Sthitaprajna (The Perfect Yogi)

 

The path to self-realization can't be shown but can be experienced. Gita contains solutions and
puzzles for seekers with different levels of maturity and capacity. The manual of Gita can help us to
solve the puzzles in our life and help us to undertake challenging steps forward. But when we reach
the highest level, we regain our True Human Nature and all our actions become spontaneous and
judgements become unnecessary! Spontaneity is the law of the nature. The flowers bloom without
us asking and the trees surrender and sacrifice all their possessions (fruits, stem, leaves and roots).
The flower plant, the fruit true, animals and other creatures including the human beings have to
live, grow and disappear according to the laws of the nature. The True Human Nature emerges
when the mind becomes pure without duality and the life in the universe is free from conflicts and
contradictions.

Gita begins with "DHARMA" (chapter 1, verse 1) and ends with "MAMA" (chapter 18, verse 78).
According to Swami Chinmayananda, the word combination "Mama Dharma" has special
significance. Mamadharma stands for Swadharma which means that each of us has the freedom to
define our moral rules and ethics of living. We are obligated to us define our moral rules and ethics
of living. We are obligated to complete the duties that are necessary for our living without violating
our Mamadharma. Dharma, a Sanskrit word, means duty or pursuit of social and personal ideals of
behavior. Its literal meaning is "that which sustains." Every thing that goes with the natural order
or state of things is dharma. The dharma of fire is to heat, dharma of a flower is to bloom and
dharma of a human is "eternal bliss." Mamadharma plays a pivotal role in determining the Hindu
way of life. It implies that an individual has the obligation to conduct his (her) duties at a level
much higher than the social norms. Social laws suggest the minimum standard of Dharma where as
Mamadharma requires the individual to seek the highest standard of Dharma! Though the
knowledge of right and wrong are relative and subjective, no one has any excuse committing a
individuals! We get the right to judge others when we reach the highest level of spiritual maturity.
complete the duties that are necessary for our living without violating our Mamadharma. Dharma,
a Sanskrit word, means duty or pursuit of social and personal ideals of behavior. Its literal meaning
is "that which sustains." Every thing that goes with the natural order or state of things is dharma.

The dharma of fire is to heat, dharma of a flower is to bloom and dharma of a human is "eternal
bliss." Mamadharma plays a pivotal role in determining the Hindu way of life. It implies that an
individual has the obligation to conduct his (her) duties at a level much higher than the social
norms. Social laws suggest the minimum standard of Dharma where as Mamadharma requires the
individual to seek the highest standard of Dharma! Though the knowledge of right and wrong are
relative and subjective, no one has any excuse committing a crime! Dharma holds one up to the
highest conception of "Right," and expects everyone to do the "Right" for rights sake, and not for
the sake of obeying the law. The conception of right requires us not to judge others because the
standard of ethics varies by individuals. Both "right" and "rights" also vary by individuals! We get
the right to judge others when we reach the highest level of spiritual maturity.

Gita identifies the person with the True Human Nature by the Sanskrit name Sthitaprajna (Perfect
Yogi). The verses 55 to 72 in chapter 2 discusses the virtues of Sthitaprajna in greater details.
According to Gita, Sthitaprajna attains the Universal Wisdom of Eternal Peace by abandoning the
illusory pain and sufferings. The Lord insists that eternal peace, happiness, discriminating
intelligence and concentration can be realized only by freeing the mind from sensory perceptions.
Gita does not claim that the task is easy and it gives complete guidance for achieving the True
Human Nature in chapters two to 18. Gita asserts that it is achievable for everyone who is willing to
take the necessary efforts, discipline and dedication. The Grace of God always comes with true
dedication, discipline and devotion. In Gita, action is much more important than prayer and
Bhakti serves as the catalyst to complete one's obligations. The reward for the action comes along
with action and action and reward are inseparable! The devotee treats action as the prayer and
prasad (peace) comes automatic when the devotee is sincere!

Gita describes the relationships between sensory perception, ego, human intelligence and divine
intelligence. According to Gita, the sensory perceptions are the barriers for gaining the divine
intelligence. Ego is the byproduct of sensory perception. Ego distracts human intelligence to lose its
discriminating power. Consequently the intellect misidentifies SELF by body, mind and intellect.
The distractions are eradicated only through spiritual practice (sadhana) outlined in Gita. Those
who follow the spiritual life understand their obligation and perform their duties without looking
for rewards. According to Gita, when a person performs duties without selfish motives, he (she)
demonstrates his (her) eagerness to seek the Grace of God! It is the Grace that is responsible for his
determination to conduct his (her) duties without hesitation and reward!

Sthitaprajna perceives the world without conflicts and sorrows and accepts the world as it is! Such
persons see perfection of the imperfect world and they prepare to change their attitude that suits its
preferences. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "The only change that the world needs, is you!" For a
Sthitaprajna like Gandhi, understands that the attitude determines the outcome and they develop
positive mental attitudes to accept rewards and punishments with equanimity. The discussion on
Sthitaprajna is dedicated to the great sage Vedavyasa, the assembler, compiler and the propagator
of the Hindu Scriptures including the Bhagavad Gita.

What is the right path of our life? The seers who wrote the Upanishads have this excellent answer: "
Life is a bridge; enjoy while crossing it; but don't build a castle on it." Human beings are endowed
with positive mental attitude from the day of birth. The new born child accepts everything from his
(her) mother and everybody else. The child accepts the life as it is and we better remember and
learn few lessons. With positive mental attitude, we can accept the realities of life without resistance
and fear. We become the witness of our own life and can probably accept joy, sorrow, good, bad,
tall, short, beauty, ugly, light, dark, past, present and future. We can learn to stop asking
instantaneous explanations for everything that happens in our life. Positive mental attitude will
help us to accept the our life and stop forcing others to change. Every verse in Gita discusses the
importance of removing the negative tendencies. Sthitaprajna possesses the positive mental attitude
and Gita describes the qualities in verses 55 to 72.

In Verse 54, Arjun asks Lord Krishna to describe the characteristics of the Perfect Sage
(Sthitaprajna).
Verse 54: arjuna uvaca
sthita-prajnasya ka bhasa samadhi-sthasya kesava
sthita-dhih kim prabhaseta kim asita vrajeta kim
Arjuna said: What, O Krishna, is the description of him who has steady wisdom and is merged in
the super-conscious state? How does one of steady wisdom speak, how does he sit, how does he
walk?
In Verse 54, Arjun asks Lord Krishna to describe the characteristics of the Perfect Sage
(Sthitaprajna). Sthitaprajna represents the qualities of the realized human soul. Lord Krishna
explains his answers in verses 55 to 72. The person who realizes the true nature becomes the
Sthitaprajna. In Gita, Arjun's enquiry started with one question, followed by more questions such
as - "Who am I? "; "Where am I? "; And "What am I?"
Verse 55: sri-bhagavan uvaca
prajahati yada kaman sarvan partha mano-gatan
atmany evatmana tustah.sthita-prajnas tadocyate
The blessed Lord said: When a man completely casts off, Oh Arjuna, all the desires of the mind,
and when his self is satisfied in the self, then is he said to be one of steady wisdom.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna points out in verse 55 that a stable human behavior implies separation of
"SELF" from the mind! When the mind engages in selfish desires, it evaluates success and failures
(pleasure and sorrow), it never gets the freedom. The mind needs diversion from selfish to unselfish
desires to get the freedom. Mahatma Gandhi, a perfect sage, has shown that through unselfish
service to the people, he was able to free the mind from desires. Gandhiji was able to puts away all
his desires and focus his mind and soul on the Supreme Reality. Gandhiji was a soft talker, a fast
walker and never a quitter! When a Sthitaprajna such as Gandhiji speaks, everybody listens. The
spiritual person acts for the social cause and for the community welfare without looking for an iota
of material benefit. Such a person attains the state of a perfect sage (Sthitaprajna).

No single individual has any control over his (her) action in this world. For example, an individual
who takes a flight from USA to India requires the collective actions and cooperation of visible and
invisible entities of the world. The conduct, cooperation, and the service of thousands of actors
from different parts of the world become necessary for the flight to materialize. Is it possible for
anyone to identify all these actors, the cause for their actions and the rewards for their actions? The
answer is obviously no! Any individual contribution to any cause or the effect becomes infinitesimal
if we measure the direct and indirect actors from all parts of the world. How do we determine
success and failure? What is success? What is failure? For what time period do we measure success
and failure? All such questions will have plenty of answers without any agreeable solution to satisfy
everyone. The mind that fails to understand the chain of actions and reactions rejoices over success
and regrets over failures. The duality of success and failure indulges the mind to create endless
loops of desires, successes and failures. When the mind perceives success from an action, ego
emerges to propel more actions and more ego. If it perceives failure from an action, it fuels more
actions in order to succeed and an endless loop emerges. In either case, ego occupies and keeps the
mind in motion. The only way to restore stability is remove all desires from the mind learn to be
content.

Do we behave like a perfect sage at any time in our real life? The answer is Yes! We as adults while
playing a game with our little child behave like a perfect sage. We spontaneously regain our true
nature and express unconditional love to the child. We concentrate more on playing the game to
keep the child happy and have no problems in losing! At the same time, success or failure of the
game affects the child and the child shows its emotions. The coaches of all major sports repeat the
message of Gita to the players as follows! "Give your best while playing and don't worry about the
results and never allow your emotion to drain your energy!" This bottom line message is the central
theme of Gita. Gita asks us to pursue our life with greater goals and higher motives and perform
our duties with the best of our abilities.

Verses 56 & 57:
duhkhesv anudvigna-manah sukhesu vigata-sprhah
vita-raga-bhaya-krodhah sthita-dhir munir ucyate
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.
yah sarvatranabhisnehas tat tat prapya subhasubham
nabhinandati na dvesti tasya prajna pratisthita
He who is everywhere without attachment, who neither rejoices nor despises on meeting with
anything - good or bad, his wisdom is established.
Verse fifty six describes characteristics of the mind of the perfect sage. Verse fifty seven reinforces
the qualities of the perfect sage with additional attributes. The mind of the perfect sage is steady
and calm. The sage possesses the discriminating wisdom to witness and experience events. The sage
of settled intelligence frees his mind from eager desire and will have no passion, fear and anger.
Should we rejoice when "good" happens and should we regret when "bad" happens? Dr.
Radakrishnan points out that we don't praise the flowers when they bloom and condemn when they
fade! We should learn to accept our role as a witness and recognize that we have no means of
judging the actors and results of an action!
Verse 58:
yada samharate cayam kurmo 'nganiva sarvasah
indriyanindriyarthebhyas tasya prajna pratisthita
When, like the tortoise which withdraws its limbs on all sides, he withdraws his senses from the
sense-objects, then his wisdom becomes steady.
This verse illustrates the behavior of the perfect sage using a compelling example. Bhagavan
reminds us that "steady and discriminating wisdom" imply that we have to act instantaneously.
What does the tortoise do when it sees an external interference to its path of movement? It moves
quickly inside its protective shell! The perfect sage also acts like the tortoise and withdraws the
senses from the objects of pleasure! Gita contains plenty of hidden treasures such as this example of
the tortoise. Animals in general always look for a shelter outside rather than inside. During crisis
times, monkeys climb over the top of trees and rats and rabbits jump and run toward holes and
gaps. A tortoise is on the other hand tucks "in" instead of running. Bhagavan implicitly reminds
that all external objects are obstructions to the spiritual path. Spiritual seekers should take the
shelter inside rather than outside!
The example of the tortoise is also important for another reason. Try to recollect the moral of the
famous Panchatantra story about the tortoise and the rabbit. Tortoises are slow and steady and
rabbits are fast and volatile. According to the story, the slow and steady tortoise was able to win the
race. The rabbit is a subtle reference to the material life style and tortoise is the reference to the
spiritual life style. Material life style can yield many successes but ultimately ends in failure. The
slow and steady spiritual life style can bring the ultimate success. When tortoise tucks inside the
shell, it shuts up all external contacts and hence protected! The spiritual seekers can learn a lot
from the tortoise to turn their attention inside and withdraw external sensory perceptions.
Verse 59 to 61:
visaya vinivartante niraharasya dehinah
rasa-varjam raso 'py asya param drstva nivartate
The objects of the senses turn away from the abstinent man, leaving the longing behind: but this
longing also turns away on seeing the supreme.
yatato hy api kaunteya purusasya vipascitah
indriyani pramathini haranti prasabham manah
The turbulent senses, 0h Arjuna, violently carry away the mind of a wise man though he be striving
to control them.
tani sarvani samyamya yukta asita mat-parah
vase hi yasyendriyani tasya prajna pratisthita
Having restrained them all, he should sit steadfast, intent on me. His wisdom is steady whose senses
are under control.

Verses fifty-nine to sixty-one elaborate the dangers of going after external objects for internal
pleasure. Gamblers, smokers, drinkers find it hard to quit their habits. Our problem is not the
object but the taste that we have developed through our senses for the objects! The evolution of the
desire for the objects originates when the tastes for the objects enter into the mind. When the mind
meditates on the "SUPREME," even the tastes for the objects, will disappear! Gita reinforces the
importance of the control over the mind and senses for removing the desires. When senses are left
loose, they propel the mind to go after the objects and controlling the mind becomes more difficult.
The floating mind remembers the tastes of object and drives the senses toward the objects! To stop
the car on the high way, we have to apply the brakes to all the four wheels! When one of them fails,
we can get into serious problems. Until we close all the doors and windows of the house, we have no
way of heating the house at the desired level! To shut the desires, we have to close the body, mind
and intellect! The senses of the Perfect Sage are under control and the sage remains firm in Yoga on
the Supreme.

Verses 62 & 63:
dhyayato visayan pumsah sangas tesupajayate
sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodho 'bhijayate
When a man thinks of the objects, attachment for them arises. From attachment desire is born.
From desire anger arises.
krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smrti-vibhramah
smrti-bhramsad buddhi-naso buddhi-nasat pranasyati
From anger comes delusion. From delusion loss of memory. From loss of memory the destruction
of discrimination. From destruction of discrimination, he perishes.
Verses 62 & 63 elaborate the dangers of indulging the mind on sense objects. When we start
drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, we register the taste of coffee in our mind and soon, we get
addicted to coffee. When we miss our morning coffee, we become angry. One of my friend, who
worked for the state government in India, was a heavy drinker. His wife had a tough time because
he physically and mentally abused her when he was drunk. The problem with drinking is twofold.
The mind gets agitated with or without the drink and is a no-win situation. My friend beat his wife
if she hid the liqueur bottles beyond his reach and also beat her after drinking his liqueur quota.
One day after a heavy dose of liqueurs, he died in front of his house ran over by a truck! The
reference "pranasyati" in verse 63 is subtle. The drunkard loses his "buddhi" instantaneously due
to addiction and when the desire is fulfilled, he loses his "buddhi" and "identity." When "XXX"
drinks and walks on the road, the reference changes to "drunkard" and an abrupt death of the
identity "XXX." XXX no more behaves like XXX but only as a drunkard! When we attend parties,
we can easily see difference between behavior of a normal and drunkard person.
One need not be a drunkard to lose the identity. Last time, when I visited India, I tried to buy my
airlines ticket in Delhi. The clerk demanded additional twenty dollars bribe to confirm the
reservation. When I refused to pay the bribe, the clerk was angry and abusive. The corrupt clerk
lost his true identity and became a "corrupt" person. This desire induced corruptive behavior was
responsible for him to lose his buddhi and respectable personality. Does Gita assert that we should
not eat, touch, smell, hear or see? The answer is obviously no! The message is about developing a
flexible mental attitude. When I feel thirsty, I have the natural instinct to drink some liquid that
could be water, juice, coffee, tea, coke, or sprite, etc. . If I desire to extinguish my thirst only by
drinking coffee then I have the "attachment" problem. If I am flexible enough to drink any
available drink to quench my thirst then I have "no attachment." Gita only advises us to be
"flexible" in order to be successful and we need to discipline ourselves to be flexible. The flower
plants need water and food to grow and yield beautiful flowers and they don't demand "specific
drinks or food!" We need to discipline our self to eat food without "attributes." Gita did not
contend it is easy and does not describe prescriptions.

Verses 64 & 65
raga-dvesa-vimuktais tu visayan indriyais caran
atma-vasyair vidheyatma prasadam adhigacchati
But the self-controlled man, moving among the objects with the senses under restraint and free
from attraction and repulsion, attains to peace.
prasade sarva-duhkhanam hanir asyopajayate
prasanna-cetaso hy asu buddhih paryavatisthate
In that peace all pains are destroyed: for the intellect of the tranquil-minded soon becomes steady.
Sthitaprajna (Perfect Yogi) has no attachment or aversion and has the Purity of Spirit (verse 64).
Sthitaprajna attains the "WISDOM" which is free from illusory sorrows (verse 65). Bhagavan
insists that we can attain peace, happiness, discriminating intelligence and concentration only by
freeing the mind from sensory perceptions.

This is our job to develop our own ethical values (Mamadharma) and discipline our life. Swami
Chinmyanada explains the role of Gita in shaping our daily life in the book, "A Manual of Self-
unfoldment," published by the Chinmaya Mission. Gita strongly suggests us not to have any
preconceived notions! Prejudices reflect our attachment to objects and they initiate hatred and
anger. The moment we allow the sense organs to take control, we lose our discriminatory power,
the gift of God and destroy our identity! When flowers bloom, they don't get any pleasure! They
give pleasure to the surroundings! They use their sense organs to eat and drink (fertilizer and
water!) with no preconception to the food they eat, the air they breathe, the light they catch, the
wind they touch or the water they drink! Any person who can give happiness to all without
prejudice will certainly attain tranquility. Will anybody ever challenge that this is not true? Let me
clarify what I mean by "flexible."

Flexibility means developing an attitude to be happy with what we have and not to demand objects
that we don't have. Also, we do need to develop skills and attitude to encounter different
environments. Let me give a recent experience of my son who filled up an application for a summer
job. There were lots of questions in the application form to evaluate his work habits. Persons with
greater number of skills with the flexibility to undertake more tasks in a diverse work environment
get selected for a job. Vasana is a complex terminology and requires careful scrutiny. It is almost
impossible to explain what it really means because it is highly personal! The presence or absence of
an object is not a necessarily a cause for Vasana but the root cause is the attachment to the object.
Attachment is a twin evil. When we become a slave to an object of our liking, we create hatred
toward other objects. Due to our attachment to french fries, we show our dislike for broccoli. Some
childhood Vasanas are no more a threat to matured adults. The Hindu Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu
and Siva are symbolic reminders to the endless cycle of the creation, perpetuation and destruction
of Vasanas. A simple method to destroy a Vasana is to develop a Vasana for another object.
Ideally, we have to find a way not to create any Vasana. According to Gita, if we divert our
attachment toward the Supreme we can get liberation from the cycle of creation, perpetuation and
destruction.  (Verses 66 to 68:)

nasti buddhir ayuktasya na cayuktasya bhavana
na cabhavayatah santir asantasya kutah sukham
There is no knowledge of the self to the unsteady and to the unsteady no meditation is possible, and
to the un-meditative there can be no peace and to the man who has no peace, how can there be
happiness?
indriyanam hi caratam yan mano 'nuvidhiyate
tad asya harati prajnam vayur navam ivambhasi
For the mind which follows in the wake of the wandering senses, carries away one's discrimination,
as the wind carries away a boat on the waters.
tasmad yasya maha-baho nigrhitani sarvasah
indriyanindriyarthebhyas tasya prajna pratisthita
Therefore, Oh Arjuna, his knowledge is steady whose senses are completely restrained from sense-
objects.

When the mind indulges in sensory perceptions, we lose our sense of balance and mental peace
(verse 66). Sthitaprajna implies realization of the "Absolute Reality," though such realization may
be possible, it can't be described. Gita stresses that sensory perceptions are the concrete walls
between the human and the Divine. Unless we break the concrete wall, we can't visualize Divinity.
Sensory perceptions create the illusion of joy, sorrow, good, bad, like and dislike.
Verse 67 is a beautiful poem with deep insights and it illustrates the destructive power of the rowing
senses. What will happen to a ship without the navigator on the deep sea? Powerful wind that
carries the ship will cause the ship to capsize. Similarly, the sense organs without any control will
make life helpless and purposeless. Ships in deep seas are subject to unexpected dangers from the
strong currents of the wind. Human lives without any control on senses are likely to lose peace by
the formidable influence of sensual pleasures. Verse 68 reinforces the message that the perfect yogi
has complete control of the senses over the sense-objects.

Subtle messages in Gita require background knowledge on Hindu scriptures! Vedavyasa, the author
of the Gita verses in written form, has skillfully organized a Hindu Philosophical Course with
theoretical and applied components. He has discussed the philosophical concepts in Bhagavad Gita
and the practical aspects of Mahabharat and Puranas. Characters of episodes in Mahabharat and
Puranas became role models to illustrate the conceptualized Dharma and values in Gita. Vyasa
knew that uniform ethical behavior (dharma) was necessary to protect law and order in the society.
Yudhistra, the hero of Mahabharat rigorously obeyed Hindu Dharma and values that represent the
‘good'. Dhruyodhana, the villain embodied Adharma (opposite of Dharma) and a symbolic
representation of ‘evil.' Vyasa dramatized the nature of good and evil using episodes through the
roles of heroes, villains and supporting characters. Public learnt 'good' and 'evil' using the Puranic
stories and chose and practice what they liked (Swadharma). The genius in Vyasa has composed an
objective Gita, a subjective Mahabharat, and informative volume of eighteen Puranas to establish
and preserve the Hindu Dharma and Values. Vedavyasa, the greatest intellect and revolutionary of
all times, had the VISION to protect and preserve the Hindu Culture. He completed this
monumental task with utmost care and with artistic perfection. Moral standards and Values of the
Hindu Civilization, established by great sages such as Vedavyasa were responsible for helping India
withstand the invasion of foreign culture and religions.

Verse 69:     a nisa sarva-bhutanam tasyam jagarti samyami
           yasyam jagrati bhutani sa nisa pasyato muneh
That state which is night to all beings, to the selfcontrolled man is wakefulness; when all beings are
awake that is night for the sage who sees.

The message of verse 69 is portrayed in an episode that contrasts between the mental attitudes of
'dharmic' Yudhistra and 'adharmic' Dhruyodhan: Lord Krishna commissions Dhruyodhan to spot
a good person and summons Yudhistra to locate a bad person. After several weeks, both
Dhruyodhan and Yudhistra came back without success! Dhruyodhan couldn't find a single good
person and Yudhistra didn't see a single bad person! Dharmic and Satvik people like Yudhistra
always see light in utter darkness. Adharmic and rajasik people like Dhruyodhan can see only
darkness even in splendid daylight! Verse 70 can be illustrated using the contrasting personal
qualities of Yudhistra and Dhruyodhan! Dhruyodhan's only desire was to acquire the kingdom at
any cost within his life time. He became angry when there were obstacles. Consequently, he lost his
buddhi, his friends and relatives. Some may argue that Bhishma and Karna remained on his side
until their death. A careful analysis will demonstrate their dislike of his attitudes and his adharmic
behavior. Bhisma and Karna who never lost a war chose to lose and die than to remain on his side!
Dhruyodhan's materialistic desire became the cause of his death and the death of his relatives and
friends!

Yudhistra on the other hand did not have any materialistic desires. He displayed equanimity and
was admired by everyone including his enemies! He showed no distress when he lost everything
including his kingdom, brothers and wife! He was willing to relinquish his materialistic possessions
including a princely lifestyle. Without reluctance, he fought the war against his own relatives and
friends. He had no likes or dislikes and was free from sorrows. Lord Krishna was always on his side
because he was a sthitaprajna!

Verse 70:    apuryamanam acala-pratistham samudram apah pravisanti yadvat
           tadvat kama yam pravisanti sarve sa santim apnoti na kama-kami
He attains peace into whom all desires enter as waters enter the ocean which, filled from all sides,
remains unmoved; but not the man who is full of desires.
Verse 70 contains the essence of the Vedantic philosophy in a nutshell. This verse in poetic form
uses a powerful simile to describe the qualities of the True Nature of the Jiva in no uncertain terms.
English Translation of verse 70 by Dr. Radhakrishnan: "He unto whom all desires enter as waters
into the sea, which, though ever being filled is ever motionless, attains to peace and not he who
hugs his desires."

The science of Vedanta expressed in Gita combines both the scientific rationale and the mystic
experience. We can possibly apply scientific rationale to explain rains, rivers and oceans. Science
explains why water is essential for the survival of life in this planet. Scientists also predict the time,
location and the amount of rain falls with a higher level of precision than ever before. They can
also explain why rain waters fill the rivers and why rivers can't be recognized when they reach the
ocean. But science has its own limitations. When scientific explanations stop, mystic experiences
start. Some of us while standing at the banks of the river, we experience inner peace and tranquility.
The reasons for inner peace and tranquility is beyond the scope of science. When we stand before
the Ocean, we are able to witness the boundless beauty and wonder of the nature filled with Divinity.

Science identifies water as the material connection between rain, river, ocean and life. The subtle
connection between material objects and life is mystic. Mysticism can be experienced but can never
be explained! Scientists will be able to prove that there can be no life without water. But scientists
could not disagree with the Vedantic claim that there is no life without consciousness! When rivers
reach the ocean, rivers lose their identities. When we realize Brahman, we become Brahman. Ocean
is a good visual image of infinity, it is motionless, silent and serene. Ocean is always full and we can
neither overfill nor empty the ocean!

The nerve center for human desires is the mind which undergoes changes with spiritual growth.
Rain waters represent the desires. River represents spiritual life. . When we adopt the spiritual path
of life, we divert our desires to satisfy community We are able to evolve a sense of direction and a
destination. The waters of the rivers flow through the planet for the survival of humans, animals,
plants and insects. The spiritual person also proceeds the life with the only desires and actions for
the betterment of the society. When the spiritual person reaches the ultimate destination,
(Brahman) he (she) loses the identify. The spiritual person attains Brahman with fulfilment of all
desires and reaches the motionless state of the Ocean.

Verse 71:   vihaya kaman yah sarvan pumams carati nihsprhah
          nirmamo nirahankarah sa santim adhigacchati
The man attains peace who, abandoning all desires moves about without longing, without the sense
of mine (possessiveness) and without egoism.

Verse 71 defines the nature of a person who suppresses all troubles of earthly existence. Dr.
Radhakrishnan points out the following beautiful quotation from the Upanishad: mano hi
dvividham proktam suddham cassuddham eva ca asuddham kamasamkalpam suddham
kamavivarjitam English Translation by Dr. Radhakrishnana: " The human mind is of two kinds,
pure and impure. That which is intent on securing its desires is impure; that which is free from
attachment to desires is pure."

The pure mind, is like the mind of Yudhistra and the impure mind is like that of Dhruyodhan.
Impure mind contains full of desires and ego while pure mind has no desires. Impure mind directs
one for self-destruction where as pure mind steers one to the self-realization! Purity is synonymous
to Truth and neither of them can be visualized but experienced. When impurities are removed,
Purity is perceived, similar to realizing Truth after negating lies! It is like practicing Dharma by
abandoning Adharmas! Asuddham, Asathya and Adharma are easily recognizable than Suddham,
Sathya and Dharma respectively! There are other word combinations in Sanskrit with similar
logical structure which include "Krama and Akrama," "Dhirya and Adhirya," "Sowkya and
Asowkya," "Sowkarya and Asowkarya," "Kala and Akala," etc. NASA scientists have studied and
recognized the importance of Sanskrit language structure for computer applications. An interesting
article in the magazine Nature, discusses the application of Panini's grammatical structure of
Sanskrit for computers. According to this article, the logical structure of artificial intelligence
problems can be analyzed using the grammatical structure Sanskrit.

Verse 72:   esa brahmi sthitih partha nainam prapya vimuhyati
           sthitvasyam anta-kale 'pi brahma-nirvanam rcchati
This is the seat of Brahman, Oh Arjuna. Attaining to this, none is deluded. Being established
therein, even at the end of life, one attains to oneness with Brahman.
In verse 72, Lord Krishna suggests that it is never too late to reach the divine state! The subtle
message is to remind us that we are better off to try today than to wait until the day of death!
Wisdom (divine state) is the means of liberation but this wisdom is not exclusive of devotion to
God and desire-less work. The Brahman is revealed only with total devotion and unselfish service
like that shown by Hanuman to Lord Rama. Unselfish service and total devotion are always united
and can never be separated! Dr.Radhakrishna refers us to a quotation by Dharmmapada, a disciple
of Lord Buddha: " Health is the greatest gain, contentment is the greatest wealth, faith is the best
friend and nirvana is the highest happiness."

Vedanta describes two types of visual perceptions: VISION and ILLUSION. What one sees through
the physical eyes (sense organs) is an illusion. Vision is an experience from the spiritual eye.
Everyone has the spiritual eye but no one wants to open it! According to our scriptures, Lord Siva
symbolically has three eyes: two physical eyes and the spiritual eye on the forehead. When Siva
opens his spiritual eye, the world of illusions is destroyed! Blindness is a reference to the blockage
of one's spiritual vision. Mahabharat describes physical and spiritual blindness beautifully using
three major characters

Dhrtarashtra, the king of Hastinapur was born blind. He was physically and spiritually blind. His
wife, Kanthari who chose to tie her physical eyes with a cloth was physically blind but had the
spiritual vision. Their son Dhruyodhan, the crown prince, had physical eyes but was spiritually
blind. Dhrtarashtra had the best opportunity to avoid sensory perceptions, but he chose to live in
the world of illusions. Dhruyodhan who had no control over his sensory perceptions was totally
blind and destroyed! Kanthari, who had full control over her sensory perception, was able to open
her spiritual eye. Opening of a spiritual eye symbolically represents total control over sensory
perceptions!

Skeptics, who live with a materialistic outlook, may question the practicality of Gita for daily
progress. Vedavyasa has ready answers for those skeptics in Gita, and they should invest their time
to find out the answers. There is no such thing as a free lunch in Gita. If the skeptics invest their
time to understand and follow the directions of Gita, they can reap the benefits. The returns for
their time spent to read Gita is greater and long-lasting than the returns from reading Wall Street
Journal. Vyasa was very careful to discriminate between divine (infinite) and human (finite)
qualities. Sthitaprajna, an absolute measure is a divine quality that can be attained only at a divine
state. Gita describes three finite dimensional human qualities: (1) Satvik - illumination, goodness,
and non binding, (2) rajasik - passion, attachment and agitated mind, and (3) tamasik - inaction,
ignorance and illusions. According to Gita, these three modes are present in all human beings,
though in different degrees. Satvik people are free, calm and selfless. Rajasik people wish to be
always active and cannot sit still and their activities are tainted by selfish desires. Tamasik people
subject their life to continuous submission to surrounding environment and they are confused and
dull. Gita asserts that a predominance of one or a combination of one or more of these
characteristics determine human behavior.

Episodes in Mahabharat and Puranas describe roles that require various combinations of satvik,
rajasik and tamasik qualities. The roles and intrinsic qualities of Dhrtarashtra, Kanthari, Kunthi,
Yudhistra, Arjun, Bhim, Nagul, Sagadev, Dhruyodhan, Dutchadhan, Vithura, Karna, Sanjay,
Yudhistra, Kanthari, Bhishma, Dhrona, etc. determine whether they are satvik, rajasik or tamasik.
These episodes dramatize the intrinsic qualities of those characters to the readers and help them to
evaluate and choose qualities for their personal behavior! The absolute quality, stithaprajna,
represents Pure behavior that can be attained by removing impure qualities. Each character in
Mahabharat including Dhruyodhan could become a stithaprajna if they remove their impurities.
Who can challenge this contention?

It is possible to conduct training courses to upgrade people from tamasik to rajasik, and from
rajasik to satvik. With rigorous practice and determination, we can become satvik and maintain
our satvik nature for any specified time period! No training or teaching can ever be possible to
move people from satvik to stithaprajna. The movement from human to Divine is a quantum jump.
It requires discipline, devotion, dedication and determination.

Application and practice of modern economic theory can bring measured happiness for a measured
amount of time. However, practice of the spiritual life stipulated in these verses can take us beyond
the finite dimensional material happiness to eternal happiness. Hindus believe that Gita is a
revelation from Lord Krishna and as such full comprehension is possible only with His grace. Each
individual has the freedom to choose the level of comprehension as desired.

In conclusion, the knowledge of "SELF" can come only from within and not from outside. In
chapter 18, verse 72, Lord Krishna asks Arjun whether he has removed his delusions and illusions?
Verse 73 contains Arjun's reply and he uses two profound words: "Smrtir Labdha" (memory
regained). The human life is the Grace of God and the seeker forgets this Truth and seeks to
remember the forgotten Truth. Spontaneity is rule of the Nature and every species other than the
human beings follows this rule. For human beings, Nature is the best training ground to understand
spontaneity. The flowers bloom in the morning spontaneously without anyone asking! The flowers
do not get any reward for their actions nor do they expect any rewards! The presence of flowers
brings divinity this may explain why we use flowers in all occasions of joy or sorrow. Trees and
plants do not store their wealth but share their possessions. Animals live, learn from and obey the
Nature. Animals only take what they need from nature, nothing more and nothing less! The rivers
and streams continue to flow day and night and supply water to plants, animals, birds and the
humans. The Hindu spiritual masters understood the Nature and want us to go along with the
Nature. When we regain the Sthitaprajna we obey the law of nature and enjoy our life renouncing
castles, dreams and worries of the mind.  "Life is greater than any art. I would go even further and
declare that the person whose life comes nearest to PERFECTION is the greatest artist; for what is
art without some foundation and framework of a whole life!" Mahatma Gandhi.

Om tat sat iti srimad bhagavadgitasupanisatsu brahmavidyayam yogasstre Sri
Krishnarjunasamvade Sthitaprajna nama ‘dhyayah

Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Geeta, in the Science of the Eternal, in the
Scripture of YOGA, in the dialogue between Sri krishna And Arjuna, the discourse on the topic
entitled Sithitaprajna ends.