Gita: Sthita Prajna (Stable Wisdom)


Sthita Prajna (Stable Wisdom)

The real teachings of the Gita begin in Chapter 2, and the final 18 verses provide a succinct summary of the nature of awakened living. Arjuna asks Krishna about how a wise man lives, how he moves, talks, etc. Krishna, responds to  the spirit of the question, that is, how does a man wise man, one who knows the ‘truth’ of himself, live in the world? How can anyone tell if he is wise or not? Krishna goes on to describe the nature of desire, the need for contemplation, the role the senses, the difference between ignorance and knowledge. It will take 16 more chapters to unfold this teaching completely, but this is a great way to start.

Chapter 2, verse 54

arjuna uvaaca:

sthitaprajnasya kaa bhaasaa samaadhisthasya keshava
sthitadhia kim prabhaaseta kimaasita vrajeta kim

Arjuna said: Oh Keshava (Krishna), what is the description of a person of firm wisdom, one who’s mind abides in the aatmaa, self? How does such a person, whose mind is not shaken by anything, speak, sit, walk?

Chapter 2, verse 55

srii bhagavaan uvaaca:

prajahaati yadaa kaamaan sarvaan paartha manogataan
atmanyevaatmanaa tushtah sthita prajna stadocyate

Sri Bhagavan said:  when a person gives up all the desires as they appear in the mind, O Arjuna, happy in oneself, with oneself alone, that person is said to be one of stable wisdom.

Chapter 2, verse 56

duhkhesvanudvignamanahaah sukhesu vigatasprhah
vitaraagabhayakrodhah sthitadhirmunirucyate

The one who is not affected by adversities, who is without yearning for pleasures, who is free from longing, fear and anger, is said to be a wise person whose knowledge remains stable.

Chapter 2, verse 57

yah sarvatraanabhisnehastattatpraapya shubhaashubham
nabhinandhati na dvesti tasya prajnaa pratisthitaa

For one who is unattached in all situations, who neither rejoices on gaining the pleasant, nor hates the unpleasant, his knowledge is well established

Chapter 2, verse 58

yadaa samharate caayam kuurmo’ nganiiva sarvashah
indriyaanindriyaarthebhyastasya prajnaa pratisthitaa

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

Chapter 2, verse 59

visayaa vinivartante niraahaarasya dehinah
rasavarjam raso’pyasyaparam drstvaa nivartate

For one who does not feed the senses, the senses come back to oneself, leaving the longing behind. Having seen Brahman (when the self is known), even the longing goes away.

Chapter 2, verse 60

yatato hyapi kaunteya purusasya vipascitah
indriyaani pramaathiini haranti prasabham manah

Because, the powerful senses of even the person who makes effort, who sees clearly, forcefully takes the mind away, Oh! Arjuna

Chapter 2, verse 61

taani sarvaani samyamya yukta aasitamatparah
vase hi yasyendriyaani tasya prajnaa pratisthitaa

May one who is endowed with discrimination, keeping all the sense organs in one’s own hands, sit in contemplation of Me. For the one who has all the sense organs under control, the knowledge is well-established.

Chapter 2, verse 62

dhyaayato visayaanpumsah sangasteuupajaayate
sangaatsanjaayate kaamah kaamaat krodho’bhijaayate

In the person who dwells upon objects, an attachment is born with reference to them. From attachment is born desire, and from desire anger is  born

Chapter 2, verse 63

krodhaadbhavati sammohah sammohaat smrtivibhramah
smrtibhramsaad buddhinaaso buddhinaasaat pranasyati

From anger comes delusion and from delusion comes the loss of memory. Because of the loss of memory, the mind becomes incapacitated, and when the mind is incapacitated, the person is destroyed.

Chapter 2, verse 64

raagadvesaviyuktaistu visayaanindriyaiscaran
aatmavasyairvidheyaatmaa prasaadamadhigacchati

Whereas, one whose mind is controlled, moving in the world of objects with the sense organs under his or her control, free from  likes and dislikes, attains tranquillity

Chapter 2, verse 65

prasaade sarvaduhkhaanaam haanirasyopajaayate
prasannacetaso hyaasu buddhih paryavatisthate

When the mind is tranquil, destruction of all pain and sorrow happens because the knowledge of one who is tranquil-minded soon becomes well established.

Chapter 2, verse 66

naasti buddhirayuktasya na caayuktasya bhaavanaa

na caabhaavayataha santirasaantasya kutah sukham

For the one who is not tranquil, there is no knowledge. For the one who is not tranquil, there is no contemplation, and for the one who is not contemplative, there is no peace. For the one who has no peace, how can there be happiness?

Chapter 2, verse 67

indriyaanaam hi carataam yanmano’nuvidhiyate
tadasya harati prajñaam vaayurnaavamivaambhasi

The mind that follows the moving senses indeed robs the person of his knowledge, just as the wind carries away a small boat on the waters.

Chapter 2, verse 68

tasmaadyasya mahaabaaho nigrhiitaani sarvasah
indriyaaniindriyaarthebhyastasya prajñaa pratisthitaa

Therefore, oh mighty armed Arjuna, the knowledge of one whose senses are completely withdrawn (mastered) from their respective sense objects is steady.

Chapter 2, verse 69

yaa nisaa sarvabhuutaanaam tasyaam jaagarti samyami
yasyaam jaagrati bhuutaani saa nisaa pasyato muneh

In that which is night for all beings, the one who is wise, who has mastery over oneself, is awake. That, in which beings are awake, is night for the wise one who sees.

Chapter 2, verse 70

     samudramaapah pravisanti yadvat
tadvatkaamaa yam pravissanti sarve
     sa saantimaapnoti na kaamakaamii

Just as water flows into the ocean that is brimful and still, so too, the wise person into whom all objects enter, gains peace (remains unchanged); whereas the desirer of objects does not gain peace.

Chapter 2, verse 71

vihaaya kaamaan yah sarvaan pumaamscarati nihsprhah
nirmamo nirahankaarah sa saantimadhigacchati

Having given up all binding desires, the person who moves around, devoid of longing, without the sense of limited ‘I’, gains peace.

Chapter 2, verse 72

esaa braahmii sthitih paartha nainaam praapya vimuhyati
sthitvaasyaaamantakaale’pi brahmanirvaanamrcchati

This is what is meant by being steady in Brahman, oh Partha. Having gained this,  one is not deluded. Remaining therein, even at the end of one’s life, one gains liberation




Related Links

Yoga in the Gita
Essential Verses of the Gita
Summary of the 18 Chapters


Recent Posts

Micro-Cosmic Orbit: Pt 2

Exploring and Embodying Three Dimensions

In the previous post we explored the micro-cosmic orbit as a means to refine our focal attention (samadhi) through bringing our attention to specific points along the orbit and linking these points into lines, arcs and circles. As we work more deeply this way, we may discover that we can find these points at three levels. The first is out beyond the confines of the skin, in an ‘orbit’ in the energy field around the body. The second is directly on the skin, where an acupuncturist or shiatsu practitioner would apply needles or pressure. The third is in the interior of the body along the planes of fascia interwoven through the organs, blood vessels and nerves. When we can feel all three of these levels simultaneously, we are inhabiting our spherical energy field and can begin to fully realize the possibilities of having three dimensional/spatial sensitivity, perception and consciousness.

images-5The girdle vessel (Dai Mai,) the fourth vessel we use, is a latitude line and is essential in finding our three dimensional perceptual field. This yang vessel pairs with the yin ‘thrusting vessel, the vertical center axis, creating horizontal stability, and allowing us to rotate/twist. Rotation inherently builds the third dimension of depth ( A circle has length and width. To create a sphere you add depth. ) and is the gateway to cosmic awareness as well as a more vibrant embodied presence.

Rotation drives the whole manifest universe. In our solar system, the planets spiral around milky_waythe sun. In our Milky Way galaxy, the stars, including our sun, spiral around a center (probably a giant black hole! If you can find Sagittarius in the night sky, and you will probably have to wait until next summer, look through and imagine 26,000 light years off in the distance.) The earth rotates on its own axis creating weather patterns as well as a sense of day and night.

The spinning top (one of the oldest toys known to humans, found in archeological sites all over the world) demonstrates the cosmic principle in physics we are embodying. The faster it rotates, the more stable the vertical line. When the top slows down it starts to wobble and when it stops spinning, it falls over. To keep the rotation, you need to keep feeding it with energy. The bicycle uses this same principle, flipped 90 degrees. Another aspect we explore is the radius of the horizontal circle. Rotation pushes from the center outward (yang) in what is called centrifugal force. As this is counterbalanced by theGM2434B-1 yin centripetal (center seeking) force, we can change the volume of the energy field by playing with this ‘expanding – condensing’, yang – yin relationship.

In this top, the widest circle with the most outward thrust, the purple one, is below the center of the vertical axis. Lowering the center of gravity adds even more stability, which is why we emphasize the lower dantien in our breathing, movement and meditation practice. When we discover how to work with this principle in the energy field, our twisting poses can actually help expand the body. If we work muscularly, you will feel constricting in twisting poses.

SBK_1711254-24Traditionally the ‘dai mai’ girdle vessel surrounds the body at the level of the pelvis in the lower dantien. but we can move our attention to awaken other ‘latitudes’ of the body. To begin in the feet, stand with the right foot forward, the left foot back, as if you are about to move into a standing twist (without the forward bend), but haven’t yet begun. Before you move any further, imagine a spiraling coil of energy beginning below the floor (the Antarctic Circle) and traveling up the center. Notice how this mimics the girdle vessel. Now imagine the coils widening as they rise up from the base ( moving toward the equator), as the yang energy expands outward. The girdle vessel is very yang so this is quite natural. Feel the energetic volume expanding and condensing with the breath, but slowly expanding in overall volume

To awaken the front body-yin energy field, we can take the hoop forward to fully engage the arms and shoulders. Now imagine the hoops extends through the back body, receiving the rising spiral and expanding as the action of twisting. SBK_1711254-2SBK_1711254-9Most students eventually leave half of the body behind and end up contracting rather than expanding, especially along the spine column. Imagine the center of the spinal canal opening outward in an expanding circle/spiral, melting the tissue, feeling spaciousness, transcending the limitations of structure.SBK_1711254-4 (My front foot turns out much more than average to release the inner groin. Don’t feel you have to imitate this, but find out for yourself where openness and balance meet.) The hoop is moved to the front to expand the yin/organ/front body qi field and expand the ‘wings’ of the body, but also feel the back body softening and opening. This feeling can be evoked in sitting, lying and inverted twists as well. If you do not have a hula hoop handy, you can also use a thera-ball to find the volume.SBK_1711254-8


Another key component awakened here is the Pericardium 8 point, PC-8 (or P-8) in the center of the palms. Analagous to the K-1 points on the feet, P-8 is a gateway between the inner and outer qi fields. The SBK_1711254-11Pericardium, the fascial connective tissue membrane surrounding the heart, arises embryologically from the same cells and tissues that create the diaphragm and liver. The ‘heart protector’ literally does this, on many levels. As someone with a well-armored heart, I am finding that opening and nurturing the heart protector so that is does its job with over doing it is awakening a level of sweet vulnerability that is both precious and scary.

SBK_1711254-12In acupuncture, the pericardium meridian is part of the JueYin channel and connects all the way through the femoral canal to the legs. For those of you who have been practicing ‘climbing the wall’ for the last few years, you can actually trace the whole fascial continuity of the Jue Yin. (Use imagination to fill in the blanks.) Rise up from K-1 (not the heels, even though they do rise on their own) (DFL for those of you who know Tom Myers’ ‘Anatomy Trains’ system) to P-8, passing through liver, diaphragm and pericardium.

You can also track the qi from P-8 back into the body horizontally, again using the wall.SBK_1711254-14 Using the tip of the  middle finger of your other hand (PC-9) to feel the connections, trace the qi from the the wall and P-8 into the area around the pec minor muscle and then go inside the body to the pericardiam itself, along with the liver and diaphragm. Use the breath and your imagination. Then go back and try the twistings shown above with these new perceptions.

SBK_1711254-20To continue our building of a three dimensional perceptual qi field, we can return to the thera-ball to provide sensation and visualization. I like the feel of my third chakra having organ support, so I find placing the ball there and using a wall creates a powerful presence on the inside. Embryologically speaking, this is the extemely yin yolk sac which becomes the entire gut body. The conception vessel points on the micro-cosmic orbit are stimulated by the ball, bringing sensation and perception here. The liver comes from the yolk sac, so I can use this position to also find the Jue Yin channel we explored above. Lying SBK_1711254-19over the ball in a forward bend creates a similar feeling, with even more yielding and softening to the yang back body erector muscles. By moving the ball to the sternum, I can activate a new set of points on the conception vessel and engage the inner tissues surrounding the 4th chakra

If I want to build up my back field perception, I use the ball from behind and awaken sensation on the yang Governing Vessel.SBK_1711254-16 Here I have dropped it a bit lower to find the sacral-lumbar junction and here I can feel the possibility of both lumbar flexion and extension, from S curve to C curve and back.  The very important GV-4 Qi gong Image‘gate of vitality’ is here The inner abdominal space also opens and the front back and center plane begin to become conscious. This becomes trickier as you move upwards towards the liver. You can place the ball anywhere and feel different points coming alive. Feel their inner as well as outer presence. Back support can also help open the front. I haveSBK_1711254-17been trying to open my throat more for my sax sound and using the ball (or any elastic support) helps soften and melt tight tissue.

SBK_1711254-21Fish body support, opening some Gall Bladder Meridian points is another way to use the ball. I am using the wall, but this can be done on the floor as well, with slightly different effects. All of these ways of playing with the three dimensional field are ways of awakening and establishing a dynamic energetic field, centered in your heart, and radiating out throughout the whole of the cosmos. When you are out in Nature, feel this. When you are out and about in the human sphere, feel how you respond. It is fascinating to see what happens.

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