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.
tasmad yasya maha-baho
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.
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.
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?
vihaya kaman yah sarvan
pumams carati nihsprhah
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.
esa brahmi sthitih partha
nainam prapya vimuhyati
sthitvasyam anta-kale ‘pi
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.