तपःसारः इन्द्रियनिग्रहः॥४७५॥

tapaḥsāraḥ indriyanigrahaḥ ||475||

A great truth stated tersely by master Chanakya, “Control of the sense organs is the essence of penance.”


यौवनं धनसंपत्तिः प्रभुत्त्वमविवेकिता ॥
एकैकमप्यनर्थाय किमु यत्र चतुष्टयं ॥

yauvanaṁ dhanasaṁpattiḥ prabhuttvamavivekitā ||
ekaikamapyanarthāya kimu yatra catuṣṭayaṁ ||

The thought expressed in the earlier verse is developed in the next verse, “Young age, affluence, positions of authority and impulsiveness or non-discrimination are four things out of which even if one is present in a person, it can cause havoc, if not in proper control. What will be the state of affairs if all the four attributes are present in a person simultaneously?”


All said and done, the human mind and body are controlled by emotions and hormonal secretions rather than by good sense and reasoning. Krishna says in Geeta, “Indriyaani pramaadheeni,” the sense organs tend to go out of control… So the whole life is a penance, an eternal vigil for a good person not to succumb entirely to the dictates of such sense organs and live in absolute self-control. Patanjali’s yoga aphorisms start with the first command that, “yoga is nothing but the control of the wayward practices of the mind”.

The great Yogi-s like Krishna, Chanakya and Patanjali could really practice what they taught. But it is an unending walk along the razor’s edge for the lesser mortals. In hierarchical social setups human beings tend to put the break on emotional outbursts just for survival, but the aftermath of imposed control leaves one depressed and even mad. With proper channeling of attitudes, we may be able to achieve some success in self-control. Maybe the ideal way will be to be in control most of the time and leave out selected time slots in life for complete laughter, to unwind and throw away all the pent up tensions.

Like any other cub, the human youth is also full of uncontrolled self-assurance and energy. If a youth has material resources ready in his control for unfettered enjoyment, the situation is worse. When young persons with intelligence and education, but still without proper training of the mind in self-control land up in positions of authority, they are likely go berserk. And the impulsiveness and spirit of challenge to the established order is always in the blood of the youth. If the infinite and nascent energy of the youth are not guided through the proper channel, there can be chaos and disaster.

Mind you, we have read about bottled imps in the Arabian stories, but in fact every youth is an Imp confined in a bottle, and if he is released without proper guidance and directions to channelize his tremendous energy and potential in positive activities, he will create havoc in the world.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Therefore, certain maturity and compassion is needed in the person in whom great power is vested and a large wealth is at his disposal. This will ensure that the power and wealth, both would be utilized for the benefit of humanity and welfare of the world and not for its destruction.

With great power comes greater responsibility.

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