menu close menu

The Yoga of Equanimity

Swami Sivananda
“Perform action, O Arjuna, being steadfast in yoga, abandoning attachment and balanced in success or failure.  Such equanimity is called yoga.” (Bhagavad Gita, 2:48)
Samatvam is equanimity of mind and outlook, equipoise. It is being able to keep the mind steady and balanced in all the conditions of life.  It is the ability to be forever serene, contented, calm and peaceful. Samatvam is having the ability to remain cheerful in adverse conditions, to have fortitude in meeting danger, and to have the presence of mind and forbearance to bear insult, injury and persecution. Samatvam means being able to go through the routine of life, amidst the din and clamour of the world, patiently and joyfully.
Samatvam is the yoga that Lord Krishna talks about at length in the Bhagavad Gita. He defines yoga as: Samatvam yoga uchyate (2:48): Samatvam is yoga; equanimity is yoga. Lord Krishna considers samatvam as that evenness of mind which is upheld by a true yogi amidst the worst of all difficulties, turmoil and calamities; as that state wherein all the mental modifications, thoughts, imaginations, whims, fancies, moods, impulses, emotions and instincts are transcended. He explains that samatvam is being able to maintain one’s balance of mind in success and failure, gain and loss, pleasure and pain, and that it is the aptitude of a perfect master who remains equipoise in all circumstances. That is samatvam, the yoga of equanimity.
The definition of samatvam goes far beyond the temporary condition of mental quietude which people speak of when they retire for a short time to a Himalayan hermitage, or to the Alps, or to a quiet nature reserve for a little rest when they are tired after a long journey. Samatvam is the attainment of absolute peace and tranquility of the highest caliber. It is the realm of serenity where the cares, worries, anxieties and fears which torment the soul dare not enter. Samatvam is the ream of the eternal sunshine where all distinctions of caste, creed and colour disappear in the warm embrace of divine love and where desires and cravings have found their full satiety.
Everyone in the world is restless and striving after something, but exactly what he does not know. He feels he is in need of something, the nature of which he does not comprehend. He gets degrees, diplomas, titles, honour, power, name and fame. He marries, begets children. In short, he gets all that he supposes would give him happiness. A person may possess immense wealth, all sorts of comforts and an easy going life, yet he will have no peace of mind because he has no inner harmony. There is discord in his heart due to greed, selfishness, egoism, lust, pride, fear, hatred, anger and worry. He finds that worldly greatness, when secured, is a delusion and a snare, and finds no peace or happiness in it. Outward harmony and quietness cannot give real peace of mind.


August 17, 2013 | Satsang | 0