Continuing from the previous verses (“See the Same in Everyone”), this verse gives us additional guidelines for achieving God-realization through yoga (union).
One who does not exult over getting what is wanted or lament upon getting what is not wanted, understands, is God-knowing, and firmly established in God.
A person who is God-realized doesn’t get elated when they get what they want, or disappointment when they don’t—or when they get something they don’t want.
“Understands” – Understands the previous teachings on indifference (impartiality, neutrality, sameness). He is saying that the person this verse describes understands that indifference is a characteristic of God/Truth and the Real You.
“Is God-knowing” – One who knows from personal experience, that sameness, or indifference, is a characteristic of God/Truth.
“Firmly established in God” – God-realized, united with God, one with God.
We got here from ‘renunciation’, which is what this chapter is about. We came to understand that renunciation (‘letting go of, abandoning, casting aside’) is synonymous with ‘surrender’ as it applies to Surrender Meditation. This meditation requires our indifference to what happens in meditation as well as the results of it. We see indifference as the unconditional aspect of surrender to God in meditation.
We have been getting these teachings on indifference as it applies to just about everything, all of which point back to ‘action’ as the means of realizing this for ourselves. First, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that his dharma is action. Then he takes several routes trying to get across to Arjuna what action really is, and its place in Yoga as the means of liberation from the bondage it causes (karma means action).
Well, you can see the difficulty in trying to get something like this across to a soldier in the middle of a battlefield. Just think how long it has taken us, sitting here comfortably in our chairs, to get to where we are now! So it is no wonder that, along with Arjuna, we are getting these teachings as they apply to various situations, which gives Lord Krishna the opportunity to repeat the teachings until we can finally get the picture.
But what is the connection between renunciation and action? And what is the connection of this to indifference, or sameness?
Renunciation refers to letting go of one’s identification with himself as the doer of action. Yoga (union) cannot be achieved without it.
Sameness refers to the indifference, or neutrality, present in this kind of action. We let go of (renounce) expectations, self-motivated desires, and preconceived ideas. This makes yoga possible, and brings about a tranquillity in which it is known through personal experience that this very pleasant peacefulness prevails because of equality and sameness.
Lord Krishna goes on to give examples of sameness (i.e., verses 18-19), having already shown us that we are in God, and God is in us. So we have gone from renunciation as letting go of our identification as ‘doers’ of action, to realizing our sameness with each other, our unity with God and with all beings. And it is because of this that we reach samadhi.
Yoga, Sameness & Samadhi
When the mind becomes uniform, equalized (the same), there is tranquillity. In this state, one realizes God/Truth. This state is called samadhi.
- Samadhi – A uniform state of mind; equanimity; unity with the Divine. From sama (sameness, equality, impartiality, indifference, homogeneousness, peace) + dhaa (having).
This definition is not so different from the definition of yoga, or ‘union’, from the root yuj, ‘to yoke together; to unite’. So we have sameness, yoga and samadhi all linked together by one word: sama.
Samadhi is the ultimate achievement of sameness. It may seem that fluctuating feelings and emotional states can’t exist in the context of sameness so they must be gotten rid of. But we must remember that it is the mind that becomes uniform. Emotions are in the body, not the mind; not all emotions are simply reactions to things in the mind.
In the development of yoga, the earlier states of samadhi are short-lived, but in advanced stages one can be walking around in samadhi, unbeknownst to onlookers. This stage of samadhi doesn’t ‘look’ like anything unusual. The yogi has gone beyond the earlier trance-like stages and landed in a homogeneous state of neutrality where he looks and acts like anyone else, even though samadhi reigns. This advanced stage of samadhi becomes possible by passing through earlier states acquired through the long-term practice of yoga, and all the stages of samadhi that come before it.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),