Ever flowing, never flooding is the state of the serene consciousness

How can spiritual seekers stay peaceful amidst tempting circumstances? The Bhagavad-gita (2.70) shows the way with a metaphor from nature: just as rivers flow into an ocean without flooding it or causing it to overflow, desires flow into serious spiritualists without disturbing their inner calm.

Significantly, the metaphor talks about desires flowing inwards, not outwards. The absence of the outward flow of desires is also indicated by the words in the verse: na kama-kami, meaning not “a desirer of desires.” This unidirectional flow of desires implies that though desires flow inwards from tempting objects toward them, this doesn’t induce their desires to flow outwards towards those objects.

Why don’t they desire the desires? Because they relish a far greater happiness than what those desires can offer. They are connected with the oceanic source of all happiness, Krishna, thereby experiencing happiness as vast as an ocean. Their self-satisfied undisturbed consciousness amidst the presence of temptations can be aptly described as the state of “ever flowing, never flooding.”

Can we become undisturbed amidst temptations like them?

Surely, answers Gita wisdom. All we need to do is develop our divine connection by cultivating devotional remembrance of Krishna daily and diligently. When we start sensing and savoring the ocean within, the pleasures without will lose their charm and capacity to agitate us, and we too will experience unflappable peace. 

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 02 Text 70

“A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires – that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still – can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.”

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