प्रजहाति यदा कामान्सर्वान्पार्थ मनोगतान् |
आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्ट: स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते || 55||
śhrī bhagavān uvācha
prajahāti yadā kāmān sarvān pārtha mano-gatān
ātmany-evātmanā tuṣhṭaḥ sthita-prajñas tadochyate
śhrī-bhagavān uvācha—The Supreme Lord said; prajahāti—discards; yadā—when; kāmān—selfish desires; sarvān—all; pārtha—Arjun, the son of Pritha; manaḥ-gatān—of the mind; ātmani—of the self; eva—only; ātmanā—by the purified mind; tuṣhṭaḥ—satisfied; sthita-prajñaḥ—one with steady intellect; tadā—at that time; uchyate—is said
The Blessed Lord said: When a man renounces completely all the desires of the mind, and when he is fully satisfied with his mind fixed in Atma, then he is declared to be a man of steady wisdom.
Many people go to a holy man and ask him, “Revered Sir, when shall we be free from the ills of life ?” The holy man repeats this sloka in response to their appeal. The auspicious moment of liberation from the ills of life is in the hands of each individual. When you have acquired faith in the eternal Self, and when you carry out the precepts of spiritual discipline when the mind is brought to a state of equanimity, and when it is fixed steadily in Atma, that very moment man is liberated and he becomes a jivanmukta. Liberation is a natural process and not a sudden high jump into the spiritual realm. The Sastras and the holy men point the way, and the seeker has to realise the truth by his own self-effort.
Now, what is that practice which leads to emancipation? Desires should be given up. The Lord uses a strong term Prajahati instead of jahati, implying thereby that desires should be given up thoroughly, and again, not simply some desires but all desires, without leaving the least residue in the innermost recesses of the mind. This is the inevitable and universal law. There is no other way. Even if the smallest seed of desire is left in the pit of the mind, it sprouts and grows unconsciously, and there is always the danger of the seeker being driven out of the self-state and once again plunged in the mire of delusion.
That is what the sastras say. It is not sufficient to partly give up all desires or totally give up some desires only. All desires should be given up totally for all time.
Desires lie concealed in the unseen nooks and corners of the mind. They survive in the seed form of mental impressions. Whenever they come into contact with the objects of the material world through the senses, they spring up with subtle and irresistible force and cause samsara. Bondage and delusion are not in the outside world. They are inside the mind. It is here that the spiritual operation should be conducted, and the diseased mind-stuff cut off. The mind is something like a dark cavern that is only partially visible to man. The lamp of discrimination should be lighted, and there should be a thorough search of the vast dark region to find out the last and least living desire and burn it up into ashes. Just as all the small pebbles in grain are sifted and thrown off before food is prepared, just as all the weeds are cleared off when the garden plants are grown, just as all worms, germs, and pests are removed from vegetable plants, even so, all the desires should be carefully searched for and rejected by the seeker.
These desires are of very ancient origin, as the darkness in an undiscovered cave is there from time immemorial. They have taken root in the subtle body through innumerable births. They are mental impressions (vasanas). Having established themselves firmly by spreading their roots deep into the subtle body, they cause samsara, the endless cycle of birth and death for man. They should be pulled out along with the roots. Otherwise, some little desire left untouched is capable of causing a birth or even a whole series of births. Particles of fire from a half-extinguished heath is capable of destroying a whole colony of huts. Therefore the Lord here insists on complete renunciation of all desires forever. Towards this final renunciation, inquiry into the Self, discrimination of the real and the unreal, surrender to the Lord, company of holy men, and such other practices should be undertaken by the aspirant. The Lord immediately explains what happens when the mind is purified of all desire-breeding impressions.
Satisfied with his mind fixed in Atma: This is the consummation of all spiritual practices to be perfectly satisfied in the Self by the self. When all the desires are cast off, the mind remains quiet in Atma – the very source of all bliss. Fullness of joy – where is it to be found? It is in the Self. Bliss is not outside in the external objective world. One may go on searching for it in earth and sky, in the fourteen worlds up and down inch by inch, he cannot find it, because it is not there. Of what use is it to search for a thing in a place where it is not? And yet, such is the power of maya that man seeks for it, in spite of repeated failures and disappointments – disasters and calamities, in the objective world. The search is carried and birth after birth, till man tired and exhausted by his pursuit of the hare’s horn, may be out of sheer despair, turns inwards into his own Self, and Lo ! the miracle happens, he finds that joy in his own self; that joy and Self are one. The mind is purified, and in the purified mind, the natural and spontaneous bliss of Atma is reflected in a flash. This is the secret of Vedanta. Brahmananda is not a newly manufactured article by the skill and technology of man. It is already there by its own right, already full, unpolluted, and uncontaminated by any material taint. But it is covered up, misunderstood, and muddled up with extraneous things. To remove the impure covering and discover the natural ananda is the aim of Vedanta. Now, the man of discrimination clears up the dust and garbage from his mind and finds that the happiness which he has been seeking from everywhere in the world, is in his own Self. When the outer covering of moss is cleared, pure water is seen. When the dust is cleared off a mirror, it shows a clear reflection. So also, when the impurity of mind in the form of desire is taken away, the seer Atma reveals himself as the pure and perfect Self of man. The search for happiness ends here. So the Lord points out both the aspects of Vedanta-the practice of equanimity and desirelessness and then the goal to be attained. The practice is the renunciation of desire, and the goal is the experience of Atma. The first is Sadhana, and the second is Sadhya. The practice leads to the goal.
So the first outstanding quality of the sthitaprajna is untainted and perfect bliss. This is his badge, his flag, the banner of his achievement. He is distinguished from others by this characteristic feature. When we find the ignorant people plunged in fear and sorrow, distracted and restless, he alone remains free and blissful in the midst of the ever-changing spectacle of human life.
According to Sri Sarada Devi, desires for knowledge, devotion, and salvation cannot be classed as desires because they are higher desires. One should first replace the lower desires with higher desires and then renounce the highest desires also and become absolutely free. It is said that the highest freedom is the freedom from becoming free.
Question: What is the characteristic mark of sthitaprajna?
Answer: Giving up of all desires, and contentment in the self are his qualities.
Question: Where is uncontaminated joy?
Answer: In the Self – Atma.