The stages or eight limbs of Yoga – Pratyahara
It is the fifth stage of Yoga in which senses are brought under control.
Firm control of his senses can free a man from several agonies caused by them. This is known as Pratyahara, where the senses, which are the basic source of all sensual tyrannies, are brought well under control.
To find a way to defeat the deadly spell of sensual objects, a man needs the help of Bhakti in which he recalls to his mind the Almighty, creator of all such objects. In fact man’s mind is the central point around which all feelings of pleasure or pain, bondage or liberation, happiness or sorrow revolve. To free the mind of these feelings is to free oneself of all negative emotions that hinder one in achieving the ultimate goal.
To achieve the good and the sacred is the ultimate aim of Pratyahara.
Those who observe the principles of yoga know that the path of sensual satisfaction and desire fulfillment leads straight to destruction. To tread the path of yoga on the other hand is like walking on the sharp edge of a razor. Though it is a narrow and difficult path to tread, and there are few who follow it, it is the only path of salvation.
By observing Pratyahara a person experiences the fullness of creation or of the creator, his thirst for the objects of senses vanishes, and he looks at them ever after with dispassion. He remains stable in all conditions of pain or pleasure, virtue or vice, honour or dishonour. He remains in a state of equanimity, experiencing the fullness of the universal soul and is lead eventually through the path of perfection to his ultimate goal.