Preksha Yoga: Components of Yoga – Pratyahara (Sensual Control)

If a man has firm and rhythmic control on his senses, he may be free from several agonies caused by them. This is known as Pratyahara, where the senses, which are basic source of all sensual tyrannies, are brought well under control. This is the fifth stage of yoga. To find a way to defeat the deadly spell of sensual objects, a man needs the shadow of Bhakti in which he recalls to his mind the Almighty creator of all such objects. In fact man’s mind is at the central point, around which all pleasure or pain, bondage or liberation, happiness or sorrow are revolving continuously.

There is bondage, pain, sorrow if one’s mind indulges, grieves over any specific subject matter; and at the same time there is pleasure, liberation and happiness if mind is free from all desires and fears. The purpose of life should be to acquire the ‘good’ instead of ‘pleasant’; but the common man goes for pleasant, losing the sacred element of the precious life. To achieve the good and sacred is the ultimate aim of Pratyahara. By practicing Pratyahara a person feels joy and satisfaction, because he knows how to stop and where to go, what to accept and what to reject. He understands that what is bitter like a poison today will become sweet tomorrow.

A man observing the principles of yoga knows that the path of sensual satisfaction and desire fulfilment goes straight to destruction, whereas to tread the path of yoga is like walking on the sharp edge of a razor. It is a narrow and difficult path to tread, and there are few who follow it, although it is the only path of salvation.

By obseving Pratyahara a person experiences the fulness of creation or of the creator, his thirst for the objects of senses vanishes, and he looks at them everafter with dispassion. He remains stable in all conditions of pain or pleasure, virtue a vice, honour or dishonour. He remains in the state of equanimity, experiencing the fullness of universal soul; and such a condition of his attitude and behaviour leads him to the path of perfection.

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