यदा संहरते चायं कूर्मोऽङ्गानीव सर्वश: |
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता || 58||
yadā sanharate chāyaṁ kūrmo ’ṅgānīva sarvaśhaḥ
indriyāṇīndriyārthebhyas tasya prajñā pratiṣhṭhitā
yadā—when; sanharate—withdraw; cha—and; ayam—this; kūrmaḥ—tortoise; aṅgāni—limbs; iva—as; sarvaśhaḥ—fully; indriyāṇi—senses; indriya-arthebhyaḥ—from the sense objects; tasya—his; prajñā—divine wisdom; pratiṣhṭhitā—fixed in
When the yogi, like the tortoise drawing back its limbs into its own shell, withdraws all the senses from the sense objects, his wisdom is firmly fixed.
For self-realisation (Moksha) control of the senses is essential. When the senses are drawn back from contact with the sense – objects like sound, color, etc., then the intellect is rooted in Atma. The same truth is stated by Patanjali in the sutras Yogaschittavrittinirodhah, tadadrashtuh svarupe Avasthanum. These two sutras are affirmed by the verse. It means that the senses, which by their nature run after worldly objects should be drawn back, and the mind should be centered in Atma. When this is done firmly, and when there is no deviation from the Self, one’s knowledge becomes perfect.
This idea is very clearly brought out by means of an illustration. The tortoise withdraws all its limbs into its own shell at the slightest apprehension of danger from outside. Even if the shell is hacked to pieces it would not extend its limbs. The yogi, like the tortoise, should drawback his senses from the objective world, and settle himself in the Self. It is not enough to restrain one of the senses from one set of objects. Of course, if one sense is controlled, it will make the control of the others easy. The yogi should withdraw all the senses from all the worldly objects. That is why the word sarvasah is used. Even if all the doors are closed except one, through that one door dacoits may enter the house. Even if one window is kept open, a gust of wind from it may extinguish the lamp. So it is absolutely necessary that all the senses should be turned back, and there should be no contact with the external world. It is the sense-organs that make the person aware of the outside world. When they are drawn back there is no external world. In deep sleep, there is no external world because the senses are not functioning. Similarly, the yogi should stop the operation of the senses in his fully conscious state, and then the mind sees the Self within. Sense-restraint is thus the first and foremost of all spiritual disciplines.
When a person learns to control or withdraw the senses from sense objects, as a tortoise retracts its limbs inside its shell in time of danger and cannot be forced to extend its limbs again until the trouble is over, the lamp of Self-knowledge becomes lighted, and one perceives the self-effulgent Supreme Being within. A Self-realized person enjoys the beauty of the world, keeping the senses under complete control like a tortoise. The best way to purify the senses and control them perfectly like a tortoise, is to engage them in the service of God at all times.
Swami Vivekananda Says —
“As the tortoise can draw in his legs, and if you strike him, not one foot comes out, even so the sage can draw all his sense-organs inside,” and nothing can force them out. Nothing can shake him, no temptation or anything. Let the universe tumble about him, it does not make one single ripple in his mind.[Source]
As the tortoise tucks its feet and head inside the shell, and you may kill it and break it in pieces, and yet it will not come out, even so the character of that man who has control over his motives and organs is unchangeably established. He controls his own inner forces, and nothing can draw them out against his will. By this continuous reflex of good thoughts, good impressions moving over the surface of the mind, the tendency for doing good becomes strong, and as the result we feel able to control the indriyas (the sense-organs, the nerve-centres).[Source]
Question: When does a man become ‘sthitaprajna’?
Answer: When he withdraws all the senses from the objective world and turns his mind inwards, he becomes a ‘sthitaprajna’.