k Siva Prasad
(K Siva Prasad is an IAS officer and these writings can be accessed at anchor.fm /GitaAcharan and medium.com /@GitaAcharan).
Krishna says (2.52) that when we cross moha-kalilam (darkness of delusion) using intellect, we become indifferent to what is being heard or will be heard. This implies that when we overcome moha , the inputs brought by our senses will lose the power to influence us at will. Krishna chose ‘hearing’ as the metaphor here, as we are frequently influenced by the words of others, both praise and criticism; gossip and rumours.
Moha, like Ahankaar, is difficult to describe in the absence of the right words to describe it. Basically, it is our inability to distinguish between what is ours and what is not. It’s the sense of ownership, in the present as well as the future, of physical possessions and feelings. Though, in truth, we are actually not the owners of the same. While we try to cling to what is not ours, we don’t have a clue about what is truly ours (dehi/atma /soul). Krishna calls this phenomenon ‘ Kalilam’ or spiritual darkness.
Krishna further says that when we overcome this darkness we attain ‘nirvedam.’ Though nirvedam is described as indifference, it isn’t passive or negative indifference which is born out of ignorance. It’s the indifference arising out of being aware, alive and in the moment. It’s neither attachment nor detachment, but beyond both. It is active acceptance without judgement and labelling.
In ‘others’ oriented life, we crave for acceptability, admiration and praise from others for all of our possessions, abilities, achievements, behaviour, looks etc. We work hard throughout our lives to get these rewarding sensations until we are able to overcome moha through awareness.
Once we dispel the darkness brought by moha through balanced and coherent intellect, these sensory perceptions of the present moment or the future won’t affect us anymore.