शक्नोतीहैव य: सोढुं प्राक्शरीरविमोक्षणात् |
कामक्रोधोद्भवं वेगं स युक्त: स सुखी नर: || 23||
śhaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṁ prāk śharīra-vimokṣhaṇāt
kāma-krodhodbhavaṁ vegaṁ sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ
śhaknoti—is able; iha eva—in the present body; yaḥ—who; soḍhum—to withstand; prāk—before; śharīra—the body; vimokṣhaṇāt—giving up; kāma—desire; krodha—anger; udbhavam—generated from; vegam—forces; saḥ—that person; yuktaḥ—yogi; saḥ—that person; sukhī—happy; naraḥ—person
He who is able to endure the impulse of desire and anger even in this world before the fall of the body, is the harmonised, and he is the happy man.
One major tenet of the Gita which is repeatedly affirmed by the Lord, is that the peace and happiness of spiritual life are to be attained here and now, even in this life, while living in the embodied state.The Gita, as it has been pointed out in the introduction, teaches a way of life which can be practised with advantage by the individual and by the society. What is the way to secure peace and happiness? How can man enjoy undisturbed and unbroken bliss? This question confronts everyone. Consciously or unconsciously man is seeking happiness every moment of his life; The Lord states the position with absolute clarity and perspicuity. The key to happiness is placed in one’s own hands. The mansion of peace is open to all. But one should understand what peace is and how it could be found.
This world and the human organism are best fitted to attain peace and Truth. This is the grandest opportunity for spiritual sadhana. The other worlds are the only places where the effects of actions done here are experienced. No sadhana is possible there. This world is the ‘Karmabhumi’. So whatever progress could be claimed by individual effort should be effected here only.
Before the fall of the body: The idea ‘here only’ (ihaiva) is elaborated by this explanatory phrase. It means before the body falls (i.e.) before death. The Lord exhorts mankind to conquer lust (Kama) and anger (Krodha) before the body falls. While living and discharging the duties and responsibilities of life, one should overcome these two fatal enemies. It is foolish to postpone the issue to a future birth. Who knows what birth one is going to have, whether that of man or beast? So this wonderful opportunity should not be lost. That which perishes is called the body – ‘siryate iti sariram’. The tenure of life is uncertain. No one can say when he shall be called off from the stage of earthly life. Even if one lives up to ripe old age that will not be of much use. When the physical and mental powers are declined, what spiritual effort can one make? Sadhana will become impossible in old age. So when people are young, when the mind’s power is at its height, when the body is capable of enduring the rigours of discipline, when weakness does not set in, when the clouds of cares and anxieties do not overcast the mind, when defeatism and frustration have not knocked out the foundation of human personality – when man is young, strong, hopeful and idealistic, sadhana should be done. If one fails to do so, great difficulties would overtake him.
Among the six enemies, Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Matsarya, – the first two only are mentioned here. The rest are included in them. They are powerful enemies. The seeker should watch their movements with constant vigilance.
Impulse: The impulse of Kama and Krodha should be resisted. These impulses are roused suddenly and are highly irresistible. So the impulse should not be allowed to rise in the mind. Their seeds remain dormant in the mind and they should not be afforded any occasion to sprout and spread out and disturb the mind. These impure impulses should not come up to the surface, and thus the mind remains quiet and peaceful. When Atma is directly perceived, the seeds also burnt up, and then man is perfectly free.
The result of such Self-control is happiness and absorption in the Self. There is no happiness whatever even if man possesses other acquisitions, talents and powers.
Is able: By devotion and dispassion man can conquer these enemies.
We understand three important ideas from this verse: 1. Before the fall of the body, one should conquer these enemies 2. The most important aspect of sadhana is the conquest of Kama and Krodha. 3. Only after the conquest of these enemies can a man attain complete happiness.