Upon attaining yoga (union), a pleasant feeling arises and you realize that happiness is your natural state. This gentle state is the very condition that takes you to the Real.
Beneficent and loving toward all beings, the Sages, whose doubts and uncertainties have been cut away through the virtuous action of self-surrender, attain God-nirvana.
- God-nirvana – One ascends from Nirvana to the Nirvana of God, the ultimate happiness of union with God/Truth.
The yogi who has understood these teachings, sees the same in all beings, and has reached union with God, is a sage. He has reached this by the virtuous action of surrendering himself to God.
Action is the underlying thread of the Gita, presented as Lord Krishna’s teachings to Arjuna (and to those of us listening in). It is also how Arjuna finds himself in his current situation with Lord Krishna driving of his chariot. Surrender to God is the message here, and the message throughout. “Doubts and uncertainties” are obliterated by the virtuous act of self-surrender to God/Truth.
The rishis, the sages, are those who preserve and protect these teachings and keep them from becoming degraded and misunderstood. They are qualified in this because their knowledge is not just words or learning (vid), but true knowledge (jnā) as passed down through a lineage of sages who have realized them for themselves through meditation.
Rishi is also translated as ‘poet’. The way the sages kept the teachings in tact was by the use of poetic verse and meter. It is difficult to change something once it is captured in rhythm, and it is also it easier to remember and repeat through chant, as did the rishis. The Bhagavad Gita is written in this manner.
“Doubts and uncertainties have been cut away”
The word for doubts and uncertainties also means dualities: a twofold state, division, separation into two parts, etc.
Surely you have heard the saying, “I am of two minds” when someone is unable to land on one point but entertains two or more options. This is not a bad thing at all, for there are usually several ways to see the same thing. But the sage has reached a conclusion based not only on the teachings of his lineage and scripture, but on the evidence of his own experience in meditation. This certainty, which is quite different from blind belief, is the essence of faith.
For the ascetic separated from passion and anger, the mind is subdued. He knows God-nirvana everywhere.
“Separated from passionate desire and anger”
Passion is translated from rajas, the intense and active quality of nature (guna). It is the basis of desire and anger. With it, desire and anger persist to varying degrees, but without it they are disabled.
(It is interesting to note that the verse is not saying that desire and anger go away, but that one becomes ‘separated’ from them; one is no longer identified with them, and is effectively free of their influence. A happy situation all around.)
Passion keeps the mind active and unable to arrive at sameness, or neutrality. It is for this reason that we are advised against passion, not because it is wrong, but because it keeps our natural state of happiness at bay. Because rajas (passion) is a characteristic of nature, we can’t walk away from it. But we can deprive it of the food that fuels it—we can walk away from desire, and we can walk away from anger, by remembering this verse and separating ourselves from them and the things that evoke them.
“The mind is subdued”
The mind can only go into a neutral state when passion (and consequently desire and anger) is subdued. Then, in the state of sameness-of-mind, we enter into God-happiness.
“He knows God-nirvana everywhere”
In the happiness of union with the Absolute one sees God/Truth within, nearby and everywhere.
23. The yogi patiently endures the agitation produced by passionate desire and anger while in this world.
24. The happiness and delight brought about by yoga (union) causes what is within to become perceptible, and the yogi becomes absorbed in It.
25. Now the yogi is a sage impelled by love for all beings. All doubts are worn away through the virtuous action of self-surrender, and he gets the unimaginable happiness of God-nirvana.
26. Thus is it known how an ascetic, having become a sage free of passion, approaches God-happiness with the sameness of a neutral mind.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),