Home » Books » Lessons from The Bhagawad Gita: On Controlling Desires

Lessons from The Bhagawad Gita: On Controlling Desires

The last of the verses in Karma Yoga talks about how difficult it is to control desires unless you make conscious effort.

indriyani mano buddhir, asyadhisthanam ucyate
etair vimohayaty esa,jnanam avrtya dehinam

1) Only when I see, taste, feel or experience something, I know how enjoyable it is and they become the objects of my desire. It is safe to say, that my desires creep in through my sense organs. My mind enjoys the perceived sensations and my intellect remembers the joy from the desires met and tempts me to relive them over and over again.

2) The vicious cycle of Avidhya- Kama- Karma works infinitely. When I do not make any effort to overcome my ignorance (Avidhya), I will have no control over my desires (Kama) and will be encouraged to get involved in actions (Karma) that will satisfy my ego.

3) My ego veils my sense of judgement and prevents me to differentiate the right from the wrong, and therefore I always choose an action that satisfies my desires, boosts my ego and betrays my judgement.

tasmat tvam indriyany adau, niyamya bharatarsabha
papmanam prajahi hy enam, jnana-vijnana-nasanam

4) I realize that  my mind and intellect get involved in the desires when my sense organs send the signals to them from the objects around me.  If I don’t want to let my mind and intellect be involved I have to stop picking signals from tempting actions, thoughts and objects with my sense organs.

indriyani parany ahur, indriyebhyah param manah
manasas tu para buddhir, yo buddheh paratas tu sah

5) I know that I do not have ultimate control over my intellect, mind, senses and body, today. It will take me years of meditative practice, hours of introspection, conscious attempts at correcting my deviations from the ideal path and living by the values in the scriptures instead of just attempting to understand it.

6) It helps to know how much work is involved to be able to control desires. It gives me a reason, a purpose, a direction, a path I have to take, to a goal that I can achieve.

7) Being an extrovert (the entire world will vouch that I am one) is not one of the qualities of a spiritual seeker. If my goal is to be more introspective, I cannot be at the periphery of my personality, interacting with the external world and being unavailable for myself. Brahmacharini Vishakaji says,’Extroverts seldom have space inside of themselves. They seldom turn within, to find themselves’. That gave me something to reflect about.

evam buddheh param buddhva, samstabhyatmanam-atmana
jahi shatrum maha-baho , kama-rupam durasadam

8) The lessons from Karma Yoga, encourages me to be mindful and alert about every action I take. I realize that it is easier to think, say and do mindlessly and it takes incredible effort to be mindful. It comes with practice. By learning to be mindful and alert, I hope to exercise control over my desires and temptation to deviate from what is right action.

9) When I fail in my attempt to control my desires, and mindlessly allow my ego to drive my actions to fulfill my desires, I know how far I am from realizing the divinity within me, how far I am from letting go of my ego.

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One thought on “Lessons from The Bhagawad Gita: On Controlling Desires

  1. Yes, the things of the world can certainly capture our attention; heart. It is wise to notice the things we do do each day and pay attention to how much the senses crave it, or whether we can be fine without it.That which offends us, is not good for us, and we should alleviate. Many times, desires and cravings lead us to think in a way that sees only me and not you; bringing division. Paying attention to what brings unity/division throughout our day is certainly one way to make better choices. It is our heart leading us, therefore, we have to take care of it by being selective about what we bring into it. Thankful for this insightful reflection. * bows*

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