CONTROLLING THE SENSES
September 20, 2002
Friday Meeting

Worldly desires come from five sources, which are our five senses. To the individual, one sense, for example sight, may be more powerful. God established many niyamas (guidelines) for all of the five senses.

For example, He told saints to keep their focus "close to the tip of the nose," and if any woman comes into sight, they should fast. Sight is usually the initial point of contact with worldly things and thus controlling it helps greatly. There is even the phrase, "out of sight, out of mind."

Unlike with the eyes, it is harder to close off hearing or smelling something. Yogi Bapa, however, would literally put his fingers in his ears to avoid hearing gossip or anything negative!

Swaminarayan Bhagwan had said that for saints, the tongue is the most dangerous [ref. Vachanamrut Loya 8, etc.]. The tongue is involved with tasting, talking, and feeling. All of the large wars occurred because of the tongue! Given in Swami Ni Vato 3/72 and 10/170, when Duryodhan could not differentiate between hard floor (surfaces) and water (pools) in the magnificent hall at Indraprasth, Draupadi remarked that "a blind man's son is blind." This enraged Duryodhan and led to the war of the Mahabharat. In the Ramayan, Lakshman left Sitaji's protection and went to look for Rama Bhagwan after Sitaji accused him that he did not want to save Rama Bhagwan because of the intention to marry Sitaji afterwards. The statement hurt Lakshman and when he left, Ravan got the opportunity to kidnap Sitaji.

While the eyes, ears, nose, and tongue cover only a small area of the body, the most coverage is by the skin. In fact, the tongue, nose, eyes, and ears are covered by it too. Even a little stone in the eye would keep one awake all night. Also, many sins are performed by touch - in American law, the act of touching brings case to accusations and punishment. In the Shikshapatri, Swaminarayan Bhagwan prescribed many rules for saints, aachaaryas and householders for touching. For example, saints shun the touch of women altogether, aachaaryas only touch women of the immediate family, and all devotees, when in the temple premises, stay away from touching members of the opposite sex. The rules Swaminarayan Bhagwan set up were also for the protection and upliftment of women.

Finally, all senses should be focused on God and His devotees. For example with the ears, only hear divine things like bhajanas (devotional songs) and discourses. This way, we will become God-engrossed, and external forces will not bother us.

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