samudram āpaḥ praviśanti yadvat
tadvat kāmā yaḿ praviśanti sarve
sa śāntim āpnoti na kāma-kāmī
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 2.70
A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires—that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still—can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Although the vast ocean is always filled with water, it is always, especially during the rainy season, being filled with much more water. But the ocean remains the same—steady; it is not agitated, nor does it cross beyond the limit of its brink. That is also true of a person fixed in Krishna consciousness. As long as one has the material body, the demands of the body for sense gratification will continue. The devotee, however, is not disturbed by such desires, because of his fullness. A Krishna conscious man is not in need of anything, because the Lord fulfills all his material necessities. Therefore he is like the ocean—always full in himself. Desires may come to him like the waters of the rivers that flow into the ocean, but he is steady in his activities, and he is not even slightly disturbed by desires for sense gratification. That is the proof of a Krishna conscious man—one who has lost all inclinations for material sense gratification, although the desires are present. Because he remains satisfied in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he can remain steady, like the ocean, and therefore enjoy full peace. Others, however, who want to fulfill desires even up to the limit of liberation, what to speak of material success, never attain peace. The fruitive workers, the salvationists, and also the yogis who are after mystic powers are all unhappy because of unfulfilled desires. But the person in Krishna consciousness is happy in the service of the Lord, and he has no desires to be fulfilled. In fact, he does not even desire liberation from the so-called material bondage. The devotees of Krishna have no material desires, and therefore they are in perfect peace.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
This verse describes the sthita prajna’s condition of not being affected or agitated when he accepts the sense objects. Just as in the rainy season, rivers (apah) here and there enter into the ocean, almost filling it up (a—almost, puryamanam—filled), but not being able to completely fill it up, not being able to go beyond the shore (acala pratistham), in a similar manner the objects of sense enjoyment (kamah) come to the sthita prajna for his enjoyment (but cannot disturb him). Just as, whether the rivers enter or do not enter the ocean, the ocean is not disturbed at all, the sthita prajna (sah) remains undisturbed whether he gets objects of enjoyment or not. He attains the stage of jnana (santim).
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
2.70 The river waters enter into the sea which is full by itself and is thus the same, i.e., unchanging in shape. The sea exhibits no special increase or decrease, whether the waters or rivers enter it or not. Even so do all objects of desire, i.e., objects of sense perception like sound etc., enter into a self-controlled one, i.e., they produce only sensorial impressions but no reaction from him. Such a person will attain peace. The meaning is that he alone attains to peace, who by reason of the contentment coming from the vision of the self, feels no disturbance when objects of sense like sound, etc., come within the ken of the senses or when they do not come. This is not the case with one who runs after desires. Whoever is agitated by sound and other objects, never attains to peace.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
It could be further postulated that since such a being has no interest in sensual pursuits how then are the objects of the sense experienced like seeing sights, hearing sounds, smelling scents etc. in the course of ones daily routine. Here Lord Krishna states that just as the ocean is unaffected is unaffected by the waters of innumerable rivers flowing into it; similarly the introspective yogi is unaffected by the experiences of sense objects which are manifesting due to the influence of both positive and negative reactions to actions which were performed in the previous lifetime and which in the present lifetime come of their own accord. One who is thus self controlled has achieved peace of mind and is thereby unaffected by association of these sense objects; but this is not the case for one who is desirous of sensual enjoyment.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
The way in which those situated in transcendent meditation experience the objects of the senses is explained in this verse by Lord Krishna. Whoever remains unaffected by sense objects even when they approach incessantly, who is not overwhelmed by them, who does not endeavour for them, who is not at a loss due to their absence, who is unchanged like the ocean which does not increase no matter how many bodies of water enter it and which does not decrease if no other bodies of water enter it endeavouring for neither. Such a one as this can attain peace. This is the meaning.
Now begins the summation.
Even while experiencing interaction with the senses, one who does not transgress the boundaries of desire, like the ocean which remains steadfast within its boundaries destined by creation, then such a one is not bound by theses desires. One is then liberated from these desires. Ka means to become selfish. Hence one whose desires are self-centered is known to be the selfish one. All desires are not contrary to liberation nor are all desires opposed to liberation. In the absence of desires it is not possible to live a normal life. Since attaining peace from endless desires is liberation itself, subsequently develops eternal faith in the Supreme Lord. Verily this is truth.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Thus one situated in yoga attaining the state of transcendent meditation ceases from pursuing sensual objects because they have mastered the senses and have them under controls. But the question may arise that if in one developed by yoga sense objects naturally come to and are experienced then one may be deviated and cease to remain in the transcendent state. Lord Krishna refutes this doubt by this verse. As water entering the ocean does not affect or change the ocean; likewise the yogi immersed in transcendent meditation is unaffected and unchanged by those things interacting with the senses which are destined to come due to previous karma or by fate. Although they may be experienced they in themselves are not powerful enough to generate any change or deviation internally. Thus such a one has attained peace in the form of liberation from extreme joy as well as misery because the desires causing actions which are the cause of all types of misery are terminated but ones devotedness to the yoga does not deviate and does not terminate. Contrarily one who is inclined to ruminates over and hankers after sensual enjoyments can never find peace and incessantly revolves in the material existence buffeted hither and thither by the negative and positive reactions of their own desires.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
2.70 Sah, that man; apnoti, attains; santim, peace Liberation; yam, into whom, into which person; sarve, all; kamah, desires, all forms of wishes; pravisanti, enter, from all directions, like waters entering into a sea, without overwhelming him even in the presence of objects; they vanish in the Self, they do not bring It under their own influence, tadvat, in the same way; yadvat, as; apah, waters, coming from all sides; pravisanti, flow into; samudram, a sea; that remains acala-pratistham, unchanged, that continues to be its own self, without any change; apuryamanam, (even) when filled up from all sides with water. Na, not so the other; who is kama-kami, desirous of objects. Kama means objects which are sought after. He who is given to desire them is kama-kami. The idea implied is that he never attains (peace). Since this is so, therefore.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
2.70 Apuryamanam etc. the man of Yoga does not run out for the sake of pleasure; but, rather just as the floods of the rivers enter into the sea, the objects of pleasure [themselves] continuously enter into him on account of their being peculiar attributes of the sense-organs; and they do not create in him waves [of agitation]. thus the third question is decided.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
samudram apah pravisanti yadvat
tadvat kama yam pravisanti sarve
sa santim apnoti na kama-kami
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
āpūryamāṇam — always being filled; acala-pratiṣṭham — steadily situated; samudram — the ocean; āpaḥ — waters; praviśanti — enter; yadvat — as; tadvat — so; kāmāḥ — desires; yam — unto whom; praviśanti — enter; sarve — all; saḥ — that person; śāntim — peace; āpnoti — achieves; na — not; kāma-kāmī — one who desires to fulfill desires.