Chapter 2 Verse 28 – Samkhya Yoga

Sloka

Yadaa samharate chaayam kurmo’ngaaneeva sarvashah;
Indriyaaneendriyaarthebhyas tasya prajnaa pratishthitaa.

Translation

When, like the tortoise which withdraws its limbs on all sides,
he withdraws his senses from the sense-objects, then his wisdom becomes steady.

Interpretation

Continuing his explanation of a person with steady wisdom Lord Krishna continues to talk about the qualities of a wise person. He says that a wise person will withdraw himself into a shell exactly like how a tortoise withdraws its limbs and goes into its shell when it senses trouble. Here we are not comparing the tortoise behaviour with a wise man, but tortoise is used only as a figurative symbol. A wise person just like tortoise will withdraw into himself and gets totally cut off from his senses and that is when his wisdom becomes steady.

Extending interpretation to Mankind’s life!

Suppose you want to complete reading a chapter of a book. Suddenly, you hear your brother playing music which is your favourite. Automatically, your attention goes away from the chapter that you wanted to read and you start enjoying the music. Suppose you wanted to finish the home work given to you by your teacher. A friend calls you and wants to meet you outside. You keep the home work pending and go out and once you return, you lack the motivation to complete the assignment given. Thus conscious mind is linked to senses and that mind always distracts you from your goals. Thus you can never become wise.

For a change, close your eyes, sit quietly and start thinking about your aims and goals. Slowly you will start seeing infront of you, what you are doing, where you are going and how much is still left to be done. It is not that easy to focus on things and only after a lot of concentration you will start concentrating and getting ideas. That is what we call as meditation. That meditation will give you motivation to plan and do things. You will get energy and the urge to compete the task. This is possible only when you shut your conscious mind and focus on the words of your sub conscious mind. Like how a tortoise withdraws into a shell, we also need to withdraw ourselves into the strong shell of our sub conscious mind. This shell will give us the power and energy, which is the quality of steady wisdom.