samaduhkhasukhaha svastaha samaloshtashmakanchanaha |
tulyapriyaapriyo dheerastulyanindaatmasamstuti || 24 ||

 
He to whom sorrow and joy are same, he who is established in his self, who regards mud, stone and gold as same, he who treats the dear and the detested as alike, he who is wise, he who treats insult and praise as alike.
 
sama : same
duhkhasukhaha : sorrow and joy
svastaha : established in his self
sama : same
loshta : mud
ashma : stone
kanchanaha : gold
tulya : alike
priya : dear
apriyaha : detested
dheeraha : wise
tulya : alike
nindaa : insult
aatmasamstutihi : one’s praise
 
Shri Krishna continues to explain the conduct of one who has gone beyond the gunas. He says that such a person maintains a state of balance, a state of equanimity in his dealing with objects of the world and with people. Right from the second chapter, Shri Krishna has repeatedly emphasized the importance of maintaining samatva or equanimity in our lives, and does so again in this shloka. Only he who has transcended the gunas can maintain this level of equanimity. Such a person is termed “dhira” or wise, and “svastha” meaning self-established or healthy by Shri Krishna.
 
Three types of objects are mentioned in this shloka : a lump of clay, a stone, and a piece of gold. The person who has transcended the gunas will understand the real-world, practical difference in value of all these three objects. He will also know that at some times, some of these objects will bring joy, and some of these objects will bring sorrow. When he has to rush to the hospital to deal with a medical emergency, no piece of gold can bring him joy. He will continually maintain the awareness that clay, stone and gold, and the subsequent joy and sorrow that they bring, are nothing but the gunas playing with themselves. With this knowledge, he will maintain his balance and equanimity.
 
Now we look at how such a person deals with people. When people praise us or act in our interest, they become dear to us. When they insult us or trouble us in any way, we begin to detest them. Just like objects, different types of people can generate different reactions in different circumstances. Friends can become rivals, relatives can become enemies, even families can fall apart within minutes. One who has learned to transcend the gunas will transact with people appropriate to the situation, but will never hold on to one person, or run away from them. Praise, insult, friend, foe, all these are interactions between gunas. His “I”, his self, has nothing to do with any of these.

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