Sambuddhi Yoga Equanimity of the Mind

Sambuddhi Yoga – Equanimity of the Mind (Blog 14)

Bhagavad Gita attaches great value to equanimity. Importance of equal-mindedness has repeatedly been stressed in various shlokas of this sacred scripture.

Krishna says in shloka 2.14 that joy and sorrow, like heat and cold, arise from the contact of senses with their objects and do not last for ever. Hence, one should learn to endure them. When it is said that pleasure and pain etc. arise from the contact of senses with their objects, it implies that such pairs of opposites relate only to the body and the mind ; and not to the soul within.

Whereas joy of the soul is self-existent, everlasting and independent of particular causes and effects ; the sensations of material delight and distress change from time to time. Since such feelings of the senses are temporary, one should learn to accept them with mental calmness and evenness of temper.

In shloka 2.15, it is stated that he who is not troubled by pleasure and pain and remains the same in both, such a man of patience is considered to be eligible for eternal life. In other words, the one who does not lose his patience during favourable and unfavourable circumstances ; and maintains evenness of his mind, such a serene person becomes fit for achieving liberation from material bondage.

Further, in shloka 5.22 Krishna states that the wise do not indulge in enjoyments that arise out of contact of the senses with their objects, as the pleasures so derived are transient ; and eventually lead to sorrow.

In this shloka, the teacher has analysed the nature of worldly pleasures. An element of inadequacy is inherent in such joys because they are finite. At some point in time, they have to come to an end. Moreover, they cannot satisfy one for long. Ultimately they prove to be a source of misery. Hence, one should not be lost in such enjoyments.

Krishna taught that one should perform his duty sincerely without bothering about success and failure etc. In shloka 2.38, he advised Arjuna that treating pleasure and pain, gain and loss ; and victory and defeat alike, he should get ready for the battle. In this manner, he would not incur any sin. The same theme has further been elaborated in shloka 4.22 wherein it is stated that the one who is beyond dualities of pleasure and pain etc., who is content with whatever comes his way, who is free from envy ; and who is the same in success and failure – such a person is not bound by action. In shloka 2.48 Krishna reiterated that one should do his duty abandoning all attachment ; equipoised in success and failure. He further stated that such evenness of mind is called yoga.

It has been explained in shlokas 2.56 and 2.57 that intelligence of the one who is able to face ups and downs of life with equal ease, remains steady. He is not shaken by prosperity or adversity and praise or blame etc. He welcomes both with equal-mindedness.

The state of perfect equanimity is the state of blessedness in which one establishes himself in unity with Pramatman, the Supreme Self. It has been stated in shloka 5.20 that the one who neither rejoices on getting the pleasant nor is perturbed by the unpleasant, who is of stable mind ; and who is free from doubt – such a knower of Brahman is forever established in Him. It has further been stated in shloka 6.7 that the Supreme Self remains established in the consciousness of a jit-atman (the one who has conquered all senses including the mind). He remains at peace in joy and sorrow, heat and cold, honour and dishonour etc.

The importance of equanimity of mind also becomes clear from the fact that in shloka 13.10, constant equal-mindedness with regard to that which is desirable and to that which is undesirable has been declared, along with some other traits, to be the spiritual knowledge (gyan – wisdom).

In some other shlokas, equanimity of mind has also been held to be an important ingredient for being such a devotee who is dear to God, and for the one who is good doer of work (sattvic karta). Similarly, remaining the same in honour and dishonour has been held to be an essential trait for those who want to transcend the three modes of material nature.

Thus, it can be said that sorrows of the world do not shake the one who has gained inward freedom. To progress on the path of spirituality and also in day to day life, equanimity of the mind is considered to be most essential. But, a question is often asked as to how can such an equanimity be cultivated. Answer to this question can be found in shloka 6.35 wherein Krishna concedes that the mind being restless is very difficult to curb. At the same time, he has assured that it can still be controlled by constant practice and detachment.

When such an attitude of detachment becomes spontaneous, one attains perfect calmness of mind, irrespective of the external circumstances.

To sum up, when a man of patience and steady intelligence is able to face the ups and downs of life with equal-mindedness and remains joyfully and blissfully immersed in his work ; without any worry about success and failure etc., he attains perfect serenity of mind. He remains at peace with himself and others. Such a person of even mind experiences eternal bliss.

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