Chapter 4 Gnana Yoga Verse 18

Sloka

Sarvaaneendriya karmaani praanakarmaani chaapare;
Aatmasamyamayogaagnau juhwati jnaanadeepite.

Translation

Others again sacrifice all the functions of the senses and those of the breath (vital energy or Prana)
in the fire of the Yoga of self-restraint kindled by knowledge.

Interpretation

After talking about the sacrifices performed by yogis to the God and burning themselves in the fire of their passions, Lord Krishna in this sloka turns his attention to the other types of sacrifices that yogis perform. He says that there are some people who sacrifice all their senses including their breath in the fire of yoga of self restraint. Lord Krishna here is talking about the meditation that a particular individual is performing where he tries to control all his senses through his breathing and through self restrained which he learns as knowledge. In simple words Lord Krishna is talking about a person who controls all his actions to attain salvation through meditation.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

What is meditation? Is it a sacrifice? Can we attain salvation through meditation? From centuries we have been hearing the stories of sages doing “Tapasya” or meditation. What exactly is this? The concept of Tapasya comes from the fact that you can get closer to God when you are able to control all your senses and worship him. We have to control the senses because they are the sources of distraction. They deviate us from the path connecting to God. So a sage does Tapasya by closing his eyes and concentrating totally on his breath. By doing so one by one he comes out of the influences of all his senses. Lets see how.

As he tries to control the amount of air that he inhales and exhales, he slowly masters the art of conserving energy and channelizing it towards God. That means one by one every part of his body stop functioning but it is very much alive. Like, his lever is functioning but it doesn’t secrete any digestive juices for digestion as the sage stops taking any food. His kidneys are working but no urine is produced as he stops taking any liquids. His eyes wont see anything as he never opens them, his ear wont hear anything and every sense organ of his though functioning normally, stops doing its activity. This process is called gaining control over the senses.

Gaining control over senses is very important to sacrifice them to God. This can happen only through meditation and the energy he is producing through it. Through that meditation the sage attains a supreme power through which he acquires a state of self restraint. Self restraint is a state where he stops himself from engaging in any activity. He is like a body which is motionless but power house of energy. This is one type of sacrifice that yogis perform to attain the state of moksha or salvation.