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The Qualities of the Truly Wise

Arjuna said, "Swami, I will obey your commands, whatever they may be. Whatever you ask of me I will do. I will not undertake anything on my own, anything that is outside of your directions." This is the true attitude of a sage. He will not have the feeling of I and mine. He will not have any egoism or attachments. His every action will destroy any traces of ego or possessiveness. He will accept and follow only the commands of the Lord, who is no different than his own inner director. Because these noble qualities are so important for spiritual unfoldment, the characteristics of a wise man are explained at great length in the second chapter of the Gita.

But, just describing the qualities of a wise sage would not have been of much use, so Krishna began by explaining the qualities of the three states and the different aspects of the three worlds. Arjuna had the intellectual capacity to grasp the true significance of this. After being given the vision of the cosmic form of the Lord, he immediately understood its deeper meaning. He realized that it meant the union between the physical, the mental and the causal. After having had the vision of the cosmic form, whenever Arjuna closed his eyes thereafter, he would continuously see Krishna as an indelible impression on his heart. He realized that what he had seen with his eyes wide open was in the physical plane. Then, after closing his eyes, whatever still registered in his mind and was being seen by him internally, was in the mental plane. The indelible impression of this vision that remained in his heart was in the causal plane. It is something like print on paper. Once a picture is printed, it is impossible to separate it again from the paper. In this way, the cosmic form of Krishna became a permanent impression in Arjuna's heart.

Arjuna was the ideal man. Yet, in order to serve as an example for all of humanity, he undertook all kinds of common activities just like an ordinary person. Inside, within himself, he always kept his mind firmly fixed on Lord Krishna, who was the formful expression of his own true self, the atma. Arjuna knew that this physical body was for the sole purpose of obeying the commands of the inner director, manifested for him in the divine form of Krishna. In the Gita, Krishna held out this quality of inner surrender as the ideal mark of a truly wise man.