jitaatmanaha prashaantasya paramaatmaa samaahitaha |
sheetoshnasukhadukheshu tathaa maanaapamaanayoho || 7 ||
One who has conquered himself, that serene person is steadfast in the supreme self, in cold and heat, in joy and sorrow, in praise and insult.
jitaatmanaha : one who has conquered himself
prashaantasya : serene person
paramaatmaa : supreme self
samaahitaha : steadfast
sheeta : cold
ushna : heat
sukha : joy
dukheshu : in sorrow
tathaa : and
maana : praise
apamaanayoho : in insult
In the following three shlokas, Shri Krishna paints a picture of one who has realized the eternal essence through meditation, specifically with his outlook towards situations, objects and people. In this shloka, Shri Krishna tackles the meditator’s outlook towards situations. He says that the meditator who has won over his senses and mind, won over his lower nature, his mind remains well established in the eternal essence all the time. No matter what situation he finds himself in, his mind remains even calm and peaceful – “prashaantaha”.
Now, what does it mean to remain same in all situations? Let us take each aspect of the shloka one by one. Remaining same in cold and heat refers to pleasant and unpleasant situations experienced at the physical body level. Joy and sorrow and experienced as emotions at the mind level. Praise and insult are experienced either as boosters or blows to the ego. They are experienced at the intellect level. The body, mind and intellect are part of nature or prakriti. They react to situational changes, which also happen in prakriti.
We have been conditioned to respond to some situations favourably and some situations unfavourably. Our normal response to an unfavourable situation is to impose our will upon it, to change it. But in most cases, it never works. It is like the story of the king wanting to put a carpet on top of his entire kingdom’s land, rather than wear a pair of slippers.
Moreover, two people respond to the same situation differently. A child may not take a scolding from his parents as an insult, because his ego is not fully developed yet. But a teenager will, because his ego is especially sensitive towards insults from his parents.
So therefore, one who knows that situations can only impact the body, mind and intellect, but not his self, he remains peaceful in all situations. If something good or bad happens to a person whom we have no connection with, do we feel any joy or sorrow? We do not. That is the kind of understanding a realized meditator has towards his own body, mind and intellect. He does not feel the need to enter the realm of prakriti to change anything. He remains a witness of all these changes.