Living in Wisdom

The Bhagavad Gita

Passages for Meditation

Arjuna :
Tell me of those who live in wisdom,
Ever aware of the Self, O Krishna;
How do they talk, how sit, how move about?

Sri Krishna:
They live in wisdom
Who see themselves in all and all in them,
Whose love for the Lord of Love has consumed
Every selfish desire and sense craving
Tormenting the heart. Not agitated
By grief or hankering after pleasure,
They live free from lust and fear and anger.
Fettered no more by selfish attachments,
They are not elated by good fortune
Nor depressed by bad. Such are the seers.

Even as a tortoise draws in its limbs,
The wise can draw in their senses at will.
Aspirants abstain from sense pleasures,
But they still crave for them. These cravings all
Disappear when they see the Lord of Love.
For even of those who tread the path,
The stormy senses can sweep off the mind.
But they live in wisdom who subdue them
And keep their minds ever absorbed in me.

When you keep thinking about sense objects,
Attachment comes. Attachment breeds desire,
The lust of possession which, when thwarted,
Burns to anger. Anger clouds the judgment
And robs you of the power to learn from
Past mistakes. Lost is the discriminative
Faculty, and your life is utter waste.

But when you move amidst the world of sense
From both attachment and aversion freed,
There comes the peace in which all sorrows end,
And you live in the wisdom of the Self.

The disunited mind is far from wise;
How can it meditate? How be at peace?
When you know no peace, how can you know joy?
When you let your mind follow the Siren
Call of the senses, they carry away
Your better judgment as a cyclone drives
A boat off the charted course to its doom.

Use your mighty arms to free the senses
From attachment and aversion alike
And live in the full wisdom of the Self.
Such a sage awakes to light in the night
Of all creatures. In which they are awake
Is the night of ignorance to the sage.

As the rivers flow into the ocean
But cannot make the vast ocean overflow,
So flow the magic streams of the sense world
Into the sea of peace that is the sage.
They are forever free who have broken out
Of the ego-cage of I and mine
To be united with the Lord of Love.
This is the supreme state. Attain to this
And pass from death to immortality.

The Bhagavad Gita, the “Song of the Lord,” is India’s best-known scripture. This passage has been translated by Easwaran for meditation and is published in Easwaran’s spiritual anthologies, “God Makes the Rivers to Flow” and “Timeless Wisdom.” The audio recording is by Eknath Easwaran who is reading an earlier translation of the passage.