35 Qualities of a Bhakta, Adi Sankara, Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavad Gita Chapter 12 Bhakti Yoga, Bhagavad Gita Chapter 12 Verses 13-19, Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati, The Qualities of a Parabhakta
Namaskaar. In our series of Qualities of a Parabhakta, we are looking at Verses #13-19 of Chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Gita, as explained by Pujya Swami Dayananda in his commentary in his landmark publication Bhagavad Gita Home Study. We now move on to Part #6 with Qualities described in verse 14 starting with “Satatam Santushtah“
JNANI IS ALWAYS SATISFIED
Satatam santustah The Jnani is always satisfied. Satatam is an important word here. Everybody is santusta, happy occasionally or with reference to some conducive situation. You may be happy with your job, your partner, your children but if I keep on extending the list, it will come to something you are not happy about. As a samsari one is happy only with reference to certain things, but not satatam santustah, not one who is always happy. This describes a sannyasi, a Jnani who Sankara says has a sense of adequacy, alampratyaya with reference to everything. He does not take issue with himself, the world and God on any account and is happy with himself. Generally we have not resolved our issues of contention even with God let alone with the world where we have numerous things to settle with various people and situations. And with regard to our own mind, body and senses, we have many accounts to settle. In this condition, it is not possible to have a constant alampratyaya.
There are only two things about which one can really say ‘enough.’ One is food. No matter how much you may like something, after you have eaten a certain quantity, you say alam, enough. That is why they say giving food is one of the two best acts of charity. If you feed somebody, he will eventually say ‘enough’; whereas money, for example, is never alam. Nor is any other thing except brahmajnana. Even empirical knowledge, aparavidya can never be alam because the more you know, the more you realise the extent of your ignorance. The sense of alam can only come when you know that you are purna, complete, because that alone cannot be improved upon. Of these two acts of charity vedanta–vijnana is greater because it creates an alampratyaya, which, unlike that created by having enough food, is not temporary. Santustah satatam is a person who has settled all his issues of contention. As a sannyasi, all he has to do is maintain his body for which he requires food etc. If it is there he is satisfied; even if it is not, he is satisfied. And whether he gets something nutritious and palatable or quite the opposite, he is happy. By mere practice one can acquire this capacity; but it is very natural for a person who has settled account with himself.
Satatam can also be taken as qualifying yogi. There are two meanings for yogi based on the two meanings of the root yuj. If the root is taken in the sense of ‘to master or control, nirodhane,’ a yogi is one who has yoga, which is defined as cittavrttinirodha, control over the thoughts. The second meaning of the root yuj is ‘to unite.’ That is the sense in which it is used here. He is a yogi because of his jnana of his identity with Isvara. He is also a yogi with reference to his mind in that he has tranquility, citta-samadhana, but not by the force of his will. The once restless mind was made relatively composed by viveka and karmayoga, then when it was exposed to vedanta-pramana, it fulfilled its purpose in the recognition of the truth of itself. It poses no problem for him since he does not identify with it as ‘I.’ Being very clear about the fact that he is not the mind, he does not judge himself on the basis of mental conditions. He is satatam yogi, always a yogi. Everybody has experiences of tranquility, cittasamadhana, and in that sense is a yogi occasionally. Here Bhagavan is describing a jnani, which is why he can say satatam yogi.
The word satatam is placed between the two words – santustah and yogi – in order to modify both. This technique is called kakaksi–nyaya, the analogy of the crow’s eye. The eye of a crow does not move in its socket so, when it turns its head to see, it can look as though a single eyeball goes to the other socket. It is the same here. A single modifier placed between two nouns can modify the meaning of both nouns. Another analogy for the same situation is that of a lamp on the threshold, dehali-dipa-nyaya. It simultaneously lights up the inside and outside. Similarly here, satatam simultaneously modifies santustah and yogi.