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Transcendental Equanimity In The Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita's esoteric purpose is to guide Arjuna away from his fixation on his lower self and transform his perspective to align with his higher self. Arjuna's lower 'I' is entangled in its desires, emotions, and caprices. This egotistic 'aham' believes that it is the perpetrator of violence and is afraid of incurring sin by fighting against his own kin. Krishna's intention is for Arjuna, and by extension, all of us, to elevate ourselves by our own efforts to the level of identifying with the 'universal I' which is devoid of selfishness, animosity, or desire. This 'I' is not the doer or the killer; it is the Prakriti, the nature, that carries out all actions. By associating with this higher 'I,' one achieves a state of actionlessness, referred to as "naishkarmya-siddhi." The means to attain this state are succinctly described by Krishna in verses 51 to 56 of the eighteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, effectively encapsulating the essence of the entire scripture.

The term 'obtains' is somewhat misleading in this context because the realization of brahma-bhava, being in Brahman or becoming Brahman, is not something to be acquired; it is inherently present and needs only to be recognized. There is no actual process of 'becoming' involved. It is not as if it is beyond one's reach, requiring effort to attain, but the Bhagavad Gita uses the word 'Apnoti' (reaches, obtains) to describe it because words are insufficient to convey its true nature. As the Upanishad wisely states, "yato vaco nivartante," meaning words recoil from attempting to describe it.

Krishna outlines the steps towards realizing this state of brahma-bhava: disciplining the intellect, maintaining purity, exercising willpower, detaching from external disturbances, and relinquishing attachments. Meditation in a solitary setting, consuming food only for sustenance, controlling speech, body, and mind, consistently practicing dhyana-yoga, and embracing dispassion (not physical renunciation, but the balanced allocation of importance to each matter) are emphasized. This does not denote indifference but a deep understanding of the value of each aspect of life. Everything is transient, and with time, the significance of our current concerns diminishes. Ego, physical strength, arrogance, desire, anger, and possessiveness must be discarded, as indicated by Krishna when summarizing the Bhagavad Gita, underscoring their significance. Such an individual is already at peace with themselves and is on the path to Transcendental Equanimity (brahma-sthiti).