Steadfast and the Loved One
T.N. Dhar 'Kundan'
A divine poetry, as the Bhagwad Gita is, it
is interesting to note, that it is written in conversational form.
Conversation between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, which forms the
core content and conversation between Sanjay and Dhritrashtra
that narrates and reproduces the whole dialogue. Obviously, therefore, there
are questions and answers, counter questions and detailed explanations. Out of
the many important, inquisitive and interesting questions posed by Arjuna
and replied by Sri Krishna, two questions stand out in as much
as they sum up the message of the Geeta in respect of the conduct of
the mankind. The first one asked towards the last quarter of Chapter 2, is to
know the distinguishing features of a steadfast person; his gait, his posture
and his speech (Sthittaprajnasya Ka Bhasha….BG 2.54).
The second question asked in the beginning of Chapter 12 seeks to know which
of the two is superior, one who is a devout with unhindered concentration on
the beautiful form of the lord with attributes and the other who is a devotee
of the formless and attribute-less Lord (Saguna & Nirguna……..tesham
ke yogavittama BG 12.1). In reply to this question Sri Krishna
lists out the characteristics of a devout loved by Him the most. Earlier, in
Chapter 7, the devotees have been classified into four categories (I) one who
is drawn to Ishwara Bhakti (Devotion) because of his troubles and
tribulations, (ii) one who is inquisitive to know, (iii) one who seeks wealth
and (iv) one who is full of knowledge (Chaturvidha Bhajantey Mam….BG
7.16) and the lord says that the fourth type of devotee is endowed with
unflinching, constant, and undivided devotion and therefore is distinguished.
He loves the Lord and is loved by Him.
These two questions are inter related because the
distinguishing features listed out in respect of a steadfast person are the
same as the qualities required of a devotee to be the loved one of the Lord
Himself. In other words it is the steadfast person who is the favoured and
loved one of the Lord.
Let us first see what the qualities of a steadfast person
are. Sthitaprajna, shuns all the desires arising in the mind and is
satisfied in himself, by himself. He is undisturbed in grief, unattached to
pleasures. He is devoid of love, fear, and anger and has a firm intellect.
Un-lured all the time, he neither revels on receiving anything good nor hates
anything bad. He withdraws his senses from sense objects like the tortoise
withdraws his limbs. He drinks deep the nectar of the supreme vision and feels
satiated even without actually enjoying worldly pleasures. He controls all his
senses, which would otherwise lead his mind astray, trusts in the supreme and
diverts all his energy to realising Him with all the concentration. Unattached
with the sense objects, he is in full control of himself and is ever happy.
Because of this everlasting happiness, all his grief is gone. He is at peace
with himself which leads to firmness of the intellect. He is aware that the
sense objects divert the senses and thus create disharmony. Therefore he keeps
his senses in check and absorbs all the desires in himself without losing his
poise and peace. He conducts himself without any attachment, has no
attraction, no ego and no affection (Bhagwat Gita 2.55 to 71). This
steadfastness is a divine state of mind and leads one to liberation and
realisation of the Supreme (BG 2.72).
In reply to the other question, Sri Krishna praises both
types of devotees; those worshipping Saguna and those worshipping Nirguna
Parmeshwara (Lord with form and without form, with attributes and without
attributes) He underlines the fact that both in effect worship one and the
same lord and what is important is unflinching faith in Him and undivided
concentration on Him. In this context, He enumerates the qualities of a
devotee most loved by Him (BG 12.13 to 20). These qualities are that such a
devotee bears no ill will towards anyone. He is friendly and compassionate. He
is unattached, without any ego and poised in pain and pleasure. He is ever
satisfied, his mind fixed on the Lord, his senses under his full command and
firm in his resolve. His mind and intellect are placed at the feet of the
lord. He is a source of grief to none and no one is a source of grief to him.
He is free from joy, envy, fear and grief. Contended, he is pious, efficient,
neutral, without any remorse and performs his duties unmindful of the fruit.
He is neither pleased nor hateful, neither grieves nor covets. For him nothing
is favourable or unfavourable, auspicious or un-auspicious. For him there is
no difference between a friend and a foe, respect and disrespect. Be it cold
or hot, be it pleasure or pain, he is unattached. His reaction is the same
when praised and when criticised. He remains calm and gets satisfaction in
whatever he has. He is not attached to any one place but is devoted to the
Lord all the time and has a firm intellect. He has unflinching faith in the
Lord, acts as ordained with supreme faith in Him.
Now if one were to compare the two sets of qualities, one
set prescribed for a steadfast person, and the other set for the devout loved
one by the Lord, one would find that these are by and large identical. In
order to endear ourselves to the Lord, we have to be steadfast and if the Lord
loves us it ipso-facto means that we are endowed with a firm intellect.
Apart from the qualities of unflinching faith in the Lord
and supreme devotion, what is needed is harmony, poise, and equilibrium, both
in body and mind, i.e. Samatwa. It is this poise that has been likened
with Yoga (BG 2.48). Yoga in effect means final merger with the Divine
and this can be brought about by adopting a balanced attitude towards life in
all circumstances and in divergent situations of gain and loss, pleasure and
pain, honour and dishonour and bouquets and brick bats.
These qualities and this state of mind can be developed and
acquired by constant practice about which the Geeta says that it takes
so many lives to attain such a state where one sees everything in the Divine
(Vasudevah Sarvamiti Sa Mahatma Sudurlabhah… BG 7.19). Having attained
this position and after complete surrender before the Lord, one deserves the
Divine grace. The Lord takes note of the fact that the devout is all the time
wedded to His love and as stated in Chapter 10,Slokas 10 and 11, He
lights the lamp of his wisdom, removes the dark veil of ignorance from his
eyes and grants him ways and means to attain Him. This transforms the devout
from the position of Dasoham (I am His servant) to that of Soham
(I am He). For this he has to (Da) i.e give (up) himself, his ego, and
merge with the Ultimate Truth (param Sat). This is the goal that a
steadfast and a loved one has set for himself.