The End of Desire Gives Birth to the Sage

Chapter II, Verse 71

Sri Nerode’s Translation:

71

He who shakes off the fetters of his flesh and longings, lives as a Master, not as a slave to his desires and lust, abandoning the passion of pride and the sense of I-ness or egoness, he toucheth the deep of Peace.

Helpful Translation:

There is no human craving or desire in the sage who has transmuted the limited ego into broad awareness. The person who lives in the moment completely identifies with the now without worldly possessions and anticipates no results from activities.

Commentary:

Material renunciation is supported by this verse. Monastic orders may use this verse to condone the lifestyle of avoiding material responsibilities and possibly living in seclusion from the cares of worldly life.

In a larger context this verse affirms the need for non-attachment. Who is stronger, the one who avoids temptation or the one who chooses not to partake in temptation when confronted?

Whether one lives a family lifestyle or remains secluded from the world, every sage has had to make the choice to view the material life as the prison of limitations. Some require silence and an environment with little stimulation to increase their understanding, but most require an active life with daily time set aside for introspection, contemplation and meditation.

At the risk of going off on a tangent, I consider this verse as a call to personal progress.

Humans are programmed to want to return to their infinite nature. Knowledge of how to express infinity can come through many successes and failures over many lifetimes or it can come by more direct methods (namely concentration techniques).

Identified with ego, one who aspires to become a sage must confront the fact that desires are limitations. Investment of time and effort in spiritual practices is like buying seeds and planting them in the ground. Some practices grow and produce useful fruits. Other seeds may die and rot in the ground. Like a farmer, the sseker of enlightenment must be willing to till the soil of consciousness, plant the seeds of practices, and tend to the growing plants of self-discipline and steady concentration until the fruit of awareness appears.

In actuality, specific desires and even instinctual longings fall away from the soul naturally whether the individual is engaged in the slow progression offered by material lessons or in the faster evolution offered by concentration and meditation.

One who dives into the shallow waters of material desires, quickly learns the lessons of pain and sorrow. Masked with the moderation of material self-discipline and with some caution from basic religious rituals, one who dives into the deep end of material desires buys himself time to contemplate the results of actions and to adopt a style of growth that suits him.

A life without desires is a life of freedom, able to experience all things from a much broader perspective and with deeper joy.

Easter Eggs:

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

Ahamkara – concept of individuality.

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Ancient History

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