Om jitendriyaya namaha – Salutations to the One who has control of the senses. Control of the senses – in modern parlance “delay of gratification” enables us to achieve all our goals, and to live noble lives, lives that can be an example to others to follow.
jit Hin. jita San. adj. (from ji – to conquer) conquered, subdued.
jit: winning, acquiring, conquering
Jita, Jitam: victorius, triumphant, won, acquired, subdued, conquered, overcome
Jitu, Jitum: conquered, subdued, restrained
Jitendriya: One who has conquered all desires and has full mastery and control over his senses
indriya San. n. the senses – the five organs of perception (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin) and the five organs of action (larynx, hands, feet, anus and reproductive organ). ‘When you let your mind follow the call of the senses, they carry away your better judgement … Use all your power to free the senses from attachment and aversion alike, and live in the full wisdom of the Self.’
The essential task of all humans is to learn control of the senses. The baby crawling on the kitchen floor is kept out of the cupboards and away from knives and other possibly dangerous implements in the kitchen. Capsule, bottle and container manufacturers now all make child-proof tops and lids for their products to protect children from danger and worse.
As a growing child, as a teenager, we are taught delay of gratification: we are taught to be clean, to take care of our footwear and our clothes, to save our money and to avoid impulse buying. We are not taught to be hoaders of our coin, but rather, to look ahead, to plan ahead and make the most satisfactory choice instead of buying on impulse and not having monies later. From this self-control and control of the senses and the desires they bring in train, we can learn to save for bigger and better things: a robe, a gown, a car, a home. Control of the senses where food is concerned can save our health.
Control of the senses is also relevant when desires arise and drive us to take action to satisfy: the pop song goes “I want it all, I want it all, I want it NOW”!… Wants should be balanced against the four great goals of life, the purusharthas, dharma (right conduct), artha (acquisition of wealth for our needs), kama (acquire the needs necessary to our home and life) and moksha, pursuit of the spiritual end of our lives.
Spiritual activity and effort is most required to control the mind and the desires after which it runs. If you find that you are not able to succeed, do not give up the spiritual effort but do it more vigorously, for it is the subject in which you did not get passing marks that requires special study, doesn’t it? Spiritual activity and effort means inner cleanliness as well as external cleanliness. You do not feel refreshed if you wear unwashed clothes after your bath, do you? Nor do you feel refreshed if you wear washed clothes, but skip the bath. Both are needed, the external as well as the internal.
What comes after the cultivation of Discrimination and Detachment? How can they be implanted? By the first three goals of life: righteousness-right conduct, wealth and desires (necessary to your station in life); the practice of righteousness, right conduct in the Art of Living. That is why in the Gita Krishna taught Arjuna renunciation of action, not renunciation of the body. No attempt need be made to run away from the duties of one’s station and status. Remember, those duties have to be done as worship, as offerings of one’s intelligence and skill, qualities and thoughts and feelings to the Feet of the Lord in a spirit of thankfulness for the chance given, without a trace of egoism or a sense of attachment to the fruits of the actions. The obligatory karmas have to be carried out, wherever you are, with care and sincerity. They award the needed Discrimination and Detachment.
Remember, the sword of Love has to be kept in the sheath of Discrimination. The Indriyas or senses have to be rigorously controlled by Discrimination and Detachment, the twin talents given exclusively to man. Discrimination instructs you how to choose your avocations and your associates. It tells you the relative importance of objects and ideals. Detachment saves you from too much of attachment and injects a sense of relief, at times of elation or despair. They are the two wings that lift the bird into the air. They hold before you the impermanence of the world and permanence of the bliss of reality. They prompt you to direct your lives towards spiritual activity and the never failing contemplation of the glory of the Lord. Gudur, 22-7-1958
In Ancient India – and Modern India as well – the discipline to remove the attachment to the senses and to curb the mind from running after fleeting pleasures, is clearly laid down since ages; and we have the experience of many saints, recorded in the sacred literature of this land. All the activities of thought, word and deed are sublimated to this higher purpose. Man is auspiciousness, not a corpse; he has three eyes, which are derived from the Sun and the Moon, and from Agni (fire). The Agni eye is the internal eye, which can be opened by the discipline of the Yoga. The three-eyed Siva can see the Past, the Present and the Future. A boy of ten whom you have seen, you can recall his picture as he was when you saw him; but you can’t see him as he is now or as he will be ten years hence. But if you earn the trinetra (the triple eye, the triple vision), capable of seeing the Past, Present and Future, you can see all three. You become master of Time and Space. 2-8-63
Control of the senses – in modern parlance “delay of gratification” enables us to achieve all our goals, and to live noble lives, lives that can be an example to others to follow. It is the creation of a home of peace, a culture of collaboration and compassion, a nation where love is the language of the heart.
Om jitendriyaya namaha – Salutations to the One who has control of the senses.
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