Gita Daily Readings

15th February
Chapter II:54
Arjuna said: What, Oh Krishna, is the description of him who has steady wisdom and is merged in the super-conscious state? How does one of steady wisdom speak, how does he sit, how does he walk?

Commentary

The state of unruffled wisdom or cosmic consciousness is within the apprehension of neither thought nor speech. One cannot grasp it by thought nor can it be described in words. Teaching or instruction necessarily involves description. If that is ruled out, how is anyone even to aspire to cosmic consciousness?

Hence, our great scriptures are replete with stories illustrative of the ideal man. For instance, even the simple virtue of "endurance" can be misunderstood to suggest impotent submission. What is the difference between enlightened surrender and helpless slave-mentality? Outwardly both of them might look similar. To bring out the inward distinction, we have the stories of the trials and tribulations which the Pandavas had to endure.

In reply to Arjuna's query, Krishna gives the vital characteristics of a sage: they are illustrated in great detail in the lives of Rshabha, Jada Bharata, and devotees like Prahlada and Sudama. It is from their personal example that we derive direct inspiration. They can (and should) only inspire (breathe into) us. Having received the breath of religious life, we should live it and not even try to compare ourselves with or blindly copy them.

Study of the lives of great saints is the greatest spiritual tonic or food, which no yoga aspirant can afford to neglect. Spiritual truths live in them. Studying their lives and studying scriptures bear the same relation as eating sugar and eating paper with the word "sugar" written on it - without, of course, discounting the value of scriptural study, which has its own place of secondary importance in the aspirant's life.

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