The Bhagavad Gira II:71-72
Excerpts from God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita
by Paramahansa Yogananda
That person realizes peace who, relinquishing all desires, exists without craving and is unidentified with the mortal ego and its sense of "mine-ness".
O Partha (Arjuna)! this is the “established in Brahman” state. Anyone entering this state is never (again) deluded. Even at the very moment of transition (from the physical to the astral), if one becomes anchored therein, he attains the final, irrevocable, state of Spirit-communion.
— The Bhagavad Gita II:71-72
He who roams on earth, having freed himself from the compulsions of past desires, and who keeps himself impervious to the invasion of new cravings, and is no slave to the ego’s mean consciousness of “I” and “mine,” is wholly free from bondage. With the magic flute of his soul he enchants the peace within him to follow faithfully wherever he goes.
The formula of peace given in this stanza of the Bhagavad Gita is much quoted by complete renunciants and monks whose ascetic lives are free from worldly duties. A recluse seeks peace by minimizing bodily cares and renouncing worldly possession, and by keeping the field of his mind ablaze with wisdom thoughts so that no seeds of material desires may ever again take root. By perfect renunciation he severs all links with the personal or human ego with its desires for temporal possessions.
Peace is the first product of freedom from all desires. To the recluse of the Jnana Yoga school, the rationale of asceticism is that even desires for health and ordinary creature comforts, considered good by most people, are to be looked upon as producers of evil. All desires born of the bodily contact cause endless roamings in the corridors of earthly incarnations, since one desire leads to another—like being lost in a maddening labyrinth!
Any man who renounces the fruits of action and acts only for God is a man of renunciation as well as a yogi. He is a man of renunciation because he relinquishes the desire to be the beneficiary of his actions; he is also a yogi, united to God, because he works only to please Him.
By this way of being in the world but not of the world one can obtain peace. It is difficult, but it can be accomplished by an iron will. The path of outward renunciation, complete escape from the earthly scenes of material trouble, relinquishing longings by constant discrimination and withdrawal from objects of temptation, is suited to the nature of a choice few devotees.
The yogi-householder, who moves among sense objects, must free himself from internal desires that cause bondage more real than the temptations of the outer world. The man of renunciation must remove himself from the entanglements of the outer jungle of material objects as well as free himself from inner longings for the objects he has relinquished. Then and then only—whether in the world or in a woodland seclusion, whether a householder or a renunciant—one can attain peace.
Working in the world or sitting silently in a forest, the one objective of the yogi should be to recover the lost peace of the soul, and the souks lost identity with Spirit. He who is wholly desireless and ego-free has realized this objective.
The Bhagavad Gita II:72
Thus Krishna tells his disciple Arjuna: “He who forsakes desires for sense enjoyments, is unattached to sense objects, and is devoid of the consciousness of the limited ego, relinquishing its afflictions of ‘me and mine' receives the lasting joy of God-peace—that permanent blessedness of Spirit-communion spoken of as Brahmasthiti or ‘anchored-in-the-Infinite state.’”
Unsatisfied desires at the time of death are the cause of reincarnation. The man who still roams in the wilderness of matter, seeking the temporary blossoms of pleasures, works out his mortal desires by reincarnation; desireless, he finally enters the perfection of Spirit. Krishna advises the devotee to keep on working for this state of emancipation, even up to the moment before death. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out (will reincarnate no more),” Jesus assures man. [*Revelation 3:12.] A soul must attain freedom from earthly desires and egoity before death in order to escape from the merry-go-round wheel of births and deaths. If this freedom is not attained before physical death one has to incarnate again on earth. For man to tarry in ignorance is stupid and unwholesome, fraught with untold miseries; one can never tell into what abysmal troubles his ego and unsatisfied mundane desires may lead him.
Strive ceaselessly; never be impatient. Once the finality is achieved, incarnations of troubles will be over in a second, just as when light is admitted within a room that has been locked for decades, the darkness vanishes instantly.