Namaste! I have been really busy in the last couple of months and didn’t get the time to continue sharing this with you. I am slowly trying to get back to this and would love it if you could send me virtual hugs and positive energy to have me continue the Bhagavad Gita Weekly! Thank you <3
This is part 17 of this series. In the previous part of this series, we looked at chapter 2, verses 57 to 60. There are still 12 more verses left in chapter 2. We will continue from verse 61 onwards in this part.
In the battlefield of Kurukshetra, having seen his gurus, grandfather, families and friends waiting to kill each other, Arjuna became completely despondent and gave up his weapons and told Shree Krishna that he does not want to fight and that he would rather choose to die than kill his gurus, kith and kin! This whole Gita is about Krishna teaching Arjuna of his duties as a Kshatriya warrior and to fight this battle between dharma and adharma as to uphold dharma. Krishna does this by explaining to Arjuna the nature of life, death, happiness, peace, etc. through these verses.
Krishna then continues on how the enlightenment of a sthitaprajna – the enlightened soul – manifests in their day-to-day life and how difficult it is to control one’s senses even for a person with such extreme self-control. Krishna says in verse 60, “O Arjuna, the senses are so strong and turbulent, that they can forcibly carry away the mind of even a vigilant person of sound judgment and self-control.”
To explain this in detail, we looked at the story of Saubhari Muni who attained great power through his extreme tapasya (deep meditation in samadhi) which involved him submerging in the Yamuna river and meditating. This story is portrayed to teach us how difficult it is to control our senses. This story also teaches us about the extreme importance of preventing our mind from getting carried away, resulting in us derailing from the path of seeking true knowledge, which is the knowledge of the self. Saubhari Muni was extremely powerful and had full control over his senses through his tapasya of 1000s of years, yet, even he was carried away by mere sexual desire after seeing two fishes mating while meditating submerged in the water!
Even though it is such a herculean task to control our senses, it is extremely important to elevate ourselves spiritually as to develop self-control and a steady mind so that we can be on a path of self-discovery.
Let us now continue from chapter 2, verse 61.
Jump to the Commentary for Chapter 2, verses 61 to 64
Chapter 2, Verse 61
तानि सर्वाणि संयम्य युक्त आसीत मत्परः।
वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता।।
tāni sarvāṇi saṁyamya
yukta āsīta mat-paraḥ
vaśe hi yasyendriyāṇi
tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā
Restraining them [senses] all, a man should remain steadfast, with his intent on Me [the Brahman]. His knowledge is steady whose senses are under control.
Chapter 2, Verse 62
ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते।
सङ्गात् संजायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते।।
dhyāyato viṣayān puṁsaḥ
saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ
kāmāt krodho ’bhijāyate
While concentrating on various objects of the senses, a person develops attachments to the sense objects. Such attachments then lead to desire, from desire anger arises.
Chapter 2, Verse 63
क्रोधाद्भवति संमोहः संमोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः।
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति।।
krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ
From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one perishes.
Chapter 2, Verse 64
viṣayān indriyaiś caran
But a person free from all attachment and aversion and is able to control his senses through regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord.
Commentary for Chapter 2, verses 61 to 64
In the last couple of verses, Shree Krishna explained the characteristics of a sthitaprajna and how enlightenment manifests in their life. In the next verse (61), Shree Krishna says, “restraining them [our senses] all, a man should remain steadfast, with his intent on Me [the Brahman]. His knowledge is steady whose senses are under control.”
Shree Krishna reveals the perfect way to get our mind and senses under control through this verse – to meditate upon the Brahman which is Krishna himself!
Krishna says, one can be said to be in perfect knowledge when their intention is fully set on Krishna who is Parabrahman, and as a result, have their mind and senses in their full control, leading them towards the absolute truth which is Aham Brahmasmi – that I am Brahman!
Only those whose mind is fully focused on the Parabrahman in meditation and direct all their activities as an offering to that Parabrahman, the Ultimate Consciousness, are able to burn all their desires and sins just like how a blazing fire burns down an entire forest. In such a person, even the very seed of all desires are rooted out completely except their desire to be one with the Ultimate Consciousness!
It is interesting to note at this point that Shree Krishna is also called Hrishikesha which means, the lord of all senses! Shree Krishan is the lord of all senses, what better reason one would need to make Krishna himself his sole object of meditation as to develop a steady mind!
Shree Krishna continues in the next two verses (62), “while concentrating on various objects of the senses, a person develops attachments to the sense objects. Such attachments then lead to desire, from desire anger arises.” and
(verse 63) “from anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one perishes.”
Shree Krishna explains here very clearly how one’s life is ruined due to lack of control over his senses and as a result, get attached to various objects of pleasure. Such attachments lead us to developing desires in our mind. Our greed to fulfill those desires then lead to anger. And anger makes us delusional. Delusion leads us to having our memories getting clouded and as a result, it affects our rational thinking and eventually, we ruin everything in our life from family, friends and even ourselves!
“The manas (mind) therefore is the cause.– Rid Veda
Of bondage and liberation to us:
Of bondage, when attached to object,
Of liberation, when free from it.”
These two verses are some of the beautiful verses in the Gita which, if we openly reflect on our own lives, can very well relate to and learn from.
Our Sanatana Dharmic scriptures deal with everything related to mind in great detail and stresses on the need to have control over our mind to progress in life and to find true happiness and peace. Brahma Bindu Upanishad says,
“The manas (mind) therefore is the cause.
Of bondage and liberation to us:
Of bondage, when attached to object,
Of liberation, when free from it.”
The mind is an extremely important tool, a tool that can propel us to liberation or to complete misery. It can both be a boon and a burden, a blessing and a curse, depending on how we use our mind.
As Shree Krishna explains in these verses, lack of control over our senses leads to our mind getting attached to various objects of pleasure. We then develop addictions to various things. We are human only so long as we can apply our anta-karana (inner sense) and buddhi (conscience or the ability to discriminate between what is right and wrong – karaya and akaraya). We lose our inner sense and buddhi when we are consumed by anger, ending up being completely delusional and ruining our precious life!
I recall reading this news sometime ago about a young boy who was addicted to drugs and ended up beating up his own mother to death! It was all because he didn’t have the money to buy his fix that particular day and his mother refused to give him money to buy drugs! This is a classic example of how our addictions and obsessions due to our lack of self-control leads us to insanity and so delusional to commit such heinous crime! Unfortunately, we hear so many such horror stories on a regular basis!
Krishna continues in the next verse (64), “but a person free from all attachment and aversion and is able to control his senses through regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord [and attain moksha].”
The natural tendency of our mind is to be attracted to numerous objects of pleasure. We constantly get carried away by our thoughts and succumb to anger and delusion as long as we are attached to material objects that gives us pleasure, resulting in us being a slave to our mind. However, Krishna says that, one who is free from such attachments and has control over his mind is sure to lead to a path of true knowledge and discover Ultimate Consciousness. Such a person has his mind obedient to his own will and attain peace and true happiness which is ananda.
We live in a world where we are constantly surrounded by things that distract our mind and it is so easy to get carried away. Every single thing around us drives us farther and farther away from focusing our mind and seeking our own truth – isn’t that the very purpose of life?
Even for Arjuna who shot down a moving fish looking only at its reflection in the water below and won the heart of Draupadi, controlling his mind felt like an impossible task! We know for a fact that the source of all our mysteries is our greed and our constant need for gratification. We have become such slaves to our mind and as a result, we often get consumed by anger and become delusional, leading us to be perpetually unhappy and miserable. However, Krishna teaches us an important lesson which is to detach ourselves from every sense objects and develop absolute control over our mind so as to be free from all our sorrows and bring true peace and happiness to life – shanti and ananda!
We will conclude this part here. In the next part of this series, we will continue with Shree Krishna’s teachings on what happens to those who are slaves to their mind and how one can attain true peace and happiness!
ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Om Puurnnam-Adah Puurnnam-Idam Puurnnaat-Purnnam-Udacyate
Puurnnasya Puurnnam-Aadaaya Puurnnam-Eva-Avashissyate ||
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||
My Pranams to you!