Bagawat Geeta, Class 29


Greetings All,

Continuing his talk, Swamiji reminded us that Arjuna wanted to know about the Sthitha Pragyaha. How does such a person respond to situations? Is there any practical benefit to the study of the Gita , asks Swamiji?

Shloka # 55: A person comes to Sthitha Pragyaha by:

  1. Following the path of Karma Yoga and leading a religious life to prepare his mind for Gyana Yogyatha.
  2. Studying scriptures under a qualified Guru by sravanam and mananam. This is a required step to gyanam.

There is a misconception that in Kaliyuga one does not have to study scriptures.

Through this study one becomes a Pragyaha or a Gyani. It results in an intellectual conviction that I need nothing else to be complete. Right now we may feel we need many things in life to feel complete.  Physical dependence everybody has got; there is dependence on food, clothing and shelter. We are not talking of physical dependence. Emotionally a Gyani is independent of external factors. He is happy in himself. The reality is that we may need only some things to survive. Many rich people with a lot of material possessions are among the unhappiest people.

By systematic vedantic study, I should be intellectually convinced that I do not require anything to be secure; to be fulfilled; to be happy; to be fearless; to be anxiety free and to be self-sufficent. This is an intellectual transformation. It is what we call intellectual conviction. To become a Gyani is to go through an intellectual change.

Karma Yoga> Gyana Yogyatha> Pragyaha>Emotional strength and immunity. This process leads me to a place where I do not get upset at anything in life.

This process is called Nidhidhyasanam.

Thus: Karma Yoga> Gyana Yoga> Nidhidhysanam> Sthitha Prgyaha.

Through sravaṇam and mananam, he gets pragya; through nidhidyasanam, he converts pragya into sthitapragya.

Shloka # 55:

“ When one wholly discards desires of the heart and becomes exclusively content with the Self , one is called a sage of stable wisdom.”

Characteristics of a Sthitha Pragyaha:

  1. Gyani does not have any expectations meaning he has performed Kama Tyaga. When an expectation is not fulfilled, I get upset. Expectations are a source of sorrow. I, however, will behave, as I want. If I ask someone to do something, without expectation, it is a non-poisonous expectation. Usually this sort of expectation is for the benefit the other person. Expectation becomes poisonous when my expectation is not met and I become upset. This is called Samsara. Gyani has no expectations from anyone. So, expectations have to be dropped.
  1. He is full and complete in himself because he feels, I am “I”. If the completeness is dependent, you are not a gyani. This is called Atma Tushthi or Self Sufficiency.
  1. Samatvam: One with a poised state of mind. How often am I disturbed? What is intensity of disturbance? How long is the recovery time? One should consider maintaining an emotional log to discover one’s state of evolution. A gyani is, for most part, not disturbed at all.

Shloka # 56:

“ The silent sage is said to have a stable wisdom when sufferings no longer perturb his mind , when he ceases to cling to pleasures, and he is rid of attachment, fear and wrath.”

All these disturbances gradually disappear. He is not carried away by favorable situations either. He realizes it is temporary.

Raga ( emotional attachment), Bhaya (fear) and Krodha ( Anger) together are known as attributes of Samsara.

Whatever I depend upon (money, people etc.) are insecure. Presently, I am holding on to such things. One should hold on to something secure such as God.

Unintelligent dependence is raga. This dependence causes Bhaya. Anger is directly proportional to Raga. All obstacles make us angry.

Thus: Raga>Bhaya>Krodha.

Gyani has no raga, as such he also does not have fear and anger. Moksha is A-Bhayam. Such a person is a muni or a sage. The internal transformation has made him a sage. Even if he is a family man he is a Muni if he has the right knowledge. The knowledge has become an emotional strength.

Shloka # 57:

“ His wisdom is stable who clings to nothing good or evil when these occur to him; he neither seeks nor shuns them.”

Sri Krishna describing Sthita Pragyaha Lakshanani says he is one who is free. Gyani is Anabhisnehaha. Sneha means attachment or stickiness. One who is in Sneha is attached and as such weak. A Gyani is one who loves everyone but does not get stuck on any one. This psychological freedom is called Anabhisnehaha.

Even a Gyani faces situations that are favorable and unfavorable based upon his Prarabdha karmas. Many people criticize Vedanta for India’s problems. A teacher of Vedanta is also criticized for India’s problems. Gyani faces such situations without being carried away or agitated. He faces everything with Samatvam.

The question is often asked should I meekly surrender to such a situation?  Vedanta does not say one has to surrender to improper situations. It does not mean we have to accept Akramam (Wrong done to one). For any situation we can have three types of responses:

  1. Impulsive reaction. Reacting without thinking. This has long-term adverse reaction. It shows lack of self-control.
  2. Meek surrender to a situation or abuse. This is unintelligent inaction born out of weakness. Here we will suffer from this abuse.
  3. Intelligent action, after thinking about it. If it is a choice-less situation, strengthen your mind to reduce its impact. If choice-ful situation, take thoughtful action. Sama, Dana, Bheda and Dandam are the steps to be followed. If we have to punch the nose, do it consciously. Do not miss the nose! What shastra says is, do not do it impulsively. This is similar to a court that gives capital punishment without impulsiveness.

Swamiji says we normally swing between 1 and 2 above. Shastra’s say both are bad.

With best wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy