Jai Shri Hari!

In the Katha Upanishad, there is an analogy that beautifully describes the relationship between the senses, the mind, the intellect and the self (or) soul.

There is a chariot that has five horses pulling it, the horses have reins tied in their mouths, the reins are controlled by the charioteer and at last there is a passenger sitting at the back.

Now let’s breakdown the analogy:

  1. Chariot – The Body.
  2. Five Horses – Five Senses (Touch, Sight, Sound, Smell and Taste)
  3. Reins – The Mind.
  4. Charioteer – The Intellect.
  5. Passenger – The Self.

Now, let’s understand what’s the problem:

The problem with the chariot is that the passenger traveling is asleep. Due to his absence of awareness the intellect isn’t guided properly which leads to the improper handling of reins and the five horses take the full control.

The above is something that I made up based on my own understanding.

When you are traveling to a new place in a car, consider yourself falling asleep halfway in the middle of the journey whereas your driver doesn’t know about the exact location you have to reach. That’s what the problem is all about. Now take an example of a horse, when you direct it using a rein it follows your guidance. But what happens when you set the horse free? 

Coming back to the analogy,

The self (passenger) of a sadhak is asleep which means he/she is not mindful and alert in his/her spiritual journey, that’s when the intellect (charioteer) doesn’t know where the self wants to go (your spiritual goal) which leads to the mind (reins) following the five senses (five horses).

  • The Senses get triggered by the desires of touch, sight, smell, sound and taste.

  • The Mind starts following the senses rather than controlling it.

  • The Intellect submits to the pull of senses rather than directing it through the mind.

  • The Soul is forever asleep.

What’s the solution?

Making the passenger (soul) wake up is the only solution. 

Gaining Wisdom through books and meditation can sharpen the intellect which helps in directing the mind and controlling the senses.

We are that passenger who is sleeping in this material world and enjoying all kind of sensual pleasures with attachment.

If we are not mindful and alert about our existence, we will be controlled by the senses and the mind.

To master your mind, master your senses having a proper Self – dialogue with your intellect.

This being my first post, I checked on the community as any member had already written about this analogy before. I couldn’t find anyone sharing about this beautiful analogy. So I thought of sharing this with you so that it also acts as an reminder to my own spiritual journey .

I sincerely apologize for any mistakes made in this post also please correct me in the comment section.

Thank you.

Har Har Mahadev!