Arjuna’s fight is our fight. It is an inner battle, and on a yogic level it is the struggle for greater self-knowledge that we all must walk through. Just like Arjuna, the student of yoga, must struggle to know the inner light within her/himself and then in turn learn to bring that light into his/her daily life.
So often in life we are taught to go outward. Each of us receives praise for our outer accomplishments, outer beauty, material or outer growth, etc. This is lovely. But while yogis recognize these as valid within the realm of the manifest world, for the sages, focusing outwardly only is seen as missing the aim of life. For the sages, feeling the luminous inner self is the greatest realization.
Access the inner? “But how?” you might say… To access the inner reverse the general flow of your energy from all the time outer to some inner. Spend some time each day going in. What this means is practice contemplation, meditation, and absorption.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Verse 58, Shri Krishna gives Arjuna guidance on how to work with the senses, which primarily move outward. He says, “When the yogi-in-training withdraws the senses completely from the objects of sense, just like a turtle withdraws its limbs into its shell, his prajna, wisdom, is established and stands firm.” The idea in this verse is two-fold. 1) To learn the skill of pulling your senses inward, and 2) Standing in your highest wisdom.
As with any yogic practice, questions naturally arise, such as, ‘How can I withdraw my senses like a turtle?’ or ‘What is the value of withdrawing my senses?’ In other words, what do I really get from this?
Key things to watch for when you practice withdrawing the senses:
Enjoy working with this verse and teaching from the Bhagavad Gita this month!
Learn more from the Bhagavad Gita about going inwards and being a yoga student in today’s modern world. Learn how to work with this ancient yogic text in a healthy way, while acknowledging your humanity. Join Manorama for the upcoming Tradition of the Bhagavad Gita teleclass where we will study, laugh and go deep into the verses of this beautiful yogic text. Learn More.