BG 2.58 (1972)

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



TEXT 58

यदा संहरते चायं कूर्मोऽङ्गानीव सर्वशः ।
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ॥५८॥
yadā saṁharate cāyaṁ
kūrmo 'ṅgānīva sarvaśaḥ
indriyāṇīndriyārthebhyas
tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā

SYNONYMS

yadā—when; saṁharate—winds up; ca—also; ayam—all these; kūrmaḥ—tortoise; aṅgāni—limbs; iva—like; sarvaśaḥ—altogether; indriyāni—senses; indriya-arthebhyaḥ—from the sense objects; tasya—his; prajñā—consciousness; pratiṣṭhitā—fixed up.

TRANSLATION

One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws his limbs within the shell, is to be understood as truly situated in knowledge.

PURPORT

The test of a yogī, devotee, or self-realized soul is that he is able to control the senses according to his plan. Most people, however, are servants of the senses and are thus directed by the dictation of the senses. That is the answer to the question as to how the yogī is situated. The senses are compared to venomous serpents. They want to act very loosely and without restriction. The yogī, or the devotee, must be very strong to control the serpents—like a snake charmer. He never allows them to act independantly. There are many injunctions in the revealed scriptures; some of them are do-not's, and some of them are do's. Unless one is able to follow the do's and the do-not's, restricting oneself from sense enjoyment, it is not possible to be firmly fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The best example, set herein, is the tortoise. The tortoise can at any moment wind up his senses and exhibit them again at any time for particular purposes. Similarly, the senses of the Kṛṣṇa conscious persons are used only for some particular purpose in the service of the Lord and are withdrawn otherwise. Keeping the senses always in the service of the Lord is the example set by the analogy of the tortoise, who keeps the senses within.