Gita Series 69: Chapter VI. Verses 5 – 9

“One should ascend through his own efforts and should not subvert himself, as one’s own self is one’s own friend as well as his own enemy. The soul that conquers his mind and senses becomes his friend. But the one, whose soul is not able conquer his mind and senses, becomes his own foe. The Brahman fully manifests in the one, whose mind is perfectly serene and who has overcome the opposites like cold and heat, pleasure and pain and honour and dishonour. The one, whose mind is filled with knowledge and equanimity, who never changes under any circumstances, who has completely mastered his senses and to whom earth, stone and gold are the same, is the one who has attained the Brahman. The one without any selfish motive looks upon well wishers, friends, enemies, neutral persons, mediators, relatives, virtuous and sinful with same mind stands supreme.”

Krishna says that one should progress spiritually by his own efforts. A master can lift his disciple only to an extent. One’s own self means his mind. Ego, a product of mind is the cause for identifying the body as the self {soul (self) in the initial stages and the Brahman (Self) in the later stages}. If one makes his mind devoid of ego, then he has neither a friend nor an enemy. This is because, when his mind becomes devoid of ego, he realises everyone including himself as the Brahman (Self-realised). He cannot distinguish and differentiate because he knows that not only he is the Brahman, but also everything and everyone around him is Brahman. He truly realises the omnipresence nature of the Brahman. This is what all the Upanishads preach “I am That” or “Aham Brahmasmi” (I am Brahman). He realises that self and Self are the same. If one gives importance to the empirical body that embodies the soul, he becomes bound by opposites and dyads. Pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow and all such opposites are only for the body. They do not affect the soul within. Opposites are the products of mind. When mind is inflicted with thoughts other than that of the Brahman, naturally senses distinguishes and differentiates, as the mind sees more than one object. A true Self-realised person will share his food with hungry animals. For him a street dog is not different from his self. This is what Ramana Maharishi did. He says “The meditation ‘I am That’ is regarded as more purifying than one based on dualistic thought. The repose of being poised in one’s nature, devoid of thoughts is the highest devotion.” The purification of the mind can be carried out only by the mind alone. The purification of the mind is called meditation. Meditation is nothing but self-enquiry. (More details on meditation is available in the series ‘Understanding Meditation.) When one persistently explores within, one day he gets an answer by realising the Brahman. When mind is quietened down, it becomes serene. A serene mind is a precondition for the Brahman to manifest. Manifestation of the Brahman is different from the omnipresence nature of the Brahman. Omnipresence nature of the Brahman cannot be realized, but when the Brahman manifests in mind, He is realised. On the contrary, if one is not able to control his mind, it goes haywire by conjoining with senses becomes susceptible to addiction. When mind and senses interact with each other, they go beyond repair and reprehension. It becomes difficult to train the mind at that stage. He fails to use the precious gift of God in the form of human birth to realize the Creator and merge with Him.

When the Brahman manifests, the practitioner also transforms into Brahman. The qualities of the Brahman are predominantly visible in him. For him opposites like pleasure and pain become meaningless, as his mind does not bother about his surroundings. His mind is busy, perpetually connected to the Brahman. He walks, he talks, he eats and sleeps, but while doing so, he is not doing them for himself. He is doing it for the Brahman. He knows that he is not different from the Brahman. He is a Self-realised person. If someone praises him or abuses him, he remains unaffected. He will not succumb to praises as he knows that today’s praise is tomorrows ignominy. This is where most men fail to retain their credibility. Praise and honour are showered today for some outrageous favours tomorrow. Succumbing to praise and honours is like digging one’s own grave. In order to avert a disastrous tomorrow, Krishna says that one’s mind should not change according to the surroundings. Mind should be firm and steadfast, devoid of desires, attachments and ego. Ego awakens when we wake up and ego sleeps only when we sleep. But, the yogi makes his ego sleep always making his inner self to stay connected to the cosmic Self, thereby enjoying bliss. In the case of others, mind conquers the self. When one is caught in the mental movement, he succumbs to whirlpool of illusion. Attention paid to the thinker instead of thought has the power of stilling the mind. The experience and joy of an unshackled mind pull the mind inward, thereby causing internal search and exploration. The result of such exploration is Self-realisation, the manifestation of the Brahman.

For the one who has mastered his senses, gold and stone do not make any difference. He is devoid of desires and attachments. He considers everyone on the same level. Nobody is superior to him nor inferior to him. He is typical exhibitor of universal brotherhood. Isha Upanishad (6 and 7) says, “He who sees everything in himself and himself in everything never hates anything. When a person knows that he himself has become everything and he knows the oneness of things, how can he hate or love anything?” Ramana Maharishi said “Steady abidance in the Self, looking at all with an equal eye, unshakable courage at all times, in all places and circumstances make a man perfect.” Those who have less selfishness and less desire for worldly pursuits than others can easily acquire the supreme knowledge to attain the Brahman. It is ultimately the thought process that counts in Self-realisation.