Sanat Sujatiya

In order to avert the impending war and yet give his sons the kingdom, Dhritarashtra sends his emissary to Yudhishthira with a message not to wage war and continue living in the forest for ever. However the Pandavas did not heed to his request and sends the emissary back with a stern message from all the brothers. Dhritarashtra becomes restless and summons Vidura his half-brother and minister for advice.

‘O Vidura, Sanjaya has come back. He has gone away after rebuking me. Tomorrow he will deliver, in the midst of the court, Yudhishthira’s message. I have not been able today to ascertain what the message is and therefore, my body is burning, and that has produced sleeplessness. Tell us what may be good for a person that is sleepless and burning. You are well versed in both religion and profit. Filled with anxiety about what he may deliver, all my senses have been disordered. I desire to hear from you words that are beneficial and fraught with high morality.

The advice given by Vidura is known as Vidura-niti and is a great source for wisdom of the highest order. Even after 5000 years, what Vidura said is relevant today and we can apply these principles in our day to day life.

After intensely listening to Vidura, Dhritarashtra said, ‘If there is anything still left unsaid say it then, as I am ready to listen to you. The discourse is indeed, charming.’

Vidura said, ‘O Dhritarashtra, the ancient and immortal Rishi Sanat-Sujata who, leading a life of perpetual celibacy, will expound to you all the doubts both expressed and unexpressed. Since I am born in the Sudra order and, therefore, do not venture to say more than what I have already said. The understanding of that Rishi, a Brahmin by birth and leading a life of celibacy is regarded by me to be infinite.

Sage Sana kumara was one of the Four Kumaras, the four Manasaputras (mind-born-sons) or spiritual sons of Brahma according to Puranic texts of Hinduism. When the four Kumaras came into existence, they were all embodiments of pure qualities. Upon remembering his name, Sanat kumara appears before them and the discussions between him and Dhritarashtra by way of question and answer session is called Sanat Sujatiya

Sanat-sujata said, ‘that asceticism which is not stained by faults is said to be capable of procuring emancipation, and is, therefore, successful, while the asceticism that is stained by vanity and want of true devotion is regarded unsuccessful.

Dhritarashtra said, ‘I have listened to what you said about asceticism unstained by faults, and by which I have succeeded in knowing an eternal mystery. Tell me now, O Sanat-sujata, about asceticism that is stained by faults!’

O king, the twelve, including anger is the faults of asceticism that is stained. Anger, lust, avarice, ignorance of right and wrong, discontent, cruelty, malice, vanity, grief, love of pleasure, envy, and speaking ill of others, are generally the faults of human beings. These twelve should always be avoided by men.

(1)Assertion of one’s own superiority, (2)desire of enjoying others’ wives, (3)humiliating others from excess of pride, (4)wrathfulness, (5)fickleness, and (6)refusing to maintain those worthy of being maintained, these six acts of wickedness are always practised by sinful men defying all dangers here and hereafter.

(1)He that regards the gratification of lust to be one of life’s aims, (2) he that is exceedingly proud, (3) he that grieves having given away, (4) he that never spends money, (5) he that persecutes his subjects by exacting hateful taxes, (6) he that delights in the humiliation of others, and (7) he that hates his own wives,–these seven are others that are also called wicked.

(1)Righteousness, (2)truth (abstention from injury and truthfulness of speech), (3)self-restraint, (4)asceticism, (5)delight in the happiness of others, (6)modesty, (7)forbearance, (8)love of others, (9)sacrifices, (10)gifts, (11)perseverance, (12)knowledge of the scriptures,–these twelve constitute the practices of Brahmans.

He that succeeds in acquiring these twelve becomes competent to sway the entire earth. He that is endued with three, two, or even one, of these, should be regarded of heavenly prosperity. Self-restraint, renunciation, and knowledge of self, in these are emancipation. Those Brahmans that are endued with wisdom, say, that these are attributes in which truth predominates. Self-restraint is constituted by eighteen virtues.

The eighteen faults (that have been enumerated) constitute what is called mada or pride. Breaches and non-observance of ordained acts and omissions, falsehood, malice, lust, wealth, love of (sensual) pleasure, anger, grief, thirst, avarice, deceit, joy in the misery of others, envy, injuring others, regret, aversion from pious acts, forgetfulness of duty, calumniating others, and vanity-he that is freed from these (eighteen) vices; is said by the righteous to be self-restrained.

Renunciation is of six kinds. ‘The six kinds of renunciation are all commendable. They are these: The first is never experiencing joy on occasions of prosperity. The second is the abandonment of sacrifices, prayers, and pious acts. That which is called the third is the abandonment of desire or withdrawing from the world. Indeed, it is in consequence of this third kind of renunciation of desire, which is evidenced by the abandonment of all objects of enjoyment (without enjoying them) and not their abandonment after having enjoyed them to the fill, nor by abandonment after acquisition, nor by abandonment only after one has become incompetent to enjoy from loss of appetite. The fourth kind of renunciation consists in this: One should not grieve nor suffer his self to be afflicted by grief when one’s actions fail, notwithstanding one’s possession of all the virtues and all kinds of wealth. Or, when anything disagreeable happens, one feels no pain. The fifth kind of renunciation consists in not soliciting even one’s sons, wives, and others that may all be very dear. The sixth kind consists in giving away to a deserving person who solicits, which act of gifts is always productive of merit. By these again, one acquires the knowledge of self.

As regards this last attribute, it involves eight qualities. These are truth, meditation, distinction of subject and object, capacity for drawing inferences, withdrawal from the world, never taking what belong to others, the practices of Brahmacharya vows (abstinence), and non-acceptance (of gifts).

So also the attribute of mada (the opposite of dama or self-restraint) has faults which have all been indicated (in the scriptures). These faults should be avoided. I have spoken to you of renunciation and self-knowledge. And self-knowledge has eight virtues, so the want of it has eight faults. Those faults should be avoided. O Bharata, he that is liberated from the five senses, mind, the past and the future, becomes happy. O king, let your soul be devoted to truth; all the worlds are established on truth; indeed, self-control, renunciation, and self-knowledge are said to have truth for their foremost attribute.

These three, viz., the desire of enjoyments, lust and wrath lead foolish men to death.

Gita 2.67

indriyanam hi caratam

yan mano ‘nuvidhiyate

tad asya harati prajnam

vayur navam ivambhasi


As a boat on the water is swept away by a strong wind, even one of the senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.


Senses are involuntarily drawn to the sense-objects. Mind that follows anyone of the senses is naturally led astray by it. For example, while relishing a tasteful dish, the sense of taste gets attached to it, and then it attracts the mind, and thus the misdirected mind gets entangled in this taste. When the mind gets entangled in pleasures, man immediately loses his determinate intellect that he has to realize God only. A ship without a rudder is at the mercy of a strong wind. As a rudderless ship does not reach its destination, a misdirected mind takes away man’s discrimination.

A strong wind either pushes away the ship in the wrong direction or sinks it. But a skilful sailor manages the ship in such a way, that the wind instead of pushing it away from its course helps it in sailing and reaching its destination. Similarly, the misdirected mind misguides discrimination, in two ways. It leads it astray from the path of God-realization and engages it in sense-pleasures or it ruins him by entangling it, in prohibited pleasures. But a controlled mind and senses do not take the intellect away ward, they rather help one in realizing God.

Gita 2.68

tasmad yasya maha-baho

nigrhitani sarvasah


tasya prajna pratisthita


Therefore, O mighty-armed, his intellect is stable, whose senses are completely controlled against sense-objects.


As enemies are curbed by superior force, similarly, the senses can be curbed not by any human endeavour, but only by keeping them engaged in the service of the Lord.

As a snake, without teeth has no poison, senses without attachment and aversion, have no poison to degrade a man from a spiritual path; these become sublimated and lead an aspirant, to divinity. This verse means that if an aspirant has determination that his aim is to realize God, rather than to enjoy worldly pleasures and prosperity, his intellect will become stable.

Gita 2.69

ya nisa sarva-bhutanam

tasyam jagarti samyami

yasyam jagrati bhutani

sa nisa pasyato muneh


What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.


There are two classes of intelligent men. The one is intelligent in material activities for sense gratification, and the other is introspective and awake to the cultivation of self-realization. Activities of the introspective sage, or thoughtful man, are night for persons materially absorbed. Materialistic persons remain asleep in such a night due to their ignorance of self-realization. The introspective sage remains alert in the “night” of the materialistic men. The sage feels transcendental pleasure in the gradual advancement of spiritual culture, whereas the man in materialistic activities, being asleep to self-realization, dreams of varieties of sense pleasure, feeling sometimes happy and sometimes distressed in his sleeping condition. The introspective man is always indifferent to materialistic happiness and distress. He goes on with his self-realization activities undisturbed by material reaction.

Here Lord Krishna indicates that the operation of senses to the one situated in transcendental mediation are completely different from an ordinary being.  Those worldly people whose senses and mind are uncontrolled and who are immersed in pleasure are, asleep in the dark, because they never think that the aim of human life, is emancipation or salvation. Further, they never think ‘What is God?’ ‘What is Self-realization?’ ‘Why are we suffering?’ ‘Why are there all these burning sensations?’ Where will our misdeeds take us?’ Turning away from these thoughts, is complete darkness, for the worldly people. When the worldly people remain asleep in the dark, having no inclination for God-realization, the seer who has controlled his senses and mind and who has no attachment for pleasures and prosperity and whose aim of life is only God-realization, remains wakeful because his intuition, his concepts and precepts, are all filled with Divinity. The worldly people, feel very happy and deem themselves very wise, in enjoying and hoarding worldly pleasures. These, a seer, in the state of Divine Knowledge and Supreme Bliss, perceives as dark. People attach importance to worldly prosperity and pleasure and for gaining these they employ all sorts of means, fair or foul. But a self-controlled seer knows that all mundane pleasures, prosperity and praise etc., are transient, illusory and changing, while God and his own self, are eternal, real and permanent.

Gita 2.70

apuryamanam acala-pratistham

samudram apah pravisanti yadvat

tadvat kama yam pravisanti sarve

sa santim apnoti na kama-kami


Just as water of different rivers enter the ocean, which though full, remains undisturbed; likewise the man in whom all enjoyments are merged and attains tranquillity, but not he, who hankers after such enjoyments.


The vast ocean is always filled with water, especially during the rainy season it is filled with much more water. But the ocean remains the same, steady; it is not agitated, nor does it cross beyond the limit of its brink. That is also true of a person fixed in God consciousness. As long as one has the material body, the demands of the body for sense gratification will continue. The devotee, however, is not disturbed by such desires because of his fullness. A God conscious man is not in need of anything because the Lord fulfils all his material necessities. Therefore he is like the ocean, always full in himself. Desires may come to him like the waters of the rivers that flow into the ocean, but he is steady in his activities, and he is not even slightly disturbed by desires for sense gratification.

Worldly enjoyments and pleasures cannot satisfy a man, who hankers after them. He can never be satisfied. He can never be free from desires, anxieties and burning sensation. So how can he attain peace?

Gita 2.71

vihaya kaman yah sarvan

pumams carati nihsprhah

nirmamo nirahankarah

sa santim adhigacchati


A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego—he alone can attain real peace.


An earnest wish for something is, ‘kamana‘ (desire) while an earnest wish for acquiring or preserving necessities of life is, ‘sprha‘ (thirst). A man of steadfast wisdom lives devoid of longings and desires and has no thirst, for acquiring or preserving even the necessities of life, as he has attained the supreme bliss, for which the human body was bestowed upon him. A man of stable wisdom has not the least sense of mine, with men, things and even his body and senses, because he has received them from the world. Therefore, they belong to the world, not to him. It is a blunder to have a sense of possession over things acquired. On rectification of this blunder the sense of possession over persons, objects, body and sense organs is totally wiped out. A man of steadfast wisdom attains peace. But a man by having desires to enjoy worldly pleasures cannot realize that peace. But, as soon as he becomes free from desire, thirst for necessities, a sense of mine and egoism, he can realize that peace.

Whether he is seen practicing yoga or seemingly indulgent in ‘bhoga’ his inner bliss remains unalloyed. He is always happy because his mind revels ever in Brahman. On the other hand it is only the man who has not controlled his mind gets agitated by the desires.

Gita 2.72

esa brahmi sthitih partha

nainam prapya vimuhyati

sthitvasyam anta-kale ‘pi

brahma-nirvanam rcchati


O Partha, such is the state of a God-realized soul. Having attained this state, he overcomes delusion. Being established in this state, even at the hour of death, he attains brahmic bliss (identification with the absolute state).


Lord Krishna extolling the virtues of the process of spiritual knowledge concludes chapter two with this verse enunciating the performance of actions by being unattached to their rewards. This state of consciousness leads to self-realisation and ‘brahmi’ the ultimate truth. Even if one becomes established in this state at the last moment when death has come, still one will achieve the eternal spiritual attainment. Liberation from the material existence in the form of ecstatic bliss that is completely devoid of all unhappiness is derived as a result of the cessation of all desires for reward for ones actions. In essence this means that having relinquished both the physical body and the subtle body one becomes qualified to realise their spiritual body and experience the sublime bliss of uninterrupted devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna.



Gita 2.61

tani sarvani samyamya

yukta asita mat-parah

vase hi yasyendriyani

tasya prajna pratisthita


One who restrains his senses and fixes his consciousness upon Me, is known as a man of steady intelligence.


By controlling the senses, an aspirant should devote himself, heart and soul to Me. Moreover, he should not feel proud of his sense-control, because pride goes before a fall. He should, rather, feel that it was only God’s grace, which enabled him to control his senses.

Whosoever would wish to succeed in overcoming the dichotomous difficulty by the mutual inter-relating dependence of sense control and soul cognition as delineated previously, must certainly master the senses. Which due to their constant craving for pleasure are extremely troublesome to govern. Lord Krishna as the Supreme Lord is instructing to make Him the sole object of one’s meditation and thus become established in undisturbed serenity in the ultimate reality. When our minds have been evolved to realising Lord Krishna as the supreme absolute reality all impurities are eradicated and the mind is purified and clear, free from all desires.

Gita 2. (62-63)

dhyayato visayan pumsah

sangas tesupajayate

sangat sanjayate kamah

kamat krodho ‘bhijayate


krodhad bhavati sammohah

sammohat smrti-vibhramah

smrti-bhramsad buddhi-naso

buddhi-nasat pranasyati



Contemplating constantly on the objects of senses, a man develops attachment for them; from attachment springs desire and from desire (unfulfilled) originates anger. From anger arises delusion; from delusion, confusion of memory; from which grows loss of reason; and with loss of reason (discrimination), he goes to complete ruin.


This is the best scientific explanation for the downfall of a man.  Brooding on the objects of senses, leads to attachment; attachment leads to desire; desire to anger; anger to delusion; delusion to loss of memory; loss of memory to loss of reason and finally, loss of reason leads to utter ruin.

Lord Krishna is explaining that one whose cravings for sensual objects linger, the effort to overcome the senses without focusing the mind on the Supreme Lord is futile. This is due to the fact that without the Supreme Lords grace the residue of past sensual activities and the pleasure or frustration derived therefrom will delude the mind to pursue sense objects. This debilitating effect creates a magnetic attraction where the desire for sense objects becomes more and more extreme. From this extreme desire springs ‘kama’ lust. Lust is the next stage of desire. Lust is that which one feels when they think that they cannot exist without their desire being gratified. From lust springs ‘krodha’ anger. ‘Krodha’ is that frustrated outrage one feels against that which stands in the way of obtaining the gratification of ones senses. From ‘krodha’ arises ‘sammoha’ bewilderment and delusion which is the mental condition where one is no longer cognisant of what action should be performed and what action should not be performed. One will foolishly do anything in this condition. Thereafter comes dementia causing loss in memory of the process one began in order to constrain the senses and control the mind. From dementia comes loss of will power, one no longer has the drive and incentive to cultivate themselves towards obtaining spiritual realisation of the eternal soul. When this happens then one perishes their spiritual opportunity being drowned again and again in samsara the endless cycle of birth and death in the material existence.

Desire is a ‘rajasika’ trait; delusion a ‘tamasika’ one, and anger lies between the two. If you are angry with either, it means that you have attachment for something or the other. If you are angry with a man who defames you, it means that you are attached to fame. If you are enraged with a person who censures you, it proves your pride of innocence and so on.

From anger, arises delusion. In fact, delusion ensues not only from anger, but also from desire, greed and attachment. (i) Delusion born of desire, veils discrimination and so a man goaded by desire performs undesirable actions. (ii) Out of anger, a deluded person utters harsh and pinching words, to even friends and adorable ones, and performs wrong and cruel deeds. (iii) Delusion born of greed makes a man blind and he cannot distinguish between the real and the unreal, the right and the wrong and he cheats others by using fraudulent methods. (iv) Delusion born of attachment creates partiality.

From delusion arises confusion of memory. It means that a man forgets his aim to attain salvation, or to follow the spiritual path, in accordance with the ordinance of the scriptures etc. From confusion of memory arises loss of reason viz., a man cannot discriminate between right and wrong. Loss of discrimination paves the way to self-destruction. Therefore, it is obligatory for all seekers to devote themselves heart and soul to God, in order to escape self-destruction.

Gita 2 (64-65)

raga-dvesa-vimuktais tu

visayan indriyais caran

atma-vasyair vidheyatma

prasadam adhigacchati


prasade sarva-duhkhanam

hanir asyopajayate

prasanna-cetaso hy asu

buddhih paryavatisthate


One who can control his senses by practicing the regulated principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord and thus become free from all attachment and aversion. For one who is so situated in the Divine consciousness, the threefold miseries of material existence exist no longer; in such a happy state, one’s intelligence soon becomes steady.


It may be further submitted that since it is impossible to control the senses who by their very nature tend to be drawn towards senses objects, it would be extremely difficult to overcome these defects; so where is the possibility of attaining steady wisdom. Apprehending such doubts Lord Krishna states that one who is free from both attachment and aversion although amidst sense objects attains the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Here Arjuna’s fourth question is being answered concerning how one of steady wisdom experiences sense objects. The answer given in this verse is that one experiences sense objects with one’s senses under control. Lord Krishna now explains that when the mind is placid and pure it has enacted for itself the cessation of all miseries arising from conjunction with materialism. ‘Prasanna-chetah’ refers to that delightful one whose mind is expunged of all impediments that hinders it from realising the eternal soul while bestowing the spiritual intelligence needed for illumination. Thus when the mind has been purified all sorrow is terminated.

An aspirant, who has controlled his mind and whose senses are controlled and free from attachment and aversion, uses the sense-objects, but does not enjoy them viz; he does not derive pleasure from them. And it is enjoyment, rather than use, which leads him to ruin. An aspirant who utilizes the sense objects being free from attachment and aversion attains placidity (purity) of mind. This placidity of mind is called mental austerity which is superior to the austerity of body and austerity of speech. So an aspirant should neither enjoy the sense-objects with attachment, nor should renounce them with aversion, because both attachment and aversion lead him to affinity for the world. Such an aspirant attains placidity of mind and if that placidity of mind is not enjoyed, that leads to God-realization. With the attainment of such placidity of mind, all his sorrows come to an end, because it is attachment only, which causes sorrows. These sorrows give birth to desire which again causes sorrow. When attachment goes away, the mind becomes serene and that serenity destroys all sorrows. 

All sorrows are only due to the agitation of mind concerned with acquiring the objects of desire and preservation of them and the grief on losing them. All experiences whether joyous or painful bring only sorrow, former because of their fleeting nature and the latter because of their being unpleasant. When the mind is in equanimity neither the pleasure nor the pain affects the person. Then the mind becomes established in Brahman immediately.

Gita 2.66

nasti buddhir ayuktasya

na cayuktasya bhavana

na cabhavayatah santir

asantasya kutah sukham


One who has no control over his senses and the mind will not have steadiness of mind nor is he able to contemplate on the Lord. Therefore for him there is no peace of mind and without peace of mind there is no happiness.


In the Discipline of detached Action, control over the mind and senses is important, because without control, desire persists and with the persistence of desire, the mind does not get fixed. Therefore, it is obligatory for an aspirant following the Discipline of Action to control his mind and senses. What happens to the man who has not controlled his mind and senses, is explained in this verse

Without being happy there is no possibility of concentration of the mind. Without concentration of the mind there can be no meditation and without meditation it is not possible to have inner awakening or soul-cognition. Therefore it has been declared that these things are not possible for one without concentration.

He who has not controlled his mind and senses cannot have determinate intellect that he has only to realize God, because he indulges in worldly pleasures and seeks prosperity. He develops desire for riches, honour and bodily comforts etc. These numerous desires keep his intellect obsessed and do not allow him to have a stable intellect. He, whose intellect is not determinate, cannot have the feeling that he has to discharge his duty by renouncing attachment and desire etc. The man, who does not discharge his duty efficiently and sincerely, can have no peace, whosoever he may be. How can he who lacks peace be happy? He cannot be happy, because his heart is filled with agitation and commotion. Despite acquiring all agreeable sense objects, his mental perturbation cannot be wiped out. In other words he cannot be happy.

Gita 2.56

duhkhesv anudvigna-manah

sukhesu vigata-sprhah


sthita-dhir munir ucyate


He, whose mind remains unperturbed in sorrow, who does not crave for pleasure, and who is free from passion, fear and anger is called a sage with stable wisdom.


There is no end to sorrow, calumny, dishonour and unfavourable circumstances, in this world. But a man of wisdom remains unperturbed, because the aim of his life is to discharge his duty to the best of his ability and capacity, for the welfare to others, without having any desire for its fruit. So, he always remains happy and unperturbed even in the most unfavourable circumstances. He does not crave for any kind of pleasure such as praise, honour and favourable circumstances etc., nor does he have a desire to prolong, such a state. He remains unruffled in the midst of favourable or hostile circumstances.

There are three types of sorrow or pain: ‘adyatmika’ or physical, ‘adhidaivika’ or supernatural and ‘adhibhautika’ or natural. Adyatmika is pain of the body and pain of the mind. The pain of the body is diseases and ailments attacking it such as fever, rheumatism, gout, etc. The pain of the mind is due to insult, jealousy, shame and the like. Adhidaivika is pain caused by drought, flooding, cyclones, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. Adhibhautika is pain caused from people, demons, animals, ghosts, etc. All these three are destined by fate and as such are not transitory and after experiencing them they fade into oblivion. Determining in this way that those whose minds remain unperturbed in affliction coming due to fate as well as in happiness rising up by chance, these beings have become devoid of desires in whatever results occur. The reason is they are free from passion, fear and anger. Passion is the extreme mental attachment to objects cherished with intense desire with the intention of never letting possession of these objects be discontinued. Fear is the pain caused from the approaching agony arising from separation from what is cherished. Anger is a specific mental attitude which appears in one who experiences separation at the time of loss of cherished objects. These three passions, fear and anger all arise due to the lack of discrimination regarding the eternal nature of the soul. By the gradual development of this discrimination one becomes free from these three impediments and by this discrimination when the introspective one’s contemplation becomes mature they’re known as sthita-prajna.

If a stronger person tries to deprive us of worldly possessions, it arouses fear in us, whereas if a weaker person does so, it arouses anger in us.

So long as there are perturbations, cravings, attachment, fear and anger, even in a small measure, a man is called a seeker. But when he is totally free from them, he becomes an enlightened soul.

Gita 2.57

yah sarvatranabhisnehas

tat tat prapya subhasubham

nabhinandati na dvesti

tasya prajna pratisthita


He, who remains unattached under all conditions, he who is neither delighted at good, nor dejected with evil, is stable in wisdom.


Lord Krishna now answers the question of how one situated in transcendent consciousness speaks. When exposed to sources of pleasure like mouth-watering delicacies, delicious drinks, silky, fashionable clothes or luxurious homes such a person does not rejoice at receiving these things neither give praise to those who have bequeathed these things. Similarly when exposed to sources of unpleasantness like unpalatable food and drink, coarse unfashionable clothes and humble homes he does not show disdain. Such a person is the one who is situated in transcendent consciousness.

In the previous verse, Lord Krishna explained that a man of stable wisdom remains unperturbed, while discharging his duty. In this verse, he explains, that such a man remains stable in favourable and unfavourable circumstances, which he comes across as a result of the deeds he performs. He remains untainted and unaffected by good and bad, favourable and unfavourable circumstances. Experiencing good or pleasant, he is not delighted. This delight means mental joy and expression of joy through words. By encountering evil or unpleasant, he is not dejected. This dejection means mental suffering and despair, and the thought why and how this situation has occurred, and how to get rid of the unpleasant situation. He remains untainted in favourable and unfavourable circumstances, which we got as a result of destiny.

Gita 2.58

yada samharate cayam

kurmo ‘nganiva sarvasah


tasya prajna pratisthita


When, like a tortoise, withdrawing its limbs from all sides, he detaches completely his senses from sense-objects, his wisdom is stable.


The test of a yogi, devotee, or self-realized soul is that he is able to control the senses according to his plan. Most people, however, are servants of the senses and are thus directed by the dictation of the senses.

Lord Krishna gives the analogy of a turtle which withdraws its limbs inside when faced with danger. Similarly when one is able to keep their senses from pursuing sensual objects of mundane pleasure by withdrawing the senses inside and who also consciously reflects upon the soul within, such a one is ‘sthita- prajna’ situated in the perfect knowledge of transcendent meditation.

As a tortoise withdraws its six limbs-four legs, a tail and a head-into the shell to protect itself against possible dangers, so does an enlightened one withdraw his five senses and one mind from sense-objects. If he has the least affinity with senses, he cannot be a man of stable wisdom.

Gita 2.59

visaya vinivartante

niraharasya dehinah

rasa-varjam raso ‘py asya

param drstva nivartate


The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.


It may be said that lack of inclination towards sense objects may not necessarily be a defining characteristic to determine whether one is of steady wisdom.

A man becomes an abstainer in two ways (i) Fasting by one’s own will or owing to sickness. (ii) Abstaining from sense enjoyments. Here, the term has been used, to refer to a seeker, who withdraws his senses from sense-objects. The senses of a sick man become unfit for indulgence, but craving in them, for sense enjoyment persists. He hopes to enjoy these after recovery. Similarly, sense-objects cease for the abstinent seeker, but the taste persists. It means that his body and senses come under restraint, but his mind wanders. When one decline to enjoy sense objects the physical experience ceases; yet the residue desire for sense objects still remains and the craving for them actually has not departed. But when one has experienced what is Supreme then even this residue desire for sense objects is dissolved. Another meaning is that although inclination for the objects of the sense automatically ceases for one who is sick having no desire to enjoy the senses; but as soon as one’s health has been regained the desire to relish the objects of the senses returns again being only temporarily inoperative.

Gita 2.60

yatato hy api kaunteya

purusasya vipascitah

indriyani pramathini

haranti prasabham manah


The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavouring to control them.


There are many learned sages, philosophers and transcendentalists who try to conquer the senses, but in spite of their endeavours, even the greatest of them sometimes fall victim to material sense enjoyment due to the agitated mind. Even Vishvamitra, a great sage and perfect yogi, was misled by Menaka into sex enjoyment, although the yogi was endeavouring for sense control with severe types of penance and yoga practice. Therefore, it is very difficult to control the mind and the senses without being fully God conscious.

The term, ‘wise man’ has been used, for the man who practises self-control, who performs his duty without attachment and desire for its fruit, one who discriminates between the real and the unreal and who thinks of the welfare of all creatures. The turbulent senses of even such a wise man carry away his mind towards pleasures. The reason is that so long as mind is not permanently established in God, the past influences of enjoyment of pleasures attract the senses and mind towards pleasures, forcibly.