Contentment with the self

k Siva Prasad

Gita Acharan

(K Siva Prasad is an IAS officer and these writings can be accessed at /GitaAcharan and /@GitaAcharan).

Lord Krishna reveals what is pure sankhya (awareness) from verse 2.11 to 2.53, which was completely new territory for Arjun. Arjun wanted to know (2.54) about sthithpragna (one with coherent wisdom/intellect) who has attained samadhi (established in self) and how a sthithpragna speaks, sits and walks.

Through clarifications to Arjun, (2.54 onwards) Krishna sets the standards and benchmarks to help our comparison seeking mind, which always looks for benchmarks against which to measure ourselves as we make progress in our spiritual journey.

Krishna says (2.54) that the sthithpragna casts off all desires of the mind and is contented in the atma (self) by atma . When one is content with the self, desires (motivations) automatically drop. As desires drop, all their actions (doing) become nishkama karma (unmotivated action).

Our basic desire is to be different than what we are. We get bored too quickly. This is captured in economics as “satisfied desire (need) no more motivates us”. Basically, everyone uses it as a tactic on everyone else, making it difficult to attain sthithpragna . For example, consumer product companies introduce new products/models regularly, as they know that we want to have a different model every now and then.

On the other hand, if we are not content with ourselves or at least believe that we are capable of, how can we expect others, including family, to be happy with us. On the contrary, how can we attain joy from others who are incapable of making themselves self-contended.

Dropping desires requires a deep-seated awareness that every chase for pleasure is just like chasing a mirage and all our life experiences only confirm this basic truth. The practical way to drop desires is to consciously reduce their intensity and see for ourselves the peace this brings to us.

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