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Observing Neutral State – Samatva

In Hindu philosophy, Samatva is observing a neutral state. It is a sakshi bhava (witness-like attitude). This is commended in Hindu sacred literature. In Yoga, the objective is not to get merged with the ultimate principle but to have absolute awareness. The effort is to stay disinterested all the time, not allowing the balance to tilt. Such an achievement is available when the quality of sattva (purity) predominates and is transcended. This becomes a very worthy goal for a student of Yoga.

The virtue of samatva (a balanced state) seems to be the ideal, which the Bhagavad Gita is never tired of emphasizing again and again. This balanced state can be attained in three different stages –

Equanimity of mind or a balanced view of joys and sorrows, praise and blame in all situations in life.

Viewing people, good, bad or indifferent, a friend or an enemy, with an equal eye and in the same impartial spirit.

The final stage of the achievement of this equanimity is the self-realized state when one is absolutely unperturbed by all worldly things – a state of transcendence called gunatita.

The solution to many of our problems lies in a clear-cut commitment to certain values in life. The important question often is not who is right but rather what is right. It is the question of the ego.

What is good is different from what is pleasant and that what is pleasant is not necessarily for our good. One who puts up with irritating situations and unsympathetic individuals grows in one’s understanding about the nature of things around one’s self.

What was in the beginning just an act of will (tapa) later on turns out to be a positive gain in spiritual understanding.

The Bhagavad Gita states – Engage yourself in action, O Dhananjaya, giving up attachment as the doer. Standing firm in equanimity towards success and failure. This is called samatva (balanced state of mind) and this is Yoga (Bhagavad Gita 11.48).

There is  no doubt that this unconcern for one or the other is impossible unless a total disinterestedness even for one’s ideals and beliefs, is developed. It is only this inner certainty of existence of something beyond the mind, thoughts and feelings that can lead to this disinterestedness. Such disinterestedness and the resulting balanced state is not only very important in one or another area like judiciary or administration, but is the essence of good living. We have thus the symbol of a lotus growing in mire but yet unaffected.