“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.54)
न शोचति न काङ्क्षति
समः सर्वेषु भूतेषु
मद्-भक्तिं लभते पराम्
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
The Sanskrit is prasannatma. The individual is fully joyful. The achievement accompanies a state based on understanding. Brahma-bhutah. The living entity is one with the Absolute. They are beyond the designations based on distinctions, vishesha. They see the spirit soul everywhere.
They understand the collective, that every individual soul put together is part of a singular energy known as Brahman. This prasannatma property can be understood by judging the response to different situations.
1. Upon receiving a harsh rebuke
“You really are the worst person in the world. You think that you are so great, that everyone should worship you because of your achievements, but it is not the qualities born from nature that count.
“What I am trying to say is that it matters what you do with your ability. Just because you are superior to someone else in a particular field, it doesn’t mean that you are meeting your full potential. Someone else might not be as capable, but they are more honest and humble. They are superior to you in terms of character.”
2. Upon receiving heaping praise
“I don’t know what we would do without you. Seriously, I mean it. Since you came along everything has been running more smoothly. We are meeting our target objectives for the first time ever. Because of your productivity, other departments have less workload, which means that they can be more efficient.”
3. Amidst a closed society due to a pandemic
“Stay inside. I mean it. If you have to go to the store, wear a facemask or some type of covering. You will be denied entry, otherwise. We are doing this to save lives. Don’t try to get cute and bring up abortion. We’re not in a philosophical debate here. The experts warn that if we don’t do something, as in taking drastic measures, putting millions of people out of work, there will be so much death and disease that our hospital system won’t be able to handle it. Yes, I know that the massive hospitals we just had built never saw any patients, but that is only because we got lucky. Don’t tempt fate.”
4. Amidst a roaring economy
“There are so many jobs available. I have never seen the country like this. It seems that every company is hiring. Incomes are up. People have this pep in their step that I have not noticed for many years. It’s sunny outside, metaphorically speaking.”
5. Upon receiving news of a terminal illness
“Only a certain number of days to live. That is the prediction, anyways. What can you do, really? Man is born to die. Let me try to follow the wonderful example of Parikshit Maharaja and focus the rest of my time on hearing Hari-katha.”
The brahma-bhutah soul remains in the joyful position because they no longer have anything to do with the material world, a place in which the conditions always change. Nothing is ever settled. The person chastising me today could be my best friend tomorrow. That economic depression befalling us could turn around into an extended period of growth.
Shri Krishna explains that the person reaching the prasannatma characteristic takes up devotional service, bhakti-yoga. They become devoted to Krishna, as He is the source of the Brahman energy. Rather than hanker and lament for a change, they are pleased where they are, at the lotus feet of the all-attractive one, always chanting His glories: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
For upward movement I can,
But already pleased where I am.
Changing circumstances can meet,
Since focused on His lotus feet.
That hankering no more,
Or loss lamenting for.
Brahma-bhutah paving the way,
No more in this duality to stay.
Categories: the five