Scripture Study: Bhagavad Gita, book two verses 62-65

Scripture Study: Bhagavad Gita, book two verses 62-65 May 19, 2015

We are doing a scripture study together: reading along through some scriptures and discussing the passages.

From the Winthrop Sargeant translation of The Gita…

62. For a man dwelling on the objects of the senses,
An attachment to them is born;
From attachment, desire is born;
From desire, anger is born.

63. From anger arises delusion;
From delusion, loss of the memory;
From loss of the memory, destruction of discrimination;
From destruction of discrimination one is lost.

64. With the elimination of desire and hatred,
Even though moving among the objects of the senses,
He who is controlled by the Self,
By self-restraint, attains tranquility.

65. In tranquility, the cessation of all sorrows
Is born for him.
Indeed, for the tranquil-minded
The intellect at once becomes steady.

Notes on the Sanskrit

In verse 64, the “tranquility” is actually the word prasadam, which is the same as the blessed food and offerings given back to devotees after it is blessed by the Lord. So this word has a suggestion of grace from God imbued in it.

Commentaries of Gurus

Having pointed out the defect of not having the external physical senses under control, the defect in not having the mind under control is now being given in these two verses. –Sridhara Swami’s Commentary

From illusion one becomes completely ruined. One loses focus on the goal of material existence and the purpose of human life and lives in the darkness of nescience. Thus it must be understood that controlling ones mind is essential. –Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary

Lord Krishna is revealing how one is able to triumph over the senses in the latter part of the verse. He states that even while experiencing the senses if one has their mind under firm control the senses are also under firm control and one becomes successful.  –Madhvacarya’s Commentary

Lord Krishna now explains that when the mind is placid and pure it has enacted for itself the cessation of all miseries arising from conjunction with prakriti materialism. Prasanna-chetah refers to that delightful one whose mind is expunged of all impediments that hinders it from realising the eternal soul while bestowing the spiritual intelligence needed for illumination. Thus when the mind has been purified all sorrow is terminated. –Ramanuja’s Commentary

My Thoughts

These verses may sound somewhat familiar to you. They are quite similar to the progression a little green guru in Star Wars suggests: “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” This idea is present not only in the Gita, but in the Upanishads as well.

At least some of our suffering comes from our holding onto negative thoughts and emotions like fear, anger, and desire.

I think one can enjoy something without wanting/needing to possess it and hold onto it. That desire to hold on is the attachment and it opens us up to disappointment and anger when we are unable to hold onto the object of our desires. But since everything changes and we take nothing with us when we die, we will inevitably be disappointed if we are attached.

The ideal, difficult though it is, is to completely enjoy each thing while it is present in our lives and gracefully let it go when it moves out of our lives. Much easier said than done.

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