The Gita declared that a weak person can never gain self-realization. Therefore, in order to acquire the knowledge of your true self, it is most important that you gain full control over your attachments and hatreds, over your desires and anger. These pairs of opposites arise from the primary qualities of attraction and repulsion which are inherent in the human psyche as well as within all phenomenal things and beings. Attraction and repulsion are responsible for everything that makes up the world. They keep you bound to the world, and as long as you are preoccupied with the world, the light of truth will not shine for you. Therefore, this attraction and repulsion for things of the world must be banished from your heart. Then the knowledge of the true self can take root there.
When you have the sacred knowledge of the atma in your heart, you will be able to enjoy peace. That fragrance of peace will spread all around you and affect everyone you see and touch. On the other hand, if you are filled with dark feelings, dark thoughts and dark actions, these will pollute your heart and infect others with your poison. Whether good or bad, the thoughts that suffuse your heart and take shelter there, will spread to others around you, and these others will soon emanate the same feelings.
Sometimes there may be some difficulty in distinguishing good from bad. The real distinction is not in outer appearances and labels but in the inner purity and intentions. If you hold a rose in your right hand, which in the East is considered your sacred hand, the fragrance of the flower will not only reach you but also the people in the surrounding area. But even when you take the same rose and hold it in your left hand, which in the East is considered the unsacred hand, the rose will spread its sweet fragrance to all. You might make a difference between right and left, but for the fragrance there is no distinction whatsoever. It spreads to all who are near just as profusely from the unsacred hand as from the sacred one.
Likewise, whether you are a theist or an atheist, this relates only to your own feelings and beliefs. As far as God is concerned, if you have sacred thoughts and engage in good works and good words, then even if you are an atheist you will be dear to him. The Lord of the Gita declared, “Whoever he is, if he has control over his desires and anger, if he has subdued either his attraction or his abhorrence to people and things of the world, then he is very dear to me.”