Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2 verse 68Therefore he whose senses are all withdrawn from their objects, his intellect is established.


This verse deepens the lessons of verses 58 and 59, ‘as a tortoise draws in his limbs.’ There the focus was on established intellect. Here the focus is on the end game of happiness, where ‘Therefore’ in this verse takes us back to the consequences of 66: ‘how can there be happiness?’

Happiness is a natural result of contentment through established intellect. When the ‘senses are all withdrawn from their objects,’ we naturally find happiness from within through contented Self (2.66). However, when we unnaturally desire happiness through the senses, ever-changing reality takes over the senses and mind and things go awry: loss of steady thought, contentment and happiness, the whole shebang.

With this understanding we can cast the negative connotation of the previous verse into the positive and lay to rest Krishna’s discourse on established intellect. ‘When a man is [no longer]governed by any of the wandering senses, his intellect is [no longer] carried away by [desire]as a ship by the wind on water (previous verse). We’ve sailed into the homeport of ‘established intellect’ and enjoy the riches it protects: steady thought, contentment, discernment, and happiness. Immediately, God Consciousness dawns.

Having established the importance of intellect absorbed in Self, the following four verses turn to what a realized man, in fact, realizes.