How do I find a man liberated and from bondages free
How does he speak, walk, sit and himself carry? 2.54
He who is free from all desires, centered in the Self
Is stable in wisdom, and is blissful in himself 2.55
He who undisturbed by disaster and unexcited by pleasures
Free from fear and greed is wisest among the elders 2.56
He who unattached from all, neither likes nor dislikes
What to others as good or bad appears 2.57
Like a tortoise withdrawing his limbs inside
The wise one withdraws senses from objects outside 2.58
In his last coaching session, Master Coach Krishna advises Arjuna to do what he needs to do, without worrying about the outcome. Don’t worry about whether you will succeed or fail, says Krishna, just focus on the process once you have decided to go ahead. Before you do decide, Krishna says, be centered and use your intuition.
Krishna’s message was: don’t react instinctively, respond intuitively.
Our mind deceives us. Our senses deceive our mind. Almost always, we act or react based on our sensory inputs. What we see, hear, feel, smell and taste seems to us to be the truth.
Shankara calls this maya. This may seem reality, but it’s a very temporary reality. Buddha called it anicchha, impermanent and therefore unreal and unreliable. Later day Western philosophers cast their faith on the mind, reason and logic, as in the words of Descartes ‘I think, therefore I am.’
Shankara says ‘I am, when I have no thoughts.’
Who you follow depends on which world you wish to conquer, whether the material temporal one or the spiritual permanent one. Whatever world Jesus spoke of was the spiritual one of the Holy Spirit.
We can reach that ‘real’ world only by withdrawing from our senses. Patanjali calls this pratyahara in his Ashtanga Yoga. This means to turn away from the senses by starving it of its food, the object inputs.
Krishna draws the parallel of a tortoise hunkered down in its shell. He says, be like the tortoise and withdraw from the external objects, disengage from sensory attachments and desires, which lead to fear, greed and action.
How impractical, I hear you say. How can we lead our lives like a tortoise? We can never get anything done!
Well, the tortoise does live a hundred years and probably very happy with itself. Who knows whether in a cosmic sense we humans contribute anything more to this Universe than the tortoise?
Even disregarding this philosophical aspect, it is possible to live a life without philandering to our senses. There can be a balance in our lives, where by staying centered in out inner energy we can lead a life fulfilling our simple needs and ignoring our multiple wants.
It’s our never-ending and unsatisfiable wants, born of our greed, that lead us to our doom. Even in our death-bed all we can think of are the last few unfulfilled bucket list items.
If we wish to be fulfilled and joyous, we need to withdraw from our senses. We need to control our senses, instead of letting our senses controlling us.
So says Krishna.