Bhagavagd Gita - Session 20- Track 2007

Question: Is Jainism stoicism?

In Jainism also there is a lot of stoicism, tremendous amount of stoicism.

So, if you study these verses, which I read out to you, you will find that there is no repetition as such. There are three kinds of equality, which are described: the equality, which is the result of stoicism, like soḍhuṁthat which is…the word soḍhuṁis given, ‘the endurance’: kāmakrodho vegaṁ, the vega is endured, there is a tremendous stuff of stoicism in it.

Then, there is another kind of equality, which comes to you by seeing the world, knowing what the world is. As Sri Krishna says: “Having known that all sense-objects, and the pleasures and pains, which comes from the sense-objects, they have a beginning and they have an end, having known this you are equal-minded.” Here it is not a question of enduring: having seen, having known, it is by process of knowledge.

When you see the whole world impartially, and see the entire process of the world, then you are no more affected by pleasure and pain. Those who have seen that you were in power one day and hundreds of cars used to wait outside your bungalow, and suddenly you drop out, and hardly one or two people come to meet you, and again you rise to power and again hundred cars come before you, having known what has happen earlier you have already learned that you should not now feel exalted or excited when hundred cars again come to you. You have understood that all this is not because of you that these people come to you, they do not desert you because of you, they come to you and they desert you because of something else, which you possessed at one time: you had honey at one time, you have now no honey with you, therefore the bees come or don’t come because of this whether you possess it or not. Having seen this, and all kinds of experiences you gain in the world of ups and downs, by knowledge you now become uplifted. That is called udāsīna. It is what is called in philosophical terms: an equality, which comes by philosophic wisdom.

The third is that you have attained in your state of consciousness what is called ‘resignation’, acceptance; this also leads you to equality. There is a state of consciousness in which you feel that everything that comes to you is equal: “O Lord, whether you give me joy or unhappiness, since it comes from you, it is all the same.” So, one who has this attitude of resignation…in Christianity for example this element is very powerful: submit to the will of God, do not even resist the evil, resist not the evil, even this. If evil comes on you, resign to it, bear it, suffer it, even to such an extent that suffering itself becomes a means of salvation. As Jesus accepted the suffering, and took the burden of the sin of man, and suffered, as a result it becomes a gate of salvation. It is a pure sense of resignation: “it comes to me from the Lord”. Submission: nati. In Sanskrit it is called nati, nama; nama: to bow down; from there the word nati; nati is the state of bowing down. You bow down to the will of God.

Question: When I can’t do anything. Whatever is coming, is coming, I can’t do anything?

No, that is another sense.

In other words, while these three states of which I spoke are at a higher level, there is a lower level of these three also. There is, you might say, a resignation from disappointment: not resignation in the sense that everything that comes from the Lord is joy for me: that is a higher level. But here, there is a resignation that comes from disappointment.

Question: But with a spirit of tolerance?

No, there it becomes higher. We have to distinguish the psychological threads. All resignation is not necessarily at the highest level. In the process of Yoga, since we are at the lower level, very often we pass through lower stages of resignation, higher stages of resignation, and the highest stages of resignation. There are three stages actually, only the last is the best. What is Karma yoga of Sri Krishna is the affirmation of equality at the highest level. But at the lowest level also we pass through, and you find many people mistaking their present condition as if it is the highest. Therefore, psychologically we must be quite aware of it that we should not be trapped, saying that, “Oh! It is now equal to me.” When there is a disappointment…you have tried your best, and you have failed and you know that you are going to fail again, you are disappointed, then whether you succeed or you fail it does not make any difference afterwards once you have become disappointed: that equality is a very low kind of equality.