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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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
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.