“Learning To Satisfy The Right Senses” – A lecture by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


prana-karmani capare


juhvati jnana-dipite

Translation: “Those who are interested in self-realization in terms of mind and sense control offer the functions of all the senses, as well as the vital force, breath, as oblations into the fire of the controlled mind.”

Prabhupada: Read the purport.

Pradyumna: “The yoga system conceived by Patanjali is referred to herein. In the Yoga-sutra of Patanjali, the soul is called pratyag-atma and parag-atma. As long as the soul is attached to sense enjoyment, it is called parag-atma. The soul is subjected to the functions of ten kinds of air at work within the body, and this is perceived through the breathing system. The Patanjali system of yoga instructs one on how to control the functions of the body’s air in a technical manner so that ultimately all the functions of the air within become favorable for purifying the soul of material affection. According to this yoga system, pratyag-atma is the ultimate goal. This pratyag-atma is a withdrawal from activities in matter. The senses interact with the sense objects, like the ear for hearing, eyes for seeing, nose for smelling, tongue for tasting, hand for touching, and all of them are thus engaged in activities outside the self. They are called the functions of the prana-vayu. The apana-vayu goes downwards, vyana-vayu acts to shrink and expand, samana-vayu adjusts equilibrium, udana-vayu goes upwards — and when one is enlightened, one engages all these in searching for self-realization.”



prana-karmani capare


juhvati jnana-dipite

When one is enlightened, jnana-dipite, the light of knowledge is awakened, then atma-samyama-yogagnau, controlling the senses and offering in the fire of yoga. So the Patanjali system is explained in the purport that controlling the inner different kinds of, five kinds of, prana-apana-vayu. That is a mechanical system. That is approved also. That helps controlling the senses. But there is another process that is called this bhakti-yoga system, that not only controlling the senses but to give engagement to the senses.

Simply by artificial controlling… Just like a child. The mind is just like child, sometimes accepting something, sometimes rejecting something. Sankalpa-vikalpa. That is the business. So it is very difficult to control the mind. Arjuna, when he was asked to control the mind by yoga practice, he said cancalam hi manah krsna pramathi balavad drdham: “My dear Krsna, You are asking me to control the mind, but I think it is impossible. Especially we are in the political field, royal order. We have to deal with so many political subject matter.” So he said that

cancalam hi manah krsna

pramathi balavad drdham

tasyaham nigraham manye

vayor iva su-duskaram

“I do not think mind can be controlled. It is very, very difficult, as difficult as to control the breeze or wind, strong wind blowing. It is not possible to control them.” That was the verdict of Sri Arjuna. It will be explained in the sixth chapter.

Actually, it is very difficult to control the mind. So artificially, by controlling the breathing system, there is the process, but still, it is difficult. As I explained yesterday, even a great yogi like Visvamitra, he also failed. There are many instances. There was another, Saubhari Muni. He was practicing yoga system within the water. And as soon as he was little agitated by the fish, he wanted to come out and marry and one king’s daughter. He wanted to marry all the eight daughters. So there are many instances like that. It is very difficult to control the mind.

But our process, as it is stated here, that atma-samyama-yogagnau. Atma-samyama. Samyama, control. The mind is the principle sense. Indriyani parany ahur indriyebhyah param manah [Bg. 3.42]. Mind is the central figure of all the senses. Just like madman. Because he cannot fix up his mind, he cannot work properly. Therefore he is called madman. So our process is that we cannot control the mind. But if we engage the mind on the lotus feet of Krsna, then everything is controlled. Krsna will help. If some way or other, you engage your mind at the lotus feet of Krsna, sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh. then gradually everything will be controlled.

There is another version that sevonmukhe hi jihvadau. Jihvadau, to control the jihva. The jihva means the tongue. It is very difficult to control the jihva. People do not know it, but actually this is there. Everyone becomes a servant of the senses just beginning from the tongue. They eat anything and everything. Therefore they cannot control others senses also. This is the experience of big, big yogis. Therefore in the yoga practice, yama-niyama… In the yoga practice also, it is forbidden, not to allow the tongue to eat anything and everything, no. That is not possible. Similarly, we also ask our devotees not to allow your tongue to touch anything except krsna-prasadam. Tongue’s two business: eating, tasting something, and vibrating sound. So if we can control the tongue not to touch anything which is not offered to Krsna, and if we do not allow the tongue to talk anything except Krsna, Hare Krsna maha-mantra, then you become the greatest yogi. The greatest yogi. Simply two things. Of course, we have to eat. That’s a fact. Without eating, we cannot exist. So eat. We have got so many nice things, offered to Krsna. We offer to Krsna all nice things.

As Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, krsna baro doyamoy, koribare jihwa jay, swa-prasad-anna dilo bhai. Bhaktivinoda Thakura, he was a grhastha, practical. He experienced. He said, sarira abidya-jal: “This body, material body, is a network of ignorance.” Sarira abidya-jal. Just like a network. If you are put into a net and bound up and thrown into the ocean, then what is your condition of life, just imagine. Similarly, we, pure souls, we have been put into this network of material body, and we are thrown into the ocean of nescience. This is our position, struggle for existence. How to get out of the network? How to get out of the ocean? This is… Manah sasthanindriyani prakrti-sthani karsati [Bg. 15.7]. This is our position.

So Bhaktivinoda Thakura says this body is the network of ignorance, simply sense gratification. “I shall eat this. I shall eat that. I shall hear this. I shall…” The ear is engaged in hearing nice cinema songs, and the tongue is engaged, going to the restaurant, so many so-called palatable dishes. Similarly, other senses, they are engaged. So the… According to bhakti-yoga system, the first control is recommended to the tongue. That is said, that atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih [BRS. 1.2.234].

Now, we receive knowledge through the indriyas, but if the indriyas are impure — senses, they are impure — they cannot understand what is Krsna. Atah sri-krsna-namadi, na… Beginning. Because beginning is sravanam. Bhakti-marga begins by hearing.

Now, what is sravanam? Chanting. If there is chanting or there is some speaking, then we can hear. That is recommended by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, that simply hear. There are many places, recommended, that “Hear.” So but it is said, atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih [BRS. 1.2.234]. These present blunt senses, material senses, cannot receive even this chanting of Hare Krsna mantra. They say, “This is nuisance.” Bhagavan says in the Bhagavad-gita, catur-vidha bhajante mam: “Four classes of men who begins bhagavad bhajana,” sukrtina, “those who are pious…” But the modern leaders, they say, “This bhajana nuisance.” This is our misfortune. Satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah [Bg. 9.14]. These are the explanation in the Bhagavad-gita.

Saintly person, mahatma, they are engaged in chanting satatam, always. Satatam kirtayanto mam [Bg. 9.14]. Kirtayantah, glorifying. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends, kirtaniyah sada harih. Kirtaniyah sada harih.

trnad api sunicena

taror api sahisnuna

amanina manadena

kirtaniyah sada harih

[Cc. adi 17.31]

This is the recommendation of Caitanya Mahaprabhu that you should glorify the holy name of Hari. Hari means Krsna. So that is the recommendation. But we are meeting so many obstacles because they think, “This chanting is nescience. This bhajana is nuisance. This is Kali-yuga. Not the Kali-yuga, even every yuga. So atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih [BRS. 1.2.234]. A devotee is hearing, he is enjoying, and the non-devotee is thinking, “It is a nuisance.”

Therefore it is said, atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih. The blunt senses, material senses, they cannot receive. Namadi. Not only name, they cannot see Lord Krsna’s form. Because hearing and seeing and smelling and tasting and touching… We have got so many senses. So These senses being materially contaminated, it cannot hear what is Krsna’s holy name. Atah (sri) krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih [BRS. 1.2.234]. Then how to understand Krsna? That is recommended. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau. You have to engage your tongue first of all in the service of the Lord. The Krsna realization begins from the tongue.

How? Now you simply make it a vow that “I shall not talk anything except glorifying the Lord.” Then you become perfect. Very simple method. Simply you have to make this determination, that “I shall not talk anything which is not about Krsna, and I shall not eat anything which is not offered to Krsna.” So our this Krsna consciousness movement is teaching these two things specifically. We are distributing little prasadam. If we get opportunity, we can give sumptuous prasadam. We are doing that in all other centers throughout the whole world. By eating, simply by eating, one can be beloved. It doesn’t require if he simply eats Krsna prasadam. It is so nice method. So jihvadau. And hearing. This is recommended here, that atma-samyama-yogagnau. Atma, you have to make a determination, atma-samyama, that “I shall not allow this tongue to take anything in the restaurant. But I can simply allow the tongue… “If you do this, then you become gosvami. That is called gosvami. Because we are all godasa. Go means senses.

So actually we are all servants of our senses. The whole activities of the material world means everyone is acting as the servant of his senses, that’s all. This is the material world. Everyone is working. Everyone is working so hard. So when one becomes intelligent, then he understands that “What I am doing? I am thinking that I am master, I am proprietor, I am the head of the family, but what I am doing actually? I am acting as servant of my senses, my son’s senses, my wife’s senses, my daughter’s senses, my servant’s senses. That’s all.” If you speak something wrong even to your servant, the servant will resign, and you will be in trouble. Therefore you have to serve his senses so that he may not be angry. This is our position. So we are simply serving senses, but we are thinking, “I am master.” This is called illusion.

So jnana-dipite, when you actually come to the sense of your knowledge, then you come to this conclusion that “What I am? What is my mastership? I am simply serving the senses, different senses.” Even in the outward… [break] …what is the taste of that knowledge. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita. What is that? Bahunam janmanam ante: [Bg. 7.19] “After many, many births, spoiling the life and spoiling the time by satisfying the senses…” Bahunam janmanam ante. So long you will go on satisfying these senses, either your senses — that is centralized senses — or expanded senses, the senses of your family, senses of your society, senses of your country, nationality, these are all sense gratification process, simply extending. It begins centralized, my senses, then my son’s senses, then my grandson’s senses, then my country’s senses, then… It is sense gratification, that’s all. There is no other business.

So when one becomes enlightened, he offers himself to Krsna. There is a verse like this. Kamadinam kati na katidha palita durnidesah: “My Lord, I have spoiled my time in this way, becoming the godasa or the servant of the senses.” Kamadinam, kama krodha lobha moha matsarya. Therefore it is called, kamadinam kati na. “I have tried to satisfy them to my utmost.” Kati na katidha. “What I have not done for them? Still, they are not satisfied. Neither they are merciful.” Tesam jata mayi na karuna na trapa. Na trpta. “They are neither satisfied; neither they are merciful, never.”

You go on serving your family. Nobody will give you relief. If you say that “Now I have done so much for you. Give me relief.” First of all I do not want to be relieve also. That is also another disease. You see? You will be surprised. It is my practical experience. This Krsna consciousness movement, before starting, I wrote one letter to Mahatma Gandhi: “Mahatma Gandhi, you have got position. People accept you as a very pious man. Now you have got your sva-rajya, and you are very fond of Bhagavad-gita. Let us preach Bhagavad-gita.” I wrote this letter. Unfortunately, a few days after, he was killed. So this is the position. All big, big leaders, they do not want to take relief from this sense gratification business. No. This is the…

Therefore jnana-dipite atma-samyama-yogagnau. Because there is no knowledge, they think the sense gratification extended, expanded sense gratification, will make the world happy. No. That is not possible. Therefore jnana-dipite means that by this kind of sense gratification we will not solve the problems. Kamadinam kati na katidha palita durnidesas tesam jata mayi na karuna. Karuna. “There is no mercy. Therefore I have given up them. Now I have come to You, my dear Lord. I was serving the senses so long. Now I want to serve You.” This is knowledge, jnana-dipite. “Because my business is to satisfy the senses, either my senses or my relative’s senses, but it has not made me happy, therefore I have come to You to satisfy Your senses. Kindly engage me in Your business.”

This is called jnana. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate [Bg. 7.19]. When jnanavan… What kind of jnanavan? After serving the senses of so many people life after life, when one comes to his real knowledge that “This kind of sense gratification will not make me happy. Let me gratify the senses of Krsna,” that is real knowledge. Jnana-dipite. And in another place it is said, bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate. Jnanavan. That is real knowledge.

Actually, my business is to satisfy the senses of Krsna, but I am thinking that I shall be happy by satisfying my senses, my family’s senses, my country’s senses, my nation’s senses, and so on, so on, so on. This will make me happy. This is the secret. So therefore Krsna says that “You have manufactured so many business of sense gratification. That’s all right. Give up this all rascal business. Simply surrender unto Me.” Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. Then you will be satisfied. Otherwise there is no question of satisfaction. You go on increasing the area of sense gratification. That will not make you happy. So

bahunam janmanam ante

jnanavan mam prapadyate

vasudevah sarvam iti

sa mahatma sudurlabhah

[Bg. 7.19]

This is the definition of mahatma. When one engages his senses for the satisfaction of the supreme senses… But unfortunately, we define the Supreme as having no senses. Nirakara. No hands, no legs, no eyes, nothing, no senses. Simply I have got my senses. And who manufactured me, he has no senses. But that is not fact.

If I have got my senses, my father, who manufactured me, he has also senses. This is right conclusion. How is that? I have got my senses, I have got my propensities, I have got my form, and why these things should be denied to my father, and especially the supreme father? Therefore Bhagavad-gita says that avyaktam vyaktim apannam manyante mam abuddhayah, param bhavam ajanantah  [Bg. 7.24]. They do not know. But actual fact is that when our senses will be sacrificed for the satisfaction of the supreme senses, then our life is successful. Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170].

It is not that nullifying my senses, God’s senses, every… No. Senses are there. My senses are there, and God’s senses are there. But when my senses will be engaged in satisfying the Supreme senses, that is my perfection of life. Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170].

So that can be begun with sevonmukhe hi jihvadau. Because we meet together and talk so many nonsense in political conference, social conference, scientific conference, tongue going on. Day and night, conference is going on. And another business, eating process, sense gratification. If people are asked, “Please come here. Chant Hare Krsna,” they are not at all interested. And invite him in some political meeting and talk all nonsense. He is very much interested. Yes. This is called maya. So we have to convert this. Instead of engaging senses for talking nonsense, we have got so many books, so many talks about Krsna. Why not take this? You can go on on, Srimad-Bhagavatam, about Krsna. Bhagavad-gita. Go on talking, and go on eating krsna-prasadam. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau, chanting Hare Krsna mantra, sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah. Then self-realization is guaranteed.

There is no difficulty, not at all. And that is also described, sa mahatma sudurlabhah. Simply says, sudurlabhah. But what is the symptom?

mahatmanas tu mam partha

daivim prakrtim asritah

bhajanty ananya-manaso

jnatva bhutadim avyayam

[Bg. 9.13]

This is mahatma. Mahatmanas tu mam partha daivim prakrtim. They are under the protection of daivi-prakrti. There are two prakrtis, spiritual prakrti and material prakrti. The devotees are not under this material prakrti. They are under the spiritual prakrti. The activities of Krsna, they are all spiritual. And the devotees, because they are engaged in spiritual activities, they are above the material prakrti. Sa gunan samatityaitan brahma-bhuyaya kalpate. Who? Mam ca yo ‘vyabhicarena bhakti-yogena sevate [Bg. 14.26]. Anyone who is engaged in devotional service without any impediment, avyabhicarini, without any stoppage, continuously, sa gunan samatityaitan brahma-bhuyaya kalpate [Bg. 14.26], he is not on the material platform.

Therefore a devotee, mahatma… Mahatmanas tu mam partha daivim prakrtim asritah… [Bg. 9.13]. There are two prakrtis. Those who are not mahatmas, duratma… Duratma means trying to satisfy the atma in a different way, far, far away from Krsna. They are called duratma, dur. Dur means distant or very difficult. So everyone can become mahatma, as it is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, simply by surrendering to Krsna. Sa mahatma sudurlabhah. It is not very easy to become a mahatma and to surrender unto Krsna. But if we can do that, if we engage our senses in the service of the Supreme Lord…

There is no question of stopping the activities of the senses. That will fail. The yoga system, Patanjali yoga system, is artificially stopping the activities of the senses. But that will be not very successful because the senses are so strong that as soon as it gets an opportunity, it acts immediately.

Therefore in the sastra it is forbidden, matra svasra duhitra va naviviktasano bhavet: “In a lonely place don’t sit down even with your mother, even with your sister, or even with your daughter.” Because generally our senses are not very much agitated in the present of mother, sister and daughter. But sastra says, “Even though it is so, but don’t sit down with your mother, sister and daughter in a lonely place.” “Why? I am not a fool.” But you are not a fool. But balavan indriya-gramo vidvamsam api karsati. The senses are so strong, even one is very, very learned, he is also agitated. We have got many instances. Old men, sixty, seventy years, he is agitated by seeing one young girl. You see? So senses are so strong. So therefore we have to engage all our senses in the service of the supreme senses. That is perfection of life. Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170].

So the beginning is that the first number, one, number one sense, the tongue, you try to control by eating krsna-prasadam and chanting Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama. Thank you very much.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bhagavad-gita 4.27 — Bombay, April 16, 1974


One response to ““Learning To Satisfy The Right Senses” – A lecture by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

  1. Thank you for this nice article. I am reminded of a Sanskrit shloka I learned in high school on hard work. I blogged about it at http://pathtokrishna.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/subhashitani-on-hard-work/.

    The shloka goes like this …

    ‘Udyamen hi sidhyanti, karyaani na manorathe
    Nahi suptasya singhasya, pravishanti mukhe mrigah’

    Only by action is the work possible, not by mere thinking.
    Like a deer would not walk into the mouth of a sleeping lion.

    I have a long way to go in controlling my desires and chanting more 🙂

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