यतो यतो निश्चरति मनश्चञ्चलमस्थिरम् |
ततस्ततो नियम्यैतदात्मन्येव वशं नयेत् || 26||
yato yato niśhcharati manaśh chañchalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad ātmanyeva vaśhaṁ nayet
yataḥ yataḥ—whenever and wherever; niśhcharati—wanders; manaḥ—the mind; chañchalam—restless; asthiram—unsteady; tataḥ tataḥ—from there; niyamya—having restrained; etat—this; ātmani—on God; eva—certainly; vaśham—control; nayet—should bring
Whenever and wherever the restless and unsteady mind wanders, one should bring it back and continually focus it on God.
In the previous verse, it is said that having fixed the mind in Atma nothing else should be thought of. If the mind wanders away from the target of meditation what should be done? This question is answered here. The Gita is a practical science, and so every kind of difficulty which the seeker has to face is stated and explained, and the method pointed out to overcome it.
The mind is restless and unsteady. In the beginning, it is never fixed on the object of meditation. It runs away and begins to think of one thousand things of worldly life. The seeker may become despondent that he would be never able to acquire steadiness in meditation. But there is no cause for despondency. The Lord here advises the aspirant to bring back the mind again and again, and fix it in Atma. This practice should go on as long as the mind deviates from Atma. But as long as the mind is tempted by objects of enjoyment, it would naturally run after them. So, one should enlighten the mind to understand the painful nature of worldly enjoyments (dukhadoshanudarsanam). When the mind thus understands their worthlessness and painful character, it does not run after them. As the mind rests in the Self, it experiences the higher bliss of peace, and then it would not wander away from the ‘lakshya’ (Atma).
Therefore the aspirant has to observe the activities of the mind carefully. The ignorant man identifies himself with the mind, and so he is not able to understand how the mind is misleading him in a hundred ways. The seeker gains the knowledge that the mind is betraying him, and so he looks upon its vagaries with care and caution. By observing and examining the mind, he neutralises its evil force. Desire is a form of the mind. When desires arise they should be relentlessly scrutinised and rejected. Then Atma alone shines and real peace floods the heart. So the Lord here states that the mind should be trained to rest in Atma by ceaseless practice.
Question: What is the nature of the mind?
Answer: It is restless and unsteady.
Question: When the mind wanders away in meditation what should be done?
Answer: It should be brought back again and again and fixed in Atma.