duḥkheṣv anudvigna-manāḥ
sukheṣu vigata-spṛhaḥ
sthita-dhīr munir ucyate

Translation of Bhagavad Gita 2.56

One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind.

Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

The word muni means one who can agitate his mind in various ways for mental speculation without coming to a factual conclusion. It is said that every muni has a different angle of vision, and unless a muni differs from other munis, he cannot be called a muni in the strict sense of the term. Nasav rsir yasya matam na bhinnam (Mahabharata, Vana-parva 313.117). But a sthita-dhir muni, as mentioned herein by the Lord, is different from an ordinary muni. The sthita-dhir muni is always in Krishna consciousness, for he has exhausted all his business of creative speculation. He is called prashanta-nihsesa-mano-rathantara (Stotra-ratna 43), or one who has surpassed the stage of mental speculations and has come to the conclusion that Lord Sri Krishna, or Vasudeva, is everything (vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma su-durlabhah). He is called a muni fixed in mind. Such a fully Krishna conscious person is not at all disturbed by the onslaughts of the threefold miseries, for he accepts all miseries as the mercy of the Lord, thinking himself only worthy of more trouble due to his past misdeeds; and he sees that his miseries, by the grace of the Lord, are minimized to the lowest. Similarly, when he is happy he gives credit to the Lord, thinking himself unworthy of the happiness; he realizes that it is due only to the Lord’s grace that he is in such a comfortable condition and able to render better service to the Lord. And, for the service of the Lord, he is always daring and active and is not influenced by attachment or aversion. Attachment means accepting things for one’s own sense gratification, and detachment is the absence of such sensual attachment. But one fixed in Krishna consciousness has neither attachment nor detachment because his life is dedicated in the service of the Lord. Consequently he is not at all angry even when his attempts are unsuccessful. Success or no success, a Krishna conscious person is always steady in his determination.

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

This verse and the next verse, the Lord answers the question “How does he speak?”

His mind is not disturbed by adhyatmika suffering in the form of hunger, thirst, fever, or headache, by the adhibhautika suffering coming from snakes or tigers, or by the adhidaivika suffering arising from extremes in wind or rain. When someone asks about himself, he says simply that this suffering is his prarabdha karma which he must unavoidably endure. He is not agitated with suffering (duhkhesv anudvigna manah). He does not say anything to himself or out loud to others. This absence of disgust at his situation is understood by the intelligent person to be the symptom of an undisturbed person. False indifference to suffering, the mark of the imposter, however, is understood by the wise man. Such a pretender is called fallen or depraved.

In the face of opportunities for happiness, he is without desire and says to himself or others that it is simply his prarabdha karma which he must tolerate. And the intelligent person recognizes his quality of being devoid of desire for happiness.

These qualities are made clearer. He is devoid of attachment to enjoyment (vita raga), devoid of fear from such things as tigers that want to eat him. He is devoid of anger towards friends who have attacked him. As an example, Jada Bharata in front of the Goddess Durga, did not show fear or anger towards the candala leader who wanted to kill him.

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

2.56 Even when there are reasons for grief like separation from beloved ones, his mind is not perturbed, i.e., he is not aggrieved. He has no longing to enjoy pleasures, i.e., even though the things which he likes are near him, he has no longing for them. He is free from desire and anger; desire is longing for objects not yet obtained; he is free from this. Fear is affliction produced from the knowledge of the factors which cause separation from the beloved or from meeting with that which is not desirable; he is free from this. Anger is a disturbed state of one’s own mind which produces affliction and which is aimed at another sentient being who is the cause of separation from the beloved or of confrontation with what is not desirable. He is free from this. A sage of this sort, who constantly meditates on the self, is said to be of firm wisdom. Then, the next state below this is described:

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

The Supreme Lord Krishna continuing the answer to the first question of verse 54 states that: He who is unperturbed, who is free from desires though amidst pleasures is not agitated even upon being put into misery because there is the absence of any attachment, affection, fear or anger. Thus by being devoid of all these characteristics one can be understood to be a person of steady wisdom.

Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:

Lord Krishna gives an expansion of this in the next three verses. For those situated in wisdom these instructions are essential being the means. It has been declared that whatever instructions have been recommended for those seeking advancement, these selfsame instructions are seen distinctively in the actions of those situated in wisdom. To assume erroneously that something is pleasant then it becomes a source of attachment. Rasa sentiment, raga attachment and rakti beauty are said to be erroneous assumptions.

Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

These characteristics Lord Krishna mentions are all within the purview of self-experience. How could others recognise such an inner state. To this he states undisturbed in sorrow. There are three types of sorrow or pain: adyatmika or physical, adhidaivika or supernatural and adhibhautika or natural. Adyatmika is pain of the body and pain of the mind. The pain of the body is diseases and ailments attacking it such as fever, rheumatism, gout, etc. The pain of the mind is due to insult, jealousy, shame and the like. Adhidaivika is pain caused by drought, flooding, cyclones, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. Adhibhautika is pain caused from people, demons, animals, ghosts, etc. All these three are destined by fate and as such are not transitory and after experiencing them they fade into oblivion. Determining in this way that those whose minds remain unperturbed in affliction coming due to fate as well as in happiness rising up by chance, these beings have become devoid of desires in whatever results occur. The reason is they are free from passion, fear and anger. Passion is the extreme mental attachment to objects cherished with intense desire with the intention of never letting possession of these objects be discontinued. Fear is the pain caused from the approaching agony arising from separation from what is cherished. Anger is a specific mental attitude which appears in one who experiences separation at the time of loss of cherished objects. These three passion, fear and anger all arise due to the lack of discrimination regarding the eternal nature of the soul. By the gradual development of this discrimination one becomes free from these three impediments and by this discrimination when the introspective one’s contemplation becomes mature they’re known as sthita-prajna.

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

2.56 Moreover, that munih, monk [Sankaracarya identifies the monk with the man of realization.] ucyate, is then called; sthita-dhih, a man of steady wisdom; when anudvignamanah, his mind is unperturbed; duhkhesu, in sorrow — when his mind remains unperturbed by the sorrows that may come on the physical or other planes [Fever, headache, etc. are physical (adhyatmika) sorrows; sorrows caused by tigers, snakes, etc. are environmental (adhibhautika) sorrows; those caused by cyclones, floods, etc. are super-natural (adhidaivika). Similarly, delights also may be experienced on the three planes.] –; so also, when he is vigata-sprhah, free from longing; sukhesu, for delights — when he, unlike fire which flares up when fed with fuel etc., has no longing for delights when they come to him –; and vita-raga-bhaya-krodhah, has gone beyond attachment, fear and anger.

Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:

2.56 Dukkhesu etc. Only that sage whose mental attitude is free from desire and hatred in the midst of pleasure and pain, and not anyone else, is a man-of-stabilized-intellect. This is also proper. For-

Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:

duhkhesv anudvigna-manah
sukhesu vigata-sprhah
sthita-dhir munir ucyate

Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:

duḥkheṣu — in the threefold miseries; anudvigna-manāḥ — without being agitated in mind; sukheṣu — in happiness; vigata-spṛhaḥ — without being interested; vīta — free from; rāga — attachment; bhaya — fear; krodhaḥ — and anger; sthita-dhīḥ — whose mind is steady; muniḥ — a sage; ucyate — is called.