yatato hyaapi kaunteya purushasya vipaschitaha |
indriyaani pramaatheeni haranti prasabham manaha || 60 ||
For the senses are so turbulent, O Kaunteya, that they forcibly seize the mind of a even a wise individual who perseveres.
yatatah : persevere
hi : for
api : even
kaunteya : O Kaunteya
purushasya : individual
vipaschitaha : wise
indriyaani : senses
pramaatheeni : turbulent
haranti : seize
prasabham : forcibly
manaha : mind
Earlier, we saw that if we have predispositions to objects, they will result in thoughts popping up in our mind. This will be true even if we are not near those objects. Some of us may raise an objection to this statement. We may ask: “As long as I control my actions, what difference does it make if I think about an object such as a chocolate cake? It won’t matter because I won’t eat it, Correct?”
In this shloka, Shri Krishna responds to the objection. He says that thoughts can catch us at a time of weakness, when we are least alert, and undo all of our self control. These thoughts are generated by our predispositions or vasanaas.
Vasanaas are like dormant embers of coal that burn stronger when the senses add fuel to their fire. They are the seeds of thoughts, or “thought generators”. This means that self control of actions is effective, but only to a certain extent, because self control does not tackle vasanaas. It is like trimming a weed instead of uprooting it completely.
Another aspect is pointed out here. One may practice conquering one’s senses for a long time. That person can become an advanced practitioner through years of diligence and perseverance. He may come to the conclusion that all of his desires and vasanaas have been vanquished. But the senses and the mind are extremely clever; they will wait for months, even years, and then generate a thought that can destabilize his equanimity in a second.
In summary, it is not enough to control our actions in order to maintain equanimity, we have to remain alert and watch our thoughts as well.