cañcalaḿ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa
pramāthi balavad dṛḍham
tasyāhaḿ nigrahaḿ manye
vāyor iva su-duṣkaram
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 6.34
For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The mind is so strong and obstinate that it sometimes overcomes the intelligence, although the mind is supposed to be subservient to the intelligence. For a man in the practical world who has to fight so many opposing elements, it is certainly very difficult to control the mind. Artificially, one may establish a mental equilibrium toward both friend and enemy, but ultimately no worldly man can do so, for this is more difficult than controlling the raging wind. In the Vedic literature (Katha Upanishad 1.3.3–4) it is said:
atmanam rathinam viddhi
sariram ratham eva ca
buddhim tu sarathim viddhi
manah pragraham eva ca
indriyani hayan ahur
visayams tesu gocaran
bhoktety ahur manisinah
“The individual is the passenger in the car of the material body, and intelligence is the driver. Mind is the driving instrument, and the senses are the horses. The self is thus the enjoyer or sufferer in the association of the mind and senses. So it is understood by great thinkers.” Intelligence is supposed to direct the mind, but the mind is so strong and obstinate that it often overcomes even one’s own intelligence, as an acute infection may surpass the efficacy of medicine. Such a strong mind is supposed to be controlled by the practice of yoga, but such practice is never practical for a worldly person like Arjuna. And what can we say of modern man? The simile used here is appropriate: one cannot capture the blowing wind. And it is even more difficult to capture the turbulent mind. The easiest way to control the mind, as suggested by Lord Caitanya, is chanting “Hare Krishna,” the great mantra for deliverance, in all humility. The method prescribed is sa vai manah krishna-padaravindayoh: one must engage one’s mind fully in Krishna. Only then will there remain no other engagements to agitate the mind.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
In this verse, Arjuna speaks of the fickle mind.
“But Arjuna, it is possible to control the mind by the discriminating intellect, according to the scriptures. The sruti says,
atmanam rathinam viddhi sarlram ratham eva ca
The soul is the passenger, and the body is the chariot.” Katha Upanisad 1.3.3
The smrti says:
ahuh sarlram ratham indriyani hayan abhisun mana
indriyesam vartmani matra dhisanam ca sutam
Transcendentalists who are advanced in knowledge compare the body, which is made by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to a chariot. The senses are like the horses; the mind, the master of the senses, is like the reins; the objects of the senses are the destinations; intelligence is the chariot driver; and consciousness, which spreads throughout the body, is the cause of bondage in this material world.” SB 7.15.41
“But the mind very strongly agitates the intellect (pramathi).”
“How can that happen?”
“Just as a strong disease does not recognize the medicine which is supposed to cure it, the strong mind by its very nature ignores the discriminating intellect (balavat). Moreover, it is very firm, like iron, which is impossible to pierce by the fine needle of intellect (drdham). I consider it is difficult to overcome the mind by astanga yoga. That is like trying to control the violent wind in the sky by stopping the breath with kumbaka.”
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
6.35 The Lord said — No doubt, the mind is hard to subdue on account of its fickle nature. However, it can be subdued with difficulty by cultivating favourable attitude in the direction of the self by repeated contemplation of Its being a mind of auspicious attributes (these being eternality, self-luminosity, bliss, freedom from Karma, purity etc.), and by the absence of hankering produced by seeing the host of evil qualities in objects other than the self hankered for.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The previous verse is being elucidated further. The mind is by nature restless and fickle. Also it is tempestuous, capable of agitating the body and the senses and very hard to control. From what the mind has become accustomed to be attached to like sense objects it is very difficult to remove it. Therefore just as it is impossible to confine within a pot the wind blowing hither and thither in the air in the same way it is almost impossible to control and restrain the turbulent mind. Lord Krishna answers this doubt in the next verse.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Everyone can understand that the mind is restless and fickle by the proof of observing one’s own mind. The mind is turbulent in its actions and tenacious in its selections. It is extremely difficult to control because it is strongly bound to desire for habituated sense gratification. It is also powerful and hard to withdraw once it is out in pursuit of desired sense objects. Considering all these things Arjuna expresses to Lord Krishna that trying to control the mind is like trying to control the wind. It is like trying to confine a violently blowing cyclone in a pot. By using the vocative case O’ Lord Krishna denotes that Lord Krishna who removes the illusion of His devotees should also remove all delusions regarding controlling the mind.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
6.35 Mahabaho, O mighty-armed one; asamsayam, undoubtedly-there is no doubt with regard to this; that the manah, mind; is durnigraham, untractable; and calm, restless. Tu, but; it-the modifications of the mind in the form of distractions-grhyate, is brought under control; abhyasena, through practice- abhyasa means repetition of some idea or thought of the mind one some mental plane [‘Some mental plane’ suggests some object of concentration.]-; and vairagyena, through detachment-vairagya means absence of hankering for enjoyment of desirable things, seen or unseen, as a result of the practice of discerning their defect. That mind is thus brought undr control, restrained, i.e. completely subdued. By him, however, who has not controlled his mind-
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
6.35 Asamsayam etc. Through an attitude of desirelessness, the craving for sense objects is destroyed. Through practice, stage after stage, the side of emancipation is occupied [by the mind]. Hence both are included. Regarding this, it has been said by the revered author of the Bhasya as : The restraint of mental modifications depends on both [the attitude of desirelessness and practice]. Hence is this solemn declaration :
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
cañcalam hi manah krsna
pramathi balavad drdham
tasyaham nigraham manye
vayor iva su-duskaram
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
cañcalam — ﬂickering; hi — certainly; manaḥ — mind; kṛṣṇa — O Kṛṣṇa; pramāthi — agitating; bala-vat — strong; dṛḍham — obstinate; tasya — its; aham — I; nigraham — subduing; manye — think; vāyoḥ — of the wind; iva — like; su-duṣkaram — difﬁcult.