Chapter 2: Contents of the Gita Summarized
yada samharate cayam
kurmo 'nganiva sarvasah
tasya prajna pratisthita
yada—when; samharate—winds up; ca—also; ayam—all these; kurmah—tortoise; angani—limbs; iva—like; sarvasah—altogether; indriyani—senses; indriya-arthebhyah—from the sense objects; tasya—his; prajna—consciousness; pratisthita—fixed up.
One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws his limbs within the shell, is to be understood as truly situated in knowledge.
The test of a yogi, devotee, or self-realized soul 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. That is the answer to the question as to how the yogi is situated. The senses are compared to venomous serpents. They want to act very loosely and without restriction. The yogi, or the devotee, must be very strong to control the serpents—like a snake charmer. He never allows them to act independantly. There are many injunctions in the revealed scriptures; some of them are do-not's, and some of them are do's. Unless one is able to follow the do's and the do-not's, restricting oneself from sense enjoyment, it is not possible to be firmly fixed in Krsna consciousness. 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the senses of the Krsna conscious persons are used only for some particular purpose in the service of the Lord and are withdrawn otherwise. Keeping the senses always in the service of the Lord is the example set by the analogy of the tortoise, who keeps the senses within.