The first time I read sloka 2-48 in the Bhagavad Gita it resonated. Firstly because it felt like the objective of my yoga practice, but also, for me, it contains many of the teachings of yoga within.
For me yoga is the realisation that I am not my mind, coupled with a complete evenness of being in body and mind. That’s not to say I, or anyone else, can achieve that all of the time – we are all human! For me having equanimity of mind is about watching my thoughts and choosing actions and reactions with a clear head. It is about always trying to be centred and grounded, and appreciating everything around me without being affected by what is beyond my control. Much easier said than done!
This passage is saying that achieving equanimity is about living a life that enables evenness of mind regardless of the circumstances. It is not having attachments to anything that can become desired by the senses and lead to citta vrttis, or ripples in the mind.
Equanimity of mind is hard
Attaining total equanimity is remarkably hard. For example I am attached to my family. With family life inevitably comes events and circumstances that cause citta vrttis. A disagreement with my partner, the death of an elderly relative etc.. So the literal realisation of the sloka is perhaps best left to renunciates who can leave their families, and all other worldly attachments, and spend their lives in meditation.
For me the reaslisation of equanimity comes with yoga practice and is about achieving a degree equanimity of mind on and off the mat. It is about taking the equanimity you find on your mat out into everyday life. That is why this passage inspired the name of my teaching practice.
If at the end of a yoga session, whether Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga or any other, your mind is stiller than when you began you have achieved a level of equanimity. If you can take that into you daily life then you are a living embodiment of this teaching.
Of this sloka Satchidananda in his 2013 commentary of the Bhagavad Gita says:
“Keep up that tranquillity while allowing prakriti, or nature, to function though you.”
Find out more about Equanimity Yoga classes.