Bhagavagd Gita - Session 20- Track 2006

Now, these verses may seem to be repeating, but if you study them properly, you will find that there are three important stages of equality, which are described in one way or the other. There is what may be called titikṣā: the equality, which comes from titikṣā. The second is the equality, which comes to you when you are udāsīna, when you are seated above; and equality, which comes to you by nati, by submission, by resignation. These are the three steps or three states in which equality is obtained. Even those who do not do Yoga, sometimes they happen to be in a state of equality, although they can not retain it for long, but sometimes they do come to this state of equality, provided temporally they come into these three conditions, one of these three conditions.

Either in the state of titikṣā: titikṣā is the state in which you are prepared to bear, to endure, when you have decided that you want to bear. Somebody is torturing you and normally we react to it; but if you have decided that, “I will bear it”, it makes all the difference to your reaction. The same kind of torture, which was giving you pain, even if it gives pain to you, your reaction is that you have conquered it, you are not overpowered by the torture, you do not become slave to the torture, you are able to rise above it. If you are walking in the hot sun, if you decided that you want to bear the sun then you will find after sometime that you are not tortured by the sunshine: you are able to receive the heat to the sun almost like a friend; you are able to bear it. It is a question of how you look at it.

There are certain conditions in which the joy is so great that like the “My fair lady”, you want to dance and dance the whole night; such a tremendous pressure of joy, you cannot contain: now, that is a state of inequality, because you cannot contain yourself. But there also if you are able to bear the joy, contain it, to master it, it is also enduring. If you can endure the joy, then you can remain equal.

Question: doesn’t one endure in the first place because of lack of strength?

Because of the lack of strength, you endure is it?

Question: Initially, you endure anything because you are not strong enough to oppose it, or is it anything else?

It is a slavish endurance you might say. This endurance is not a slavish endurance. There are different kinds of endurances, and you are quite right that this sense of endurance can be mistaken, if you don’t make this distinction that you are making. At a time you endure something because you cannot help it; it is a kind of resignation, but even less than a resignation of a kind. They will give even disappointed-ness. Because you are disappointed you can do nothing about it, therefore you bear it. This kind of endurance has to be distinguished from this kind of higher kind of endurance, where you can react if you want to, but you have decided that you will be able to bear it, you want to bear it, you don’t want to react, you want to master it, that is what is called “stoic endurance”.

Take for example a soldier who goes to the battle, and he is attacked by arrows after arrows; at every strike of the arrow there is pain, but because he has decided, “I want to bear it, I want to bear the pain”, he continues to fight. So, as far as the bearing is concerned, whether five arrows strike or ten, he remains equal; not because he is not able to react, but he has decided to bear it. The wounds are accepted and afterwards when you retrospect you might even say that wounds gave him joy! He feels that he was able to bear the wounds, and then he regards his wounds as medals of the war. If you go to a warrior, and once he has received the wounds, he often shows his wounds and says, “Look I have been able to endure this”; this kind of scar, which only shows that deep wound inside, he enjoys it by saying it is the medal of his war.

Question: But how do you differentiate between the slavish endurance, and this heroic endurance?

The heroic endurance is that you do not get subdued. In the slavish one, you are subdued, here you are not subdued, you bear it, you rise above it and you bear it.

Question: In other words manobala?

That’s right. It is what is called in western philosophy: the attitude of the stoic. There is a philosophy of stoicism, which teaches you that you should be able to endure everything in the world: joy and sorrow, love and hatred, honour and dishonour, success and failure, “Bear everything as it comes, you are greater than all this!”