Commentary by Siddha Yoga Meditation Teacher Oliver Hill
On the Siddha Yoga path, the divine virtue of balance is associated with the inner state of equipoise or evenness of mind. In Sanskrit, the word balance corresponds to samatva or samatā—a “balanced state of mind.” Balance represents both the inner state that is the fruit of sadhana, and the effort we can practice to achieve that inner state.
In the great scripture of India, Shri Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says to his disciple Arjuna:
योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनंजय |
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते || २.४८ ||
yogasthaḥ kuru karmāṇi saṅgaṁ tyaktvā dhanañjaya,
siddhyasiddhyoḥ samo bhūtvā samatvaṁ yoga ucyate.
Fixed in yoga, perform actions, having abandoned attachment, Arjuna, and having become indifferent to success or failure. It is said that evenness of mind is yoga.1
Here, Lord Krishna is teaching that evenness of mind—which we could also call balance—is the essence of yoga. And he gives a formula for achieving this state: perform actions while maintaining the awareness of our identity with the Self and surrendering the fruits of those actions. That is, in every situation we do what needs to be done—we do our duty in a way that will benefit all—without any selfish interest. We can practice letting go of desires as a means to achieve a balanced mind. This practice could include seeing the results of our actions as offerings to God, or striving to serve the needs of each moment, rather than our own desires.
Gurumayi describes the stance of a true seeker in her book The Yoga of Discipline. Gurumayi’s words give us practical guidance about how we can be “fixed in yoga.”
A true seeker sees the world with the vision of equality, with equality-consciousness. A true seeker sees the One everywhere; he sees the world through God’s eyes. A true seeker maintains samatā, the balanced state of mind in which his focus is on the highest. This is how someone who is a true seeker views the world. And the only way to attain this equality-consciousness is by focusing your mind on the Truth, on God, over and over again.2
Gurumayi tells us that we can cultivate the state of balance by focusing our minds on the Truth—by looking beyond the ever-changing circumstances of our lives and anchoring our mind on the experience of the unchanging Self; by recognizing the divine Consciousness that underlies every experience; by bringing our awareness back to this Truth over and over again.
When we make the efforts to achieve samatā, the balanced state of mind, we also develop the skills to manage the ups and downs of everyday life. Though at times we might feel we are teetering on the tightrope of life, because of our continued efforts to create stability within ourselves, we have the power to rise again and again—to stay balanced.