Pain, Pleasure, Heat and Cold in the Gita

Pain and Pleasure

Chapter-2 Verse-14

मात्रास्पर्शास्तु कौन्तेय शीतोष्णसुखदु: खदा: |

आगमापायिनोऽनित्यास्तांस्तितिक्षस्व भारत ||

Purport of the Verse

O Son of Kunti, it is due to the contact of the sense organs with the sense objects that give rise to feelings of heat, cold, pleasure, pain etc.

These feelings are transitory and hence Arjuna, endure them.

Explanation of the Verse

We find that it is this very verse that finds application in the Buddhist Practice of Vipassana.

If this Verse is the theory, then the practice of Vipassana is a direct application of this Verse.

Perhaps this was the first time in history that anyone had broken down the phenomenon of sense experience to this level and through such simple and direct words.

The Vedanta talks about this verse in a more voluminous manner.

But this is the most terse form, which leaves no room for conjecturing, what is being told or referred to.

World is full of Opposites

The world is stable because the female counterbalances the male.

Night follows day.

Pleasure follows pain.

A person born, dies.

The world is full of such opposites and that is exactly what makes the world visible and experiential.

If the world were to be monochrome or monotonous, there shall be nothing to learn and nothing to look forward to.

Existence itself would become redundant if this were the case.

The Lord brings Arjuna’s attention to the transitory nature of the world.


He throws enough light on the fact that we amply face heat and cold; pleasure and pain with alternating continuance unabated.

If that were the case, then what disturbs us?

What gives us good and bad experiences?

The Lord gives the very cause why people undergo good and bad experiences.

He says that it becomes a reality because sense objects bombard the senses.

The eyes like to see something soothing, something beautiful.

The mind responds and gives a reaction or response based on the good or bad that the eye sees.

The sense organs and the sense objects collude and the reaction or response happens in the mind or on the senses.

The sensations caused in the body, mind and intelligence is due to the continuous bombardment of information on the sense organs.

The source is the sense object and through the medium of the senses, our entire body-mind configuration is affected.

The Lord brings this to the notice of Arjuna.

Bringing Awareness shall Regulate Experience

He says that the response is automatic, but usually unconscious.

It is high time Arjuna became aware of the cheating propensity of the senses.

Awareness destroys ignorance.

Awareness is synonymous to enlightenment. It is a Sign of Enlightenment.

If we use intelligence and understand that it is the response to the stimulus that is causing the disturbance, it is only a matter of gaining control over the response.

Stimulus by itself may not be under one’s control.


If situations arise, where a person abuses us, it is our response to the abuse that decides our final mental health.

If one is sufficiently trained, then one can regulate the way we receive hurt.

More we train ourselves to isolate the mind from reacting to the stimulus from the sense-organs, the healthier we shall emerge.

External Forces control a weak Individual

Bad situations are never permanent.

Neither are pleasant circumstances permanent.

It is important to have a well rounded approach to the way we respond to situations around us.

All our pleasant and unpleasant responses are transitory.

It is the degree of awareness with the type of automatic responses that the mind throws up, that decides how our life is shaped.

The more unconscious we are, the more, the  surroundings start dictating our reactions.

The moment situations find a way to manipulate our reactions, there will be other evil but individual forces or entities who shall take charge of our lives.

Thus we will be at the mercy of unpredictable situations.

Chapter-2 Verse-15

यं हि न व्यथयन्त्येते पुरुषं पुरुषर्षभ |

समदु:खसुखं धीरं सोऽमृतत्वाय कल्पते ||

Purport of the Verse

Arjuna, only a man for whom pleasure and pain are alike; who is not tormented by these contacts, becomes eligible for immortality.

Explanation of the Verse

Here the Lord builds the case from the previous verse and raises the level of a person free from the torment of the senses.

He says that the person free from the ruffle of the senses becomes immortal.

Does this mean that the person who is free from the torments of the senses is insensitive?

Rather, It is quite the opposite.

Awareness means high sensitivity

Awareness is to be self-conscious.

One, aware of what is going on with his mind and senses is aware.

A person who audits his senses and intelligence with the sharp inner instrument of attention, is a man who is completely aware.

Greed or Lust drives a person with selfish motives.

Hence one is always externally driven.

Unwholesome thoughts of perceived success drive such a person.

Such a rogue is under the grip of forces, which are evil by nature, that try to dominate others and thereby make his very mind subjugated by passion and ill-intention.


On the other hand, a self-auditing person , concerned with his inner feelings, what is ruffling him and what is not, is a sensitive man of the highest class.

Hence, such a person, in his personal concern for purity, ensures that he does not create ruffle in the external world.

A Self-Aware Person alone is Sensitive

A person driven towards personal observation and correction, will never perform any ill-work against anyone around him.

Such a person is a rare asset to the society at large.

Morality is never imposed on such a person, morality is his very inner self.

Such a person is extremely sensitive to matters regarding society and life.

He is an expert in understanding the nuances of life.

By being highly sensitive, towards himself and others, he is naturally aligned to the Supreme Will.

Such a person is the natural favourite of the Lord, because the inner mood of such a person is reflective of divinity, that represents the Lord.

Thus the Lord finds this individual to be the ideal candidate to graduate beyond the world of sense and sense-objects.

He becomes the Lord preferred candidate to grant liberation.

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