tasmaattvamindriyaanyaadau niyamya bharatarshabha |
paapmaanam prajahi hyonam jnyaanavijnyaananaashanam || 41 ||

Therefore, first control the senses, O excellent among Bharataas, and with force, definitely kill this destroyer of knowledge and wisdom.

tasmaat : therefore
tvam : you
indriyaani : senses
adau : first
niyamya : control
bharatarshabha : excellent among Bharataas
paapmaanam : mighty sinner (desires)
prajahi : kill with force
hi : definitely
enam : this
jnyaana : knowledge
vijnyaana : wisdom
naashanam : destroyer

Having revealed the location of desire, Shri Krishna now provides a method of taming desire. He advises Arjuna to first control desire at the level of the senses. Desires originate in the likes and dislikes present in the senses, and therefore, that is where we should go after them.

This requires us to be constantly aware and alert of our likes and dislikes, and not to get overpowered by them once we see them arise. For example, we can detect anger towards someone we dislike arise in our mind. We may try to suppress angry thoughts, but that is not feasible. Therefore we should first learn to control anger at level of the tongue by not speaking any harsh words towards that person.

How do we remain alert? There are several techniques to make us alert and bring us to the present moment. The simplest technique is to take a few breaths and just focus attention on the inhaling and exhaling. This will immediately stop all mental “chatter”.

Shri Krishna also mentions here that desire not only destroys knowledge but also wisdom. So let us correctly understand what is meant by wisdom here. Essentially, knowledge + experience = wisdom. If we read something in a book, then it is knowledge. But if we experience something on our own, then we own it and it becomes wisdom.

With this shloka, Shri Krishna answered the question raised by Arjuna, which was in regards to obstacles to karma yoga. He also provided a simple technique that only begins to address the obstacles, but does not completely eradicate them. In the next two verses, he concludes the topic of karmayoga by providing the advanced technique of removing these obstacles.

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