tāni sarvāṇi saḿyamya
yukta āsīta mat-paraḥ
vaśe hi yasyendriyāṇi
tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 2.61
One who restrains his senses, keeping them under full control, and fixes his consciousness upon Me, is known as a man of steady intelligence.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
That the highest conception of yoga perfection is Krishna consciousness is clearly explained in this verse. And unless one is Krishna conscious it is not at all possible to control the senses. As cited above, the great sage Durvasa Muni picked a quarrel with Maharaja Ambarisha, and Durvasa Muni unnecessarily became angry out of pride and therefore could not check his senses. On the other hand, the king, although not as powerful a yogi as the sage, but a devotee of the Lord, silently tolerated all the sage’s injustices and thereby emerged victorious. The king was able to control his senses because of the following qualifications, as mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.4.18–20):
sa vai manah krishna-padaravindayor
karau harer mandira-marjanadisu
ghranam ca tat-pada-saroja-saurabhe
srimat-tulasya rasanam tad-arpite
padau hareh kshetra-padanusarpane
kamam ca dasye na tu kama-kamyaya
“King Ambarisha fixed his mind on the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, engaged his words in describing the abode of the Lord, his hands in cleansing the temple of the Lord, his ears in hearing the pastimes of the Lord, his eyes in seeing the form of the Lord, his body in touching the body of the devotee, his nostrils in smelling the flavor of the flowers offered to the lotus feet of the Lord, his tongue in tasting the tulasi leaves offered to Him, his legs in traveling to the holy place where His temple is situated, his head in offering obeisances unto the Lord, and his desires in fulfilling the desires of the Lord… and all these qualifications made him fit to become a mat-para devotee of the Lord.”
The word mat-para is most significant in this connection. How one can become mat-para is described in the life of Maharaja Ambarisha. Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushana, a great scholar and acarya in the line of the mat-para, remarks, mad-bhakti-prabhavena sarvendriya-vijaya-purvika svatma-drstih sulabheti bhavah. “The senses can be completely controlled only by the strength of devotional service to Krishna.” Also, the example of fire is sometimes given: “As a blazing fire burns everything within a room, Lord Vishnu, situated in the heart of the yogi, burns up all kinds of impurities.” The Yoga-sutra also prescribes meditation on Vishnu, and not meditation on the void. The so-called yogis who meditate on something which is not on the Vishnu platform simply waste their time in a vain search after some phantasmagoria. We have to be Krishna conscious—devoted to the Personality of Godhead. This is the aim of the real yoga.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Mat parah means my devotee. Without devotion to me, one cannot conquer the senses. This will be seen everywhere in later verses of the Gita. Uddhava has also said:
prayasah pundarikaksa yunjanto yogino manah visidanty asamadhanan mano-nigraha-karsitah athata ananda-dugham padambujam hamsah srayeran
O lotus-eyed Lord, generally those yogis who try to steady the mind experience frustration because of their inability to perfect the state of trance. Thus they weary in their attempt to bring the mind under control. Therefore, O lotus-eyed Lord of the universe, swanlike men happily take shelter of Your lotus feet, the source of all transcendental ecstasy. SB 11.29.2-3
The person whose senses have been brought under control (vase hi) is the sthita prajna. This distinguishes him from the sadhaka, the person attempting to do so.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
2.61 With a desire to overcome this mutual dependence between the subduing of the senses and vision of the self, one has to conquer the senses which are difficult to subdue on account of their attachment to sense-objects. So, focussing the mind on Me who am the only auspicious object for meditation, let him remain steadfast. When the mind is focussed on Me as its object, then such a mind, purified by the burning away of all impurities and devoid of attachment to the senses, is able to control the senses. Then the mind with the senses under control will be able to experience the self. As said in Visnu Purana, ‘As the leaping fire fanned by the wind burns away a forest of dry trees, so Visnu, who is in the hearts of all the Yogins, destroys all the sins.’ Sri Krsna teaches the same here: ‘He whose senses are under control, his knowledge is firmly set.’ Sri Krsna says: ‘One who endeavours to subdue the senses, depending on one’s own exertions, and does not focus the mind on Me in this way, becomes lost.’
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Since it has been prescribed to be in control of the senses, one who is self-controlled should sit in a yoga position and meditate on the Supreme Lord. If it were to be asked how does one sit? The right answer is that with the senses under control the mind should be free from any mental activity.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
In the previous verses Lord Krishna has stated that the senses are too powerful to subdue by our own efforts. Yet effort should be made repeatedly regardless. Now here he suggests that we subdue our senses by devotion to Him. The word yuktah denotes devotion to Lord Krishna, one whose mind is attuned to Him. Otherwise it is not possible to overcome the senses in any way and maintain it. Mat-parah means one devoted to Lord Krishna. The benefits of one surrendered, attuned and devoted to the Supreme Lord Krishna will be well documented later.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Because the uncontrolled senses are the cause of all disturbance, one with spiritual intelligence seeking transcendence should make their first priority to control ones senses. Then having duly controlled the senses which are troublesome one should be seated or situated in the meditation of maintaining this control. Here the word asita or seated does not refer to literally being seated but rather to being established or situated. This verse concludes on how such a one is seated. If one were to question how is it possible to control the restless senses which are turbulent by nature. Lord Krishna reveals that by devotion of mind and heart unto the Supreme Lord one will surely be able to control the senses. Lord Krishna is present within the heart of all living entities. As Hrisikesa the lord of the senses he is the ultimate object of all meditation. Without meditating on Lord Krishna it is not possible to master the senses. This is absolutely sure and thus the aspirant who follows these instructions has success and none other. So in conclusion one cannot be in transcendent meditation without controlling the senses. And that controlling the senses is not possible without devotion to Lord Krishna. Thus devotion to Lord Krishna can be seen as the essential ingredient assuring all success.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
2.61 Samyamya, controlling, having subdued; sarvani, all; tani, of them; asita, one should remain; yuktah, concentrated; mat-parah, on Me as the supreme — he to whom I, Vasudeva, the inmost Self of all, am the supreme (parah) is mat-parah. The idea is, he should remain (concentrated) thinking, ‘I am not different from Him.’ Hi, for; the prajna, wisdom; tasya, of one, of the sannyasin remaining thus concentrated; yasya, whose; indriyani, organs; are vase, under control, by dint of practice; [The organs come under control either by constantly thinking of oneself as non-different from the Self, or by constantly being mindful of the evils that result from objects.] pratisthita, becomes steadfast. Now, then, is being stated this [This:what is described in the following two verses, and is also a matter of common experience.] root, cause of all the evils that beset one who is the verge of being overwhelmed:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
2.61 Tani etc. He, who restrains his sense-organs in this manner by means of his mind, but not by inactivity-he alone is a man-of-stabilized-intellect. He would remain viewing Me alone as his goal i.e., he would concentrate his attention on nothing but Me, the Supreme Lord, the Consciousness-Self.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
tani sarvani samyamya
yukta asita mat-parah
vase hi yasyendriyani
tasya prajna pratisthita
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
tāni — those senses; sarvāṇi — all; saḿyamya — keeping under control; yuktaḥ — engaged; āsīta — should be situated; mat-paraḥ — in relationship with Me; vaśe — in full subjugation; hi — certainly; yasya — one whose; indriyāṇi — senses; tasya — his; prajñā — consciousness; pratiṣṭhitā — fixed.