This is the most famous passage of the Bhagavad Gita.
There is a school of philosophy in the world today, which is called: “Behaviourism”. According of this school of psychology, a man can be judged by his behaviour; and according to this psychology, a man is said to be educated, when you affect his behaviour: this is the philosophy and psychology. If you can change the behaviour, education itself is defined: education is a process by which the behaviour can be changed in the direction in which the teacher wants the behaviour to be changed. This is one of the definitions of education given in Behaviourism, behaviourism is a “natural” philosophy of the outer man; the outer man always thinks that man can be judged by his behaviour, and that man is nothing but behaviour: then what is in man? It is only his behaviour.
“This” man is successful. Why is he successful? The outer psychology simply tells you, “Oh! He is successful because he walks about in a particular fashion; he speaks in a particular way; oh! His body language is wonderful, he knows when to use ‘this’ word, and he knows when to use ‘that’ word”. This is how many people study successful people, and they give you prescriptions that if you do the same thing, like Carnegie says in: ‘How to win friends and influence people’, if you call anybody by his personal name, your are likely to become more friendly with that person. One of the prescriptions, outer behaviour: you just call somebody by his personal name, and you become intimate with that person; or it affects that individual so much that other person is attracted towards you. So things of this kind am I prescribed by behaviouristic philosophy. This behaviourism is natural to every human being who wants to judge human being outwardly.
Arjuna who is still engaged in his outer psychology, he is very much affected by his outer being: his entire crisis is the crisis of the outer man. And Sri Krishna is constantly drawing him out from his external consciousness to the internal consciousness. When Sri Krishna speaks of samādhistha, of a state of consciousness, which is completely inward, then Arjuna asks the question: “Tell me, what is his language, how does he speak, how does he sit, how does he move about?” The assumption is that by knowing his outer movements you will find out whether this is sthitaprajña or not.
Sri Krishna’s answer is that He does not answer this question. The question is in a sense irrelevant: you cannot judge a sthitaprajña whether he smiles, or does not smile; whether he welcomes people, or he scoffs at people. You cannot judge a sthitaprajña by all these outer means at all. Then what is the answer that Sri Krishna gives? In this answer He gives descriptions, in which there is a complete union of Karmayoga, Jnanayoga, and Bhaktiyoga. We shall see how he answers. But the first thing is, he says:
prajahāti yadā kāmān sarvān pārtha mano-gatān |
ātmany evātmanā tuṣṭaḥ sthita-prajñas tadocyate ||55|| (II)
This is a standard that he now gives, which you cannot judge from his smile, or from his talk: prajahāti yadā kāmān sarvān pārtha mano-gatān. All the kāmān, all the kāmā, all the desires, which arise in the mind, all, all the desires, prajahāti, he has given up. When all the desires that arise in the mind are given up; ātmany evātmanā tuṣṭaḥ, when he is completely content, settled in his own self, sthita-prajñas tadocyate. This is the answer to our Jnani: Jnanayoga. ātmany evātmanā tuṣaṭḥ, he is completely settled in his own self: that states where all the desires, which come to the mind are all given up.
He does not answer how, what is his bhāṣā He simply gives a kind of a standard, which you can judge only when you yourself experience: the similar recognises the similar. If you have not gone beyond desires, do not expect that by outer means you will be able to find out whether he is sthita-prajña or not.
This first sentence is an answer to Arjuna, but a kind of a shattering answer. In a certain sense He says to Arjuna: “Don’t ask me irrelevant questions”. He simply says, in a very polite manner that, “Well if you want to judge, whom will you call sthita-prajña? When all the desires, which arise in the mind are given up, and when he is completely content within oneself, by the self, then you can call him sthita-prajña. He gives a detail of all this:
duḥkheṣv anudvigna-manāḥ sukheṣu vigata-spṛhaḥ |
vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhaḥ sthita-dhīr munir ucyate ||56|| (II)
“In the state of misery, he does not feel miserable at all. In the state of happiness, he is free from any kind of attachment; vītarāgabhayakrodhaḥ, in him there is no attraction, there is no fear, and there is no anger; when this state is achieved, then that is called, sthitadhīḥ: then he is the real muni, and he is one who is established in stable consciousness.
yaḥ sarvatrānabhisnehas tat tat prāpya śubhāśubham |
nābhinandati na dveṣṭi tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā ||57|| (II)
“He who is without attachment in everything and who neither rejoices nor hates in whatever good and evil he may obtain; his wisdom is firm.”
yadā saṁharate cāyaṁ kūrmo ’ṅgānīva sarvaśaḥ |
indriyāṇīindriyārthebhyas tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā ||58|| (II)