Srimad Bhagavatam 11.19.36-39 - Sense Control is Important in Life of Sadhaka (download mp3)
by Vasudev Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
samo man-nisthata buddher
danda-nyasah param danam
kama-tyagas tapah smrtam
satyam ca sama-darsanam
anyac ca sunrta vani
karmasv asangamah saucam
tyagah sannyasa ucyate
dharma istam dhanam nrnam
yajño ’ham bhagavattamah
pranayamah param balam
Absorbing the intelligence in Me constitutes mental equilibrium, and complete discipline of the senses is self-control. Tolerance means patiently enduring unhappiness, and steadfastness occurs when one conquers the tongue and genitals. The greatest charity is to give up all aggression toward others, and renunciation of lust is understood to be real austerity. Real heroism is to conquer one’s natural tendency to enjoy material life, and reality is seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead everywhere. Truthfulness means to speak the truth in a pleasing way, as declared by great sages. Cleanliness is detachment in fruitive activities, whereas renunciation is the sannyasa order of life. The true desirable wealth for human beings is religiousness, and I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, am sacrifice. Religious remuneration is devotion to the acarya with the purpose of acquiring spiritual instruction, and the greatest strength is the pranayama system of breath control.
Lord Krsna here describes those qualities that are desirable for persons advancing in human life. Sama, or “mental equilibrium,” means to fix the intelligence in Lord Krsna. Mere peacefulness without Krsna consciousness is a dull and useless state of mind. Dama, or “discipline,” means first to control one’s own senses. If one wants to discipline one’s children, disciples or followers without controlling one’s own senses, one becomes a mere laughingstock. Tolerance means to patiently endure unhappiness, such as that provoked by the insults or negligence of others. One must also sometimes accept material inconvenience to carry out the injunctions of scriptures, and that unhappiness must also be patiently endured. If one is not tolerant of the insults and abuse of others, nor tolerant of the inconveniences that may arise from following authorized religious scriptures, it is simply foolishness for him to make a whimsical show of tolerating extreme heat, cold and pain and so on, just to impress others. Concerning steadfastness, if one does not control the tongue and genitals, then any other steadfastness is useless. Real charity means to renounce all aggression toward others. If one gives money to charitable causes but at the same time engages in exploitative business enterprises or abusive political tactics, one’s charity is worth nothing at all. Austerity means to give up lust and sense gratification and to observe prescribed vows such as Ekadasi; it does not mean inventing whimsical methods of torturing the material body. Real heroism is to conquer one’s lower nature. Certainly everyone likes to propagate his own fame as a brilliant person, but everyone is also subject to lust, anger, greed and so forth. Therefore, if one can conquer these lower characteristics generated from the modes of passion and ignorance, one is a greater hero than those who merely destroy their political opponents through intrigue and violence.
One can develop equal vision by giving up jealousy and envy and by recognizing the existence of the soul within every material body. This attitude pleases the Supreme Lord, who then reveals Himself, solidifying forever one’s equal vision. Merely describing things that exist does not constitute the last word in the perception of reality. One must also see the true spiritual equality of all living entities and all situations. Truthfulness means that one should speak in a pleasing way so that there will be a beneficial effect. If one becomes attached to pointing out the faults of others in the name of truth, then such faultfinding will not be appreciated by saintly persons. The bona fide spiritual master speaks the truth in such a way that people can elevate themselves to the spiritual platform, and one should learn this art of truthfulness. If one is attached to material things, his body and mind are understood to be always polluted. Cleanliness therefore means to give up material attachment, not merely to frequently rinse one’s skin with water. Real renunciation is giving up one’s false sense of proprietorship over one’s relatives and wife, and not just giving away material objects, while real wealth is to be religious. Sacrifice is the Personality of Godhead Himself, because the performer of sacrifice, to be successful, must absorb his consciousness in the Personality of Godhead and not in temporary, material rewards that may accrue from sacrifice. Real religious remuneration means that one should serve saintly persons who can enlighten one with spiritual knowledge. One may offer remuneration to his spiritual master, who has enlightened him, by distributing the same knowledge to others, thereby pleasing the acarya. Preaching work thus constitutes the highest form of remuneration. By performing the pranayama system of respiratory control, one can easily subdue the mind, and one who can in this way perfectly control the restless mind is the most powerful person.