इन्द्रियस्येन्द्रियस्यार्थे रागद्वेषौ व्यवस्थितौ |
तयोर्न वशमागच्छेत्तौ ह्यस्य परिपन्थिनौ || 34||
indriyasyendriyasyārthe rāga-dveṣhau vyavasthitau
tayor na vaśham āgachchhet tau hyasya paripanthinau
indriyasya—of the senses; indriyasya arthe—in the sense objects; rāga—attachment; dveṣhau—aversion; vyavasthitau—situated; tayoḥ—of them; na—never; vaśham—be controlled; āgachchhet—should become; tau—those; hi—certainly; asya—for him; paripanthinau—foes
In each of the senses abide attraction and repulsion for the objects of the senses. One should not come under their sway, for they are man’s enemies.
Here is the Lord’s command about restraining the senses and conquering Nature. It would be wrong to interpret from the previous verse that the Lord was stating the impossibility of overcoming Nature. Man should not come under the sway of the material forces operating in the human personality. That is the Lord’s injunction. So the whole progress of spiritual life is one continuous and systematic attempt to counteract the natural forces till they are completely subdued. All the different paths, methods, practices and disciplines have only one end in view, and that is the conquest of Nature in all its subtle forms and manifestations.
Each of the five senses has a double current running in opposite directions. When the object is pleasing, it is delighted; when the object is disagreeable, it is pained: Attachment and repulsion are formed. So when the senses come into contact with the multifarious objects of the world, it is sometimes attached to them, and sometimes repulsed from them. The same object may be pleasing sometimes and under changed conditions may cause pain. These reactions of the senses are termed ‘raga’ and `dvesha’ . These are inherent in the sense-world. The entire spiritual discipline is to attain to a state of non-reaction or equal reaction to all the objects of the world under all conditions, whether they are agreeable or disagreeable. One who has acquired such equanimity is a Yogi, a Sthitaprajna.
Attachment and repulsion (Raga and Dvesha) are the eternal enemies of the spiritual aspirant. These pairs of opposites have long-established their sway on the mind and the senses. And when man, by an enlightened consciousness, tries to equalise the reactions, the mind and the senses would stoutly refuse to submit to the new discipline. Thoughts and habits react. The aspirant has to remain firm and unyielding, and only then would he be able to stamp his will and attain mastery over the opposing forces. Devotion to God, selfless work, meditation on the real Self, grace of a Guru, are helpers to secure victory. Till then there is no rest or peace for man. When enemies enter a village they are dangerous, when they enter the house, they are still more dangerous; and when they find a place in one’s own heart, the danger is greatest. Raga and Dvesha are internal enemies. “Do not fall under their sway” is the Lord’s command.
The internal reactions of each individual are determined by the accumulated force of several births. They are deep-rooted and well-established in the heart of man. The aspirant brings in his discrimination as the resisting power. The struggle goes on for a long time. That which is stronger wins. It is futile to lament about the persistence of past tendencies (samskaras). They are there, whether you want them or not. Cheerfully and with courage one has to fight them. The Lord’s grace is on the side of the faithful aspirant. Nothing is impossible for him. Such should be the indomitable faith of the devotee, and the Lord’s promise not to let down his devote should give the aspirant the necessary will and inspiration, strength and courage to fight the battle till victory is achieved.
Question: What is the nature of the senses?
Answer: Attachment and repulsion abide in the senses.
Question: What should the aspirant do?
Answer: He should not come under their sway because they are his enemies.