Chapter 2 Verse 57

yah sarvatranabhisnehas
tat tat prapya subhasubham
nabhinandati na dvesti
tasya prajna pratisthita

yah – the one who
sarvatra – in all situations
anabisnehah – without attachment
tat tat – whatever
subhasubham – pleasant and unpleasant
prapya – gaining
na abhinandati – does not rejoice
na dvesti – does not hate
tasya – his
prajna – knowledge
pratisthita – established

The one who is unattached in all situations, who neither rejoices on gaining the pleasant and hates the unpleasant, his knowledge is well established.

Affection is considered as sneha because the person for whom you have affection sticks to you. Even if this person is away from you, he or she is always with you in your thoughts. Because there is sharing involved, the other person’s joys and sorrows become your joys and sorrows. You are deeply affected by the person and therefore there is sneha, affection between the two of you. Moksha means freedom from emotional dependence. Until one discovers this, there is bondage. You cannot help becoming sorrowful, unhappy. We think someone is rich, very happy, drives a nice car, has good kids, good father, and is good looking, has a nice house etc. yet they are not happy. This because the smallness of ‘I’ will be there continuously. As long there is the aham buddhi, which means nothing can make you really happy. Even if you have all the wealth, a person can be unhappy as the aham buddhi is still there.

Affection need not be a problem. However attachment is a nuisance. When a mother has affection for her child, there is no problem because the child needs the affection in order to grow well. To be fondled, talked to, listened to and cared for, all of which is sneha, is very important for the child’s growth. But what usually happens is that the affection becomes attachment and an attachment there is a strangulation of some kind. Instead of being an object of your affection, the person becomes an object to be possessed and controlled.

A person who has a wound involving pain and a little swelling will look at the wound every few minutes and stroke it ever so gently. Because there is pain and a lot of healing is going on, the wound receives all of the person’s love and attention. The mind goes there because the heart is there. The whole system naturally wants to fight it out and will certainly not allow the mind to dwell upon the meaning of sat-chit-ananda at this time. Thus our attachment is towards things, many places, people, relations etc.

An example can be of a corporate world, where you hire a contractor do a job for 3 months. He comes in and does the job and goes away. There is office politics and he knows it but he also knows that he is temporary and not going to worry about it. He has a job to do and he finishes it. On the other side, we have a permanent employee who gets involved in politics as he cannot escape it and he gets deeply stuck into it, gets attached to the issues and his mind is not steady. The difference between the 2 people is that one understood that it is only temporary and he will bear it while the other thought that I have no way out. So let me fight it out. But in the process, his own mind is muddled up.

We may do things that the other person does not like and we could get criticized for it. A wise person takes the criticism positively and if he thinks it is good for his development he takes it on board and moves on. If he thinks that the criticism is not valid, he ignores it and does not pick up a fight over it or loses control.

To summarize, a wise person may have affection, love, concern for any person but he is not attached to that person or thing for his own happiness. Attachment helps no one especially not the mumukshu. This person does not have mood swings of joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, elation or depression. He understands that his own happiness comes out of his own self being what he is naturally is and always reveling in sat-chit-ananda.

 

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