Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, verse 44: Steady intellect does not arise in those deeply attached to enjoyment and power, and captivated by their own flowery words.
'Steady intellect does not arise’ in the minds of those possessed of selfish desires (2.42, 2.43). Attention held by attractive qualities found in objects of the senses (2.39), one lives on the horizontal plane, the mind skipping from one fruit to the next, failing to find lasting contentment in any. Identifying with ephemeral objects of the senses as a source of happiness and contentment, the intellect has no opportunity to settle down and achieve a steady state capable of identifying with contented Self (2.45).
Attachments engender attachments. ‘Deeply attached to enjoyment and power’ keeps one bound to the cycle of impression-desire-action, always seeking higher level of material wellbeing and enjoyment of power over others. If attachment to material wellbeing is your only reality and aspiration — and yet unfulfilling — you’re bound to constantly seek even greater ‘enjoyment and power’ through action and remain forever bound to action (2.39).
Captivated by one’s own ‘flowery words’ speaks volumes to the delusional fallacy of seeking lasting contentment outside one’s Self. Deep down in our heart-of-hearts we know lasting happiness and contentment lie within, that 'enjoyment and power' has nothing to do with turning within towards the contented nature of Self and yet, having neither experienced liberation nor achieved even a smidgeon of understanding how to engender it, we’re lost at sea under a blanket of foggy ignorance.
To summarize verses 41 - 44, the Vedas are inherently petitionary, selfish and flawed by the desire for more. The underlying ambition of Vedic philosophy and rites is personal gain, be it spiritual or material. No wonder aspirants veer off onto the dark path of material gain.
Krishna cuts off at the knees this archaic Vedic thinking in the next verse (2.45) where he reveals the brightly lit, effortless and obstacle free path [the path of dharma (2.40)] to the highest levels of spiritual and material wellbeing. Practice karma yoga. Selflessly serve the desires of others. Through selfless actions achieve nonaction and the greatest good for all.
copyright Keith R Parker 2021