657/11: The Essential Knowledge

Summary: Our attempts at accumulating knowledge can lead us to confusion and dissatisfaction. A genuine insight is necessary in addition to our attempts at finding solution from other sources. This genuine insight is the essential knowledge. With this, other things start making sense and you can then try to implement them in your life.

Verse 657: Tayaa Paandava Aise Chitti, Aad Vishwarupaachi Javanika Hoti, Te Phitoni Geli Parouti, Hey Bhale Jaahale.

Translation: Arjuna felt in his heart that the curtain of the cosmic form (Krishna’s Vishwarup) has finally been removed and he felt enormous bliss.

In the tenth chapter of Gita, Arjuna gets to hear the various ways in which we can see Krishna in this world (Vibhuti Yoga). Then, in the eleventh chapter, Arjuna wishes to see the actual form of Krishna. He wished to see that form of the God in which the whole creation is but a part. Krishna, being compassion incarnate, fulfilled even this request of Arjuna. However, at the end of this chapter, Arjuna felt that the familiar form of Krishna is the one he would like to have as his companion. Hence, he requested Krishna to return back to his old form. Krishna was not very amused! He tried to tell Arjuna that the form you have just seen is what everyone wishes to see. Even Vedas indicate this very form of mine and you have been fortunate to see it as clearly as a gooseberry on the palm of your hand. Do not throw away this fortune. However, Arjuna was sure about what he wanted. Hence Krishna reverted back to his usual form. This verse explains how Arjuna felt at that time. It says: Arjuna felt as if he is free to live his life as freely as before. The all-encompassing nature of the Vishwarup was too overwhelming for him to live his normal life. Hence, he felt tremendous bliss after its removal. The familiar form of Krishna was like a soothing balm to his parched eyes.

When we start a new thing in our life (for example serious sadhana), we do not actually know what all needs to be done and what reasonable, realistic goals we should set for ourselves. We then talk to like-minded people or read books that are supposed to help us in our quest. However, our own life is so unique and so personal that other person or a book can help us only to a certain extent. For example, a book on sadhana may say that one way to look for progress in sadhana is to see if you have less anger, another may ask you if you reduced finding faults at others and yet another may tell you to see if you have become more sympathetic with others etc. etc. Similarly, different persons will give you different advices. Now, all of these aims look very reasonable and none of them look wrong. However, we are not somehow satisfied. Worse, we feel dejected that we are not satisfied with these correct and reasonable choices for our problem. This dejection has a good chance of making us feel worthless and thereby producing a lot of negative energy towards tackling our problem. I feel that Arjuna’s dissatisfaction upon seeing the Vishwarup is similar to our situation when we try to find solution to our quest in books and in experiences of other people. Even though we cannot find a single thing wrong in those solutions, we are not happy.

This uneasiness of ours is an essential step towards making us believe in our self-experience (Swasamvedya). If our attempts at finding solution were honest and intense, there comes a time when we instinctively feel the right solution. What you have read before or all the advice you have listened to now just falls in place when you look at them with this newfound attitude of yours. This situation is exactly like what Arjuna felt when the Vishwarup was removed and the Krishna in the form that he liked most appeared.

This new attitude is the essential knowledge we have been searching for. Since this insight has come from within, it also comes with the power to implement it in our life. Of course, we now should have enough strength of mind or courage to actually carry out what we instinctively feel. There will be people around us who may advise other course of action, just like Krishna told Arjuna that the Vishwarup is the correct way of looking at me. Just like Krishna, other people too are right! But they are right in their own lives. In our life, we have to do what we instinctively feel right. Just like Arjuna demanded the old form of Krishna, even after Krishna repeatedly telling him that it may not be the right thing. This courage of Arjuna is what we should all aspire for. We should have it in our life at least in some degree, if not the whole thing. The essential knowledge we have obtained will be really useful only if we have this courage. Then, our sadhana will proceed without doubt and with new vigour, just like Arjuna felt enourmous bliss after Krishna reverted back to his old form.

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