visaya vinivartante niraharasya dehinah
rasa-varjam raso ‘py asya param drstva nivartate
niraharasya – for the one who does not feed the sense organs
dehinah – for the one who dwells in this body
visayah – the senses
vinivartante – come back to oneself
rasa-varjam – leaving the longing behind
param – brahman
drstva – having seen
asya – of this person
rasah – the longing
api – even
nivartate – goes away
For the one who does not feed the senses, the senses come back to oneself, with the longing remaining behind. Having seen Brahman (when the self is known) even the longing goes away.
In the previous verse we saw that a gyani can withdraw his senses like a kurmaha. Does this mean that the person is automatically to be in gyana nishtaha? No. Even a complete fool can practice this technique. A yogi, who actively engages in this discipline of controlling his breathing, etc., can do this. But this does not mean that he is a gyani. Even though you may not go along with your fancies, the taste for them will linger. Therefore, suppression is not the answer as any desire if you suppress it will explode on the face when the opportune time arises. E.g. you decide not to eat sweet and suppress it by sheer control, but your inner taste still is there which you don’t know. You think that by suppressing this desire, you have mastered it. But one day, you see a rosagolla nicely prepared with a good aroma and your taste buds are tingling and you splurge on it saying that it is only today. I will get back to my suppression tomorrow. How many times we have done this? We have sugar complaint yet we suppress and when we get an opportunity, we cannot resist. We start getting withdrawal symptoms as well.
The question is when would the taste, the subjective value for sense enjoyments go. To suppress the value is not the answer because suppression is nothing but a volcano that blows its top one day. The word ‘visayas’ usually means sense objects, but in this context it stands for the senses. A person who engages in a rigorous discipline of sense withdrawal can either be called a viveki or aviveki. He or she can be deluded, a fool or murkahah api. In all cases the sense organs that are withdrawn from the sense objects come back to oneself.
The literal meaning of the word ‘drstva’ is ‘having seen’. What is to be known as is ‘I am that, that param-brahma aham eva’. It is not any other gyana. Brahman is myself and there is no difference between the two.
Taking the word ‘visaya’ to mean sense organs is the simple way to look at this verse. Assume that the sense objects have gone away because you withdraw yourself from the sense word. Previously you lived in New York city and now you have decided to live in the mountains. So no newspaper, coffee, music, television, computers, people etc. You are alone with nature. Having denied all these you are a nirahara. Ahara is a person who feeds the senses. Since you are not feeding the senses you are a nirahara.
Ok. So you did all these things, but your internal sense objects and taste have not gone away. You have tortured your body to do this, but your internal senses are still active. So when your mind is not fully active, you keep wondering what other people will be doing now, how are they living. May be I should check with a phone call, by coming down from the mountains. Is someone making money in the stock market, etc? These things are known to us and just by being a renunciate does not solve the problem. You have to renunciate in total including your raga dvesas then you are free. Otherwise, sooner or later the senses will catch up with you and your sense organs will go for a toss.
Another example is of a person who drinks alcohol and is addicted. It is more powerful than a demon and once it takes control over you, you become slave to it. Let’ see what happens in a typical alcoholic and his addiction to alcohol. First the person takes the bottle and then after sometime, the bottle calls the person. If it is six’o clock, it is happy hour time and the person may be elsewhere. But the bottle calls, ‘where are you?’ He replies, I am in the office working. Then the bottle says, ‘This is not the time to be in the office, Come here’. Faithfully the person goes and the bottle asks him to sit down. He picks up the bottle and the bottle has won the battle. There was a time when the person was deciding when to drink, now most houses have bar at home, hence it is convenient to just pick the bottle and pour some drinks and get addicted. What this means is that drinking is not wrong or right, but how your senses control you and your desire overrules everything you have suppressed. Once you acknowledge the fact that you need to stop drinking, then the bottles from your cupboard will go away slowly.
Likewise, we need to acknowledge that without antha karana shuddhi we cannot learn this subtle topic and we need to acknowledge and make an effort to learn that knowledge is brahman by systematic study of shastram.