examine more implications of steadfastness from Sant Jnaneshvar’s
commentary on the Bhagavad Gita.
steadfast seeker is not troubled by fear.
is an emotion common to humans and animals. While there are rational fears
that are prompted by uncertainties, there are also irrational fears that
can weaken us, leaving indelible scars on our mind. The Brihadaranyaka
Upanishad teaches that fear arises from a sense of duality (1.4.2) and
that true fearlessness is a result of Self-realization, the state of
oneness with the nondual Reality (4.2.4). A seeker steadfast in devotion
to his spiritual ideal develops strong conviction in the protecting power
of God. He offers God all actions and their fruits, gives up the sense of
agency, and remains content. He accepts whatever happens to him as the
will of God, so he has no fear or anxiety. Says Swami Ramakrishnananda,
“Actually very few of us believe in God all the time. How do we know this?
Because we allow anxieties and fears to arise in our minds. If we really
have faith in God and in His infinite power of goodness, we can never feel
fearful about anything.”
steadfast seeker does not lose his mental balance when tormented by
inordinate hopes, vexations, old age or disease.
Inordinate hopes and vexations affect one who relies on his little ego and
his self-centered efforts. But a seeker steadfast in prayer and meditation
is free from vexations of any kind. His dependence on God in all
circumstances serves as a bulwark against all afflictions. The ignorant
think that they are the body and look upon it as a means of enjoyment.
They do not reflect upon the six characteristics that define the body:
birth, objective existence, growth, transformation, decay, and death. Of
these, transformation and decay imply old age and disease. A steadfast
seeker knows that he is not the body but the being who dwells in it. The
body is a fragile but precious instrument with which to practice spiritual
disciplines. He strives to keep his mind on God and grow in detachment
from the body and its destiny, and tries to live up to Sri Ramakrishna’s
teaching: “May the body and pain take care of themselves; O mind, dwell
forever in God’s Bliss.”
mind of a steadfast seeker does not vacillate when faced with abuse,
dishonor or punishment.
puny, “unripe ego” has given place to the “ripe ego” of a steadfast
seeker, with which he looks upon God as the whole and himself as a part.
So his mind is not affected by abuse, dishonor, or punishment. Sri
Chaitanya describes the ideal devotee in Shikshashtakam (3): “A
devotee who worships Lord Hari is humbler than a blade of grass, more
forbearing and patient than a tree [even when it is cut down], does not
care whether others respect him, but treats others with respect and
honor.” Such a devotee is unaffected by praise and blame, and offers both
to God. He has the unshakeable faith that God always does what is good for
mind of a steadfast seeker is not disturbed by waves of passion.
According to a well-known Indian saying, “Where God is, there can be no
desires; where there are desires, God cannot be realized.” Desires lose
their hold on a seeker whose devotion has become ripe. His will is no
longer under the sway of desires, but is influenced and energized by the
supreme Spirit. There is a deep and abiding calm in the heart of a seeker
free from desires and devoted to God. According to the Bhagavad Gita
(2.70), “Not the desirer of desires attains peace, but he into whom all
desires enter as the waters enter the ocean, which is full to the brim and
grounded in stillness.” (To be continued)
Meditation & Its Practices