Gita series – part 27. Bhagavad Gita Chapter II - Verses–55-57:
Krishna answers Arjuna’s questions. “When a man relinquishes all the desires of his mind and contented in the atman, by the atman, he is considered as ‘sthita-prajnan’ (the person who established himself firmly with God-consciousness). He, whose mind is neither shaken at the time of misery, nor attached to happiness, he who is totally free from desires, fear and anger is known as sthita-prajnan” (verses 55 and 56). Krishna described the qualities of sthita-prajnan. He is known as a person who established himself or identifies himself with the highest level of consciousness. The highest level of consciousness is known as the Brahman or God. This is the stage that leads to the enlightenment, which is possible by totally surrendering everything to God. The desire of God itself should not be prevalent at this stage. The highest level of consciousness is known by different names such as the illumination, self-realization, enlightenment etc. But his is far from total liberation. The final liberation is the stage where the individual soul merges with the universal soul, transcending births and deaths. Therefore, sthita-prajnan is the penultimate stage to final liberation.
This is the stage where the internal tools are trained to singularly focus on the Supreme Spirit. In verse 55 Krishna uses the word atman twice ‘contended in the atman by the atman’. The correct meaning of atman is ‘soul’. There are two types of souls. One is ‘soul’ which means the individual soul and the other is ‘Soul’ (note the capital ‘S’ here) which refers to the Brahman. The former is jivatma and the latter is Paramatma. What Krishna says is that one should dissolve one’s ego that is predominantly placed in the individual self in the vast and eternal nature of the Supreme Soul. But this stage can be reached only by proper practice of karma yoga. However, what are the qualities of such a great person? Krishna further elucidates. Such great persons (sthita-prajnan) have the subjective experiencing of existence is no longer limited by the self-loving ego or personality blocks. They have only one-pointed mind, making a progressive surrender to God. In such an advanced situation, desire, fear and anger have no place at all in his thoughts. In fact, he does not have a second thought, except the thought of God.
In this stage, his kundalini energy is primarily responsible for surrendering even his free will (will not influenced by sensory organs) to the will of the divine. Krishna continues “The one whose mind is unattached to anything, neither exited nor disturbed while beholding good or bad, his knowledge is permanent” (verse 57). The previous two verses described the qualities of sthita-prajnan. Now Krishna describes the benefits accruing to such learned men. In the first place, he is beyond bondage and its associated afflictions. He cannot differentiate between his child and a street dog. Both are same for him, because he knows for certain that what exists within him (the Brahman) also exists in his child and the street dog. His speech will reflect and expound the eternal truth. He knows that his body and mind are responsible for realizing the evils of dualities such as pleasure and pain, good and bad, etc. He knows to distinguish between soul on one side and his body and mind on the other side. This capacity to differentiate and distinguish is termed as permanent knowledge, as this knowledge of the Soul or Spirit is indestructible.