samaha shatrau cha mitre cha tathaa maanaapamaanayoho |
sheetoshnasukhaduhkheshu samaha sangavarjitaha || 18 ||

 
He who is alike to friend and foe, in honour and dishonour, and also alike in cold and heat, in joy and sorrow, without attachment…
 
samaha : alike
shatrau : foe
cha : and
mitre : friend
cha : and
tathaa : also
maanaapamaanayoho : in honour and dishounour
sheetoshnasukhaduhkheshu : in cold and heat as well as joy and sorrow
samaha : alike
sangavarjitaha : without attachment
 
In this shloka and the next, Shri Krishna begins to summarize the signs of a perfected devotee. By using the word “samaha” twice, he emphasizes equanimity and stability of the devotee’s antahakarana or inner instrument that is made possible through intense devotion to Ishvara. Right from the second chapter, we have repeatedly heard about the importance of bringing equanimity to the inner instrument, which is made up of our intellect, our mind and senses, our ego and our memory. Just like an astronomer can see extremely faint light from stars that are millions of miles away using his telescope, we can experience the eternal essence only if our inner instrument is free of desires and agitations caused by the reactions mentioned in this and the next shloka.
 
Our inner equipment contacts the world through the sense organs. The skin, for example, experiences heat and cold. This reporting of hotness or coolness is akin to a thermometer in that it is extremely objective and factual. When this sensation travels to the mind, however, it can be interpreted either as joy or sorrow based on inputs from other sense organs and from the memory. If the skin sends a message of hotness, the mind feels joy in winter and sorrow in summer. Similarly, sounds are picked up by the ear, sent to the mind which compares them against its memory to generate words. If the words enhance the ego, the “doer” notion in the intellect, registers a sense of honour. If the words bring down the ego, the intellect registers dishonour.
 
What causes the intellect and the mind to attach all these positive and negative reactions to simple messages that come from the skin and the ears and so on? It is the degree of attachment or identification of the ego. If the ego is heavily attached to the body, for example, then any comment about the body will generate a strong positive or negative reaction in the mind, disturbing its sense of equanimity in the process.
 
But one who has removed his attachment from the body/mind/intellect and attached himself to the service of Ishvara does not generate strong positive or negative reactions. He considers his body as a part of Ishvara’s creation, therefore there is very little sense of egoism when it comes to the body, mind or intellect. When someone criticizes a devotee’s body, it is like someone is criticizing a random object that the devotee has no connection with, and hence, no strong positive or negative reaction is generated.
 
The message of this shloka concludes in the following shloka.

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