sthitaprajnasya kaa bhaashaa samaadhisthasya keshava |
sthitadheeh kim prabhaasheta kimaaseeta vrajeta kim || 54 ||
What is the description of a person of steady wisdom, one who is established in equanimity, O Arjuna? How does that person of steady intellect speak? How does he sit? How does he walk?
sthitaprajnasya : person of steady wisdom
kaa bhaashaa : what is the description
samaadhisthasya : established in equanimity
keshava : O Keshava
sthitadheeh : person of steady intellect
kim prabhaasheta : how does he speak
kimaaseeta : how does he sit
vrajeta kim : how does he walk
In this shloka, we get to hear Arjuna speak after a long time. When we saw him last, he was in the midst of a panic attack. The extremely thoughtful question posed by him tells us that his mind has now calmed down, and that he has been following the teaching diligently. He now asks Shri Krishna to elaborate on the practical aspect of the teaching, since more time was spent on the theoretical part.
Arjuna was a warrior, and a very practical person. So he was less interested in abstract theoretical concepts. He wanted to know about the internal and external characteristics of a person who was steeped in equanimity. For a warrior, one of the best ways to learn to use a new weapon is to mimic someone who is skilled at using it. Therefore, Arjuna wanted to know how he could emulate that person who is always established in equanimity, here called a “sthita-prajna” or a person of steady wisdom.
The second half of the shloka contains questions that seem a bit odd to us. Why would Arjuna want to know how someone speaks, sits or walks? These questions are not meant to be taken literally. Speaking and walking refer to how an individual transacts in this world. Sitting refers to what is his perspective and attitude towards the world. That’s what Arjuna wanted to know.
Let us take stock of where we are. We had seen that Shri Krishna was covering 4 main topics: 1) Informing Arjuna that his logic and reasoning was incorrect 2) Explaining the correct logic and reasoning to Arjuna 3) Providing practical guidance to implement this correct logic and reasoning 4) Describing the attributes of the individual who follows this teaching.
In the next shloka, Shri Krishna moves from the third topic to the final topic, which is the description of the person with steady wisdom.