Everyday Bhagavad-Gita: Eligibility.
Verse 2.15: O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.
This verse speaks to a pervasive topic in our society. The idea of eligibility.
If you look around at the way our world works, everything is about having the right qualifications. Whether it’s for school, a job, the right to speak, or finding a partner—it all really boils down to are you qualified.
The funny thing is that although we encounter it on a daily basis, we don’t often talk in terms of our spiritual lives. It only makes sense that even in spiritual life there are qualifications that we may aspire to, just as we may study certain subjects in high school so that we are eligible to further master them in college and beyond.
Of course, the Lord is so merciful that He allows anyone to approach Him at any time; this is clearly stated later in the Gita.
However, there are numerous things that can help us become more suited for the Lord’s mercy and empowerment. For instance: simply by being a son or daughter, we are automatically loved by our parents. But if we reciprocate and do things for our parents, it makes their hearts melt even more and often times we find ourselves the recipients of even more facilities, opportunities and affection.
Two of the most important qualifications to begin and develop in spiritual life are faith and sincerity.
Faith allows us to push on, even when times get rough, and sincerity results in our being honest with ourselves regarding our level of spiritual advancement. These fundamentals allow for a strong foundation to grow in bhakti.
In this vein, it is important to note that there are different qualifications that make one eligible for further advancement in bhakti and this is what we are hearing about in today’s verse. We hear about a person who is equipoised, who is not disturbed by happiness or distress. Krishna, in fact, not only lists this quality, but then qualifies it further by saying that “They are the best among men” and that “Such a person is certainly eligible for liberation.”
I think this is an important point to remember. Whether we are just beginning or have been practicing bhakti yoga for many years, just floating along, or maintaing the status quo, is a trap we can easily find ourselves in. It’s so easy to just be comfortable. That’s why it is important to read such verses where God is telling us exactly what we need in order to achieve something greater (i.e. laying out the steps necessary to re-establish our relationship with him).
In fact, this is the power of reading such verses in our daily life. They inspire us and give us the impetus to invest more in our relationship with God.
Vrindavan Rao was born into the bhakti tradition and grew up enveloped in it. However, her personal discovery of the bhakti path began in 2004 when she had the opportunity to go to a Vedic College in Belgium and since that time she has embraced it completely. Her love for travel has given her the opportunity to study Vedic texts, such as the Bhagavad-gita, in places such as India, Canada, Belgium, Ukraine and the United States under the guidance of several advanced practitioners.
She especially loves the Gita and refers to it as her “Guidebook for Life” since it contains practical answers for complicated questions and is currently writing a daily blog on every verse of the Gita. In addition, you can keep track of all the happenings of Everyday Bhagavad-Gita on Facebook and viaTwitter.
Her background is in science and she not only has a Bacherlor’s degree in Biochemistry, but also a Masters in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. In her free time she loves to write, read, give presentations, sing and work out.
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Editor: Thaddeus Haas