteous, the good and
the bad. To him a sinner is but an ego living in its misunderstandings, since sin is only a mistake of the soul and not a positive blasphemy
against Itself. Rama Tirtha beautifully expresses it when he says that "we are
punished BY the sin and not FOR it."
In the right understanding of his own Self and the resulting realisation of his own
Self, he becomes the Self everywhere. He discovers a unity in the perceived diversity and
a subtle rhythm in the obvious discord in the world outside. To him, who has realised
himself to be the Self which is all-pervading, the entire universe becomes his own Self,
and therefore, his relationship with every other part of the universe is equal and same.
Whether I get wounded in the hand or the leg, on the back or in the front, on the head or
on the shoulder, it is the same to me, since I am equally identifying with my head, my
trunk, and my legs, as myself. ||12.2||
In God. He lives in constant awareness of the Divine.
te prApnuvanti mAm eva sarvabhootahite
"Ever content, steady in meditation, self-controlled, possessed of
firm conviction, with mind and intellect dedicated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to
Steadfast in his meditation, self-controlled and firm in his resolve, he lives on
joyously, his mind and intellect" ever centred in Me." SUCH A PERFECT, DEVOTED
YOGI, the Lord says, "IS DEAR TO ME."
The truth expressed in the stanza earlier, I am very dear to the Man-toWisdom and he is
dear to Me. ||12.3||
No. Established in the SELF,he is utterly free from gunas though they appear in
prakAsham cha prawrttim cha moham ewa cha pAndawa na dweshti samprawrttAni na niwrttAni
kAnkshati ||14.22|| "Light, activity, and delusion, when present, O Pandava, he hates
not, nor longs for them when absent."
Equanimity is the essence of perfection and a Man-of-Knowledge is ever in perfect
balance. He craves for nothing, nor does he strive to acquire anything new. To have and
not to have - both are equal to him, because he is beyond both, living a life of inward
peace which is totally independent of all environments.
LIGHT ACTIVITY AND DELUSION, WHEN PRESENT, HE HATES NONE - The three terms LIGHT,
ACTIVITY and DELUSION are the effects of their respective causes, the predominance of "Sattwa,"
of "Rajas" and of "Tamas." The three gunas are
indicated here by their effects. Their presence within him, does not create in him either
any special attachment nor any particular aversion. Whether his mind and intellect are
under the influence of Rajas or Tamas, even when he feels agitated or
deluded, he is not in the least affected by them, and therefore, he hates them not. It is
only in the absence of Self-Knowledge, that one hates them.
He who has risen above the gunas, is unaffected when they appear in his mind. No
doubt, a man who is Sattwic develops an attachment for its essential peace and
serenity, its thrills and joys, and he hates when this inward joy is disturbed by
agitations (Rajas) or by dullness (Tamas).
NOR LONG FOR THEM WHEN ABSENT - Not only has he no particular attachment for them, but
also, he is not at all worried by their absence, because he has risen much above these
three gunas, and they, together or severally, have nothing to offer him which he
has not already gained! To a millionaire, it is immaterial whether or not he gets, by
chance, a 25 cents coin on the roadside. He may stoop down and pick it up but he would
never congratulate himself for it as much as a poor man would do under the same