udaaseenavadaaseeno gunairyo na vichaalyate |
gunaa vartante ityeva yovatishthathi nengate || 23 ||

 
One who is sits like an indifferent person, is not agitated by the gunas, who, knowing that the gunas interact with each other, is firmly situated and does not move.
 
udaaseenavat : indifferent person
aaseenaha : seated
gunaihi : through gunaas
yaha : one who
na : not
vichaalyate : agitated
gunaaha : gunas
vartante : interact
iti : in this manner
eva : only
yaha : one who
avatishthathi : situated firmly
na : does not
ingate : move
 
Previously, Shri Krishna indicated the mental state of one who has transcended the gunas. He now addresses the second question – how does one who has gone beyond the gunas behave in this world. He says that such a person lives life with ease and grace. He is like the graceful elephant who walks on the road, unaffected by the horde of dogs that is barking at him. We have come across such people ourselves, who remain calm and unperturbed even when facing their darkest personal challenges.
 
What makes a person so calm? There are two factors. First, even though such a person may not look like a monk from the outside, he has a great deal of detachment towards the world. Second, such a person is seated on an unshakeable platform, his own self. Both factors are possible through the conviction and constant awareness that the entire world, including one’s own body, is a play of the three gunas. It is the difference between getting swept away by the waves or sitting calmly on the beach. It is the difference between participating in a street fight or observing the fight from a second floor balcony.
 
What does all this mean in practice? It means when our mind is agitated, we will not crave for a peaceful state. We will accept that a certain level of agitation, a certain level of rajas is part and parcel of daily life. We will simply watch that mental state arise, persist, and go away, only to be replaced by another state. We will view the whole world as the gunas interacting with the gunas. The “I” within us will be firmly seated in itself, with a healthy level of distance and detachment from the movement of those gunas. It will stop identifying, giving importance, giving reality to the play of gunas. The gunas will move, but the “I” within us will not.

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