Indifference versus Nonattachment

Chapter II, Verse 52

Sri Nerode’s Translation:


When thy intellect transcends the tangle of delusion, then shalt thou attain the state of impersonalness in regard to things heard or yet to be heard.

Helpful Translation:

When the intellect supersedes the need for relative understanding through intuitive wisdom, then the past and the future no longer exist. The passage of time is only viewed from a limited perspective of the prison-bound intellect and the blind mind.


The sage whose consciousness has been liberated completely (extremely rare) from the attachments also realizes that both the past and future are external waste products born from desire. A liberated soul lives in the “eternal now.”

The ignorant argue, for what feels like an eternity, that it’s impossible to enjoy creation without attachment and desire. “What is my motivation?” they wonder. “How do I benefit without striving for a goal? What is the point?” And finally, “What enjoyment can I find by living in the moment?”

I have enjoyed and continue to experience brief timeless periods when personal desire ebbs and I am in tune with the universal order. I also know that everyone has these moments.

The difference between my periods of enlightenment and those periods not acknowledged by the ignorant is simply awareness. Most individuals are like a lemming who jumps off a cliff to his death because all of his peers are jumping.

Stop jumping. Concentrate and contemplate your life on a daily basis. Set aside time to learn how your life works. Forget about the world for a few minutes each day and focus on you. “How did I act and react today?” “Am I the sort of person I want to be?” “Am I happy and why or why not?”

Effective contemplation results in identifying moments when everything seems to work. The feeling of attunement is like winning the lottery. There’s a moment of exhilaration and wonder that is unmatched by any other experience. The liberated sage lives full-time in a similar state of exhilaration.

In America we are raised to believe that all of your experiences both success and failure are the products of your intentions. This is a universal, if relative, truth. Without intention, none of creation would exist.

However, the sage is one who has said “There has to be more than cycles of desire and disappointment.” The sage discovers how to enjoy creation for the amusement park it is, not for the hell of attachments that it was never intended to become. The answer is so simple that the human mind and intellect reject it.

For the ignorant: “Perform the task at hand to the best of your ability with a positive attitude. All aspects of life will improve over time.”

For the enlightened: “Follow intuition. Guidance from the universal order is unfailing.”

Easter Eggs:

Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:

Nivedam – positive indifference, like fully celebrating the accomplishments of another. In this context translations of this Sanskrit term might include “disgust” and “despondency” or “despair”. These negative translations are incorrect. The liberated sage enthusiastically embraces the action required in the moment.

Indifference in this verse differs from nonattachment in the previous verse. Indifference here means a loss of personal desire for action. Not to be misinterpreted as non-action. Awareness of and participation in creation requires action. Nonattachment means a loss of desire for outcome.

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