What are the techniques of controlling the mind Lord Krishna has mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita?

Some ISKCON member has told me - "Chant Hare Krishna mantra"

As you know that would be very difficult for a person doing job or studying in a university because we can not chant Hare Krishna mantra for 24 hrs.

My question is whether there are other techniques given by Lord Krishna in Gita on how to control/steady our mind?

  • 3
    You don't need to chant it 24 hours. Try 24 minutes. – ram Nov 20 at 0:18
  • 3
    we always think of our loved one 24hrs in our dreams... If you make Krishna your loved one, effortlessly, you will think of Krishna for 24hrs.... SO no need of even mantra to call Krishna if you make Krishna your loved one with such devotion! – Akshay S Nov 20 at 1:46
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Practice & Detachment


The similar Q&A happened during the discourse of Bhagavad Gita as well:

BG 6.33-6.34: Arjuna said O Madhusudana, this Yoga that has been spoken by you as summary, I do not see its steady continuance, owing to the restlessness [of mind]. O Krsna, the mind is unsteady, turbulent, strong and obstinate. I consider its control to be as greatly difficult as of the wind.

BG 6.35 - The Blessed Lord said O mighty-armed one, undoubtedly the mind is untractable and restless. But, O son of Kunti, it is brought under control through practice and detachment. [tr. Gambhirananda]

Also refer BG 6.10-6.15, which refers some techniques of Yoga, helpful for the mind control.


In a nutshell, the control of mind is not trivial. A lazy (TAmasika) person may not be able to attain such control, as it demands practice or perseverance. Also, if a person is attempting to control the mind for some purpose (RAjasika), then also it's very difficult. Because that purpose will keep the person attached. However, for being controlled, the mind has to be detached!

Usually the SAtvika (described in detail in Gita) ways of life, leads towards own mind control.

When Sri Krishna talks about controlling the mind, we shouldn’t think of ‘techniques’ as in ways that are shortcuts with immediate results. The mind is not a switch that can be turned on and off at will. Instead, it is a long process and can be a hard one too. But the results are said to be extremely beneficial. It is more of a purificatory process than one that subdues the mind.

Chanting the Hare Krishna mantra is a purificatory process and not a control technique. We should be absorbed in Sri Krishna’s presence 24 hrs but the chanting is usually limited to 16 rounds (1 round = 108 times of the mantra). This should take about 90-120 mins. And not just mechanical chanting but very focused and intense process as well.

To actually get to the part of how do purify oneself and get the mind under control (so to say), there are some prerequisites. Let’s look at some references.

https://www.vedabase.com/en/bg/6/17

yuktāhāra-vihārasya yukta-ceṣṭasya karmasu yukta-svapnāvabodhasya yogo bhavati duḥkha-hā

He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.

This is self-explanatory.

https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/11/8/21

tāvaj jitendriyo na syād  vijitānyendriyaḥ pumān na jayed rasanaṁ yāvaj jitaṁ sarvaṁ jite rase

Although one may conquer all of the other senses, as long as the tongue is not conquered it cannot be said that one has controlled his senses. However, if one is able to control the tongue, then one is understood to be in full control of all the senses.

This control of the tongue is the starting point. There are few who resist the urges of the tongue, the urges being that of both to speak and to eat.

https://www.vedabase.com/en/bg/17/15

anudvega-karaṁ vākyaṁ satyaṁ priya-hitaṁ ca yat svādhyāyābhyasanaṁ caiva vāṅ-mayaṁ tapa ucyate

Austerity of speech consists in speaking words that are truthful, pleasing, beneficial, and not agitating to others, and also in regularly reciting Vedic literature.

https://www.vedabase.com/en/bg/3/13

yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ bhuñjate te tv aghaṁ pāpā ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt

The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.

The urges of tongue to eat can be gradually controlled by only eating food offered to Sri Krishna i.e. eating only prasadam. The urges of the tongue to speak can be gradually controlled by being austere on what to talk about or in other words, limiting worldly gossip and discuss about vedas, puranas, glories of Sri Krishna etc.

Upadesamrta of Srila Rupa Goswami sums this up very nicely.

https://www.vedabase.com/en/noi/2

atyāhāraḥ prayāsaś ca prajalpo niyamāgrahaḥ jana-saṅgaś ca laulyaṁ ca ṣaḍbhir bhaktir vinaśyati

One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) over-endeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.

To summarize, there is only one way to bring the mind under control. That is by giving the senses the higher taste and involves the mind in absorbing that higher taste.

Srimad Bhagavatam summarizes this nicely via the activities of Maharaja Ambarīṣa .

https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/9/4/18-20

sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayor vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane karau harer mandira-mārjanādiṣu śrutiṁ cakārācyuta-sat-kathodaye

mukunda-liṅgālaya-darśane dṛśau tad-bhṛtya-gātra-sparśe ’ṅga-saṅgamam ghrāṇaṁ ca tat-pāda-saroja-saurabhe śrīmat-tulasyā rasanāṁ tad-arpite

pādau hareḥ kṣetra-padānusarpaṇe śiro hṛṣīkeśa-padābhivandane kāmaṁ ca dāsye na tu kāma-kāmyayā yathottamaśloka-janāśrayā ratiḥ

Mahārāja Ambarīṣa always engaged his mind in meditating upon the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, his words in describing the glories of the Lord, his hands in cleansing the Lord’s temple, and his ears in hearing the words spoken by Kṛṣṇa or about Kṛṣṇa. He engaged his eyes in seeing the Deity of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa’s temples and Kṛṣṇa’s places like Mathurā and Vṛndāvana, he engaged his sense of touch in touching the bodies of the Lord’s devotees, he engaged his sense of smell in smelling the fragrance of tulasī offered to the Lord, and he engaged his tongue in tasting the Lord’s prasāda. He engaged his legs in walking to the holy places and temples of the Lord, his head in bowing down before the Lord, and all his desires in serving the Lord, twenty-four hours a day. Indeed, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa never desired anything for his own sense gratification. He engaged all his senses in devotional service, in various engagements related to the Lord. This is the way to increase attachment for the Lord and be completely free from all material desires.

So, Maharaj Ambarīṣa can be the role model for all of us on how to engage our senses, mind and ego in the service of Sri Krishna.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .