Three Questions pertaining to KNOWLEDGE
(Verse nos.20, 21, 22 of Ch.XVIII, The Gita)
Did the individual have a true knowledge
of the One-ness of all things?

Did he have only an imperfect knowledge which did not go
beyond the plurality on the surface?

Did he have a totally false knowledge which gave him
no eye for the real nature of things?

Comment: All the scriptures keep on saying that the right vision is that which sees the One-ness amidst the plurality of experience. Perception of difference arises because of the recognition of name and form. The enlightened one sees the tile, the stone, and the golden brick, all in the same way. This equanimity of vision is the ultimate goal of all spirituality. When a wooden elephant is presented to a child the child is carried away by imaginations about the elephant. But we shall be only children spiritually if we cannot see the wood for the elephant. The normal human being is distracted by the multiplicity of appearances and is still in a dream state, where he refuses to believe there is a more real world outside of his dream. Because, as a dreamer, he cannot realise that he is dreaming. He cannot rise beyond the glamour of the plurality that confronts him and does not perceive there is an essential unity in all that he sees. This kind of knowledge sees the multiplicity of things only in their separateness and variety of operation. It looks at the jumble of pieces of knowledge as if they are forcefully put together -- just as a high-school kid learning mathematics would think of algebra, geometry and trigonometry as so many different pieces of manipulatory skill, or a college junior thinking of each discipline like Mathematics or Physics as a splintered collection of sub-disciplines. Still another kind of knowledge is a small and narrow way of looking at things which has no eye for the real nature of the world. It clings to one moment, routine or movement as if it were the whole, without a comprehensive foresight or intelligence and revels in this 'knowledge'. It is like the wave saying: Where is the Ocean? I am the Ocean! This is the kind of knowledge which cannot see God in the idol of worship or the soul in the live body. The scriptures prescribe, on the other hand, that perception wherein
Whatever you see, you see only the Lord's presence in it;
Whatever you hear, it is the melody of His music, Krishna-flute-like;
Whatever you taste, it is the sweetness of the nectar flowing from His Grace;
Whatever you smell, it is the fragrance of the dust of His feet; and
Whatever you touch, it is the touch of the divine hand of Fearlessness

Three questions pertaining to ACTION
(Verse nos. 23, 24, 25 of Ch.XVIII, The Gita)
Did the individual have the right attitude to Action,
without attachment, the action done as a duty,
not for love, hate or gain?

Did he have a vain attitude to action,
which was always done to satisfy desires
impelled by ego and stress?

Did he have a dull attitude, in
mechanical obedience to one's instincts
heedless of the hurt or wrong done to others?

Comment: An action undertaken from delusion in mechanical obedience to the instincts, impulsions and virtual ideas, in utter disregard to the strength, capacity, consequences, waste of effort or injury to others is the lowest type of action. Also that action which a man undertakes under the domination of desire with an egoistic sense of one's personality in the action and which is done with inordinate effort with a great heaving and straining of the personal will to get at the object of desire -- like an excited teenager while playing a gambling game, that action is a vain one. On the other hand, an action which is regulated as prescribed, performed without attachment, without a liking for its spur or disliking for its drag, done without the hankering for the fruit, that action is best. It should better be a labour of love and not an act for the sake of the law; an act of Grace rather than an act of obligation. Ultimately it would become the highest impersonal action, dictated by the spirit in us, rather than by our intellect.
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February 11, 1999
Copyright V. Krishnamurthy