20. In verses 20 to 29 Krsna speaks of renunciation which precedes meditation and Realisation. The first step is to be neutral to the pleasant and unpleasant. Steady and unaffected through the pairs of opposites. This is achieved by growing to a higher realm. When a man plays chess with his nephew it does not matter whether he wins or loses. His happiness rests on other factors. The child is greatly affected. An actor is unmoved by fortune or misfortune in the play because he gets his fee either way! Once you wake up you are untouched by tragedy or comedy in the dream.
Similarly, a wise person maintains an unaffected poise through physical, emotional and intellectual fluctuations as his attention is on Brahman.
Sthirabuddhi – steady intellect. Single-pointed focus. We have the intellect on various things and get distracted. Only when you are focussed on Brahman are you steady, fulfilled and happy. On Enlightenment Buddha said he had achieved what had to be achieved and was fulfilled – krtakrtya and krtartha.
Asammudha – Undeluded. We are deluded and believe happiness can be obtained from the world. The wise one is convinced that it lies within and is seeking it. He knows the real worth of the world and all that it has to offer is zero.
Then you become Brahmavit, knower of Brahman, and are established in Brahman.
21. There are three types of joy – vishayananda or sense enjoyment, bhajananda or emotional and intellectual thrills, and Atmananda the bliss of Atman.
Here Krsna speaks of the senses, denoted by the word sparsha or touch. Touch is a very basic enjoyment and the grossest. A newborn finds comfort in the mother’s touch. The five senses are shabda sound, sparsha touch, rupa form, rasa taste and gandha smell. You must grow to other delights that yield greater quantum of joy.
Detachment is an effect of spiritual practices, not the cause. When you gain knowledge of the higher you get detached from the lower. Attachment leads to sorrow and loss. Whether you have the object of attachment or not you are still miserable. When you are attached to wealth acquiring it is painful, preserving it is stressful and spending is heartbreaking. Involvement to action gives stress. Emotional entanglement is torturous. You get totally enslaved. And attachment to matters of the intellect is agonising.
When you are outward-looking there is sorrow. Look within and you gain peace. Realisation gives infinite Bliss. Then you get undecaying happiness. All worldly joys fade and diminish. Ultimately, they decay and die. Only spiritual contact gives ever-increasing happiness.
Real joy comes from abstinence, not indulgence. Yet the measure of civilization today is consumption!