tadbuddhyastadaatmanaastannishthaastatparayaanaaha |
gacchantyapunaraavrittim jnyaanirdhootakalmashaaha || 17 ||

His intellect lies in that, his mind lies in that, his conviction lies in that, his goal lies in that. He reaches that state from which there is no return, (due to) his sins removed by knowledge.

tadbuddhyaha : intellect lies in that
tadaatmanaaha : mind lies in that
tannishthaaha : conviction lies in that
tatparayaanaaha : goal lies in that
gacchanti : reaches that state
apunaraavrittim : from which there is no return
jnyaanirdhoota : knowledge removes
kalmashaaha : sins

Many years ago, I was talking to a renowned musician who made a statement that stuck with me: “You know you are a true musician when you breathe, eat, sleep, walk and talk music. There is nothing in your life but music”. That statement reveals how much thirst a person has for his goal.

In this shloka, Shri Krishna illustrates the personality of the seeker whose aspiration for the eternal essence is so intense that his entire personality resonates with that thirst for the eternal essence. His mind, intellect, conviction, goal – all these are aligned with the eternal essence.

It is important that both the mind and intellect need to be convinced that the only goal worth pursuing is the eternal essence, even if the eternal essence has not yet been realized. It is like the scientists who planned the mission to the moon, yet none of them had ever been on the moon. The mind needs to have love for the moon, and the intellect needs to enjoy the intellectual challenge that the task entails. If only the mind is convinced, it could lead into superstition. If only the intellect is convinced, it could lead into nihilism. Only when mind and intellect are convinced is when the whole personality is oriented towards the eternal essence.

So then, what happens to such a person with intense thirst for the eternal essence? Once he gains the knowledge of the eternal essence, he transcends all duality, including the notion of sins and demerits. Poetically, Shri Krishna puts it as the “state from which there is no return”, because all notions of duality have completely disappeared.