Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 26:4

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 26:4
Bhagavad Gita Chapter II

The wise, possessed of devotion, cast off the fruit born of action, and freed from the obligation of (repeated) birth, attain to that region where there is no unhappiness. When thy mind shall have crossed the maze of delusion, then shalt thou attain to an indifference as regards the hearable and the heard.[1] When thy mind, distracted (now) by what thou hast heard (about the means of acquiring the diverse objects of life), will be firmly and immovably fixed on contemplation, then wilt thou attain to devotion.

Arjuna said,—'What, O Kesava, are the indications of one whose mind is fixed on contemplation? How should one of steady mind speak, how sit, how move?

The Holy One said,—'When one casts off all the desires of his heart and is pleased within (his) self with self, then is one said to be of steady mind. He whose mind is not agitated amid calamities, whose craving for pleasure is gone, who is freed from attachment (to worldly objects), fear and wrath, is said to be a Muni of steady mind. His is steadiness of mind who is without affection everywhere, and who feeleth no exultation and no aversion on obtaining diverse objects that are agreeable and disagreeable. When one withdraws his senses from the objects of (those) senses as the tortoise its limbs from all sides, even his is steadiness of mind. Objects of senses fall back from an abstinent person, but not so the passion (for those objects). Even the passion recedes from one who has beheld the Supreme (being).[2] The agitating senses, O son of Kunti, forcibly draw away the mind of even a wise man striving hard to keep himself aloof from them. Restraining them all, one should stay in contemplation, making me his sole refuge. For his is steadiness of mind whose senses are under control.

Thinking of the objects of sense, a person's attachment is begotten towards them. From attachment springeth wrath; from wrath ariseth want of discrimination; from want of discrimination, loss of memory; from loss of memory, loss of understanding; and from loss of understanding (he) is utterly ruined. But the self-restrained man, enjoying objects (of sense) with senses freed from attachment and aversion under his own control, attaineth to peace (of mind). On peace (of mind) being attained, the annihilation of all his miseries taketh place, since the mind of him whose heart is peaceful soon becometh steady.[3] He who is not self-restrained hath no contemplation (of self). He who hath no contemplation hath no peace (of mind).[4] Whence can there be happiness for him who hath no peace (of mind)? For the heart that follows in the wake of the sense moving (among their objects) destroys his understanding like the wind destroying a boat in the waters.[5] Therefore, O thou of mighty arms, his is steadiness of mind whose senses are restrained on all sides from the objects of sense. The restrained man is awake when it is night for all creatures; and when other creatures are awake that is night to a discerning Muni.[6] He into whom all objects of desire enter, even as the waters enter the ocean which (though) constantly replenished still maintains its water-mark unchanged—(he) obtains peace (of mind) and not one that longeth for objects of desire. That man who moveth about, giving up all objects of desire, who is free from craving (for enjoyments) and who hath no affection and no pride, attaineth to peace (of mind). This, O Partha, is the divine state. Attaining to it, one is never deluded. Abiding in it one obtains, on death, absorption into the Supreme Self.



  1. Srotavyasya Srutasyacha is literally 'of the hearable and the heard', i.e., "what you may or will hear, and what you have heard." European translators of the Gita view in these words a rejection of the Vedas by the author. It is amusing to see how confidently they dogmatise upon this point, rejecting the authority of Sankara, Sreedhara, Anandagiri, and the whole host of Indian commentators. As K. T. Telang, however, has answered the point elaborately, nothing more need be said here.
  2. One may abstain, either from choice or inability to procure them, from the objects of enjoyment. Until, however, the very desire to enjoy is suppressed, one cannot be said to have attained to steadiness of mind. Of Aristotle's saying that he is a voluptuary who pines at his own abstinence, and the Christian doctrine of sin being in the wish, mere abstinence from the act constitutes no merit.]
  3. The particle 'he' in the second line is explained by both Sankara and Anandagiri as equivalent to Yasmat. The meaning becomes certainly clearer by taking the word in this sense. The 'he', however, may also be taken as implying the sense of "indeed.
  4. Buddhi in the first line is explained by Sreedhara as Aintavishayak buddhi. Bhavanta Sreedhara explains, is Dhyanam; and Sankara as Atmajnanabhinivesas. K. T. Telang renders Bhavana as perseverance. I do not think this is correct.
  5. Sankara, Anandagiri, and Nilakantha explain this sloka thus. Sreedhara explains it otherwise. The latter supposes the pronouns yat and tat to mean a particular sense among the Charatam indriyanam. If Sreedhara's interpretation be correct, the meaning would be—"That (one sense) amongst the senses moving (among their objects) which the mind follows, (that one sense) tosseth the mind's (or the man's) understanding about like the wind tossing a (drunken boatman's) boat on the waters." The parenthetical words are introduced by Sreedhara himself. It may not be out of place to mention here that so far as Bengal, Mithila and Benares are concerned, the authority of Sreedhara is regarded as supreme.
  6. The vulgar, being spiritually dark, are engaged in worldly pursuits. The sage in spiritual light is dead to the latter.