taani sarvaani samyamya yukta aaseeta matparaha |
vashe hi yasyendriyaani tasya prajna pratishthitaa || 61 ||
The disciplined individual should restrain them all and sit with devotion to me. Having brought the senses under control, his wisdom is steady.
taani : those
sarvaani : all
samyamya : restrain
yuktah : the disciplined individual
aaseeta : sit
mat : me
paraha : devoted
vashe : control
hi : for
yasya : those whose
indriyaani : senses
tasya : his
prajna : wisdom
pratishthitaa : steady
Shri Krishna begins to go deeper into the subject of how senses and thoughts impact our lives. This subject comes under the umbrella of the “sthitaprajna lakshana”, or the signs of a wise individual, and comprises the final portion of the second chapter. As a reminder, the four major portions of the second chapter are : 1) Shri Krishna convincing Arjuna that his logic was incorrect 2) providing the correct logic and understanding to Arjuna 3) providing the practical aspects of the teaching 4) describing the attributes of the man of steady wisdom. We are the the final topic right now.
In the last shloka, Shri Krishna described how the turbulent senses can ruin the mind. In this shloka, he provides a prescription to remedy the impact of the senses: set a goal that is higher than yourself, and channel your mind and your senses towards that higher goal. The senses, along with the mind, will detach from material objects only when they are shown a higher goal. They cannot detach without attaching themselves to a higher goal. Otherwise, we end up forcibly suppressing the senses, which we all know is not healthy.
This shloka also hints at the topic of meditation, which is a disciplined technique of fixing the mind to a higher goal. In meditation, an individual sits and gradually brings attention to one and only one thought. And that thought is nothing but the higher goal that we have set for ourself. The most unique thing in this shloka is that Shri Krishna uses the word “me”, in other words, he asks us to make him the higher goal.
Now, at this stage in the spiritual journey, if you feel comfortable with making devotion to Shri Krishna your ultimate goal, that is fine. Otherwise, you can set any selfless goal that is greater than you – for example, serving your parents, serving your family, serving your organization, serving the country etc.
Setting a higher goal is the only way that your senses and your mind will come under control. It also ensures that your ego does not puff up thinking that it has controlled the senses.