The Seven Verses from the Bhagavad Gita that Brought my Senses to Senses
“The working senses are superior to dull matter; the mind is higher than the senses, intelligence is still higher than the mind, and he [the soul] is even higher than intelligence.”
-A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, The Bhagavad Gita, 3:42
The impact of the divine wisdom of scriptures on my spiritual journey was immediate. One of my first and most vital realizations was understanding the limitations that restrained me. These limitations were none other than my physical senses.
The sensory experiences build the base for our subjective reality. And these senses (the ability to see, hear, feel, taste, and smell) are the primary ways we give meaning to our experiences. The senses receive the information from our surroundings, our minds decode the data, and we react through thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
These thoughts, feelings, and behaviors led me to one of my first realizations: These senses, which help us communicate and survive in this physical world, also prevent us from finding answers and solutions. We do not always allow ourselves to silence the outer world to listen to our inner intuition, the inner voice trying to help us. Instead, we are most attentive to the physical world, which is loud and demands all our attention.
The Bhagavad Gita (Hindu scripture) taught me that my physical senses are the main barriers to my evolution. They rank below the mind, the intelligence, and the soul.
Years ago, before I began this journey, I was a person controlled by thoughts and emotions. When situations in life didn’t go as I wanted or expected (my job, financial issues, domestic issues, and society), I used to think distorted thoughts, resulting in negative emotions that usually drew me into unwanted behavior. But as I studied the Bhagavad Gita, its invaluable verses helped me understand how my physical senses blinded me from “seeing” the truth.
“One who can withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws his limbs within the shell, is to be understood as truly situated in knowledge.”
-A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhagavad Gita 2:58
When I pull back from my senses, I can become stable in wisdom and study the soul. Just as the turtle protects itself by drawing in its limbs, I can consciously explore my soul by withdrawing my physical senses.
“The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.”
-A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhagavad Gita 2:59
Physical objects and their pleasures nourish my senses. If I remove these “sense objects,” the desire for them will remain. But if I experience the divine consciousness, my desire for sensory pleasure will melt away.
“The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them. One who restrains his senses, keeping them under full control, and fixes his consciousness upon Me is known as a man of steady intelligence.”
-A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhagavad Gita 2:60-61
Unrestrained senses are the cause of distress in life. The ability to control the physical senses is the foundation for balancing and securing one’s consciousness. Accordingly, I should obligate myself to control my physical senses and aim to maintain this control to establish divine intelligence.
“While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops an attachment to them, and from such attachment, lust develops, and from lust, anger arises. From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion, the bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls again into the material pool. But a person free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through regulated principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord.”
-A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bhagavad Gita 2:62- 64