indriyaanaam hi charataam yanmanuvidheeyate |
tadasya harati prajnyaam vaayurnaavamivaambhasi || 67 ||

For, even one of the wandering senses overpowers the mind and steals away wisdom, like wind affects a ship in water.

indriyaanaam : among the senses
hi : for
charataam : wandering
yat : the one that
manah : mind
anuvidheeyate : submitted
tat : that
asya : this
harati : steals
prajnyaam : wisdom
vaayuh : wind
naavam : ship
iva : like
ambhasi : water

A picture is worth a thousand words. So here, just like Shri Krishna painted a picture of the tortoise earlier, he uses another picture to portay an important point – that just one sense organ has the ability to destroy us. He gives us the example of a rudderless ship at sea. It will go wherever the wind takes it, and in time, eventually be destroyed.

In the same way, just one sense organ – the eye seeing something tempting, the ear hearing some gossip, the tongue tasting alcohol –  one sense organ can bring the mind under submission. In doing so, it can take away the intellect’s capacity to function. And worse still, this whole chain of events can happen in a fraction of a second, and we won’t even know it has happened unless we are eternally aware and alert.

We are nearing the end of the section on the signs of the individual of steady wisdom, and are a few shlokas away from concluding the second chapter.