Meditation Isn’t What You Think- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:59

(Yes, it’s a double entendre.)

Last week we discovered that there is something that comes before meditation and that without it there can be no true meditation, and without meditation there can be no samadhi (merging with God). This ‘something’ is pratyahara, the internalization of the attention through the withdrawal of the senses from their objects. Previously we looked at this withdrawal and what the experience of it is like. Now we will look at how it comes about.


1. You begin to lose interest in sense objects. (Sense objects are anything the senses can perceive.) Once you have begun to make real progress in your sadhana you soon find that you are more attracted to it than to the things of this world. (This happens soon and effortlessly for people doing SKY* for more than an hour or two a day.) 

2. The mind becomes inactive in sadhana. There are no desires, no likes and dislikes, no sensory input, nothing to be conscious of. You have traded your cravings for fulfillment and you are about to get it.

3. The powers of sense separate from the physical sense organs. This allows you to sense (see, hear, feel, taste and smell) without the use of the sense organs. You perceive directly, as clearly and definitely as you do under ordinary circumstances only more and better—you see things for what they really are, you see things other people can’t see with their ordinary sight (ditto with the other four senses). This sounds like psychic stuff when put into words, but that is a different experience.

4. You become disinterested in the things of the world in and out of sadhana. This stage sets in in a very real way after much experience with Stage Three and samadhi which is dependent upon it. At this point, you are not only disinterested in the things of the world, but you find them irritating, lacking, overstimulating, and a poor substitute for the real thing, which you have by now seen for yourself. This is when you will never give up your sadhana no matter how difficult it gets, however hopeless you think you are at it, no matter what it costs you to continue.

With the withdrawal of the senses there is true meditation. With true meditation, there is samadhi, merging with God/Truth and the ultimate fulfillment. 

*SKY — Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, the sadhana (practice) of Surrender Meditation.

Read another person’s experience of pratyahara.

In this verse we find that pratyahara is not easily attained, but hidden within it is the secret to attaining it.

The objects of sense turn away from the fasting embodied one, except for taste. But even taste turns away from one who has seen the Highest. — Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 59

Delving deeper into the Sanskrit . . .

The influence of sense objects will cease for one who doesn’t feed them even though cravings for them persist. But even the cravings for them cease for one who has beheld what lies beyond.

Avoidance is the usual means of not ‘feeding’ the senses, i.e., the sense of sight: a man intent on avoidance who sees a beautiful woman walks the other way. This technique is why we find spiritual commentaries naming ‘woman’ as poison and the downfall of man. It isn’t woman that is the problem, it is the craving stimulated by the sense of sight coming into contact and becoming attached to a desirable sight. So a woman would walk the other way to avoid the sight of a beautiful man for the same reason. It is not sense objects themselves that are the problem but the influence they have on the mind (vs. 57).

Even though this technique is useful, the relish for sense objects remains intact. Faced with this, we suddenly remember ‘indifference’ and are taken into the realm of non-attachment.

It is not you that is attached but the senses.


Because you are identified with your body and mind, you mistakenly believe that you have desires, but this is just the senses becoming attached to attractive objects. For as long as this misidentification is in place however, you deal with desires as if they were your own, so remember this: It is the nature of the senses to attach themselves to their objects. It is their job. But you are not nature, and you are not the senses.


Non-attachment comes about naturally as a result of Stage Three pratyahara and the deep meditation of samadhi. This is what renunciation (sanyasa) really is. 

Having experienced Truth directly, you have beheld ‘what lies beyond’—the Highest, God, Truth—and nothing in this world can touch it or even come close. You no longer have an issue with the senses becoming attached to their objects, for acquiring these objects could never satisfy you now. Only God is enough. And when something is enough, we are fulfilled.

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



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15 thoughts on “Meditation Isn’t What You Think- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:59

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  9. Even though I know through yogic experience that acquiring desired objects is not fulfilling, I seem to be so identified with the “Desirer”, or the one who is desiring the object, that the thought of “indifference” is only fleeting. Sometimes I think of what is often written about this as “restraint of the senses” and that is what I am working on now, remembering the yogic experiences that actually are fulfilling and letting go of the desire for the object. Sometimes it is doggone hard to do! I think it is because I have not had enough consistent meditation experience.


    1. Next week’s blog will supply you with more ideas about this and some solutions to try. Meanwhile, know that you are not alone in this. Identifying with the desirer is actually a pretty high place to be, considering that you have to have already been dealing with the creator and the experiencer to get there. So put a few more stars and stickers in your assignment book! Well done!


      1. Thank you so much, Durga Ma! I look forward to reading next week’s blog.
        Since writing the last reply I’ve been in a crisis about restraining the senses and indifference to sense objects. Contemplating deeply in and out of yog what restraint and giving the desire to God really mean I found myself in a crisis which I thought had actually completed. My issue has always been eating more than I need, often not being able to restrain even when I am full. There are those in the health field who say this is an indication of an overgrowth of Candida Albicans. Well, maybe so, but in looking deeper I find it is also about a deep Abandonment issue that as a child I dealt with by filling my belly with food and more food. I’ve struggled with this issue most of my life and want to get through it, surrendering more deeply and giving it to God/Truth rather than “trying” and using what seems like “my willpower”. Which, by the way, doesn’t work!


        1. Dear Ritam,

          The following is my opinion and is not consistent with the ‘party line’:

          Hoping to give things up by either surrendering it to God or willful effort doesn’t work for people who aren’t OCD, and maybe not even then, and if it does work I doubt it lasts. The continual thinking of food, constantly giving it attention, keeps it actively in place in the mind. Every time you think of it in any way—believing that you should give it up, thinking you are doing something wrong, worrying about it, etc., etc., etc.—actually gives it the juice to sustain itself; the mind keeps learning more and more about ‘food’ when all you want is for it to turn itself off when you’ve had enough, but that’s not the message it’s getting. All it knows is ‘food’, and it is on this track as long as you are. That’s just how the mind works.

          For most of us, our surrender isn’t perfect, so we can’t count on that for specifics. And surrendering something specific to God is much the same as telling God what we want God to do, which creates more static in our surrender.

          Try this every time the thought of food, or anything related to it, arises outside of meditation:

          Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya Om (three times, or in threes).

          Then there is this: “Abandon all dharmas and surrender only to Me and I will give you freedom, grieve not (the Sanskrit word means both grief and fear).” — Gita, ch 18, vs 66.

          My translation: Abandon all ‘shoulds’. Surrender only to Me and I will give you freedom. No worries!


          1. Dear Durga Ma,

            Thank you! Everything you have written is true in my experience, especially about the mind sustaining whatever it is focused on.
            While I often chant Om namah Shivaya and the Diamond Slok, it seems not enough at the times that mind is focused on whatever it is on. It’s kind of like I’ve given the mind the upper hand, choosing not to give it up, especially when there is something like tv going on. Anything further I would say here would be a complaint. What seems to be left is the absolute truth of abandoning all dharmas and surrendering to God. It’s one thing to say, and another to mean it! Consistently.
            I look forward to reading your next blogs eagerly.


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