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.