Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 6, Verse 35

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
असंशयं महाबाहो मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलम् |
अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते || 35||

śhrī bhagavān uvācha
asanśhayaṁ mahā-bāho mano durnigrahaṁ chalam
abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa cha gṛihyate

śhrī-bhagavān uvāchaLord Krishna said; asanśhayamundoubtedly; mahā-bāhomighty-armed one; manaḥthe mind; durnigrahamdifficult to restrain; chalamrestless; abhyāsenaby practice; tubut; kaunteyaArjun, the son of Kunti; vairāgyeṇaby detachment; chaand; gṛihyatecan be controlled


BG 6.35: Lord Krishna said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, what you say is correct; the mind is indeed very difficult to restrain. But by practice and detachment, it can be controlled.


Shree Krishna responds to Arjun’s comment by calling him Mahābāho, which means “Mighty armed one.” He implies, “O Arjun, you defeated the bravest warriors in battle. Can you not defeat the mind?”

Shree Krishna does not deny the problem, by saying, “Arjun, what nonsense are you speaking? The mind can be controlled very easily.” Rather, he agrees with Arjun’s statement that the mind is indeed difficult to control. However, so many things are difficult to achieve in the world and yet we remain undaunted and move forward. For example, sailors know that the sea is dangerous and the possibility of terrible storms exists. Yet, they have never found those dangers as sufficient reasons for remaining ashore. Hence, Shree Krishna assures Arjun that the mind can be controlled by vairāgya and abhyās.

Vairāgya means detachment. We observe that the mind runs toward the objects of its attachment, toward the direction it has been habituated to running in the past. The elimination of attachment eradicates the unnecessary wanderings of the mind.

Abhyās means practice, or a concerted and persistent effort to change an old habit or develop a new one. Practice is a very important word for sādhaks. In all fields of human endeavor, practice is the key that opens the door to mastery and excellence. Take, for example, a mundane activity such as typing. The first time people begin typing, they are able to type one word in a minute. But after a year’s typing, their fingers fly on the keyboard at the speed of eighty words a minute. This proficiency comes solely through practice. Similarly, the obstinate and turbulent mind has to be made to rest on the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord through abhyās. Take the mind away from the world—this is vairāgya—and bring the mind to rest on God—this is abhyās. Sage Patanjali gives the same instruction:

abhyāsa vairāgyābhyāṁ tannirodhaḥ (Yog Darśhan 1.12)[v26]

“The perturbations of the mind can be controlled by constant practice and detachment.”