உரனென்னும் தோட்டியான் ஓரைந்தும் காப்பான்
வரனென்னும் வைப்பிற்கோர் வித்தது.
Uranennum Thottiyaan Oraindhum Kaappaan
Varanennum Vaippirkor Viththu (24)
One who has the strength to control his five senses, paves the way for a higher experience of life.
धैर्याङ्कुशेन् संयम्य गजान् पञ्चेन्द्रियात्मकान् ।
य: पालयत्ययं मोक्षफलकृद्वीजवद्भवेत् ॥ (२४)
अंकुश से दृढ़ ज्ञान के, इन्द्रिय राखे आप ।
ज्ञानी वह वर लोक का, बीज बनेगा आप ॥ (२४)
ತನ್ನ ಪಂಚೇಂದ್ರಿಯಗಳನ್ನು ನಿಯಂತ್ರಿಸುವ ಶಕ್ತಿ ಹೊಂದಿರುವವನು ಜೀವನದ ಉನ್ನತ ಅನುಭವಕ್ಕೆ ದಾರಿ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಡುತ್ತಾನೆ.
Wer die Kraft hat, seine fünf Sinne zu kontrollieren, ebnet den Weg für eine höhere Lebenserfahrung.
manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi – the mind is the sixth sense – says the Bhagavad Gita. Swami Sivananda said that ‘the Indriyas are the prolongation of the mind’. Our mind is constantly fed by data gathered by the five senses, which leads to desire. The more the data, the lesser the self-control. This simple fact is well exploited by mainstream advertising – which constantly bombards us with images of the stuff that they want us to buy, and even when we do not pay attention to it – our subconscious mind registers it. Thats how subtle messages such as logo colors, product placements and guerrilla advertising register, leading the name of Pepsi or MacDonalds to pop up almost immediately in our heads, when we are hungry.
Our senses are of no use without the mind. It’s like collecting data and typing it into a computer that is not switched on.
Only when the computer is on, is when the data that is keyed in can be interpreted. So is it with the senses. Your eyes do not see – your mind sees. The eyes are the lens – the mind is the camera that captures the image and makes sense of it. When you experience a plate of delicious food put in front of you – you see the vivid colors of the food, you smell the aroma, you touch it with your hands and taste it – the mind aggregates these senses and the output is the ‘deliciousness’ that you experience.
And so, when the five senses are not under your control, the sixth sense – the mind – is not under your control. Your decisions are not based on rationality or contemplation – rather they follow what appeals to you, and not what is good for you.
This is why so many diets and exercise regimens fail – the bowl of ice cream is always more enticing than that bowl of salad, isn’t it?
ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंस: सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते |
सङ्गात्सञ्जायते काम: कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते || 62||
dhyāyato viṣhayān puṁsaḥ saṅgas teṣhūpajāyate
saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ kāmāt krodho ’bhijāyate
While contemplating on the objects of the senses, one develops attachment to them. Attachment leads to desire, and from desire arises anger.
Bhagavad Gita 2.62
As the Gita describes, indulgence in the senses leads to attachment, then to desire, and then anger or sadness when we are unable to fulfil all our desires. Our lives are spent in trying to satisfy our desires, from the mundane to the extraordinary, leaving us with little time to discover our own selves.
Tiruvalluvar explains that controlling one’s senses, and not over-indulging in them, helps free up the mind for higher experiences, higher thinking.
Higher thinking leads to better living, where we do not run behind objects and people, rather, we are able to make more conscious decisions without the bias of our senses.
செயற்கரிய செய்வார் பெரியர் சிறியர்
செயற்கரிய செய்கலா தார்.
Seyarkariya Seyvaar Periyar Siriyar
Seyarkariya Seykalaa Thaar (26)
Great men take on difficult challenges; those who do not, remain small.
सर्वेन्द्रियजयाख्यानं कर्मान्यैर्दुष्करं जनै: ।
ये कुर्वन्त्युत्तमास्ते स्यु: अन्येत्वधम मध्यमा: ॥ (२६)
करते दुष्कर कर्म हैं, जो हैं साधु महान ।
दुष्कर जो नहिं कर सके, अधम लोक वे जान ॥ (२६)
ಮಹಾನ್ ಪುರುಷರು ಕಷ್ಟದ ಸವಾಲುಗಳನ್ನು ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾರೆ; ಮಾಡದವರು ಸಣ್ಣವರಾಗಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ.
Groß ist, wer schwierige Taten tut – niedrig ist, wer keine schwierigen taten tut.
I thought about this Kural for a long time – at first glance, it doesn’t seem to be in place, since the preceding kurals all talk about renunciation and control of one’s senses. But then I realised – controlling the six senses is not easy. In fact, people try for years and years, and most of them fail. This is an extraordinary feat – a big challenge.
Tiruvalluvar says that great men take on difficult challenges, and those who do not, remain small. My interpretation of this is that the author does not say ‘win challenges’, he says – ‘take on challenges’. The outcome is immaterial, that you had the guts to take it on is what makes you great.
This is true in the workspace as well.
Those who go beyond their call of duty, and proactively work on bigger tasks and assignments, learn more, and in time, stand to gain more though promotions and recognition.
Others who just do what they are told, and do not attempt to break the barriers, remain where they are, and in time, become dispensable.
In life, adopting a culture of constant learning, and constant seeking, leads to growth in our personality, and also spiritual growth. Greatness is a consequence of our actions – not a precondition. Anyone can become great, our actions determine our greatness.