Bhagavad Gita 2.54: Description of Person (jivanmukta) of Firm Wisdom (14)

Bhagavad Gita 2.54: Description of Person (jivan-mukta) of Firm Wisdom (14)


Session 14 addresses Bhagavad Gita CH 2, verse 54, when Arjuna asks Lord Krisna “What is the description of a person of firm wisdom, one whose mind abides in the Self? How does such a person whose mind is not shaken by anything, speak, sit and walk?


  1. Wise people give up desires and fears as they arise in mind.

    Everything is subject to arrival and departure. There is not rest for a mind that's constantly contemplating or entertaining thoughts upon Objects that come and go.

    For this reason, wise person choose to abide in the Self as the Self. While simultaneously appreciating what comes and goes as prasād (grace of Īśvara).

    Another reason is because through constant practice of turning mind onto Self; interest in Objects simply wanes away. Because there is no greater security, peace and joy then Self (your ordinary, ever-present sense of Existence).

    NOTE: This doesn't say “Wise people try to extinguish desires or get rid of Desires“, as some schools of Buddhism would imply.

    Vedānta is clear on desire: There is nothing wrong with desire. It only becomes a problem to an uneducated mind. In which case desire naturally flows to carnal, selfish motives.

    But to an educated mind (by help of Śāstras-Scriptures), this inherent desire is channeled into Dharmic means such as: Appreciation of Īśvara through pujas/prayers, teaching this knowledge to others, starting a venture for benefit of the community, raising kids, being an inspiring example for others, etc.”

    What's more, desire belongs to different order of Reality (Mithyā). Which is non-separate from Reality of Satya. The jumper (desire) is the wool (Consciousness). But the wool (Consciousness), is not the jumper (Desire).

  2. Wise people go inwards like a turtle, when confronted with sense objects.

    yadā saṁharate cāyam kūrmo ‘ṅ gānīva sarva-saḥ
    indriyāṇ-īndri-yārthe-bhyah tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā

    When, like turtle the withdraws its limbs, this person is able to completely withdraw the sense organs from their objects, his knowledge is steady.

  3. What is anger? What is cause of anger?

    When an object has charmed one to a point of deep attachment, and when fear of its loss has started Coming up in waves to disturb the individual, then, such an individual's attitude towards those that come between him and the object of his attachment is called ‘anger'.

    Anger is thus nothing but a feeling that rises in us towards an obstacle between ourselves and the object of out attachment.

    This, anger arising within – is directly, proportional to the amount of fear one entertains on the score of the obstacle holding one back from winning one's object of love.

    Anger, therefore, is only our attachment (rāga) for an object, expressed at an obstacle that has come between us and the object of our desire. (2.56)

  4. Wise person is like an owl. Why?

    yā niśā sarva-bhūtānām
    tasyām jāgarti sam yamī
    yasyām jāgrati bhūtāni
    sā niśā paśyato muneḥ

    Interpretation 1:

    “A wise person is like an owl,

    1) awake while the world sleeps: World sleeps to no-outwards thought. Total inwards bliss of non-dual Self. Wise person is AWAKE to this inwards bliss.

    2) asleep when the world is awake: World is awake to senses, externalizing mind outwards. Neglecting Self. Wise person is ASLEEP to this externalization. Hence to wise person, there is only Self.

    Interpretation 2:

    Just as an owl (wise person) which is blind by day (when all senses go outwards), but sees clearly at night (when one experiences non-dual bliss of Self)… one who has realised the Ultimate Truth, sees everything as one, undivided Ultimate Truth.

  5. Fruit of mokṣa.

    Satisfied with everything. Even the ugly bits of our personalities. Why? Because jagat (world), which includes your Body-Mind-Intellect, wasn't created by you, by by Īśvara.

    Self-Test: Ask yourself “Am I happy with the ugliest parts of myself?”

    Although, Self-realized wise person is free to address them, but also free to not address them. They are not particularly bothered by either way, because all is seen as prasād (grace of Īśvara).

    Whereas, a person in bondage (saṃsāri), remains unsettled as long as their issues remain unresolved. IE: “I have to X, else I won't be happy!

Download visual mind map of this session that also summarizes session 13 (Karma Yoga).

7 Aug


  1. Ben Simpson on November 7, 2019 at 10:47 am

    Is it really unshakable “wisdom”? or is it simply unshakable “Reason” listening to these teachings it feels more and more that this has all been firmly “reasoned out” through centuries and centuries of solid debate and practice. Wisdom for me makes me think that it is some sort of “far away” mentally pretty mysticism not empirical fact which I’m beginning to accept these teachings really are. The toxic illusion of control, The acceptance that our desires control and define us, self understanding/mastery leading to lasting peace the whole scientific “theory” Advaita Vedanta is the truth.

    • mm Andre V on November 7, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      Wisdom is applied knowledge. Meaning: Knowledge gained > reasoned out to remove any doubts > once lived/practiced, it then makes person organically WISE without trying. That’s why when we say “wise person” in Vedanta, we’re actually speaking of a jñāni (liberated person). Wisdom in sanskrit is vijñāna (means assimilated knowledge which was already reasoned out in the past by means of mananam/nididhyāsanam).

      CH7 of B.Gītā is called: jñāna-vijñāna-yoga (Topic of indirect and direct knowledge). Vijñāna = wisdom = direct knowledge = one who is liberated.

      We need to let go of word “wisdom” picked up in various books. In Vedanta language, wisdom always means one who is living the vision of oneness.

      • Ben Simpson on November 8, 2019 at 8:52 am

        Thanks mate. I’m continuously astonished by the depth structured nature of the teachings. Let alone the entire thing being written in the form a rhyming song. The amount of effort that must have been put into this manual on the self is just crazy. Study continues….

  2. Robert Green on August 26, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    “ I am that which cannot be objectified because I am that already “
    I get a flash where I think I understand this, then it slides from my consciousness like sand through my fingers.
    I sit and try and visualise myself.
    Then I realise that is stupid.
    I sit and try and feel myself, but I know that is happening in the mind, which is not myself, even though it is.
    Wittgenstein said that “ language is the bewitchment of intelligence “.
    I feel like I am trying to grasp something with the mind that can’t be grasped.
    Yet it feels like a thin membrane between me and the truth.
    And I feel as though the understanding of this is beyond language and reason.
    I spend a lot of time during the day listening to your talks and reading Yogananda “ God Talks With Arjuna” The Bhagavad Gita.
    Is there something else I should be reading or doing to help me to stop going around in circles and help me come to realisation?
    Or do I just practice patience and keep on?

    • mm Andre V on August 26, 2020 at 9:07 pm

      Is there something else I should be reading or doing to help me to stop going around in circles and help me come to realisation?
      Or do I just practice patience and keep on?

      When we’re first exposed to Vedānta, it’s likely we’re still reading something from the past.

      Eventually one drops these texts, realizing they end up creating further resistance/conflict.

      But “when to drop”? You’ll know.

      I basically dropped the huge world of Yoga (Hatha/Rāja/Kriyā). It took me some time. But in retrospect realize it has nothing which Vedānta doesn’t already answer in a more practical and relatable format.

  3. Robert Green on August 26, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    Thanks Andre.
    I feel hugely resistant to limiting my reading to Vedanta only.
    I am usually reading at least a couple of books at the one time and sometimes three or four.
    Have done for the last fifty years.
    It seems so restrictive to limit myself to one field of enquiry.
    Maybe addiction to learning has become my Vanasa.
    I will consider.

  4. Robert Green on August 26, 2020 at 11:12 pm

    Do you think I should give up my yoga too?
    That would be my reading, my meditation and my yoga.
    That is how I spend most of my waking hours every day.
    This would be a huge sacrifice and I am afraid I would get bored.
    I am willing to do it if you think it is the right way.

    • mm Andre V on August 27, 2020 at 8:54 pm

      One is not told do “THIS” or else. It’s your choice. One is only asked to consider:

      A Vedanta teachers job is to simply point out the big picture. For example, it’s common to study the 6 schools of philosophy:

      Meaning a teacher knows purpose and function of each school. Including Buddhism, Jainism, Yoga, Advaita.

      For example purpose of life in cārvāka philosophy is: After death, that’s the end of your existence. Thus purpose of life is to Eat, marry and drink (pursuing sense pleasures). So cārvāka indulges in maximum enjoyment while alive.

      Then after some lifetimes (or even same lifetime), person sees the pointlessness of cārvāka. And comes to Patānjali Yoga Sūtras (Sāṅkhya School). This school gets much credit for it’s advanced spiritual science. It’s ultimate aim in life is: samādhi.

      Then after some lifetimes (or even same lifetime), person sees pointlessness of Yoga. And finally comes to Advaita Vedanta (uttara-mīmāṁsā), which permanently solves the beginningless problem of ignorance.

      Reality is, even when teacher points this out, the student still resists becomes it’s so hard to undo years of spiritual notions that ironically lead to more seeking.

      That’s why we’re not telling you what to do. We’re simply pointing out where you are in your journey.

  5. Robert Green on August 30, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    Thanks Andre.
    Because your teaching I have had a radical shift in my perspective on Yoga and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
    My aim was to achieve samadhi.
    I now see this is a means that has been mistaken for an end.
    I understand that anything or any experience that takes place in time is limited and therefore cannot be the ultimate.
    I am 65 years of age and apart from the spiritual benefits I use yoga to maintain fitness and flexibility.
    Do you think it is advisable for me to continue my yoga practice and meditation with this revised attitude for the physical benefits and the mind purification as long as I don’t confuse the process as an end, or do you think this will only reinforce previously acquired mind distortions.
    Of course I want to keep practicing, but how do I know this is not just another addictive Vasana?
    I will make my own decision, but value your perspective.

    • mm Andre V on August 31, 2020 at 6:18 pm

      Do you think it is advisable for me to continue my yoga practice and meditation with this revised attitude for the physical benefits and the mind purification as long as I don’t confuse the process as an end

      This is definitely in line with more clear thinking. Not confusing Yoga practice/meditation as ultimate end. But only continuing it for it’s intended benefits like mental alertness/fitness/long-life/etc.

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