vishayaa vinivartante niraahaarasya dehinaha |
rasavarjam rasopyasya param drishtvaa nivartate || 59 ||

Objects turn away from the fasting individual, but their taste remains. For the individual who has realized the absolute, the taste also turns away.

vishayaah : objects (of the senses)
vinivartante : turn away
niraahaarasya : fasting
dehinaha : individual
rasavarjam : except taste
rasah : taste
api : also
asya : for this individual
param : absolute
drishtvaa : realized
nivartate : turn away

In the last shloka, we encountered the “tortoise technique” which taught us how to guard ourselves when we encounter factors that can cause us agitation. It does work assuming we remain aware and alert about our thoughts. But if we have strong predispositions or vaasanaas towards any object, person or situation, the memory or “taste” of that factor will keep popping up in our mind. So in this shloka, Shri Krishna provides an overview of how one begins to address the removal of deep rooted predispositions, which is one of the primary goals of any spiritual teaching.

Let’s go back to the black forest chocolate cake example from last time. You saw a piece of cake, you realized that you may succumb to it, and you took a few steps back. But a little later, the taste of that cake from a prior experience will pop up in your mind and begin to torment you. All you can think of for a while will be cake. This is what makes dieting difficult. Our mind keeps pushing us towards food each time we try to restrain ourselves.

So what is the solution? In the shloka, Shri Krishna says that the taste also turns away when we “realize the absolute”. What he means is that we need to set our goal on something higher than ourselves, and hold on to that goal throughout our life. The higher the goal, the greater chance that we will get rid of our predispositions.

When we begin any diet, we typically set a goal, e.g. “I have to lose 2 kg in 3 weeks”. Now, with this shloka in mind, we could try to set a higher goal, which could be “I need to lose this weight so that I can stay healthy to take care of my family”. Or it could be “I need to lose this weight so that I can fulfill my svadharma in the best possible manner”.

In later chapters, the Gita goes into great detail as to how we can gradually set higher and higher goals and ultimately set the highest goal, the “absolute” goal mentioned in this shloka, so that we can burn away all of our predispositions.