Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 2, Sloka 53

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

***   OM  NAMAH  SHIVAYA   ***

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Sloka 53


When your intellect, though perplexed by what you have heard, becomes steady and immovable in the self, then you shall attain self-realisation.


The mind as we have learnt so far, is like a monkey, jumping from one branch to another. It is difficult to keep it steady and under control. The process of controlling the mind steady is “nischalatvam” (the last word in the first line of this sloka).

To do so, one should hear of Atman, think of Atman and meditate on the Atman. In course of time, the sadhaka will be able to merge totally in the Atman.

Sri Sankaracharya defines “samadhi” as the state when the mind is merged into the Atman.

Arjuna had spent his earlier days in the gurukula ashrama and was given the introduction to the Vedas.

The course, if we can call so in those days for pupils like Arjuna was the “Karma Kanda” of the Vedas. They were not initiated into the Upasana and Jnana kanda section of the Vedas.

Karma kanda in a way is hearing about the various rituals, yajnas and the benefit from conduct of the same.

Upasana kanda is thinking and meditating on the Atman and Jnana kanda is final realisation and union with the Atman.

Krishna says that karma kanda section of the Vedas when heard is perplexing. But, meditating on the Atman, analysing the principle behind all rituals and yajnas, one can steady the mind. His intellect will take over and dictate over the mind and controls the mind. Only then the sadhaka can remain steady on the thought of the Self.

This is the path to “Self-Realisation” and the seeker is on the road to freedom.

Another interpretation to the sloka:

The jnanendriyas bring in the impulses to the mind. Even though it is the ears that hear, we can say that the mind hears whatever the senses bring in.

Taking this meaning, we can say that “what you have heard” means, all the experiences from the past.

After all the experiences from the past are responsible for the present. If one uses the intellectual capacity of reasoning and thinks in terms of sanchita karma, one can easily say what is happening now is only “Prarabdha” karma. The seeker then develops the titikshatva for what is happening in his life and concentrates on the task ahead. The task being, “union with the Supreme.”

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