prajahāti yadā kāmān
sarvān pārtha mano-gatān
ātmany evātmanā tuṣṭaḥ
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 2.55
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification, which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The Bhagavatam affirms that any person who is fully in Krishna consciousness, or devotional service of the Lord, has all the good qualities of the great sages, whereas a person who is not so transcendentally situated has no good qualifications, because he is sure to be taking refuge in his own mental concoctions. Consequently, it is rightly said herein that one has to give up all kinds of sense desire manufactured by mental concoction. Artificially, such sense desires cannot be stopped. But if one is engaged in Krishna consciousness, then, automatically, sense desires subside without extraneous efforts.
Therefore, one has to engage himself in Krishna consciousness without hesitation, for this devotional service will instantly help one onto the platform of transcendental consciousness. The highly developed soul always remains satisfied in himself by realizing himself as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord. Such a transcendentally situated person has no sense desires resulting from petty materialism; rather, he remains always happy in his natural position of eternally serving the Supreme Lord.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Step by step, Krishna answers each of the four questions, from this verse until the end of the chapter. (This verse answers the first question: What is the nature of the jivan mukta?)
He gives up all desires, so that not even one desire remains for any object. He is able to give up these desires because they belong to the mind (manogatan); they are not the intrinsic quality of the soul. If they were the intrinsic quality of the soul, they could not be given up, just as fire never gives up heat. The cause for this is stated. He is satisfied by the soul whose very nature is bliss (atmana tustah), in the mind (atmani) which has withdrawn from sense objects. The sruti says:
yada sarve pramucyante kama ye ‘sya hrdi sritah atha martyo ‘mrto bhavaty atra brahma samasnute
When all the desires situated in the heart are cleared away, the mortal becomes immortal and enjoys brahman. Katha Upanisad 6.14
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
2.55 The Lord said — When a person is satisfied in himself with himself, i.e. when his mind depends on the self within himself; and being content with that, expels all the desires of the mind which are different from that state of mind — then he is said to be a man of firm wisdom. This is the highest form of devotion of knowledge. Then, the lower state, not far below it, of one established in firm wisdom, is described:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Now it is revealed what are the means to knowledge for an aspirant and what are the natural characteristics exhibited once one has attained transcendence. Hence by merely relating the characteristics of one possessing spiritual intelligence the means of direct knowledge are simultaneously transmitted as well throughout the conclusion of this chapter. Now the answer to the first question in the previous verse is given in this verse and the next. When a person gives up all desires of the mind, relinquishing them completely, which results when by determination one has perceived the Ultimate Truth by strength of one’s individual consciousness. Then and only then one delights in the inconceivable joy of communion with the Ultimate Consciousness whose eternal nature is supreme bliss. Experiencing the delight of this supreme bliss one automatically loses all desire for even the most equisite material pleasures and thus by this possessing this characteristic one can be understood to be a person of steady wisdom.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Before illuminating the characteristics of those situated with spiritual intelligence who often are indistinguishable from others not so situated as requested by Arjuna in the previous verse; Lord Krishna reveals the attributes of the spiritual intelligent in this verse. Thus in understanding how one being satisfied by the supreme state of transcendent consciousness performs actions is the explanation introduced in this verse. One situated in spiritual intelligence realises the soul by the grace of the Supreme Lord but the this can be sooner or longer to achieve subject to the degree of ones attachments held earlier in their life; but anyway to some extent their will be realisation. In actuality such a one discards all desires. Even as in the case of Sukadeva and Dhruva after they had darshan or vision of the Supreme Lord. The spiritual intelligent, those knowing the Ultimate truth always enthusiastically desire communion with the Supreme Lord incessantly seeking the mercy to serve, worship and glorify Him.
In regard to Indra and the demigods, undesirable desires are not present therefore their knowledge is known to be supernal. It is therefore declared that the qualified living entity is verily so due to the performance of great activities. Because of such achievements they become distinguished from others. Therefore due to distinguished activities their distinctive attributes are manifested. But it should be emphasised that even if one unqualified by spiritual intelligence happens to distinguish themselves, still they can never be considered as situated in transcendent consciousness. This point should be clearly understood. In this verse the attributes of one who is in samadhi transcendent consciousness is not discussed. This is because one who is unattached in all respects shows no attachment for anything at any time. For one in the transcendent consciousness of samadhi there is no experience of auspicious or inauspicious because there is no connection to material consciousness which is the antithesis to samadhi. Therefore conceptions of this nature do not apply.
Wants and desires do not arise in those who have cleansed their mind and purified their consciousness and who situated in spiritual intelligence have taken complete refuge of the Supreme Lord Krishna. This is recorded in Vedic scriptures.
Desires are hidden within the mind but it is in this same mind where spiritual intelligence must manifest to neutralise and eradicate such desires. This is indicated by the word mano-gatan concoctions of the mind. This dichotomy between attachment to desires and attachment to the soul is further referred to in verse 59 of this chapter illustrating that even though refrain of actions is induced the desires continue within the mind. It is not that only by refraining from desires one in spiritual transcendence may be perceived for desires may hide within. The word atmani meaning by purified consciousness of the soul denotes by the assistance of the Supreme soul. The ultimate truth verily, dwells in the Supreme soul. Since the soul is completely abiding in the ultimate truth, by the sole grace of the Supreme soul alone attainment is achieved. Thus one who takes the initiative renouncing attachment, abides in the Supreme Lord by the grace of the Supreme Lord and is provided with all that is necessary to attain this end and not by any other means whatsoever. This all has been spoken of in the Narayana Shataksara Kalpa. Thus the soul referred to here is paramatma the ultimate soul.
Now begins the summation.
It is not that those of spiritual intelligence can always stop the flow of inappropriate desires. Renouncing what is inappropriate means one has renounced desire. Even those who have experienced the transcendent state to some degree and have perceived the reality of the ultimate truth, still inappropriate desires may arise in the mind when they are not in that transcendent experience. Evidence of this is seen in Vedic scriptures when Shiva to protect his worshiper fought in battle against Lord Krishna. Thus only when one is not in the transcendent experience can one be in an equaniminous state for in the transcendent experience such designations do not apply. Situated in spiritual intelligence with concerted endeavour one becomes qualified and eligible for the supreme grace to attain the transcendent state. Another point to note is that by the awakening of devotion in the heart for the Supreme Lord the ineligible will also become qualified to also receive the grace to attain the transcendent state in due to course of time without fail. The word atmani indicates Lord Krishna. It is only by His grace may one attain the transcendent state.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
In order to answer Arjunas four questions Lord Krishna begins here and continues till the end of the chapter. To answer the first question He explains that when one thoroughly abandons all cravings of the mind one is sthita-prajna situated in transcendent consciousness. What is the indication that one has abandoned all cravings of the mind? Lord Krishna explains that such a being is immersed in the soul and is completely satisfied by the soul. The stability of ones mind can be known when one becomes pleased and satisfied by the resultant purity of the mind after completely abandoning all desires and lust. In the soul, self-contained by its own inherent nature in the form of knowledge, eternality and bliss is characterised by the total annihilation of all sins as declared by Prajapati in the spiritual discourse he delivered as seen in the Upanisads.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
2.55 In the verses beginning from, ‘When one fully renounces…’, and ending with the completion the Chapter, instruction about the characteristics of the man of steady wisdom and the disciplines (he had to pass through) is being given both for the one who has, indeed, applied himself to steadfastness in the Yoga of Knowledge after having renounced rites and duties from the very beginning [Even while he is in the stage of celibacy.], and for the one who has (applied himself to this after having passed) through the path of Karma-yoga. For in all the scriptures without exception, dealing, with spirituality, whatever are the characteristics of the man of realization are themselves presented as the disciplines for an aspirant, because these (characteristics) are the result of effort. And those that are the disciplines requiring effort, they become the characteristics (of the man of realization). [There are two kinds of sannyasa — vidvat (renunciation that naturally follows Realization), and vividisa, formal renunciation for undertaking the disciplines which lead to that Realization. According to A.G. the characteristics presented in this and the following verses describe not only the vidvat-sannyasin, but are also meant as disciplines for the vividisa-sannyasin.-Tr.] O Partha, yada, when, at the time when; prajahati, one fully renounces; sarvan, all; the kaman, desires, varieties of desires; manogatan, that have entered the mind, entered into the heart –. If all desires are renounced while the need for maintaining the body persists, then, in the absence of anything to bring satisfaction, there may arise the possibility of one’s behaving like lunatics or drunkards. [A lunatic is one who has lost his power of discrimination, and a drunkard is one who has that power but ignores it.] Hence it is said: Tustah, remains satisfied; atmani eva, in the Self alone, in the very nature of the inmost Self; atmana, by the Self which is his own — indifferent to external gains, and satiated with everything else on account of having attained the nector of realization of the supreme Goal; tada, then; ucyate, he is called; sthita-prajnah, a man of steady wisdom, a man of realization, one whose wisdom, arising from the discrimination between the Self and the not-Self, is stable. The idea is that the man of steady wisdom is a monk, who has renounced the desire for progeny, wealth and the worlds, and who delights in the Self and disports in the Self.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
2.55 Prajahati etc. [The expression ‘a man-of-stabilized-intellect’ denotes] a man whose intellect has stabilized, i.e., has grown roots. Growing roots is growing roots permanently on the Self. For, if that is achieved, the agitation in the form of desire born of the distraction by sense-objects comes to an end. Therefore, the nomenclature ‘a man-of-stabilized-intellect’ applied to a man-of-Yoga, has an etymological sense and it is appropriate in this way. In this manner one question has been answered.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
prajahati yada kaman
sarvan partha mano-gatan
atmany evatmana tustah
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; prajahāti — gives up; yadā — when; kāmān — desires for sense gratification; sarvān — of all varieties; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; manaḥ-gatān — of mental concoction; ātmani — in the pure state of the soul; eva — certainly; ātmanā — by the purified mind; tuṣṭaḥ — satisfied; sthita-prajñaḥ — transcendentally situated; tadā — at that time; ucyate — is said.