The test of a self-realized soul or a person is that he is able to control the senses according to his plan. Most people, however, are servants of the senses and are thus directed by the dictation of the senses.
The senses are compared to venomous serpents.
The best example, set herein, is the tortoise. The tortoise can at any moment wind up his senses and exhibit them again at any time for particular purposes.
Similarly, the senses of the Krishna conscious persons are used only for some particular purpose in the service of the Lord and are withdrawn otherwise.
The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.
Like a child, if we want to keep him/her from doing mischief we can tell the child to sit still but that will not last long. We have to keep the child busy in positive engagement. So Lord Krishna advises that we put the senses to work, doing our prescribed duty, but offering the results to the Lord. Second, engage the senses in worship. Keep them pure by avoiding sinful acts and association. Dedicate your mind and body in the Lord’s service; remain fully engaged in your work, which has to be done, and make the results of that work an offering.
The process of restriction from sense enjoyment by rules and regulations is something like restricting a diseased person from certain types of eatables. The patient, however, neither likes such restrictions nor loses his taste for eatables.
The senses are so strong and impetuous, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them.
One who restrains his senses, keeping them under full control, and fixes his consciousness upon Me, is known as a man of steady intelligence.
Unless one is Krishna conscious it is not at all possible to control the senses. For example, the great sage Durvasa Muni picked a quarrel with Maharaja Ambarisa, 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:
King Ambarisa 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 greatest devotee of the Lord.
While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.
From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.
One who is not connected with the Supreme [in Krishna consciousness] can have neither transcendental intelligence nor a steady mind, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?
As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the water, even one of the roaming senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.
How to control senses