Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 2, Sloka 52

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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Sloka 52


When your mind crosses the mire of delusion, you will attain to indifference as to what has been heard and what has to be heard.


The mire of delusion for us, the humans, is the “Maya”. It is the illusion. Covered by ignorance, as it were, we fail to see the “Truth.” This is because of our attachment to the impulses brought in by the sense organs about the world around. These impulses as we have studied so far will give us the experience of happiness or sorrow, both of which are temporary.

It is useful at this juncture if we can recollect one of the guru mantra:

”Ajanantimirandasya jnananjana shalakhayaha chakchurum meelitam ena tasmai sri gurave namamha.”

“Ajnanatimirandhasya” means crossing the ocean of ignorance.

The spiritual seeker has to cross over both the happiness and sorrows in life, develop an indifference to both and will then experience the “Bliss” within.

This is again the description of “Sthitaprajna”. From sloka 55 onwards, we are going to find out more about the qualities of a man of “steady wisdom.” This sloka is a preparation process to make us understand about such a man of steady wisdom.

 “Nirvedam” means “indifference.”
“Nirvedam shrotavysa srutasya cha”: indifference to what has been heard and what is to be heard.

This sounds confusing and needs to be clarified.

We can look at it from 2 angles.

a) For majority of us, who have yet to attain perfection is the spiritual practice: “what has been heard and what is to be heard” has to be understood as the sum total of all impulses received from the “jnanendriyas.”

“The impulses received from the five sense organs and the impulses to be received in future by the five sense organs” is the true meaning of “what is heard and what is to be heard.” “Heard” in this sense includes all the impulses received from sense organs. We should not confuse it to mean only what is heard by the ears.

When we learn to develop indifference to the impulses received, we will overcome the end result of happiness or sorrow.

b) Another explanation for the expression used (if we consider that the Lord is referring to the Vedas):

To those who have succeeded in their spiritual practice and reached the state of “Sthitaprajna”: there is no further need to hear or think about the “Truth” as enshrined in the Vedas.

For the rest of us, there is a dire need to continue to hear and think about the Vedas.

The only way to cross this mire of delusion is by understanding the correct meaning of “Nishkama karma” and continue to work as described in sloka 47 “Karmanyavadhikarasthe” and thereby purify the mind of all existing vasanas.

Sri Madhvacharya, the founder of “Dwaita” philosophy has given a beautiful explanation for the word “Nirvedyam.”

He says that that the word means “maximum profit.” In the spiritual path, if we can master the art of indifference to the impulses received and to be received, we will reap maximum benefit and experience “The Bliss.”

 “Maya”, the delusion is like electricity. It is not perceptible and acts in a number of different ways. At the intellectual level of perception, maya acts like a film that obstructs the true understanding of the Self within us.

The sastras use the word “Avarana sakti” to express the power of maya over us.

As a consequence, the “Self”, Atman, becomes “Jivatman” by identifying with the physical body and forgets its true identity.

Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK.
Questions concerning the text please direct to Dr. Nath at ““.

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