Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3 verse 34: Attraction and aversion are located in the object of that sense. Let no man come under their sway for both indeed are enemies besetting his path.

This verse harkens back to my commentary on attachment in 2.39.

 

Within the object lies its attractive or aversive qualities. The weak mind fails to experience the contented Self as separate from activity and consequently, sees the potential for happiness in the object's attractive qualities. [Where, in fact, happiness lies within contentment. 'For one lacking in peace of mind how can there be happiness' (2.66)?]. Through the office of incessant desire for happiness we become attached to the object's attractive qualities and the happiness it promises, reinforcing bondage, overshadowing the Self and retarding evolution.

 

The same is true for aversive qualities, for example, snake bite. Fear overshadows the steady nature of Self and we become obsessed with dealing with the situation — that is, dealing with the snake and/or its bite — losing balance of mind (2.48), dampening our ability to effectively address the situation with skillful actions (2.50). On the other hand, cool heads — minds influenced by unbounded contented Self  (2.61) — prevail.

 

'For both indeed are enemies besetting his path' of dharma. Attraction and aversion overshadow the Self and throw us off our evolutionary path to higher levels of spiritual and material wellbeing.

 

copyright commentary Keith R Parker 2021.