Chapter Four: 34-35
|Know that knowledge by prostration, by question and by service; the
wise who have realized the truth will instruct thee in it.
Knowing that, thou shalt not again get deluded like this, Oh Arjuna; and by that thou shalt see all beings in thy self and also in me.
This knowledge, which is the goal as well as the basis of all actions, the knowledge of the spirit of sacrifice, has to be acquired from the "knowers of truth," but they wait till the seeker approaches them in the attitude of discipleship.
Prostration is only a symbol of surrender - prapatti. This Sanskrit word has a wonderful import. The student realizes in his heart that he is sunk in grief for lack of knowledge, that he cannot obtain it on his own (from books, etc.), and that the guru alone can guide him to it. Before this three-fold fact is immediately and directly "seen," and one's own vain "knowledge" firmly rejected - all of which enables true humility to arise in one's heart - no knowledge is of any practical use. Even if some knowledge is acquired, it only acts as an intellectual burden, sinking man a little lower into the mire of vanity. But once the right attitude is acquired, there is deep and genuine yearning at heart and we can learn from anything and anybody. Dattatreya had twenty-four gurus.
The jnani or the guru is like a bridge. The bridge is the "other shore's" helping hand reaching out to this. The guru is God's helping hand reaching out to the seeker. The seeker must surrender his vanity to the guru and prove his devotion by whole-souled service. The guru will then impart the highest knowledge to the disciple, understanding, grasping and assimilating which, the latter will experience cosmic consciousness. Incorrect understanding of any of the factors involved will lead to a dreadful caricature of the beautiful guru-disciple relationship.
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