The Bhagavad Gita chapter 6 verse 24

“samkalpaprabhavan kamams tyaktva sarvan asesatah manasaivendriyagramam viniyamya samantatah”

 

“Relinquish without exception all longings born of sankalpas (plannings), and completely control, sheerly with the mind, the sensory organs, the sensory powers, and their contact with the ubiquitous sense objects.”

 

This verse, essentially a meditation technique comes from chapter six titled “Permanent Shelter in Spirit through Yoga Meditation”.  It is explaining that we must let go of everything created by the mind or processed by the mind in order to go within ourselves, or to meditate.

 

We are instructed to “relinquish without exception all longings born of sankalpas”.  Sankalpas is the sanskrit word meaning, of determination, will, or purpose.  Anytime you are making plans you are creating sankalpas.  Why is  relinquishment of these the most important step of the process given in the verse?  We are taught that determination or acting with purpose is necessary to achieve our goals or commitments.

 

So now we are to  relinquish our determinations.  We find this confusing because we think we need to be determined and purposeful when we meditate.  The opposite is what is needed, to relinquish.  If we set an intention or a goal to go inward, or to meditate we are actually creating expectations and desires.  One of the reasons the Gita instructs us to meditate is to find our true selves, without ego or  without fulfilling any desires.  Only when we are completely open and free are we able to sit with ourselves.  The benefit of meditation is to go inward not to fulfill your determination to sit and quiet your mind.  Any action performed with intent is not a pure action.  It is only when we are pure that we are able to know ourselves.  Therefore this is why relinquishing any intentions attached to the action of meditation is stated in the verse as the first step.

 

The next step after “relinquishing purpose” is to “completely control the sense organs, the sensory powers and their contact with ubiquitous sense objects”, using the mind.  Obviously we can not control the stimuli the senses come in contact with.  This is an impossible task since the senses are constantly exposed to stimuli, even if it is just the sound of your breath.  We must remove our attention from these sense objects and the information the sense organs,( nose, ears, eyes, etc) bring into the mind using the sensory powers of smell, sight, hearing etc.

 

If you relinquish all purpose the mind is unmoved by this stimulus.  After time when you are in a meditative state, the mind will stop processing the smells around you, the sounds, etc.  With practice you will be able to be unmoved by the senses even when you are not meditating.