Just as iron is drawn to a magnet, so are our senses drawn to material pleasures. So, we think that if we keep a distance from objects that entice us, meditating on God will become easy.
But it is not enough to control the senses, for it is the mind that leads us astray. Controlling the mind, therefore, is what is required, D. Gnanasundaram said in a discourse.
One day, a sage, who was seated on the banks of the Ganges meditating, saw a pretty young girl pass by.
He thought to himself that she was very attractive. Ashamed at his thoughts going in the direction of the girl, instead of remaining focused on God, the sage decided that he would shut his eyes.
That way, he would not see her, and would therefore not think of her. But the next day, as the girl passed by, the sage could smell the jasmine flowers she was wearing in her hair, and said to himself: “That pretty girl has arrived.”
Realising that shutting his eyes was not going to be of much use if he did not cover his nose too, the next day the sage covered his nose too. But as the girl approached, he could hear the jingle of her anklets, and said to himself: “I can hear the anklets that announce the arrival of the lovely girl.” Closing his ears had not been of much use either.
So, he decided that from the next day, he would close his ears as well. But the next day, as the time approached for the girl’s arrival, the sage could think of nothing else but the girl. He kept telling himself: “Soon she will arrive, for this is the time when she comes here.” Thus, shutting his eyes, his ears, and his nose had not brought the desired results.
That was when he realised that it was the mind that led the senses in the wrong direction, and that if he controlled his mind, it would not matter who approached.
Controlling the mind is not easily achieved, for the mind is fickle. Though we may have every intention of thinking of God, the mind refuses to obey us. We must therefore make an effort to control our mind. Once we are able to control our mind, our senses can no longer be tempted by objects of pleasure.