यततो ह्यपि कौन्तेय पुरुषस्य विपश्चित: |
इन्द्रियाणि प्रमाथीनि हरन्ति प्रसभं मन: || 60||
yatato hyapi kaunteya puruṣhasya vipaśhchitaḥ
indriyāṇi pramāthīni haranti prasabhaṁ manaḥ
yatataḥ—while practicing self-control; hi—for; api—even; kaunteya—Arjun, the son of Kunti; puruṣhasya—of a person; vipaśhchitaḥ—one endowed with discrimination; indriyāṇi—the senses; pramāthīni—turbulent; haranti—carry away; prasabham—forcibly; manaḥ—the mind
O Arjuna! The turbulent senses carry away the mind even of the learned man though he is striving to control them.
Even the learned man, well versed in the Sastras and vedic lore, is merely a play-thing under the power of the mind and the senses. The mind does not easily turn inwards. It is pushed out, as it were, and through the senses attaches itself to the objective world. If this is so in the case of a learned man who has understood the truth intellectually at least, what about the others? Similarly, the turbulent senses defeat and perplex the man who is trying his best to control them. The fate of the man who has not understood this principle can easily be imagined. The senses draw the mind and drive it in different directions. He is restless and distracted. He becomes utterly the slave of the uncontrollable senses. He who should have been the master is turned a slave! That is the unfortunate position in which many live and die.
Even the pandits, the learned exponents of religion and philosophy, are carried off by the power of the senses and the attractions of the sense world.
In the heart of every human being, the struggle between the real and the unreal, between good and evil, is taking place to some extent. As the man tries to get some divine force into himself in this struggle, Maya with all the regiments, spies, fifth columns, is increasing her own forces to neutralize the divine force which the seeker is gathering bit by bit. This verse describes an aspect of the struggle. The seeker should muster greater and greater divine strength by acquiring divine qualities, and then only can be hope to overpower the enemy. No one needs to be discouraged by the power of the senses. Indeed they are powerful. But what of it? The divinity within is far more powerful. If a pin is placed between two magnets the one which has the lesser power can do nothing. So is man placed between the sense world on the one side and the Divine on the other. The Divine is a far greater magnet and finally draws man to Himself. By control (sama and dama) practiced continuously, the necessary power is acquired by the seeker, and ultimately victory is his. No neglect of effort should be allowed to interrupt the practice. The same exhortation is to be found in the next verse.
Learned: Mere book-learning is not enough. Spiritual experience is necessary.
Perhaps, so far, people have under-estimated the strength of the enemy, and consequently, their effort has not been as intense as it should be. But now, the Lord has given us an idea of the hostile forces which one has to conquer. The first thing in a war is to know the full potency of the enemy forces, and only the defence and offence could be made with adequate strength and suitable strategy.
The wise always keep vigilance over the mind. The mind can never be fully trusted. It can mislead even a wise striving seeker (Srimad Bhagavatam 5.6.2-5). One has to be very alert and closely witness the wanderings of the mind. Never relax your vigilance until the final goal of God-realization is reached. Sri Sarada Devi said: It is the very nature of the mind to go to lower objects of enjoyment, just as it is the nature of water to flow downwards. The grace of God can make the mind go towards higher objects, just as the sun’s rays lift the water to the sky.
The human mind is ever ready to deceive and play tricks. Therefore, discipline, constant vigilance, and sincere spiritual practice are needed. The mind is like an unruly horse that needs to be broken in. Never let the mind roam unwatched into the realm of sensuality. The path of spiritual life is very slippery and has to be trodden very carefully to avoid falls. It is not a joyous ferryboat ride, but a very difficult path to tread like the sharp edge of a sword. Many obstacles, distractions, and failures come on the path to help the devotee become stronger and more advanced on the path, just like iron is turned into steel by alternate heating, cooling, and hammering. One should not get discouraged by failures, but carry on with steadfast determination.
Srimad Bhagavatam 5.6.2-5.6.5
2. Sri Suka said: What you say is true in a way. But though the mind has been controlled, it cannot be trusted too much. The best of Yogis do not do so, knowing its fickleness and untrustworthiness, just as a determined hunter would not trust a captured animal with any freedom.
3. So it is said: Do not compromise with the fickle mind. For, by doing so, even very powerful personages have lost all their spiritual powers.
4. A Yogi who trusts his mind too much is like a husband who does so in regard to an unfaithful wife. The fickle mind might betray him into the hands of his enemies like lust and its allies, just as the faithless wife might betray her husband by colluding with a lover.
5. Can any man of true discrimination put full trust in the mind in the belief that it has come under his control—the mind which is the root cause of all dangerous passions like lust, anger, pride, greed, sorrow, infatuation, fear, and the bondage of Karma?
Swami Vivekananda Says —
There is then no peace in the heart of a carnal man, nor in him that is addicted to outward things, but in the spiritual and devout man.[Source]
Question: What is the power of the senses?
Answer: The senses are so powerful as to draw away the mind of a scholar even, who is striving for liberation.