64-65 The Secret to Happiness, Part 1

If you’re on the spiritual yoga party line you will have heard that you should strive to not have attachments. But I’ll bet you haven’t heard that it isn’t you that is attached, but your senses. They are the culprits, not you. They’re the ones that throw out a line like the fishers they are, latching on to something and getting you all excited about what they’ve caught. And then you get attached to having (or keeping) these things.

Well, you can always ignore them instead of wanting them and trying to figure out how to get them for yourself. We have learned that the outcome of chasing these things is that it revs up your mental energy and causes the mind to become turbulent, making deeper states of meditation and samadhi impossible. So watch the show, but don’t take a role in the play.

Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 64-65

Set free from the attractions of the mighty force of the wandering senses by having oneself employed self-submission, one obtains serenity. (64)

In tranquillity the cessation of all sorrows is born. For the tranquil-minded the intelligence definitely becomes steady immediately. (65)

Alternate translations:

With the elimination of like and dislike, even though engaging the objects of the senses, one who is susceptible of control by the self by self-restraint attains serenity. (64)

In serenity one finds the cessation of all miseries. For this happy-minded person, the mind definitely becomes steady quickly, and one’s wisdom not only stands firm, but is at its highest. (65)

“Having oneself employed self-submission”

In other words, we submit ourselves by our own choice, to God. Because of this surrender, we are no longer at the mercy of the senses because now we are not involved—we have turned everything over to God.

Only one who is ready to give up control can manage this surrender. But one can practice it in meditation where it can be done fearlessly, and soon it will become familiar and easy. By this means, one comes to the lovely experience of what it is like to be in this surrendered state, and not at the mercy of the many attractions ‘out there’ that cause us to become entangled and the mind too ‘busy’ to settle down. And the more this is experienced, the more easily it comes.

By this means, “even though engaging the objects of the senses,” we are free from the domination of the senses themselves. This is a reference to a stage of yoga in which objects are engaged by the sense faculties but not the sense organs, as one perceives sights, sounds, etc., while viewing and experiencing the higher realms directly.

The sense faculties are your powers of perception. The sense organs are physical manifestations of these powers. The faculties and the organs become separated from each other when the attention and life energy (prana) become withdrawn—the sense faculties disengage from their corresponding organs (pratyahara)—and concentrated in one place (dharana) to bring about the meditative state (dhyana) and samadhi (equanimity).

After some experience with this, freedom from the domination of the senses begins to spill over into ordinary states outside of meditation. We begin to lose our strong attachments to the things of this world. By this detachment a peaceful mind and tranquillity are achieved. It is the secret to happiness.

It is easy to be happy and serene when we’re not miserable. How can there be anything but happiness in this state, where turbulence of the mind, longings and sorrows have departed? Even though the senses are engaged with objects of sense, control is in the hands of God, restraint is automatically achieved, and serenity naturally follows. What could be simpler?

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!),
Durga Ma

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2 thoughts on “64-65 The Secret to Happiness, Part 1

  1. I wonder what is the spiritual yoga party line?

    It is my experience that when attachments fall away it is because a deeper truth has revealed itself in yog and I am drawn to That. The clearest thing I know now is that what we actually are is a kind of non-attached universal Love; there is also personal love, but it is unattached in that there is nothing wanted or needed from or with another. This has allowed me to know the inner workings of another (so to speak) that I may not like, in fact dislike intensely, yet because I actually have nothing to do with the interactions and behaviours of others and know the truth, I am released, liberated from personal entanglements, judgements, etc.. To know from the place of non-attached love, rather than see with a critical view is a practice I will always value and love if it should not happen automatically in difficult situations.

    There seems to be more I’d like to communicate, but I can’t quite get a handle on how to express it. It has to do with restraint in diet. No matter how often and deeply I surrender it to God, chant, or try to establish an alternate plan, I usually end up eating to satisfy the senses. Occasionally there is an awareness that it is the “enjoyer” who is enjoying it, not me. But nearly always there is a feeling of collapse into indulgence. I tend to feel like a failure and that restraint and self discipline elude me.

    Maybe there is some progress somewhere, though, as I recall a time years ago when I used to feel that “bliss” eluded me when others spoke of it often. Now I laugh about it, as it is so often present both in yog and in life.


    1. Dear Ritam,

      I can see that you are in the swing of sadhana. Bravo for you. Your insights and experiences are truly inspiring. I was thinking of you the other day and how you had previously described your days and imagined you in yog (must have been right about that!).

      As to the spiritual party line, what I mean by that is the usual parroting of terms that we get into when we’ve gotten so used to some concept that we forget what it means and just say the words, and it gets passed around as if with understanding, whether there is any or not.

      My current mode regarding restraint and self-discipline is experimental. I am thinking that our sense organs are part of the body’s regulatory system naturally designed to influence our choices in favor of the body’s best interest. Although I believe this to be true, it is also true that, because we humans learn everything rather than depending on hard-wired instincts like our critter friends, we learn some things that are contrary to this expert advice from the senses (they may be problematic, but they do have their uses) and develop cravings like ‘comfort food’, etc.

      My current approach has been to just Notice what signals I’m getting, rather than trying to make myself behave the way the party line would have it (skinny is the latest ‘should’ everywhere you look). And it has been this that has allowed me to follow some ‘inner guidance’ regarding diet that has turned out to be instrumental in improving my health and fitness for sadhana. And I seem to have lost my appetite; I don’t get ‘hungry’ messages any more, so I have to look elsewhere for signals.

      What got me to thinking this way? One day I was thinking about thinness and recalled some of those 300 pound masters who sit under the Ganges for hours at a time, or disappear and reappear in different places (note the plural) in an instant. It seems success takes all kinds of forms, not just skinny, but even HUGE. Then there is the reinforcement of ‘ego’ when willfully trying to make oneself do, or not do, something. So for now, I am opting for neither, and so far this is working best.

      Durga Ma


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