He for whom all the senses are held in restraint, sitting intent on Me with his senses under control, his wisdom stands firm. — Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 61
But submitting to Me according to his wish, when he rests absorbed in devotion to Me all the senses become restrained, and with certainty his wisdom stands firm.
Throughout our lives and throughout our sadhana, obstacles will arise. We may not be able to change this, but we can outsmart these obstacles. In our last installment, we came up with some solutions to this ever-present dilemma. Now this verse gives us the best solution for that aspect of our lives that is our sadhana, our spiritual practices, the solution to outsmarting all obstacles to reaching union with the Absolute:
“Submitting to Me according to his wish”
Surrendering to God by your own choice in the meditation room, the senses will automatically become restrained (pratyahara).
Translations of mystical texts always take the position of using the will to try to achieve success with each step along the way, no matter what the subject of the text. We humans don’t like to submit. We think it is weak. But this verse is telling you that submission is your greatest strength, your highest choice. It is not telling you to just submit, but to submit specifically to God—this is the key.
When you submit to God, Truth, The Absolute, you have made the ultimate choice and have accessed your ultimate power. You have paved your way to resting absorbed in God. Having chosen God, the senses will come under control, not by you, but automatically they are withdrawn and their activities restrained.
Surrender specifically and ONLY to God
by your own choice
in your meditation room.
“With his senses under control”
Pratyahara, the withdrawal and restraint of the senses, happens in a state of surrender as your awareness leaves the linear world where the senses and their functions are needed. This can happen the way it does because, in this situation, you no longer need anything to bring you information. In the earlier stages you perceive directly. I later stages you don’t perceive at all—you don’t need to perceive; you are beyond being a knower knowing knowable things.
The senses are under control, but you are not doing the controlling. As the lover to the beloved, you have surrendered to That Divine One. The senses are no longer yours to control—you have surrendered them, given them back to God. Thus are pratyahara, meditation (dhyana) and samadhi (merging with God) successfully attained.
Once you have attained samadhi your experience proves this to be so—you know from our own experience that all the senses become spontaneously restrained and under control without any help from you. Until that time comes, you resort to ‘faith’, the assumption that this is so, based on the words of those who have been there. In your meditation room you are free. Once having experienced this freedom, even if only for an hour or two a day, you come to know what freedom is and what it is like to be free. Having had the experience, the way is paved to achieving it fully (moksha, liberation). So the message here is: do your sadhana, meditate.
Reading these verses (from vs 55) as descriptive of a natural sequence of events, one discovers that all this will happen on its own through surrender to God in meditation, where you give up trying to make things happen by using your will.
Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!),
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